It was the summer of 1977, and my whole family—like the rest of the country—had Star Wars fever!
Here’s my brother and I in our t-shirts, off to see the movie (again), and that Christmas we all got the gift of Star Wars: comic books for me, a lightsaber for my brother, and my mom got a picture-disc LP record of the soundtrack.
But, as will happen to girls, as I grew, so did my interests: clothes, music, boys. High school became college became work became marriage became motherhood. Yes, that goofy girl in the Star Wars t-shirt is now the mother of a son with his own case of Star Wars fever, specifically the Clone Wars strain.
When the opportunity was offered to me to create recipes for the new Star Wars cookbook, Wookiee Pies, Clone Scones and Other Galactic Goodies, I leapt at it. It seemed to be a chance to not only recapture some of that magic from 1977, but to maybe, possibly, score some cool points with my kid. Both missions: accomplished!
Watching the original Star Wars trilogy and prequels with my son, Max, was the best-ever combination of research and family bonding. Max then introduced me to the characters and storylines of The Clone Wars. Developing the recipes was a mix of knowing what I wanted to make and Star Wars-ifying it: combing through the character and place names and coming up with recipes that captured the spirit of the films while being funny. Landonuts! Obi-Wan-Tons! Admiral Ack-bars!
Max happily tested the recipes as they came out of the kitchen. But it was when the book was published and I gave him one of the first copies and he saw my name on the cover that my coolness was cemented.
At the Skywalker Sugar Cookie decorating parties I’ve hosted at bookstores, it’s clear that the 35 years since the premier haven’t diminished the love and excitement for the Star Wars characters and stories. I set up three trays of sugar cookies made with the kit’s cookie cutters: R2D2, Darth Vader, and Yoda, and it’s fun to guess which character the child (or grown up) will choose to decorate. The shy, sweet girl might go right for Darth Vader, and the bold, brash boy is drawn to the wise, wide-eyed Yoda more often than I would have thought.
At one toy store event in San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square, one of the store’s staff members was a big Star Wars fan. Fan, as in, she had lightsaber-tattoos-on-each-of-her-index-fingers kind of fan. She was dressed in her own, deluxe Princess Leia costume for the event, and the kids were in awe—they really believed they were in the presence of a princess!
Because I’m not only the co-author of Wookiee Pies, Clone Scones, and Other Galactic Goodies, but also a publicist for Chronicle Books (the kit’s publisher), I’ve had a unique opportunity to have a 360-view of the process. I presented Wookiee Pies to a group of librarians and learned that the Star Wars cookbooks are some of the most circulated books in their collections. Elementary school students are regularly assigned to read non-fiction books, and many choose cookbooks. The librarians explained that they’re an especially good choice for “reluctant” boy readers. Cookbooks show them examples of different kinds of writing, and when they make the recipes they’re learning how to follow instructions, and well…Star Wars!
The whole process of creating Wookiee Pies, up to and including the participation in Star Wars Reads Day has been thrilling, but not without its sacrifices. There was one idea for a recipe that didn’t make it into the cookbook: Bar2D2s, a minty, chocolatey treat I’m happy to share here—enjoy!
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- ¾ cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup flour
- 25 small peppermint patties
- 2 cups/12 ounces white chocolate chips
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon mint extract
- Preheat oven to 350
- Line a 9 x 13” pan with foil, overlapping 1-inch on each side. Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until smooth.
- Remove the pan from the heat, add the sugar, and stir until incorporated. Add the eggs, stirring in after each addition. Add the vanilla and stir through. Mix in the flour.
- Spread ½ of the batter into the prepared pan. Top with the peppermint patties. Spread the remaining batter over the patties and smooth the top.
- Bake 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a just a few moist crumbs.
- Let it cool while you prepare the topping.
- Combine the white chocolate and heavy cream in a medium glass bowl. Microwave and stir at 1-minute intervals until smooth. Add the peppermint extract and stir through. Spread the mixture over the cooled bars and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Let the mixture set until firm, about 30-40 minutes.
- Cut into bars or into R2D2 shapes with the cookie cutters.
Makes 24 bars
On Saturday, October 6, Star Wars Reads Day is coming to your galaxy. Join in a celebration of reading and all things Star Wars at over 1,200 bookstores, schools, and libraries nationwide, with giveaways and raffles, and authors and/or costumed characters appearing at select locations. Find an event near you!