Do you ever come across a book that describes what sounds like a delicious meal, dessert, or dish? It has happened to me a lot recently and I thought it would be a fun idea to try and bake something inspired by the book! This new blog series (which I am calling Literary Bites) will include a mini-review of a book, along with a recipe that I was inspired to make while reading it. I am aiming for this to be a once-a-month series. It all depends on if I read a book that inspires me to bake or cook something!
For the first one, I have picked To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. The main character, Lara Jean, loves to bake! There is a whole discussion between the characters in the book about which cookies she is going to make for Christmas. Han has even shared some of her favorite cookie recipes. You can find those on her blog here.
So without further ado, here is my mini-review of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and a recipe for Lara Jean inspired Sugar Cookies. Enjoy!
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3/5 Stars
Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Kobo
Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her.
They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her, these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul and say all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.
I really enjoyed this sweet book! The premise was interesting and unique. I think I would die of mortification if my former crushes received a letter written by me, like Lara Jean’s crushes receive her letters unintentionally. There were a few times Lara Jean annoyed me, but then I remembered she is 16 years old and I was probably the same kind of annoying as her when I was her age. I will say that I liked the sequel (P.S. I Still Love You) better than the first novel. When I first read the series, Han didn’t have any plans to write a third book and make it trilogy. But just a few months ago she surprised all her readers and announced a third book for Lara Jean! Always and Forever, Lara Jean is due out in May 2017. Add it to your Goodreads to-read list here. I can’t want to read the conclusion of Lara Jean’s story and find out what happens next! Pick up this series if you are looking for an easy read, that will make you smile.
Lara Jean inspired Sugar Cookies
The recipe I used for the sugar cookies was posted by Jenny Han on her blog as part of her Twelve Days of Cookies. Go here to see the recipe!
I followed the recipe exactly, except for cook time. Depending on how thick you roll out your dough, could affect the cook time. I must have made mine a little thicker, because they needed a bit longer in the oven. Also I have a gas oven, and I am still getting the hang of using it. After 10 minutes baking, they still didn’t look finished. I ended up baking them for 16 minutes, rotating the pan half way through. (I read that the heat in a gas oven isn’t equally distributed so it is good to rotate your pan/cookie sheet when you use it!).
I decided to decorate the cookies using royal icing. Usually royal icing has raw egg whites in it. Even though pasteurized raw eggs would be safe to eat, it still weirded me out a little. (I know this is strange, because I have eaten raw cookie dough before, which we all know has raw eggs in it, so I contradict myself, but still.) I used this egg white free royal icing recipe. I had to add a little more milk and corn syrup because it was pretty thick. Once I was happy with the consistency, I outlined my cookies using the thicker icing. While those were hardening, I added more corn syrup (per the recipe) to the icing mixture to thin it out. Then I filled in the cookie outlines using the thinned out icing. I used a toothpick to spread it out, and added some tiny sprinkles while it was still wet.
In all honesty, it took a lot of work. It wasn’t the easiest, and I definitely would have run out of icing if I hadn’t done some half-iced ones. So, word to the wise, don’t do this if you are in a rush. And make sure the cookies have completely cooled before you start icing them. Cardinal rule there. I’m not the best at decorating, plus I like simple things, so I kept the decorating simple. I think they turned out pretty cute, if I do say so myself! And more importantly, they tasted delicious!
Do you like to bake like Lara Jean? Let me know if you tried
out this recipe, or have a favorite recipe of your own!