Not only were his fore and hind wings separated on one side, he couldn't close his wings completely. To top it off, he had a gimpy leg and listed to one side when he was at rest. We started him on a diet of melon Gatorade, and suddenly my son had a pet, which he promptly named Darth Butterfly.
Darth spent the nine weeks of his butterfly existence rotating between the patio and our living room. He was extraordinarily tame and would crawl onto my hand when I would bend over to pick him up after he accidentally fluttered to the floor. Darth sat calmly on our hands and perched happily on our shoulders. We were able to observe him close up extending his proboscis like a straw to drink his meals, then wash his polka dotted face like a cat with his two front legs.
Eventually the inevitable happened, but before it did, my son asked if we could make butterfly cookies. I decided to go ahead and attempt a complicated design on my usual egg, dairy and nut free roll out cookies . I was very happy with the result, except that the icing wasn't as smooth as I would have liked. (I'm not sure if it was because I made a vegan royal icing, didn't thin it enough, or if it was simply due to my amateur technique.) To match the colors, I changed the flavors to anise and orange, which was a surprisingly addictive combination.
2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C corn starch
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 C nondairy margarine, softened
1 C granulated sugar
2 Tbs orange marmalade or orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 tsp anise extract
zest of one orange (optional)
Vegan Royal Icing (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut parchment paper to size of cookie sheets. Measure dry ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk together, then set aside.
Cream margarine with sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in marmalade or orange juice concentrate, anise extract and orange zest (if desired). Slow mixer and gradually add dry ingredients until completely combined.
Spread out one of the pieces of parchment paper on a flat surface. Place about a quarter to a third of the dough on it. Cover remaining dough with plastic wrap or place in plastic bag to keep from drying out. Flatten the dough on the parchment paper into a thick disc by hand, then cover it with a piece of wax (not parchment) paper. While keeping the wax paper in place on the dough, use a rolling pin to roll it out to between 1/4 and 1/2 inch in thickness. (If planning to make cookie pops, make sure the dough is at least 3/8 inch thick.) Peel off the wax paper and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes with space between them, but leave them in place on the parchment paper. Use an offset spatula (preferred) or butter knife to remove the dough from between the cookies. Gently slide the parchment paper onto a cookie sheet. The leftover dough may be recycled as many times as needed to use all the dough, since additional flour is not added to roll it out.
Optional step for Cookie Pops:
Use offset spatula to arrange cookies on parchment paper so that lollipop sticks will not overlap. Gently insert large lollipop sticks into sides of cookies until at least halfway across width of cookie.
Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes and the edges just begin to lightly brown. Remove from oven and allow cookies to remain on sheet for 5 to 10 minutes to firm up before removing to rack to complete cooling.
Once cookies are completely cool, decorate with royal icing.
Vegan Royal Icing(Adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking .)
1 1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer
2 Tbs water
1 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 C powdered (confectioners') sugar
food coloring as desired
Combine Egg Replacer, water and lemon juice in a medium bowl and whisk vigorously until frothy. Add powdered sugar and continue stirring until smooth. Mix in food coloring. (If needed, the thickness of the icing can be adjusted by gradually adding very small amounts of either water or powdered sugar.)
To make monarchs, begin by outlining design in black icing. Allow to dry overnight, then flood inner areas with black or orange icing. Allow to dry overnight again, then decorate with white polka dots.
The cookies were quite a bit of work, but I think I'll make them again at the end of the school year as thank you's for The Kid's teachers and other school staff, including the school nurse. They truly are a sweet way to remember our pet monarch.
I'm sharing my winged cookies with: