Fair warning: If you do not love the TV show Parks and Recreation as much as I do, then this post is not going to make much sense.
Let’s start at the beginning. I know it’s a meme and whatever, but I truly believe Leslie Knope is my spirit animal. Like, sometimes I feel that I’m the museum education version of Leslie Knope. Like Leslie with parks, I absolutely love what I do and usually can’t comprehend why everyone in the world wouldn’t love museums and art history as much as I do. I love binders and organization and categorizing everything. I’m an unabashed feminist (thank you, nine years of all-girls education), more than a bit of a perfectionist, and definitely a talker and a share-er. I also happen to think Galentine’s Day is the best idea EVER.
If you don’t know what Galentine’s Day is, here are some GIFs.
A huge reason why I love Parks and Rec is obviously the character of Leslie, but a huge part of why I (and most folks) love Leslie is because of Amy Poehler. I loved her in the TV show, but it was when I found out about her organization Smart Girls at the Party that I realized how ridiculously amazing she is. Smart Girls at the Party is a website and video series about inspiring young girls (and boys) to accept themselves. They feature women in the world who are unabashedly doing amazing things. It is absolutely great. (They were behind the #AskHerMore hashtag that made a big splash at the Golden Globes this year.)
Then she published her book, Yes Please, and my adoration was cemented. It’s such a hilarious, empowering book. Go read it if you haven’t already! What does “yes please” mean? In Amy’s words: “I love saying ‘yes’ and I love saying ‘please’. Saying ‘yes’ doesn’t mean I don’t know how to say no, and saying ‘please’ doesn’t mean I am waiting for permission. ‘Yes please’ sounds powerful and concise. It’s a response and a request. It is not about being a good girl; it is about being a real woman.” (And don’t worry, if you’re a dude you will love the book, and Parks and Rec, too. I guarantee it.)
So, in honor of my love for Parks and Rec, Leslie Knope, and of course Amy Poehler, here are some Galentine’s Day cookies with three of my favorite quotes: Treat Yo Self, I love you and I like you (warning: link is a major spoiler), and Yes Please!
Oops, before I end this post I should probably talk about what these cookies taste like, huh? Well, in true Leslie Knope style, I’m not gonna be humble. These are the ideal, perfect sugar cookies. They aren’t crispy but rather a little bit chewy, super buttery, and I added a little cinnamon for some spice. The royal icing is sweet and balances out the butter. These are absolutely one of the best recipes I’ve ever made.
So: Happy Galentine’s Day to all of you! May your February be filled with waffles, friends, and work you’re passionate about, and lots of friends and family you love.
Makes 2-3 dozen cookies, depending on size of cookie cutters
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp ground cinnamon
3 sticks butter, softened
4 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
In a bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon.
In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter, shortening, and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until just combined. Add flour mixture (in two additions if necessary–it’s a lot of dough!) and mix until incorporated. Divide into three discs, wrap each in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Dust your work surface with flour and roll a disc of dough into 1/4″ thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes in the dough, and place about 1/2″ apart on cookie sheets.
Bake for 12-13 min until set but not browned (we want them soft/chewy, not crispy!). Remove and allow to cook on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks with a spatula and allow to cool completely before decorating.
Makes 2 1/2 cups
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cookies
1 pound (approx. 3 1/2 cups) powdered sugar, sifted
5 tablespoons meringue powder
Scant 1/2 cup water
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until smooth, about 7 minutes. For icing you’re using to pipe words or the outline on cookies, keep it thick. For flood icing, add water (go easy, jut splash it) until icing is runny but still opaque.