Do you guys remember what you wanted to be when you grew up?
This was something I found myself asking a ton of my friends as I started writing this post. The responses were all hilariously sweet:
"A roller coaster engineer and divorcee who lived in New York City," said Tracy.
When I asked why, she simply said 'because roller coasters are cool'. And that her 6-year-old-self didn't believe that love could last forever. Hm.
"The First Female President," said Meredith.
Good news, Mer — you can STILL be the first female president! 😢
"Something in math," said Molly, who then explained that she once kicked a hole in the wall because she was frustrated with her calculus homework.
If I'm being honest, I don't entirely 100% remember myself, lol. I do know that I went through different phases — nothing really logical or significant, they were mostly determined by what I happened to think was superfreakingawesome at the time. Like that time I wanted to be a stewardess (because planes are cool!), and another in which I wanted to be a dentist (because I was too young to realize that going to the dentist actually terrifies me).
There is one childhood dream of mine that does stick out though. There were a few months in my life in which I wanted to be an archeologist. I blame Jurassic Park. Although the movie frightened the daylights out of me (seriously, that scene where the T-Rex gets loose and wreaks havoc on the cars was pretty scary as a 6-year-old), I was still enamored by all the dinosaurs. That year, instead of requesting the usual Barbies and Polly Pockets for birthday and Christmas presents, I wanted dinosaur books, figurines, and eggs.
Of course, you guys know the rest of the story. I did NOT become an archeologist. In fact, the closest I will ever came to archeology in my adult years are these dinosaur fossil cookies.
And in order to fulfill my childhood dream, I decided to have some fun and create an edible archeological site! I first made the fossil cookies, and then created a "dig site" by burying them in layer upon layer of Oreo crumbs, topped off with "desert plants" (ehem, baby broccoli). I then used some very scientific and highly accurate archeological tools (ehem, a pastry brush) to unearth my beloved cookies:
As for the cookies themselves, think of them as a cross between a salty Oreo and one of those royal icing cookies that have taken over Instagram. I'm embarrassed to tell you how long it took to ice each cookie (though those of you who follow me on Instagram Stories probably saw my low-level breakdown while doing so), but I'm even more embarrassed to say how quickly it took for the cookies get eaten. Enjoy!
Some baker's notes:
- The cookie recipe is based on a Thomas Keller one for homemade Oreos ("TKOs"), as also seen this homemade Oreo recipe from 2013 and my friend Steph's Corgi Oreos. Because it's Thomas Keller and he's meticulous to a fault (he allegedly hired ballerinas to train staff on how to move around gracefully at The French Laundry and Per Se), the ingredient quantities are super weird and precise. Just go with it. It's worth it, I promise. Be sure to use Dutch-processed cocoa (as opposed to natural — I like Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa) so that the cookies turn out midnight black!
- To stamp out the dinosaur shapes, I used these cookie cutters that also included stencils for the fossils/bones. I'm not artistic at all, and probably wouldn't have been able to come up with this bone design if it weren't for the stencils. When stamping out the cookies, it's a lot easier to ice if the cookies are thicker and have more prominent outlines for the bones. I'd aim for a cookie dough stamping surface that is about 1/4-inch thick. That being said, if you're confident in your icing skills and want cookies that taste more like Oreos, I'd aim for a cookie dough stamping surface that's slightly thinner at about 1/8-inch thick.
- Before burying the cookies in your archeological dig, just make sure that the icing on the cookies is 100% dry, otherwise you'll have soggy cookies and a sticky mess that won't be easily brushed away. I ended up burying my dinosaur fossil cookies in super-processed Oreo and Golden Oreo crumbs, but really, you can use any sort of cookies you prefer. There are also many ways to decorate the top of the cake once the fossil cookies have been buried — you can use vegetables (I used broccolini), edible flowers, chocolate rocks, and more! If you're feeling particularly ambitious, you can even make marzipan succulents like my friend Molly on her cute lil' cake.