You’re welcome! We do not suggest feeding these to your children before making them sit through a performance, even if that performance involves dancing bears.
Photo by: Sarah Ferguson
The Nutcracker should make you hungry. Because if you’re doing it right, you’re associating all of these little dance vignettes with the sweet treats that they all represent. Don’t forget, the prince does Clara a huge solid by doing the most romantic thing in all of childhood: taking her to a place where you eat nothing but junk food forever. Or, until you wake up and you’re back in your fabulous mansion in old humdrum 19th-Century Germany.
Every year here at RVANews, we try to give you a new look at our old favorite ballet and Christmas tradition.
But this year, we did so much better. Cody Beaton, a five-year veteran of the Richmond Ballet and the Sugar Plum Fairy (or Snow Queen or Snake, depending on what performance you see), invented an official Richmond Ballet Nutcracker cookie recipe. And then she baked some for me. And then I ate them.
I love the ballet!
Cody is an adorable person whom I noticed as soon as she started showing up in RB productions. Smiley, energetic, and often dazzlingly poignant, the spotlight seems to follow her around (it may, actually, follow her around–I’m no expert on stagecraft). She made her way to our fair city by way of upstate New York, Texas, and then Colorado.
“When I was two, I told my mom I wanted to be a ballet dancer, and…then that just never changed,” she told me as she mixed dough. Man, I hate when I interview someone and they’re not making baked goods for me. Cody normally makes her late grandmother’s recipes, packaging them up (four varieties, plus some fudge, no big deal) and sending them to her friends for Christmas.
And it makes sense, because she has so much time on her hands. RB dancers have constant rehearsal, a week in Norfolk, and then their week in Richmond1, with a couple of days off for Christmas, but that’s about it. “I make the dough at night,” she explains simply. “And I bake them all on days off.”
Guys, their days off are like once a week or something, and I think they all spend most of it stretching.
Cody has danced in three separate Nutcracker productions (that is, in three different companies in three different cities). Richmond has a lot of animal characters, which is weird on the Nutcracker circuit, apparently, and she recognizes the fact that the little lambs are heart-meltingly cute. But dancing the Snow Queen is her favorite, as there’s a lot of space and the choreography and the snow and the drama…it’s thrilling.
Her real-life cavalier, Trevor Davis, is also the Sugar Plum Fairy’s cavalier this year. “Sometimes I try to get him to carry me into the living room, if I’m really tired.” And he does, right? In a graceful, wonderful way? “No way. He says ‘I carry you all day. Why don’t you carry ME once in awhile?’ But I figure it’s worth a shot.”
Then the cookies are done and we come up with the official name. Enjoy, and catch Cody, Trevor, the Bear, the Rat King, the Giant Tree, and the Weird Magician, starting this Friday.
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Cody Beaton’s Snow Queen Cookie Sandwiches
Chocolate icebox cookies filled with peppermint icing and dusted with powdered sugar snow.
CHOCOLATE COOKIE DOUGH:
- 3/4 cup of softened butter
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 egg (room temperature)
- 1/2 tsp. of vanilla
- 2 cups of flour
- 3/4 cups of good quality cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. of baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. of salt
- 1/4 cup of milk
- 3 tbsp. of unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp. of peppermint extract
- 2-3 drops of green (or red!) food coloring
For the dough, cream butter and sugar together. Then, add the egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Then, add your dry ingredients mixture to the creamed butter and sugar, adding the milk bit by bit, as needed, until all is thoroughly mixed.
Shape into two 10.5-inch rolls, wrapped tightly in plastic, and refrigerate overnight. The thickness of the rolls will determine size of the cookies. Must be refrigerated at least overnight, but can be made in advance.
To bake cookies and form the cookie sandwiches:
Preheat oven to 325˚F.
After removing the dough from the fridge, cut the rolls into 1/8 or 1/4 inch slices, and baking on a non-stick cookie sheet for 9-11 minutes.
To make the peppermint filling, mix the powdered sugar, butter, peppermint extract, and food coloring together with the mixer until they form a smooth icing, adding small amounts of water to achieve the correct consistency if necessary.
After allowing the cookies to cool, use a pastry bag or a spoon to place filling between two cookies to form small sandwiches.
Dust with “snow” (powdered sugar) to finish.
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And, because she’s a gracious Snow Queen, Cody also presents us with her recipe for…
Icebox Ginger Cookies
Really great to go along with tea and coffee!
- 1 egg
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. When dough is thoroughly combined, place in a nonstick loaf pan, and refrigerate overnight.
To bake the cookies:
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Turn out dough onto cutting board, and slice the dough as if slicing bread into thin, ¼ inch slices. Arrange slices on a nonstick baking sheet, and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden and crispy.
- If you’re wondering why the Nutcracker schedule is so absurd this year (Friday, December 19th – Sunday, December 28th), it’s because they’re spending half of our precious Nutcracker time in Norfolk. THANKS, NORFOLK. ↩