Before iTunes and Spotify were a thing, mixtapes ruled the day. These homemade music compilations allowed the smitten to record an audio love letter—with a little help from David Bowie or Pat Benatar. Today, I’m sharing an edible mixtape cookie that’s the perfect nostalgic gift for your valentine (or anyone that loves the ’80s and ’90s).
You’ll need a few special items to make these cookies. An actual audio cassette tape is necessary, so if you don’t have one, you can purchase new blank cassette tapes online. A standard plastic drinking straw and a wide straw are also used, so consider picking up straws on your next smoothie run. The edible paper is made of food starch (sugar sheets) and can be found at most craft stores in the baking aisle.
Yields 2 dozen
1/2 lb. unsalted butter
1 c. plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. black cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
Audio cassette tape
1 piece craft paper
Large smoothie straw
1 lb. black fondant
Water, corn syrup, or honey
2 white sugar sheets
Helpful hint: Most used cassette tapes have been collecting dust in the attic for decades, so they’ll need to be thoroughly cleaned before being used on the cookies. First, scrub the surface with a soapy cloth (dish soap is best), then use an alcohol pad to wipe the surface clean. Nooks and crannies should be cleaned with a cotton swab. Finally, wipe the surface again with a clean, damp rag.
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar together until just incorporated. Do not over-mix at this stage, or the cookies may spread while baking.
Add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix again on low speed, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl intermittently as needed.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, and salt. Add to the butter and egg mixture. Mix on low until dough is formed and there are no longer any streaks of butter in the mixing bowl. The dough will often clump around the paddle attachment while being mixed. This is normal and a good sign that your dough is the right consistency.
Helpful hint: If your mixture is crumbly and not coming together, add cold water 1 tbsp. at a time until the dough begins to clump.
Roll the dough to 1/2-inch thickness between sheets of parchment paper and chill until ready for use, at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Lay the cassette on the craft paper and draw around it, then cut out the resulting shape using scissors. Use this as a template to cut shapes from the dough, then transfer to the prepared baking sheets.
Holding the cassette tape over each shape as a guide, use the standard-size drinking straw to cut two holes in each cookie. Chill the cut cookies in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, then bake for 12-15 minutes or until they are fragrant and slightly puffed.
While the cookies are still warm, use the bigger smoothie straw to cut large holes directly over the smaller holes previously cut. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Knead the fondant well and roll between two pieces of parchment paper until it’s slightly greater than 1/4-inch thick. Lay the cassette on the fondant and press down to make a clear impression. Gently lift the cassette from the fondant and repeat, making as many impressions as possible in the space available.
Trim around the outside of each impression with a small paring knife. Using the large smoothie straw, punch tape reel holes in a fondant cassette impression, then gently turn the fondant over and brush the back with water. Place the fondant onto a cooled cookie, lining up the holes in the fondant to the holes in the cookie. Repeat this process with the remaining fondant and cookies.
Print the template provided and lay it on top of a white sugar sheet. Use an X-Acto knife to cut through both the template and the sugar sheet. When finished, peel the cassette label shapes away from the clear plastic sugar sheet backing.
Using food coloring markers, draw lines on the labels and attach to the cookies with dots of corn syrup or honey.
Allow the cookies to stand for 15 minutes before serving.