The Great State of Maryland has played a huge role in my life. My mom was born and raised there, and I chose Frostburg State University for college, married a Maryland boy, and lived there for a while before moving to DC.
Marylanders are proud of the Chesapeake Bay, its history, and its industry. Mike can tell you, in great detail, about the pollution that led to a serious reduction in the crab and oyster populations in the 1980s, precipitating the “Save the Bay” initiative. Fortunately, Marylanders are environmentally-minded, and the bay is now a healthy source of tasty seafood, the most famous of which is the blue crab.
Crab feasts are social events, involving iced tea, beer, Old Bay, newspaper-covered picnic tables, and epic storytelling. They last for hours and hours. I had never eaten a crab until I met Mike, and his dad taught me how to whack the shell open with a mallet and extract the meat with a knife. I admit that I had the patience for one crab-whacking only; to this day, I prefer my crab in cake form.
These crab cookies are dedicated to all of my favorite Marylanders.
You will need:
- A crab-shaped cookie cutter
- One double batch of Sugar Cut-Outs
- One batch vanilla icing (see below)
- Red and brown gel paste food coloring
- 6 tablespoons shortening
- 2 egg whites
- Pinch of salt
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1-2 teaspoons water
Combine shortening, egg whites, salt, and 1 cup powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat well on medium speed for about one minute.
Add one cup of powdered sugar at a time, beating well on medium, then high speed for about one minute after each.
Add vanilla extract and beat well; if you want a thinner consistency, add one to two teaspoons of water and beat very well.
To create cookies:
Reserve a small portion of the icing to tint brown for eyes; tint remaining icing red.
Frost crab bodies red, then pipe on eyes.
Let icing harden for a few hours before storing; store between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container.