Cherry Hand Pies
Perfectly easy twist on a Fourth of July classic. Enjoyed by all, but especially your boyfriend’s parents, and you’ll be so flattered that your dessert is the first one gone that you won’t even scold him when he puts his hand on your butt for the family photo.
2 ½ cups
1 ½ tbsp
cherry red lipstick to match your baked goods
pitted sweet cherries
Seagram’s because Devon’s parents
don’t care if you drink “as long as it’s in the house”
- Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer, stirring almost constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken— about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook for another 2 minutes before removing from the heat. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and cool to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place a rack on the middle shelf. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside until needed.
- Roll the dough into a large square that’s about 1/8 of an inch thick. With a straight edge and pastry wheel, cut out sixteen 3-inch squares.
- Thank God that you don’t burn the cherries because you got caught up texting your best friend.
- Place squares on prepared baking sheet. Using a small knife, make three tiny slashes across 8 of the squares. Fill the other 8 squares with two tablespoons of the cherry filling, then match up each one with a vented piece of dough. Lightly brush the edges and tops of each pie and crimp the sides together using a small fork.
- Bake the pies for 20 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
- Make 12 hand pies. Double the recipe, and you can bring the extras to Katie.
- Best served with vanilla ice cream, fireworks, and kisses at a backyard picnic table.
Heirloom Caprese Salad
A lovely summer recipe to bring to your bestie’s house because she and her brothers have been living on frozen pizza since their mom died. Nothing says “fun in the sun” like an heirloom tomato and pretending not to hear Mr. Chen crying down the hall while you watch “Gilmore Girls”!
1 8oz ball
mixed heirloom tomatoes
mozzarella cheese, preferably fresh or packed in water
fresh basil leaves
collection of notes on Their Eyes Were Watching God
because you know Katie doesn’t want to fall behind, but
she also doesn’t want to tell Mr. Weathers how her summer
extra virgin olive oil
- With a serrated knife, cut the tomatoes into ¼″ thick slices. Arrange them on a large serving platter, overlapping their edges and varying the shapes as best you can.
- Cut the mozzarella into ¼″ to ½″ slices. Tuck the cheese around and underneath the tomatoes, dispersing it relatively evenly across the platter.
- Let Katie be the one to bring up her mom if she wants to. Don’t make her talk about it, even if you think it’d be good for her.
- Sprinkle basil leaves all over and tuck a few more into the crevices. Drizzle the olive oil and vinaigrette over the salad. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
- For the best flavor, let the salad rest for 30 minutes, so the tomatoes release some juices, and the flavors have time to mingle.
- Leftovers will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days. Make yourself laugh when Katie says she’ll have to be the one to eat it all, since her brothers don’t touch anything green and she’s been lucky to get her dad to even eat cereal since May.
- This salad is best served within a few hours, eaten on a shared plate while you play with your best friend’s hair and say she’s “such a Rory.”
A fun treat to make in bulk when you have the house to yourself. Easy to add plenty of fixings, depending on who you wish to share it with.
almond slices (for Devon)
pumpkin seeds (for Katie)
dried cherries (for Mom and Dad)
- Preheat the oven to 300°F. Mix all the dry ingredients together, save for any chocolate or dried fruit.
- Put the olive oil, maple syrup, and brown sugar into a saucepan on medium heat. Once the sugar is dissolved, pour it over your dry mixture and mix.
- Snap your boyfriend while you cook. Assure him he can just pick around the pumpkin seeds when he complains about the addition.
- Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet and then spread the mix over the parchment paper.
- Bake the granola for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Snap best friend finished product. Screenshot her excited face.
- Scrape mixture into jars. Add chocolate chips and dried cherries.
- Best served with yogurt, self-care, and natural-looking Instagram filters.
Start the school year off right with the ultimate homecoming brownies! You’ll be swarmed at the first football game of the season with these bad boys, and your boyfriend will be so thankful that you made an extra batch for him and his friends that he won’t even notice that you’ve been on your phone since half-time.
jacket that provides no warmth,
but is the school colors
unsweetened cocoa powder
external battery so you can keep playing
Monument Valley even when the game goes
into overtime and Devon won’t give you a
ride home like he promised he would
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan.
- Text Katie about meeting her at the game. Try not to feel too disappointed when she says she isn’t coming.
- In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.
- Ask Katie if she’s okay and if she’d like you to come over. Try not to overthink when she doesn’t answer.
- Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.
- Remove from oven and let cool. Cut into squares. Makes sixteen brownies.
- Best served with crappy $1 hot chocolate from concessions and half-assed apologies when you’re taken home an hour past your curfew.
Nothing says sophistication like chocolate-covered strawberries, and what’s more sophisticated than a slumber party? Forget about dead moms and fights with boyfriends and instead enjoy a decadent indulgence for two.
bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
bag of white chocolate chips
playlist of 80’s pop to drown out Katie’s brothers
playing video games while you bake
bobby pin for Katie to gently put in your hair because
your bangs are at that weird between length
- Start by washing the strawberries and then drying them very well.
- Pour the milk chocolate chips and white chocolate chips into their own microwaveable bowls.
- Swat at Katie’s hand when she won’t stop eating the ingredients.
- Pour the nuts and coconut onto their own small plates. Line a sheet pan with parchment or waxed paper.
- Microwave the milk chocolate for 30 seconds intervals, removing and stirring at each 30 second interval, until the chocolate has melted. Repeat with the white chocolate chips until they are melted. Stir often, making sure not to burn the chocolate.
- Rest your head on Katie’s shoulder when she tells you you’re the only good thing she’s had since her mom died.
- Holding a strawberry by the stem, dip into the milk chocolate, lift and twist slightly, letting the excess chocolate fall back into the bowl. At this point you may dip the strawberry in toppings (or leave it plain) and then place the strawberry on the parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the strawberries.
- When your best friend watches you take a strawberry stem out of your mouth, try not to choke when she kisses you. Don’t move. Don’t breathe. Don’t think. Just let Kate Bush’s voice fill your ears and don’t watch as your best friend looks like she might cry.
- Chill the strawberries until the chocolate sets. Best served with an early bedtime and denial.
Peanut Butter Cookies
Feelings are weird. Emotions are complex. Navigating the fact that your best friend kissed you and you haven’t talked to her in a week, and you’ve been avoiding your boyfriend at the same time and don’t really know why, is complicated. But you know what isn’t? This cookie recipe!
hour spent hiding in the bathroom after school
so you won’t have to walk home with Katie
call from Devon, asking why you haven’t been
texting him back
reminder every day of how her lips tasted like peanuts
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Think about why you’re worrying about this so much. You could just tell Katie you don’t feel that way about her.
- Mix peanut butter, sugar, and egg together in a bowl using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
- Don’t tell Devon what happened because he doesn’t need to know. He doesn’t need to know because it doesn’t matter, because it didn’t mean anything, because it isn’t important that you can still feel her braces momentarily on your tongue.
- Roll mixture into small balls and arrange on a baking sheet; flatten each with a fork, making a crisscross pattern.
- Ask yourself how much longer you can avoid Devon. Ask yourself why it’s so easy.
- Bake cookies for ten minutes.
- Ask yourself how much longer you can avoid Katie. Ask yourself why it’s so hard.
- Remove cookies from oven to cool.
- Best served with a gay panic attack.
Who says hardship can’t be sweet? Whatever bad news you have to deliver, be it cancelling a plan, revealing a bad grade, or breaking up with your boyfriend because you’re having a full-blown queer crisis, why not soften the blow with these wonderfully moist cupcakes?
1 2/3 cup
1 ½ tsp
times you nearly talked yourself out of doing this
unsalted butter (melted)
spent waiting for him after school to meet you
in the parking lot
text to your mom to pick you up afterwards
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place cupcake papers in a cupcake pan.
- Sift the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and powder into a large bowl, and whisk together. Separate the eggs.
- Don’t let him kiss you when he arrives. That will just make it harder.
- In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until combined.
- Tell him you’re sorry. You’re so so sorry.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix until combined.
- Promise him it isn’t his fault. Because it isn’t, not really.
- Distribute the batter evenly into cupcake papers, filling each paper with about 2/3 the way up.
- Let him get angry. Let him yell and say he hasn’t done anything to deserve this and ask you if there’s another guy. Tell him there isn’t, because there isn’t, not really.
- Bake for about 18 minutes or until centers are springy to the touch.
- Only let yourself cry when he leaves. Cry harder when you realize you’re still holding the cupcakes you made for him. Throw them on the ground because who fucking cares.
- Pipe icing on once they’re cool. Best served with remorse and parking lot gravel.
As the weather grows colder, certain flavors stand out more. Like pumpkin, chai, the fact that you and Katie didn’t go to Lyman’s Orchard together like you have since you were ten, and—of course—apple! Bake this delectable treat in preparation for any holiday or for the countless questions from your parents about why Devon hasn’t been coming over lately!
times you’ve deflected on where
your boyfriend has been
whole apples – cored, halved, and sliced
bottle of caramel sauce for serving
times you’ve heard your parents whispering
about you in another room
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Place the puffed pastry rectangles onto a baking pan that’s been sprayed with nonstick spray or lined with parchment paper. Add the sugar, salt, and lemon juice to the apples. Stir to combine. Allow to sit for a few minutes.
- Assure yourself that everything will be the same. Why wouldn’t it be? Who cares that you don’t have your boyfriend or your best friend and don’t even know what the hell is going on with you!?
- Arrange the apple slices on the pastry rectangles in a straight line, overlapping as you go. Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes.
- You can hear them discussing you again. Things about not talking about school and not seeing Devon or Katie around. Why do they care so much? It’s none of their business how you never wanted this to happen and why couldn’t things have just stayed the same and why did Katie have to do kiss you and why did you have to like it—
- Remove from the pan immediately and place on a serving platter to cool.
- Will yourself not to tell your parents to stop talking about you like you’re not even there. Don’t tell them that if they like Devon so much, they can call him themselves. Don’t tell them that you also hoped Katie was doing okay, that you also wanted to have her around again, that you wished more than anything that this wasn’t such a big deal to you. Run your wrist under cool water when you accidentally burn yourself on the oven rack.
- Add caramel sauce and chopped pecans. Best served warm and left on the counter for others to eat. You’re not hungry anyway.
Get ready for the wake-up call of pancakes and confrontation! Nobody makes these wonderful pancakes better than your dad, and no one can hit you with the one-two-punch of concern and guilt trips like your mom. Sit down with a plate of these and a glass of orange juice, and you’ll have no choice but to spill your guts.
minutes of silence, spent trying not
to puke on your breakfast
1 ½ cup
massive ball of shame in your chest
- Mix the milk and vinegar and let it sit for a minute or two.
- Count all the blueberries you see on your plate while your mom hammers you with questions about what’s wrong, telling you how worried she and your dad are because of how weird you’ve been acting. Feel like crap.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together. Whisk the egg, milk, and melted butter into the dry ingredients until just combined.
- Don’t look up when your dad agrees with your mom, promising you that you can tell them anything, that there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Start laughing when your mom finally asks if you’re pregnant, then start crying and flip-flop between the two because all of this is so stupid and hard.
- Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat. Melt a little smear of butter in the pan (essential for giving a yummy golden-brown crust).
- Don’t consider your words. Just let the ingredients of this shit souffle splatter onto the table. You and Katie kissed. You broke up with Devon. You didn’t tell him why. You like Kate. You’re scared. You’re sorry.
- Pour about 1/3 cup of batter into the hot skillet and spread it flat-like (it will be pretty thick). Arrange a few blueberries on top. Cook until you see little bubbles on top and the edges starting to firm up. Flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes until the pancakes are sky-high fluffy and cooked through.
- You’re loved. Please don’t think otherwise. You’re loved. What made you think you’re not? You’re loved. Please don’t forget that. You’re loved, sweetheart, you’re loved.
- Best served with butter, maple syrup, and relief.
Crisp and easy to crumble on the outside, soft and vulnerable on the inside— just like your feelings! Ride that high of positive parental reinforcement and take another step. Be brave. Be bold. Be sweet.
sweetened flaked coconut
sweetened condensed milk
hours spent questioning everything
about your appearance
large egg whites
stupid plastic bracelet she made for you in
the fifth grade
hearts—one to wear on your sleeve,
one to have caught in your throat,
and one to give to her
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Set two oven racks near the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Grip the Tupperware holding the macaroons so tight that there’s sweat on the lid by the time you get to school.
- In a medium bowl, mix the coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
- Take the long way to the library. Wonder if she still reads there before class. Wonder if she’s changed her whole routine because of you. Wonder if it’s narcissistic to think you’re even that important.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form. Use a large rubber spatula to fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.
- See her at a back table as soon as you come in. She has her hair in a bun and she’s wearing that hoodie she got when she went to New York two years ago. She looks so nice.
- Using a mini ice cream scoop or two spoons, form heaping tablespoons of the mixture into mounds on the prepared baking sheets, spacing about 1 inch apart. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back, until the tops and edges are golden. Let cool on the pans for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Get closer. Stop shivering. Stop sweating so much. She’s reading that Anaïs Nin book you got her for your birthday, holy crap—
- Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl at medium power, stopping and stirring at 30 second intervals, until just smooth and creamy. Dip the bottoms of the macaroons in the chocolate, letting any excess drip back into the bowl, and return to the lined baking sheets. Place the macaroons in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to allow the chocolate to set.
- Sit down across from her. Put your container on the table. Let her be the one to look up. Meet her eyes. God, you could drown in those eyes. Reach across the table. Let her see your wrist, “K A T I E” in purple and blue beads hiding the ugly burn beneath.
- Best served with sincere apologies, confessions, and hope.
Delaney Burk grew up in Alexandria, VA and earned her BA in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. She’s been previously published in Crab Fat Magazine, From Whispers to Roars, Gravitas Magazine, Bottom Shelf Whiskey, Cleaning Up Glitter, Coffin Bell, Compressed, and Defunkt Magazine. When she is not watching every Colin Firth movie ever made or hoarding lipstick like a really lame dragon, she is exploring the urban fantasy genre, finding ways to merge horror and humor, and writing run-on sentences. She is currently interning for Feels Blind Literary, attending George Mason University’s MFA program, and unpacking her complicated relationship with the works of Stephen King.