Adventures in baking, the Hogwarts way

Allyson Barkan  //  Feb 7, 2019

Adventures in baking, the Hogwarts way

I need to confess something. As I mentioned briefly in my Bookprint, I’m kinda new to the Harry Potter game. Yes, it took me way too long. No, I don’t have a valid excuse. But better late than never, right? Last February, I picked up the first book, and over the next few months never put the series down. I was obsessed. In love. Enchanted. You name it, I was it. And so obviously, when I finished the final page of Deathly Hallows, I felt a deep void. Harry Potter had become my entire world (and if the HP-themed earrings and ring I’m currently wearing are any indication, it still is). What was I supposed to do now?

As a Scholastic employee, it’s no surprise that I get a little over-the-top passionate about books. You know what else I unabashedly love? Baking. While I can’t pretend I’m going to win any competitions anytime soon, I absolutely love getting inventive in the kitchen. The endless possibilities for baking yummy treats that friends and family can enjoy get my creative juices flowing, and there’s nothing like that final reveal and first bite.

And so, as I said goodbye to Harry in book form and began palling around with Radcliffe, Watson and Grint, I knew I needed to appropriately honor each viewing occasion. I let my biggest Potterhead friends call their favorite movie, and film by film we embarked upon a movie marathon complete with…you guessed it. Harry Potter-themed treats!

I scrupulously planned and plotted which treats would perfectly complement each book/film. Some ideas turned out great. Others…not so much. But hey, for the ones that ended up as Instagram #fails, I remind myself that even Dumbledore couldn’t find every horcrux on his first try, right? Plus, appearances aren’t everything. Even when my creations didn’t look their best, they always tasted pretty darn good, and at the end of the day I’m just happy I didn’t sectumsempra anyone’s digestive tracts.

What follows are my adventures in baking, Hogwarts style:

For Sorcerer’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban, you’d have thought house elves were hiding somewhere pumping a never-ending array of treats our way. We had pretzel wands, golden snitch cake pops, Bertie Bott’s every flavor beans, and to commemorate the Basilisk from Chamber, a calzone Nagini. (Yes, I used Harry Potter-themed cups and paper goods for each party, and yes, I watched every movie while wearing Ravenclaw socks and forced each friend to don a matching Gryffindor set. What fan wouldn’t?)

For Goblet of Fire, I built Hogwarts envelopes, complete with personalized acceptance letters and supply lists inside. Don’t be fooled by how simple this looks in photos. This was a beast that took all day and left my kitchen looking like the Quidditch World Cup campsite after the Dark Mark reappeared.

For Order of the Phoenix, I got a little overambitious, and tried to make a 4-layer Hogwarts cake. This is where the #fails began. This cake looked a lot better on the internet. But considering all of Hogwarts and the Ministry basically imploded in Book 5, my cake seems on brand.

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Happy birthday, Harry Potter - the boy who lived!And happy birthday, J.K. Rowling! ________________________________________ I’ll never not love that Harry, Ron, Hermione, and I are the same age. And I’ll never not love J.K. Rowling and the world she created when she gave us Harry Potter. Not only have the books helped me through some really rough times when my husband was deployed, but the wizarding world has inspired my own creativity in ways that have had more impact than I ever could have dreamed. But for me, the most valuable gift that Harry brought into my life was the fandom. The friends and connections I’ve made through a shared love of Harry Potter will last the rest of my life and isn’t that what J.K. was really writing about all along? ________________________________________ #bakingdomharrypotter #harrypotter #jkrowling #happybirthdayharry #harrypottercake #hogwarts #hogwartshousecolors #hogwartshogwartshoggywartyhogwarts

A post shared by Darla (@bakingdom) on Jul 31, 2018 at 2:25pm PDT

I was SO excited for Half-Blood Prince. Since Day 1, I had my Half-Blood Prince treat mapped out: a Jell-O Pensieve. While not being labor intensive, this was probably the most disappointing for me, because I had expected it to look FLAWLESS. Oh well. As we all know, one tampered memory can make the whole thing less than ideal. I blame Professor Slughorn.

That’s fine though, because I made up for it with Deathly Hallows. My friend and I watched both Deathly Hallows films together, and to mark this momentous finale, we created all seven horcruxes. We had Tom Riddle’s chocolate-frosted cake diary, Slytherin’s Jell-O lockets (with gummy worms as the snakes!), wrapped asparagus Naginis, Marvolo’s ring pops, Helga Hufflepuff’s cup cocktails, Harry Potter cheese plate and crudité platter (aka brie wheels rimmed with grapes for the glasses and goat cheese with almonds shaped into a lightning bolt), and Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem (which wasn’t edible because, well, we wanted to wear crowns). To round out the buffet, we had butterbeer and pretzel Elder wands. We also had an invisibility cloak, you just can’t see it.

So there you have it. The books have been read, the movies watched, and all the treats baked. At this point, you’re probably wondering, what now? I’m so glad you asked! Lucky me, I’m now the proud owner of a Harry Potter cookbook. I guess it’s true that when one book ends, another is just beginning. With all of the Potterverse’s recipes at my fingertips, who knows what I’ll cook up next! Treacle tart anyone?