Friday, October 22, 2010

Sugared Cinema: Flatliners (1990)

Some lines shouldn't be crossed.

In an attempt to explore the afterlife, five medical students take part in a risky experiment where the heart is stopped for a short period of time before being resuscitated.  During their temporary deaths, each of them is confronted with a dark memory from their childhood that continues to haunt them after they've been brought back to life.

Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon and Oliver Platt make up the impressive ensemble cast.  Oh, and William Baldwin's in it, too.  Hey-oh! 

I was 10 years old when Flatliners came out and I still remember how freaked out I was after watching it.  Being the fourth child had its perks, one of them being my mom's leniency when it came to watching or renting R-rated movies.  I really should thank her for inadvertently exposing me to psychological thrillers at such a young age.

With Halloween just around corner, I figured what the hey...get a little morbid.  You only live or die once.  Or twice.

Chocolate Flatliners

Here's what you'll need:

 Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
Recipe from
Makes about 2 dozen

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups unsalted butter, cubed and slightly softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg

Two small batches of royal icing (black/dark brown, green)

Disclaimer:  I'm still learning how to work with the external "hot shoe" flash Berry White gave me for my birthday.  Some of the pics look a little weathered, which isn't always a bad thing but I wanted to acknowledge it anyway.  Thanks for your patience.  Help yourself to a cookie.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, flour and salt.  Mix it up.

Cut in the butter.  

 The recipe said to use chilled butter but 1, I don't own a pastry cutter and 2, it's kind of a biotch to cut in butter, period.  So I used softened butter and life got a little bit easier.

Cut until pea-sized crumbs form.

 Add the egg and vanilla then give it a good stir.

The dough will still look pretty crumbly and dry so give it a good couple kneads with your hands until it starts to come together.

Turn out the dough onto a piece of parchment paper and cover it with a second piece of parchment.

Roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness.  You can do this on a floured surface but it's easier to use parchment.  Once you've rolled it out, you can slide it right onto an ungreased cookie sheet, paper and all.

Use a rectangular cookie cutter to cut out the shapes.

Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Let the little heart monitors cool completely while you prepare the royal icing.

Since we're working with a dark canvas (as opposed to regular shortbread), you want the first layer of icing to be dark.  I added cocoa powder to the mixture so that when it was time to tint it with black food coloring, I didn't have to use as much.  Not only does the color turn out beautifully rich, it tastes really, really good.  Nice and chocolate-y.

Dam and flood your cookies.  Promptly get rid of any rejects.

 When the first layer is set, pipe on the details.



We lost it.  To my stomach.

Enjoy your weekend, friends.  Watch something scary.  I dare you.


  1. Ali, Flatliners creeped me out to no end. But life was so simple then...Julia was with Kiefer, alternative hadn't completely gone mainstream yet, and I was in college. Good times.

    I could totally make these cookies...except for the whole nice looking frosting part.

  2. Omg Flatliners. Yeah I would have been 9 when that came out. Wow. Hey, this randomly reminds me, ever see the movie Altered States? It was from the early 80s I believe.

    Your pics are looking pretty snazzy. Congrats on the birthday gift!

  3. Ali, you never cease to impress my socks right off the shoes! Your creativity is amazing and delicious looking.

    I wish my parents were lenient on the movie watching. I remember being 13 and still not allowed to watch PG13 movies. What's up with that?

  4. I loved Flatliners. These cookies are adorable!

  5. Wendi - Whoa. I totally forgot that Julia and Kiefer (Jiefer?) were an item back in the day. Thinking back, the 90's weren't so bad. Singles might have to make a Sugared Cinema appearance.

    Liam - I always see Altered States on the On Demand movie listing. Maybe I'll watch it this weekend while my pumpkin bakes. And even bigger congrats on your early xmas gift!

    Margie - aww, thanks Margie. I've seen what you can do with a sketch. I'll bet you could do the same with icing...

    Lora - thanks! :)

  6. you know that scene where she sees her dad in the bathroom? i remember FLIPPING MY SHIT over it. what a great movie.

    your cookies are so CUTE.

  7. seriously? can you teach me how to bake? and decorate the baked treats? these cookies are adorable. and i think i want one. since i don't have any, i'll be eating my russian tea cakes today (thanks, by the way!).
    ps. can you do a sugared cinema for mr. mom? i'm sure there's something there, i just can't think of it yet.

  8. Angry Asian - I'm getting the heebs over here, even in a well-lit office surrounded by coworkers. I like to listen to "mood music" when I write the SC posts and last night's selection was the Donnie Darko soundtrack. Baaaaad idea.

    Katie - you can do eet. I have total faith in you. If you can make those Russian tea dealies, you can make these. Also, I think that's the first SC request I've received...I'm down! I'm going to add Mr. Mom (Michael Keaton, right?) to my Netflix queue. Gotta conduct some proper research

  9. Aww, thanks, Ali. But, other than eat it straight out of the container, I dunno.

    I should make spaghetti art!

  10. As usual- perfecto! I love the theme and so close to Halloween :D Another movie that would be awesome to try a twist on: High Spirits! If you haven't seen it yet, go, don't walk...and get it to watch :P

  11. Dude, flatlines still freaks me out...that lil mean kid! aghhhh

  12. That's a pretty awesome flatlines cookie!

  13. Lets also acknowledge the wonderful Julia Roberts Film where she was the assistant to Mr. Hyde.

    This movie is a camp favorite. If you have a wii you must play trauma center. Shock anyone alive.

  14. Wow, these are spectacular. I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty jealous. I'll have to try this. :)

  15. Margie - elbow macaroni bracelet, plz.

    Mae Belle - I looked up High Spirits...I can't believe this is first I'm hearing of it! I need to watch it.

    Jennifurla - that kid was a total meanie. No cookies for him.

    Sasha - thanks! Nice to see you on here :)

    Rick - oh yeah! Mary Reilly and those weird bangs. Hmm...halloween costume potential?

    Alex - hey guy! Thanks :D Checking out your blog over oatmeal right now.

  16. This Sh1t looks good!!

    I think I'm going to try and make some. You rock Alinator!!


  17. Ali, Thanks. :) And this might be a really lame question, but how did you get the icing so... green? I'm not much of a baker. But I'm going to try this. I have to start somewhere. :D

  18. Brian - dude! Welcome! This blog needs more java.

    Alex - far from lame, sir. I used Wilton gel food coloring in Leaf Green. It does the work for you :D Good luck with your baking adventure - the hardest part is not eating your work as you go along.

  19. i really like the lead in with the movie. i always wanted 24 to host her as a cameo so they could go toe to toe. she must have been angry about the way he played her. she won in the end. that said, the double meaning between decadent treats and flatlining is appreciated by this dry sense of humor. count me in as a new loyal followers. you had me at a chocolate flatline

  20. Matt - thanks for stopping by :D I'm glad you can appreciate the movie tie-in. It would have been difficult for me to put this baking blog together without being able to reference movies on a semi-regular basis. Oh, and Julia definitely triumphed. Did you see Kiefer in Mirrors? Oi.

  21. Thanks for the encouragement. I'll definitely let you know how it goes. Unless I burn my house down in the process, because then I won't have a computer...

  22. Ali ....holy mama great cookies, spotted these earlier on tastespotting...super flatliners


  23. Alex - make sure you keep your internet-capable phone close by so that you can update your progress.

    Judicialpeach - thank you!

    Sweetlife - thanks Bonnie, great weekend to watch it, too :)

  24. LOL - great cookies. Linked over from foodgawker... love the picture!!


  25. I heard a story that someone had a heart transplant and was able to remember the actual accident that happened to the other person. Amazing how the heart could be a second brain.