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Awesome anise cookies

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You ask, we tell!  Here are the homemade anise cookies we were nomming on for today’s Odd Ball.

Italian anise cookies (modified from Food.com)
COOKIE

* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 3 large eggs
* 2 teaspoons anise extract
* 2 – 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour [may need a bit more, but keep them light!]
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 2 -3 tablespoons milk

ICING

* 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
* 3 tablespoons milk
* 1/4 teaspoon anise extract

Directions:

Prep Time: 40 mins

Total Time: 1 1/4 hr (took me less!)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. [or grease ’em, that’s what I do!]

2.  For cookies, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. [I used a spoon, a couple minutes, they were fine] Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add anise extract.

3.  Blend flour and baking powder. Start by adding about 1/3 of these dry ingredients to the butter/sugar in your mixer [or, beat on it with a spoon], then add 1 T. milk. Add another third of the flour and another 1 T. milk. Finally, mix in enough of the remaining flour until your dough is like a brownie batter (it should be softer than a drop cookie dough).

4.  Use a 1 T. cookie scooper to make simple round drop cookies – use wet fingers to pat any rough edges OR for an Easter-Egg look, roll 1 T. dough into an elongated ball.  [I just put vaguely circular blobs on the sheet with a silverware spoon as a scooper, tucked in edges]

5.  Bake cookies 10-12 minutes (they won’t be brown but the insides will be soft and cake-like). [In my oven, it took just a bit longer for the very bottom to be honey-brown, and that was just right]

6.  For icing: mix sugar, milk and extract to make a sugar glaze. HINT: When I make the icing, I make it thick but then I microwave it for 10 seconds so it is thin enough for dipping. Also, I like to divide the mixture in thirds, and then add ONE DROP of food coloring to each batch (pink, green, yellow). [I don’t *own* food coloring or sprinkles, but I left that part in — great hint on the microwave though!]

7.  Hold cookie in your hand and turn upside down so you can dip the top half in the glaze; turn over and immediately top with sprinkles so they will stick. [let the warm glass drain off of the cookie after you dip it or they’ll be half sugar glaze, and you’ll run out — I drained mine, and barely had enough]

8.  Allow icing to harden overnight [but grab a couple warm — they’ll be an amazing mix of glaze, fluffy cake, and lightly crisp bottom]; then store in air-tight containers or freeze. [or as we did, just leave them on a plate in a cool room — until devoured — they won’t go stale]

[Our yeild was 24 2.5-3″ cookies]

Shava Suntzu interviews Philip Linden for New World Notes

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Read it here!

From Gamasutra: The Curious Case of the Vampire Cow

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Just published Zynga’s Vampire Wars:  The Curious Case of the Vampire Cow on Gamasutra.  Wonder what Fish/Tuna is doing when he’s not madly obsessed with art and virtual worlds?  Insight here…

News and musings from E3 press

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Just thought I’d jot down a couple notes on what I’m reading today from the news from E3.

We’re really interested in models of MMO marketing that involve virtual goods and F2P mechanics.  Our hope is to put our environment into a setting where the “game” is optional, and the virtual goods (avatars, skins, clothes, toys, content,…) are overwhelmingly desirable and affordable. (We gotta eat, but we want to give away what we can!)

So, I read this article from Massively — and interview with the marketing minds behind browser game/virtual world Gaia Online, with some interest.

I agree that the model they take (and close to one we want to adopt) takes more care and feeding.  But really, that’s the value added on the Internet, these days, right?

Chris Davis, of Gaia, said:

Be prepared to invest your time and resources into really doing it correctly. Because it take a lot of time and effort to do it correctly. There is a lot different business from, you know, slapping a banner up. From an advertising stand point and certainly from a content and creative standpoint, it’s a lot different business from just aggregating news, for instance, which is so popular right now. So it takes a lot of time and investment in the right creative resources, the right production resources, development resources, and, of course, all the different components to run a company. People may not take [that] as seriously as they need to as they enter the space. It’s very time consuming, but very gratifying, too.”

We hope so! :)

Then we saw this article on CNN, covering E3, which mysteriously doesn’t say anything about how Steam has already transformed the subscribe-and-download-to-play landscape, before “cloud computing” became a particular term of art.  Represent!

We’re also pretty excited about the increasing acceptance of downloadable content (too many links to list!), since that’s a mainstay of our desktop plans.

p.s. if we ever exhibit at a game conference, if we have booth babes, I guarantee equal time for the booth hunks.  Or none at all.  Although, models for Tuna-textured swag would be fun, but then why would we go for *scantily* clad?

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What neurochemical rewards do games need?

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Another post on my Gamasutra blog becomes a featured post — this time on whether we should be describing “achievements” in games or neurochemical rewards, and how those decisions shape our market.

RMT/no RMT – Do we need a new Bartle Test? on Gamasutra

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Yet another Gamasutra post promoted by editorial. Check it out here!  Today, I wonder if the idea of Achievers from the classic Bartle Test hasn’t bifurcated into “fair-play” and RMT Achievers — do we need to acknowledge a basic rift in gamer framing? (Say that ten times, fast!)

Shava's recent publications, April 2010

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Hi, all, as you may know, I do some amount of ghost blogging and speechwriting sometimes, but I also love to write (and talk!) about the things I am passionate about.  If you Google-stalk me, you can see I’ve written a lot about nonprofits, policy, politics, technology, and such, but lately I’ve been writing more about games.  I wonder why? (more…)

Tuna and my art in Human Rights Fest announcement

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Tuna and I did a static piece of art last spring, on a generous grant from Annenberg/MacArthur, in Second Life — as part of the opening of the International Justice Center in SL.

In December, there will be a festival to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and I was very proud to see an image of our piece used today to head up an announcement of the planning for the festival!

Halloween Magic at Waban Health

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Today Fish and I did a real life magic show at Waban Health and Rehabilitation Center.  Fish has been doing shows for them for several years, and I’ve been helping him out on some of the shows for the last year or so.

(more…)

We're incorporated!

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We are now officially a Massachusetts for-profit corporation.  Now we have to talk to our lawyers more about a more standard investment contract.  Qualified investor?  Interested in investing?  Contact me!

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