From coffee to takeout to Pop Tarts, food is everything in the Gilmore world — and Carlson is excited to bring it to fans’ kitchens with Eat Like a Gilmore.
“I thought of the first 5 recipes, and then that became 10 recipes, and then that became 25 recipes and it just grew,” Carlson tells PEOPLE. With nudging from her boyfriend, she began whipping up a collection of recipes inspired by the show as a creative outlet. The self-proclaimed “Gilmore at heart” decided against making fellow fans wait for blog updates, opting to share them as a cookbook instead.
Carlson, who manages musicians by day, began a Kickstarter campaign with a $20,000 goal to break even, but ultimately received $47, 273 in donations. “It was very exciting and also very stunning,” she says. “I think I’ve found the people, like me, who’ve been wanting to make these foods for a long time.”
Viral support of Carlson’s cookbook also transformed it from an indie recreational activity into a book deal with Skyhorse publishing. After assuring Warner Brothers that the project is strictly a tool for fans to both geek and pig out with (the book is neither affiliated with the entertainment agency, nor the show)—it is finally scheduled for a December release.
Though Internet jokes ensued about Eat Like A Gilmore possibly being the unhealthiest cookbook ever thanks to Lorelai and Rory’s no-regrets diet—Carlson assures the recipes are a practical take on their meals. “Real foods, using real ingredients. Foods that both sound and taste really good,” she wrote on her blog. As for the the argument about the Gilmore Girls themselves not being cooks? “It’s not cook like a Gilmore, it’s eat like a Gilmore,” she said.
Meals like spicy macaroni and cheese with jalapeño chipotle cream sauce came from Carlson’s memory of the best food moments on the show. Kickstarter backers helped blossom 60 recipes into over 100 eats—contributing ideas for more savory selections like apple tarts, Sookie’s ratatouille and Luke’s paella.
Eat Like A Gilmore will also include recipes even the most dedicated fans may not recall— like squab (the meat of a young pigeon), the chicken chow mein sandwich and “The Rory”—a cocktail made for the character’s 21st birthday.
Carlson, still knee-deep in book designs, isn’t planning on eating any of the meals to celebrate the day her book finally hits stores. “I’m probably just going to order a pizza,” she laughs, in true Gilmore spirit.
WATCH: Melissa McCarthy Talks Her Return to the Gilmore Girls Revival Set
But you don’t have to follow in her footsteps, or wait until the end of 2016 to channel the Stars Hollow foodies. Try this sneak peek recipe for caramel marshmallow and chocolate chunk cookies.
“It’s from the episode when they’re about to open the Dragonfly Inn and they’re having a preview day for the press and the travel industry,” says Carlson. “It’s probably one of the first things Sookie makes after she and Lorelai open the inn.”
Gilmore Girls’ Caramel Marshmallow Chocolate Chunk Cookies
2 ¼ cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
½ cup granulated white sugar
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp. molasses
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
14 large vegan marshmallows, cut in half
16-oz. semi sweet chocolate chunks or bar, broken ½ inch long pieces
For caramel topping:
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup water
1 cup heavy whipping cream, room temperature
4 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat to 350°. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, both sugars and molasses. Using a hand mixer, mix on a low and increase to a medium speed and mix until smooth.
4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then dd eggs and vanilla and mix on medium until smooth.
5. Add in dry ingredients from step 2, a third at a time, mixing in between, until all ingredients are fully combined. Dough will form and pull away from the sides of the bowl.
6. Using 1 ½ inch scoop or tbsp. measure, scoop dough into 1 ½ inch balls. Hand roll each ball until round.
7. Tear ball into two halves, then sandwich a marshmallow half piece between them. Roll dough back into a ball, full covering the marshmallow.
8. Place 12 evenly spaced balls onto cookie sheet then flatten slightly with hands.
9. Bake for 10-12 minutes until medium golden brown.
10. Immediately insert 3 to 5 pieces of chocolate into the top of each cookie. Move cookies from sheet to wire rack to cool.
For Caramel Topping:
1. In large saucepan or Dutch oven, pour and stir the corn syrup, sugar and water until combined.
2. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Without stirring, allow mixture to boil until the temperature reaches “Hard Ball” stage (250º to 265º on a candy thermometer.) The mixture and the pan will be extremely hot, so be careful.
3. Carefully stir in the heavy cream until fully blended, then do the same with the butter
4. Heat mixture without stirring until it reaches “Soft Ball” stage (235 degrees-240 degrees), and then remove from heat.
5. Carefully stir in the vanilla extract until vanilla is fully blended and caramel has reduced volume.
6. Drizzle 1 tsp. of caramel topping across each cookie, back and forth in horizontal lines. Serve.
Let cookies cool completely before storing.