You, saavy internet user, have likely seen all kinds of awesome cakes over the last few years: the architectural, the sculptural, the realistic, the pop culture-inspired... You've seen the TV shows and the competitions, and perhaps have even played with fondant and modeling chocolate a bit yourself.
So, if you're
The stockings are hung, the plums are sugared, and you're well on your way to getting all those gifts wrapped. Now it's time for the real fun to begin, and by "real fun," I mean...cookies.
Of course, "Cookie recipes are just about infinite, because almost anything can be shaped into a circle and baked... But the basic cookie contains three key ingredients: butter, flour and sugar. That combination has not been bettered, and it can be varied in so many ways that, really, it’s the only recipe you need."
I'm not a huge dessert guy. I mean, I like sweets as much as anyone, but I don't crave them often, and would much rather waste the calories on salty, savory foods than baked goods.
Well, except for one thing: pudding. Well, doughnuts, too, but those aren't really desserts. But pudding, mousses, chantilly creams, custards, and other whipped and airy delicious sauces in a bowl? Gimme please.
So, last night, I tried this chocolate mousse. It was the most amazing one I've ever tried, took me four minutes to make, and involved only two ingredients.
Typically cupcakes, while often delicious, are a frilly affair: little tufts of icing, delicate wrappers, and often, a little pennant or note slipped into the tub, making it oh-that-much-more-decorous.
But that's not their fault. Just cause something is miniature doesn't mean it has to be dainty. So, when Jasmin of One Fine Cookie sent me her most recent creation of beer cupcakes with bacon frosting, I rejoiced, and am immediately sharing it with you.
Most parents try their best, but end up being selective about junk food. Some won't let their kids drink soda, but give them fructose-sweetened punches at every meal. Some say no to candy, but doughnuts and packaged desserts fill the pantry.
When I was a kid, we weren't allowed pizza rolls. We had Bagel Bites, and I learned to use the oven with Tony's frozen pizzas, but I never had a Totino's Pizza Roll until I was in college, and some nostalgic friend bought a box on a whim.
And...they're digusting. Greasy and dominated with a weird faux-pepperoni/green-pepper spice, I was thankful my parents never let me try any. Which is not to say
The mustache-on-a-stick has been a hipster classic for a few years, and cake pops are emerging in the not-as-cool-anymore wake of cupcakes and macarons.
Put them together and what have you got? Mustache cake pops. On a stick. Can you handle the trendiness?
Somewhere between age eight and wherever you are now, classic gingerbread shapes no longer satisfied. Sure, they still taste delicious, but a human shaped cookie with a head, two arms, and two legs, and no pyrotechnics? Well, that's just boring.
From architecturally satisfying houses to human rights campaigns to Nazi re-creations (what?!), we love some gingerbread inventiveness.
There's no doubt that baked goods underwent a revolution in the first decade of the Twenty-First century. The 1980s and 90s gave us fashionable restaurant pastries with intricate sugar sculptures and artistic chocolate towers. But the last ten years saw a return to roots; the kind of baked goods your grandma would make, except executed much, much better.
The humble cupcake, saved from crusty dryness by whole new approaches, was certainly the darling of the aughts, but from the looks of things, the cookie is taking over.
Just look at these trendsetting sweets from Japan's Cookieboy.
This Halloween season, get a head start on your anatomical baking with this new 3D skull pan from cake masters Wilton. I spied this dude over the weekend at the craft store, and was delighted to see it put to use in this great feature from Megan at Not Martha.
The pan comes with a pumpkin spice cake recipe, and while making it I rediscovered how much I like the color orange. I had two types of cinnamon to choose from to use in the cake. The cake was good but too sweet for my preferences. I hope to change it a bit and then maybe add a cream cheese frosting brain surprise inside. Or, oh oh!, cream cheese frosting maggots. Ew.
I'm in love with this face.
What should I name him?
If pushed to declare a gender-neutral food, I'd nominate the cookie. Free of stereotypes, affiliations, and boosting and infinitely adaptable color palette, the cookie belongs on everyone's plate, if they make it that long.
But, the cookie's adaptability also allows for some intense customization, particularly in the classic cutout. But the next time you check out the cookie cutter section, you'll find yourself swimming in the limited palette of teddy bears and Easter baskets. Cookie cutters should be available in as much diversity as men and women come - from powder puffs to power tools.
So, looks like we'll have to make our own. The Beat
In the post-wonder bread era, most North Americans don't know quite how to think about bread. We want the chewy texture and rich crumbs and whole grains of artisinal bread, but have been spoiled by the long shelf life that the preservatives in national brands offer.
What if there were some way to always have fresh AND healthful, tasty artisan bread on hand?
Turns out, there is. "ARTISAN BREAD IN FIVE MINUTES A DAY taught busy people how to make great bread at home, with only five minutes of active preparation time. Now, HEALTHY BREAD IN FIVE MINUTES A DAY whips up fabulous breads made with more whole grains, fruits and vegetables. The secret? Mix up a lightning-fast batch of moist no-knead dough, save it in your refrigerator, tear off portions over the next week or more, shape, and bake."
I admit it...I've been known to grab a toaster tart or two and a piece of fruit when I haven't left myself enough time to grab something less portable, especially on days when I'm taking two-wheeled transportation.
I don't particularly like the way they taste, but I do like not being hungry and having a portable treat. So, I was pretty pumped to find this DIY Pop Tart how-to from the Smitten Kitchen. Not only are they certainly more healthful and bound to taste better, but since you're starting from scratch, you can put ANYTHING you want inside: all kinds of fruit purees and jellies, honey and nuts, way better cinnamon-and-sugar combos, Nutella, and of course, SAVORY TARTS.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again - I simply prefer my typography-theme pastries to be grotesque and sans-serif.
From artist Beverly Hsu, these homebrewed aluminum and acrylic cookie cutters feature the twenty-six letters (and I hope an ampersand) of Helvetica - the ubiquitous modern fontset invented by Max Miedinger in the 1950s and seen everywhere from the NYC public transit system to most bathroom signs.