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Showing posts from March, 2017

Martha by Mail Bunny Cake Mold

Baking and decorating a charming bunny cake is such a sweet way to highlight a birthday party, celebration or other special occasion.  If you happen to have one of those cast-aluminum bunny pans that were sold through the Martha by Mail catalog, then it's as easy as whipping up some cake batter and baking it in the oven.  Swiss meringue buttercream can then be piped with a star tip to define the shape of this adorable bunny. I think this cake is perfect for Easter! From Martha by Mail. The tradition of molded cakes derives from the ancient Middle-Eastern custom of stamping symbolic designs on holy bread.  By the seventeenth century, Western bakers used special molds to create shaped cakes for holidays.  Every year, Martha decorates a lamb, bunny or chicken cake for her Easter centerpiece.  This durable cast-aluminum mold will last for years.  Use it with our recipes and decorating instructions to create your own annual tradition.  Before using the mold, hand wash in

French Silver Dragées

French silver dragées add plenty of elegance to everything they decorate. These diminutive candies give desserts, cookies and pastries a certain je ne sais quoi when used in unexpected ways.  I often think of them as my go-to embellishment whenever I want to make my cookies or cakes look extra special for loved ones. The candy accents can be found at any well-supplied cake decorating store and at many online sites.    You will find that these candies come in an array of colors, with silver being the predominant coloration.  All dragees are categorized by diameter, ranging in size from 1 mm to 8 mm.  How you use these is entirely up to you, but most pastry chefs, bakers, and cookie & cake decorators, will add them to cookies, cakes, cupcakes and even tarts. You can see from my photo how the sizes differ.  The 1 millimeter dragées are minuscule and great for sprinkling or dredging an area, while the largest dragée is perfect for adding just the right amount of sparkle to

Easy Shamrock Cookies

If you're pressed for time and you still feel like making some sugar cookies for St. Patrick's Day, ice a few shamrocks on simple round cookies, and make very minimal embellishments.  By working on a four inch round cookie as the base, you can trace your favorite shamrock shape (either a four-leaf or a three-leaf clover will do) with a food-coloring pen, and then fill in the little green with your favorite shades of royal icing. The shamrocks pictured here were iced with a kelly green (very lightly colored) and a leaf green royal icing.  After the outlines were flooded and left to dry, I then went back and traced the shapes with a bead of icing using a #2 piping tip.  You can do this with the same shade of royal icing or with a contrasting one.      Some shamrocks were given polka dots just to make some variety.   The borders of the cookies were easy to do.  I used the colors of the Irish flag for these:  pipe alternating white and green dots all around

Baked Ziti

Delicious baked ziti doesn't require a lot of effort to make.  It's a hearty dish that is always a crowd pleaser, and if you make a large amount of it, you may even find yourself with great leftovers.  Whenever I have a craving for it I turn to my mother-in-law's recipe because it's most tasty.  Our baked ziti doesn't include any type of ground meat or sausages like other recipes, so it's perfect for the vegetarians in your home. A few weeks ago I found myself wanting to make some baked ziti for a get together at home, but rather than make the standard one I've been baking all of these years, I decided to try a slightly different recipe.  For that, I turned to a friend's family recipe that he kindly agreed to share here on the blog.   Michael is such a great cook, baker and recipe archivist, especially when it comes to Italian cooking.  It never ceases to amaze me the amount of energy he puts behind every single dish he makes, even if it'

Leprechaun Sugar Cookies

St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner and we must all celebrate it by baking, decorating, eating or cooking something green.  Of course, we can always don something green, much like those Irish folklore characters who are said to grant us three wishes if we catch them.  In order to be festive for the holiday, though, why not make some iced sugar cookies in the shapes of leprechauns? A dear reader of the blog who is a dynamo when it comes to icing cookies (it's his hobby) gave me the idea of making leprechauns after sending me his finished works.  I loved the idea so much that I decided to make my own. The first order of business was to locate a cookie cutter that would best suit this task.  Since I did not have an actual leprechaun cookie cutter, I decided to use a gnome-shaped cutter. After making batches of my sugar cookie recipe , I cut out as many shapes as I needed, and then I modified them (above).  The gnome shapes designed by Sweet Dani B. fo