The Mixing Bowl: Chocolate Macarons by Marina Ekroos

I was first introduced to the photographer Marina Ekroos while researching info on the Ikea cookbook, Homemade is the Best. I came across a comment by someone, saying that the photographs in that book reminded him/her of the work of Marina Ekroos. Who is this Marina Ekroos? I wondered. I quickly googled her name, found her Web site, and instantly feel in love with her work. Apparently, other people have, too, as there have been a slew of articles written about Marina in the past few months. Most of them mention the similarity between her photos and the Ikea images, and, more importantly, the fact that Marina was creating minimalist aerial food photos long before the Ikea cookbook was ever released. In addition, Marina’s amazing photographs do not only capture the ingredients used in a dish, like the Ikea photos, but also the process, and the finished product. A complete recipe all in one photo! So beautiful and clever! That said, I was, of course, so happy when she agreed to shoot a recipe for us! Those chocolate macarons look delicious and I adore the little guide underneath! Thanks, Marina! To check out more of Marina’s wonderful work online, click here.

[If you need help converting the measurements, click here for a nifty conversion calculator. Recipe adapted from Nohanna.]


Peacock Lollipop Holder

This lollipop holder by Jonathan Adler is totally impractical, but I think I love it. You certainly couldn’t keep the lollipops unwrapped, unless you were having a party or something, and they would be eaten quickly. If you left them naked for weeks at a time they would get all sticky and covered with dust. Yuck! Still, I really like the idea and the retro style of the peacock. It’s sort of like an updated take on the candy dish. J. Adler is the best. He always makes such cheery things. I hope everyone has a great holiday! :-) --Erin


Sweet Testing: Salt & Pepper Tree Cookies and Peppermint Deer

I love the holidays. I’ll admit, the preparation stresses me out, but the actual celebration, is always my favorite time of the year, so when Urban Outfitters asked me to contribute a holiday recipe for their blog, my mind immediately started swimming with ideas! At the time, I had just gotten the new (and fabulous) Baked cookbook, Baked Explorations, and I was itching to try one of the recipes. It didn’t take me long to select their salt and pepper sandwich cookies for the first half of my post, and, boy, was I glad that I did! These cookies are amazing. I literally took one bite and then, for a minute straight, said nothing but, oh, my god, these are so good. Oh, my god, these are so good. OH, MY GOD, these are sooo good! They were really flavorful, like a little party in your mouth. Everyone else seemed to love them, too. Well, except for a friend of mine that doesn’t like salt, but he’s a weirdo.

For the second half of my dessert, I went straight to my mom’s recipe for white chocolate peppermint bark. My mom has been making these yummy treats for xmas since I was little and they always bring back such fond childhood memories. I changed it up a bit by using deer molds, instead of the traditional bark form. I hope you enjoy it! [A special thank you to my mom, MB, and Tiesha for taking the time to help me out!] To view the Urban Outfitters post and step-by-step photos, click here. You can find the recipes after the jump.


The Mixing Bowl: English Apple Cake by Pigeon Post

It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a Mixing Bowl post (sorry about that!), so I’m super excited about today’s recipe and I’m especially thrilled that it’s from Pigeon Post! Created by Studio Tipi founders Keith-yin Sun and Judi Chan, Pigeon Post is inspired by both folk art and mid-century design. They produce utterly original work that is both classic and modern at the same time (with a touch of whimsy thrown in for good measure)! There is quality of surreal familiarity in their illustrations that I adore, so, of course, I was really glad that they agreed to share a wonderful seasonal recipe with us this month!

From Pigeon Post: We love cakes. And as the cold winter starts to set in nothing beats a freshly baked, nicely spiced, traditionally flavoured good old slice of cake. This recipe from Nigel Slate, one of our favourite food writers, is not only simple and easy to follow, but it never fails to deliver amazing results.

I love too many of their illustrations to include them all here, so I’ll just send you to their Web site so you can check out the full collection, including their collaborations with the Art Gallery of Alberta. You can also click here to visit their Etsy store. Dessertgirl readers can get an extra 10% off at the Pigeon Post shop by entering the discount code HOHOHO2010 at checkout (valid until December 17th).

You can find the complete recipe after the jump. Happy baking!


Edible Art: A Matter of Taste

Last weekend I made a silent vow, I am not buying any more clothes for at least a month! I don’t spend a lot of money on clothes, but my closet is pretty packed, so I try to restrain myself, every once in a while. In the meantime, I can get my shopping, and eating kicks, between the pages of Fulvio Bonavia’s photography book A Matter of Taste. In the book, Bonavia combines fashion and food by recreating classic accessories out of edible parts. Among Bonavia’s creations are a pair of chocolate earrings, a blueberry handbag, and a sardine bracelet. It’s an incredibly creative undertaking full of color and humor. I love it! I’ve only included the dessert-related images in this post, but you really should head over to his site to check out the additional photos. The prosciutto (?) ring is a must see . . . although I’m still not certain if it’s made out prosciutto or something else! [Thanks, Cassie!]


Inspiration Board: Thanksgiving

A quick Thanksgiving Inspiration Board for everyone in the States. The holiday season sort of snuck up on me this year. Maybe because of all the warm weather that we've been having. Woo hoo! Even if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving, I must insist that you click on the link to the Pies and Tarts slideshow that appeared on the New York Times Web site earlier this week. (See Rye Pecan Pie below.) So many amazing pies for Thanksgiving or any time of the year. I swooned a little bit while looking at it. I want to make each and every one! Happy Thanksgiving!

[Pictured above] Thanksgiving Turkey Cake from Chow. It's the turkey, the sweet potatoes, and the mashed potatoes all in one. Plus, it looks like a cake! It reminds me a lot of the retro sandwich loafs that I wrote about earlier this year.

Thanksgiving Day Cookies by Eleni's ($65). Sooo cute! Check out the texture on the one in the upper left-hand corner.

Rye Pecan Pie from The New York Times. Perhaps, the most beautiful pecan pie ever! The crust is just gorgeous. Be sure to check out the Apple Green-Chili Pie as well for a unique spin on the classic dessert.

Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake from Woman's Day. I love a cake with distinct layers.


Photography: Chocolate Indulgence

These two photographs have a couple of things in common. Not only do they both feature mouths drenched in chocolate, but they both have a sort of creepy, horror movie vibe about them, while at the same time touching on themes of addiction and sexuality. They both show the darker side of chocolate, so to speak. The side that isn’t just sweet and happy. The side that’s a little freaky. The top one by Brittanie Pendleton is definitely a bit vampiresque, while the bottom pic, by photographer Phillip Toledano, actually reminds me a little bit of the Joker from Batman, one part scary, one part silly fun.


This Charming Candy

When Kate and Susan from This Charming Candy first sent me the link to their Etsy shop, my first thought was, hmmm . . . these lollipops sort of remind me of the suckers that they used to have at the doctor's office when I was a kid. They looked so simple and unassuming. But as we all know, looks can be deceiving. It didn't take me long to realize that I had, indeed, been wrongly stereotyping the This Charming Candy pops, once I caught a glimpse of the flavors: Pistachio-Marshmallow? Vanilla-Cardamom? Apple-Anise? These were definitely not doctor's office lollipops!

The more time I've spent looking at the pics of Kate and Susan's lollies on their Etsy site, the more I've come to love their sweet retro charm. I also really like fact that these lollipops are handmade in small batches and contain only a few ingredients, so you definitely feel like you're getting something that's way more fresh and special than, well, doctor's office lollies! To check out the full selection of This Charming Candy lollipops and to shop online, click here.


Salon du Chocolat Fashion Show

The world famous Salon du Chocolat took place in Paris last weekend, the latest stop in the festival's year long jaunt around the globe. Chocolatiers, chocolate producers, and chocolate fans descended upon the city for five days of exhibitions, demonstrations, and oh, yeah, chocolate . . . as far as the eye can see. Oh, course, my favorite part of Salon du Chocolat, whether it's in Paris, Madrid, or Tokyo, is the chocolate fashion show! That's when you get to see models strut their stuff wearing oodles and oodles of chocolate jewelry, hats, and clothing. Seriously, it’s fashion and chocolate. What’s not to love?? My favorite outfit by far was the dress by chocolatier Patrice Chapon (see below). Totally breathtaking!

The Salon du Chocolat fashion shows, are held in major cities throughout the year. The U.S. version takes place in New York November 11-14. You can find more info right here.

If your interested in seeing pastry chefs creating fashion out of chocolate, check out the Edible Fashion episode of Bravo's Top Chef: Just Desserts. A recent challenge featured the chefs creating chocolate outfits and I was super impressed with the results! For more info, click here.

{Photos courtesy of the Salon du Chocolat}


Enjoy Cupcakes

I know that the whole dessert truck trend probably reached it's peak last summer, but I'm a sucker for all things cute and vintage, so I couldn't resist posting this pic of the adorable cupcake trailer used by Enjoy Cupcakes. Actually, this particular trailer isn't the usual food truck that roams the streets of a large city looking for customers. Instead, it parks itself right in the middle of your wedding reception, baby shower, birthday celebration, or any other party event that you can think of! Unlike a more traditional party, where, usually, the food trailer is hidden from view, Enjoy Cupcakes puts it's vintage Shasta trailer front and center.

But, wait, it gets even better! Enjoy Cupcakes offers over 170 different cupcakes flavors AND the flavor combinations are actually original and interesting. For instance, there is a HUGE selection of wine cupcakes, like Tart Ginger Lime Chardonnay and Caramel Pinot, as well as other mouth watering options like Pumpkin Smores, Chocolate Churro, and Chocolate Salted Peanut Buttery Caramel Crunch. Did I mention that they have cake, too?

If you are interested in hiring Enjoy Cupcakes for an event, you can find more info on their Web site. They also have two storefronts in California, one in Los Olivos and the other in Solvang. If you don't live in California, but would still like to sample their sweets, you can have cupcakes shipped straight to your door. Click here for more info on how to order.


Will Cotton

Ladies and gentleman, I love Will Cotton's work. How much do I love it? So much so that it's frankly ridiculous that I haven't written about him before now. Alas, there are so many sweet things to write about and so few hours in the day! Anyway, I've finally gotten around to putting something together and now, without further ado, I am very happy to present my Will Cotton post!

Will Cotton, an American painter and artist, is the current king of dessert art. He creates glorious landscapes filled with cotton candy clouds, candy cane houses, and nude female figures. Drawing inspiration from such diverse sources as pin-up girls, Dutch medieval poetry, and the children's game Candy Land, Cotton uses classical painting techniques to create an enchanting world where human desire is at the forefront. I love the surreal and dream-like elements of his work and, well, of course, the candy! All this sweet stuff isn't just in his head, either. He actually uses real baked goods, making a lot of the desserts that appear in his work.

Some of you may recognize Cotton's work from the cover of Katy Perry's California Gurls album, which features a painting he did of Perry. He was also the artistic director behind her video for "California Gurls," which is filled with loads of classic Cotton imagery. Click here to check out more of Cotton's work online.


Square Cupcakes

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to here it, does it make a sound? If a cupcake is square and not round, is it still a cupcake? These are just a couple of life's deepest philosophical questions that have been plaguing humanity for generations. In my opinion, the answer to both questions is "yes," but I know that there are probably many of you out there that would disagree. Is a square cupcake still a cupcake or is it just a piece of cake? Does the roundness of a cupcake make for easier eating? Does the shape matter? Certainly, the folks at Cupcakes Squared, a bakery in San Diego, have no problem with changing the shape of the traditional cupcake, considering that their store is filled with, not round, but square cupcakes! Some may consider this to be a bit blasphemous, but not me. I'd try one of their square cupcakes any day! Especially the Pistachio Pomegranate . . . mmmm. If you would like to try your hand at making your own square cupcakes, check out the resources below.

Wilton Square Silicon Baking Cups

Square Baking cups from Baking Idea


Sweet Testing: Red Hot Velvet Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream

Yes, it's true. It's another Baked cake. I know. You're shocked, right? Actually, I've been wanting to make this cake ever since I first got Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. Every time a birthday or a holiday or some other cake-required celebration comes around, I put it on a list of suggestions and it always gets overlooked! So, when I was asked what kind of cake I wanted for my bday, I immediately picked this one! And I was so glad that I did! So, so yummy! One cake eater/red velvet fan said that it was the best red velvet cake that she have ever had! I have to admit, though, that I liked it a whole lot better the next day. The cinnamon seemed much stronger. I don't know if that's because the flavors needed time to percolate or if I had just eaten too much food prior to cake time. Then again, I often tend to like baked goods more the next day, but that's just me and my weirdness.

You can find the complete recipe for Red Hot Velvet Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream after the jump.
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