Category Archives: Book Review

Macarons You’ll Drool Over (Promise!)

Making macarons - Talk Sweet to M

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Finished Macarons - Talk Sweet to Me

A week or so ago I reviewed SprinkleBakes by Heather Baird. It is a lovely book and I finally had a chance to make one of the recipes this week. Even though they have grown exponentially in popularity in recent years, for one reason or another I’ve never had the chance to make macarons. Until now!

Macaron recipe - Talk Sweet to Me

I am told that making macaron batter is a very delicate process and must be done carefully in the right level of humidity and etc. Those warnings always make me want to go ahead and schedule in an anxiety attack, but I decided to just jump in and see what happened. Luckily there was no need to worry…I’m no rocket scientist and they turned out great!

The batter was a really smooth egg mixture with a lovely sheen to it.

Macaron batter on beater - Talk Sweet to Me

I made rounds of the batter on the parchment-covered cookie sheet using my cake decorating tips. Here they are heading into the oven:

Batter on cookie sheets - Talk Sweet to Me

And once they came out of the oven:

Macaron shells with foot - Talk Sweet to Me

I was lucky and the macarons formed the “foot” which is the crinkly part at the bottom. It’s really fun when something turns out just like the pictures you’ve drooled over for years!

The finished product:

Macarons on Talk Sweet to Me

Heather’s recipe in SprinkleBakes was super easy to follow and DELICIOUS!!! I filled them with my regular ol’ buttercream recipe tinted in springtime colors. After a taste test, my husband declared them a new top ten favorite. That’s a win, folks!

Check out Heather Baird’s SprinkleBakes for the recipe or look on her website for a few options here or here. You can also see if it’s available in your local library if you want to take a sneak peek, or just jump right in and find it on Amazon!

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Book Review: SprinkleBakes!

Book Review  - Talk Sweet to Me

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Today we’re taking a look at SprinkleBakes: Dessert Recipes to Inspire Your Inner Artist by Heather Baird. What an adorable book! Filled with recipes and great ideas to “pretty things up,” SprinkleBakes is a perfect addition to any baker’s library. I had a lot of fun looking thorough to gather new techniques and tips to add to my baking repertoire.

Sprinklebakes book review - Talk Sweet to Me

First of all, I loved the artist theme. Heather Baird is an amazing artist in many different ways. In this book, “Blank Canvases” gives you the recipes to start with as you go through each project. In the “Line” section you learn to decorate with brushes, sponges, and stamps. The “Color” section discusses color theory, tinted cake and icings, and other vivid desserts. “Mixed Media” brings together many techniques in one project. From the titles of the chapters to the dessert drawings on the front cover, dessert is truly an art form with SprinkleBakes!

The book goes through everything from supplies and equipment to tips and tricks for each of the included projects. A lot of those techniques are universal, meaning they could definitely be applied to other projects you’ve got in your head and want to make happen in sugar.

I personally found the individual techniques and the resources section of the book more helpful and useful than the individual projects since the projects did not necessarily fit my style. Even so, I have happily put this book on my shelf and bring it out on rainy days to try something new. I’m hoping to make the macarons soon…this obsessed baker has (crazily enough!) never attempted them before!

Cookbooks - Talk Sweet to Me

My other favorites to drool over and/or dream of making were the Diagonal Chocolate Mousse Cups, Postcard Cookies (a neat stamping with wafer paper technique!), Salted Caramel Cupcakes with salted caramel candy halos, Vanilla Bean Baby Doughnuts, and the Glittering Cookie Tree. I can definitely see the cookie tree happening at a certain little girl’s first birthday party this September!

If you’re looking for a great book to add to your shelf, check out SprinkleBakes: Dessert Recipes to Inspire Your Inner Artist by Heather Baird soon!

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Baby Onesie Cookies

A Break from Cake - talksweettome.com

I know this is a cake blog…but we don’t discriminate against other forms of sugar around here. How stinkin’ adorable are these cookies from The Confetti Cakes Cookbook: Spectacular Cookies, Cakes, and Cupcakes from New York City’s Famed Bakery?!

Baby onesie cookies - talksweettome.com text

Since I just reviewed the Confetti Cakes Cookbook, I thought it was high time that I try a recipe or two from it. I’m a bit partial to my mom’s sugar cookies, but the Vanilla Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing from the Confetti Cakes Cookbook were really quite good.

Plus, in the midst of planning for our first baby to arrive in September this year, I couldn’t pass up the chance to make these. I had absolutely no reason to (no occasion coming up, no dinner parties planned, can’t really take them to work), but I’m getting so enamored with the cuteness of it all that I simply could not resist.

The baking - talksweettome.com

On to the fun! I followed the recipe exactly. The dough was a little bit different texture than my usual sugar cookie dough…harder and denser. However, it was easy to handle (after cooling it in the fridge) and cut out the shapes of the onesies with a knife. I made a copy and cut out the template from the book – it was perfect!

Cutting out dough - talksweettome.com

Cut out cookies ready for oven - talksweettome.com

These cookies remind me a little bit more of shortbread cookies than sugar cookies, but keep their shape really well when baking. That is, of course, crucial to having the most adorable onesie cookies ever!

Cooling cookies on rack - talksweettome.com

The icing - talksweettome.com

Next it was royal icing time. I’ve never enjoyed the taste of the stuff, but the Confetti Cakes recipe, paired with this recipe for sugar cookies, tasted good to me. First was piping the outline…

Outlined cookies - talksweettome.com

…then my favorite part: flooding it with the flow icing!

Flow icing - flooded cookies - talksweettome.com

The finished cookies - talksweettome.com

Then on to the overpiping and details. Since we’re not finding out boy vs. girl before the baby comes along, some gender-neutral hearts, stars, sheep, cherries, and the letter “D” (for baby Donnelly, of course!) served as decoration.

Finished cookies on plate2 - talksweettome.com

Finished cookies on plate - talksweettome.com

This project was so much fun! Now I don’t know what to do with all these cookies I have sitting around my house besides make some iced tea, invite a couple friends over and…eat them!

Do you make cookies in addition to cakes in your business? Do you prefer making one over the other? I’d love to know!

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Book Review: The Confetti Cakes Cookbook by Elisa Strauss

The author - www.talksweettome.com

I absolutely love Elisa Strauss’ story. She got her start working in the fashion industry before attending pastry school and hitting it big as a cake designer in New York City. Her cakes have been featured all over in magazines and on television shows, including Martha Stewart Weddings, Sex and the City, Good Morning America, and the Food Network. In her book, The Confetti Cakes Cookbook: Spectacular Cookies, Cakes, and Cupcakes from New York City’s Famed Bakery, she shares her tips, techniques, recipes, and cake designs with us.

The book - www.talksweettome.com

The book is full of beautiful colorful photographs of the cakes and the step-by-step processes to make them, and since it is written in Elisa’s friendly and personable style, it is just as much fun to read and learn from.

And it’s not just cakes! This book offers a comprehensive guide to making a variety of cookies, cupcakes, cakes, and mini cakes for beginners through to more advanced decorators. With lists of necessary equipment and techniques to master, along with Elisa’s recipes for everything from cake and cookies to buttercream, ganache and fondant, this book is one of my favorites.

Confetti Cakes Book Review - Talk Sweet to Me - www.talksweettome.com

I love the Techniques section at the beginning of the book. Elisa covers everything from sculpting a cake and crumb coating to how to use dowels to create a structurally sound cake and wood staining/brush embroidery techniques.

While I never tried any of Elisa’s recipes because by the time I purchased the book I’d already experimented thoroughly to create my own go-to recipes, from reading through them I think they would definitely be worth a try.

Step-by-step, detailed instructions and diagrams are given for each of the 44 projects in the book, as well as tips and tricks to save time. There is even a list of resources where you can find many of the products and pieces of equipment she references.

This is a great book to add to your collection with its helpful advice, interesting techniques, and inspiring designs. Some of my favorites: Baby Onesie Cookies, Popcorn Mini Cakes, Hydrangea Cake, and Handbag Cake.

More information - www.talksweettome.com

While it seems that Elisa no longer takes cake orders, luckily for all of us, she has provided an excellent resource in her books! She still very busy teaching online classes like a Designer Handbag Cake or a Sculpted Dog Cake, holds private classes, has books and equipment for sale, and writes on her blog. Check out her website for more information.

If you’d like to purchase the book, you can buy it from Amazon.com by clicking here: The Confetti Cakes Cookbook: Spectacular Cookies, Cakes, and Cupcakes from New York City’s Famed Bakery

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