Cookbook Review: Cupcakes, Cookies & Pie, Oh, My!

Format: Oversized paperback
Pub Date: 2012
Publisher: HMH (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
List Price: $17.95 (available for around $12 on Amazon)
FTC: received as a gift from my husband ;)

UPDATE: I made the frogs! You can see how they turned out here.

I love baking. Usually from scratch. But for the kids, I admit I'm a box mix kind of gal. They really don't appreciate the difference in from-scratch baking when it comes to cupcakes or cakes. Cookies, yes. Cupcakes? No. But they do appreciate when those baked goods are cute, funny, or cool. And that's where this book comes in.

Most of these decorating ideas work best when you don't use from-scratch items. The canned frosting is microwavable and turns into a glaze! Many of the appendages of various critters are simply store bought items jazzed up with some sugar or colored frosting. This may send shudders of horror through the ranks of the scratch baking crowd, but honestly? Who has the energy to bake then spend all day decorating? Not me. I can do one or the other. Not both. If you can, more power to you! :)

This is the third book in a series (ie: Hello, Cupcake and What's New Cupcake) that uses these techniques, and while there are some repeated techniques there are also some new ideas.  My favorites have to be the high heeled shoe cupcakes which use Piroutte cookies (the ones in the can?) and graham crackers. Running a close second are the cake pops in their very own chapter. Little bites of store bought pound cake cut with cookie cutters, then decorated right on a disposable fork. Instant portion control and no mess—while consuming. I'm sure these turn your kitchen into a disaster zone while you're making them.

Other cool ideas use cookies, colored Rice Krispy treats (such a simple idea, but I sure didn't think of it!), biscotti, and candy melts formed into shapes using spoons.

I'm going to make the frog cupcakes for our Springfest and will post an update when I'm finished. There are so many different projects with a wide range of difficulty levels. And most of them can be done even when it's hot outside and you can't stand the thought of turning on the oven.

If you like the idea of doing something a little unusual with your cupcakes but don't know where to start, this is the perfect book for you. My only problem was picking just one project.

My Grade: A

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