Treat Yo’self (And Your Friends): Pastry Gift Guide

The best way to legitimize the those great expanses of time you spend online shopping during the holiday season?  Writing a blog post about it!  Indulge yourself in my shopping guide that captures some of the internet’s cutest pastry related gifting options.  Treat the sweeties who love sweets in your life, especially if that person happens to be you.

Step in the Right Confection Journal

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This journal from Modcloth is perfect for documenting all of those sweet moments!  Use it as a journal or use it for recipe notes.  I go through piles of journals… I try to write down one positive thing that happened to me every day, and I’ve been doing this since 2010.  There were a few lost days during my hectic academic flurry at the University of Chicago, but other than that, I have a pretty good record of my life and its upward trends.  It’s comforting to look back and see that no matter how I’m feeling in a given moment, positive energy and outcomes can be gleaned from just about any situation.  (But for the record, I do have a separate journal for ranting, and I never reread that!)

Taiyaki Pancake Mold

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Are you a fan of Taiyaki NYC?  I’ve been obsessed with these fish-shaped pancake treats since I first sampled them in Tokyo five years ago.  Instead of buying a plain old waffle or bubble waffle maker, why don’t you get a taiyaki maker so that you can indulge in these bug-eyed cuties?  Taiyaki are traditionally filled with custard, but who says you can’t go wild with your own ice cream, fruit, or chocolate filling?

Pie Earrings

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“I’m attracted to pie.  It doesn’t mean I feel the need to date pie.”  -Lorelai Gilmore

While I’m actually down to date the right lemon meringue pie if it comes along, I’m pretty sure that wearing little slices of pie on my ears is a good substitute.  These dangly handmade pecan pie earrings look so good that you’ll be tempted to take a little nibble.

Sugar Monster Socks

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If you work in pastry, sometimes you have to abide by a very strict dress code.  In pastry school, we wore matching pants, jackets, hats, shoes, and aprons.  The only way we could express ourselves was with our socks.  Not a huge canvas, right?  We worked with what we got, and tried to infuse our otherwise bland uniform with as much “kick” as possible.  These pink and orange socks let you flaunt your pastry obsession loud and clear.

Japanese Tea Towels

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What could be cuter than pandas ice skating?  I use tenugui, or Japanese tea towels, frequently for my pastry photo shoots.  Short of going to Japan and hitting their spectacular traditional markets, you can find tenugui with modern twists at places like Kinokuniya and Mitsuwa.  Etsy also has quite a few to choose from!

Confection Cutie Nail Art

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One of the bummers about working in pastry is that you can’t wear nail polish for health code reasons.  Live vicariously through a friend and get them this ultra-cute pastry inspired nail wrap set.  The design is inspired by Ann Reardon of How to Cook That, one of the sweetest new blogs I’ve discovered!

Apple Spice, Twice

As we emerge from the week that worships pie, I decided to make these apple spice cakes for the pie-fatigued among us.  I’m still not ready to put an end to my Thanksgiving eating habits, so two cakes were better than one!

I used an apple spice cake recipe from Tessa Huff’s book “Layered” and chose to frost with cinnamon flavored American buttercream icing.  Each cake is three layers.

The first cake featured below has an in-between layer of apple cider caramel.  Drizzling the caramel on top was the best part of the process.  This cake was perfect for finishing off a meal of better-the-second-day leftovers.

The second cake reminds me of the fluffy scarf that I used in its photo shoot… little puffs of buttercream icing made for a simple but elegantly soft look.  Although I’ve been known to eat just about every flavor of treat for breakfast, this cake was the better choice for pairing with your morning coffee.

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