Westworld Cookies and the Inward Journey

Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world, the disarray.  I choose to see the beauty.  To believe that there is an order to our days.  A purpose.  -Dolores, Westworld

I marathoned “Westworld” after my brother told me about it last month.  While robot and sci-fi movies have never really appealed to me in the past, something about this show resonated.  I think that choosing to see beauty instead of ugliness is one of the best things that we can do to improve our lives; I don’t care that the advice is coming from a robot!  I guess that you could call this recognition of beauty a form of “gratitude,” something that we can all practice a little more.  Much like Dolores in Westworld is tasked with getting to the center of a maze to find consciousness, we can all realize that our paths should look inward instead of up.

While sometimes I get frustrated that the career that makes me happiest is also one that physically challenges me the most, I know deep down that I have improved my life dramatically by doing what I love.  I like to examine my career path with this thoughtfully inward approach.  Constantly trying to move upward with achievements and job titles rather than inward with personal growth and challenges will ultimately lead to career burnout and dissatisfaction.  I believe that it’s better to take things at your own pace and let your next move be the perfect move for you.  It won’t necessarily be what others think your next perfect move should be, and that’s okay.  If you’re going to lose the beauty of the journey, why even go on the journey?

I was so excited to make these Westworld-inspired cookies and mini cake.  It’s not often that I fall in love with a show, and Westworld deserves to be memorialized in pastry form.  The cookies are decorated with royal icing with a hint of lemon flavor.  The mini cake is three (mini!) layers of chocolate espresso cake with vanilla buttercream in between.  I piped a loose representation of the maze featured in Westworld on top of the cake… are you able to find your way to the center?

Is there a tv show that you’ve really connected with in some way?  What show would you like to see represented in cookie form next?


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


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


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


“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


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


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


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!