“What is it about popping food on a stick that makes it so much cuter?” Linda Vandermeer asks in her new book Sweets on a Stick: More than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, and Pies on the Go! Cake pops are not the first food on a stick, but they’ve become increasingly popular in the past year.
They’re at Starbucks. They’ve been on the TODAY show at Hoda and Kathie Lee's Pajama Party. And every department store had a cake pop maker on sale during the holidays.
For Vandermeer, the cake pop is just the beginning. Sweets on a Stick covers cupcake pops, cookie pops, cutie pie pops, outside-the-box pops such as Sticky Cinnamon Roll Sticks, fruit on a stick and candy on a stick. She’s engineered tiny treats from Pumpkin Pie to Boston Cream Pie Pops.
The designs seem complex, but the instructions are simple and clear. It’s written for moms not professional bakers. “This book is about having fun baking with your family and not about buying stacks of stuff you might never use again or spending time online searching for special ingredients,” she writes in the first chapter.
Amen. You don’t always need pearl pink dragées.
I love the creativity—rather the economy—of her decorations. Fruit Loops can be the base of a cake gumball machine or the iris of a cake eyeball. Mini Oreos become the center of sunflower cupcakes. M&Ms become dinosaur scales. These decorations are cheap and easy for the kids to handle.
Sweets on a Stick is a great book for the cake pop novice, but it’s also a great book for spending time with your kids in the kitchen—from baking to playing with food. Vandermeer encourages it. “There will be no more telling the kids not to play with their food with these super-delicious sweets on a stick.”