By Lauren Salkeld
Yahoo Food’s Cookbook of the Week is Oh, What a Treat: 36 Cute and Clever Food Crafts by Sandra Denneler, who’s been “making and baking” her entire life and writes the popular craft blog, Project Denneler.
Do pretzel sticks and Fruit Roll-Ups inspire you to make tiny edible campfire treats? Have you ever looked at caramel candies and thought about turning them into miniature doughnuts? These are just the sorts of creative ideas that spring from Sandra Denneler’s imagination.
A graphic designer by trade, Denneler works as an art director at Wichita State University. But it’s in the kitchen that her creativity really comes alive. A self-described “Willy Wonka wannabe,” Denneler is “hopelessly addicted to desserts and enjoys crafting in the kitchen.” She shares the “recipes” for her edible art on her blog, Project Denneler, and is a SheKnows Expert in food. If you don’t know Denneler by name, you may know her work — she’s the mastermind behind the Piñata Cookies that were an Internet craze a few years ago.
Watermelon Grill. (Photo: Sandra Denneler)
Denneler’s latest venture is Oh, What a Treat! 36 Cute and Clever Food Crafts. This slim volume is organized by season, so it offers a year’s worth of creative kitchen fun, including projects to make for Halloween, Thanksgiving, backyard barbecues, baby showers, and other holidays and special occasions. Denneler has a soft spot for sweets but is just as talented when working with savory ingredients. Take, for instance, her Octopus Bread Bowl, which uses frozen dinner rolls to make an 8-tentacled soup bowl, complete with black olive and cream cheese eye balls.
Denneler also enjoys a good trompe l’oeil, or trick of the eye, such as in her Pumpkin Pie Cheese Appetizer. What look mini slices of pumpkin pie, turn out to be Denneler’s whimsical way of serving cheese and crackers. In fact, there’s no pumpkin or sugar in sight.
Fiesta Tacos. (Photo: Sandra Denneler)
Denneler pulls off a similar bit of magic with her Steak Brownies, chocolate treats made to look like tiny T-bone steaks. She even includes variations for rare and well-done beef, a peanut butter bone, and crushed cereal and cookies for a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
If all this sounds cute but way too complicated, rest assured that with Denneler’s guiding hand, anyone can get their craft on. Each project includes simple step-by-step instructions, plus multiple photos of the craft-making process. You also won’t need to hunt down hard-to-find ingredients or unusual materials. You can buy almost everything at the supermarket with only the occasional trip to the craft store or candy shop. The toughest part may be not eating your edible art supplies.
Visit Yahoo Food throughout the week for recipes from Oh, What a Treat!
Check out other cookbooks from Yahoo Food’s Cookbook of the Week: