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I didn’t see the Dec 15 /2009 episode of The View, but caught it on a re-run today. How fun are these cupcake hats that Snoop Dog gave the hosts! (…fast forward if you like –  it’s about 50 seconds into the video).

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How much fun is this sandwich cookie cake?? It would be perfect as a dessert for any occasion from a summer tea to a birthday party or backyard barbecue.

Sandwich Cookie Cake pan (image from Williams-Sonoma) Sandwich Cookie Cake (image from Williams-Sonoma’s web site) 

I picked up the pans to make this fun dessert this evening, racing into the Williams-Sonoma at Sherway Gardens at 8:58 p.m. (the store closes at 9 p.m.). Just in time!

img5m Sandwich Cookie Cake pan (image from Williams-Sonoma’s web site) 

The 9″ cast aluminum cake pans are exclusive to Williams-Sonoma and sell for $29.95 (US) for the pair. Bake your favourite brownie or chocolate cake recipe or mix in them, then sandwich the layers together with flavoured whipped cream, ice cream or buttercream icing.

Visit Williams-Sonoma’s website for more information and to read reviews about the pans. According to the online reviews, it’s really important to grease the pan well with cooking spray to remove the cakes easily.

I’ll have to hold off testing out the pans until next week as I’m off to New York City this weekend to take a Four-Star Breakfast cooking class at the Institute of Culinary Education and visit with my sister Loreen who lives on Long Island. We’ve got afternoon tea reservations in NYC at Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon on Friday.

buffet-serverIn a late 2008 survey by Gfk Roper, 83% of us said the first place we’ll cut costs in 2009 is ‘eating out’.

Thus, the growing popularity of buffet servers… a relative newcomer to a roster of new products aimed to aid entertaining at home. More than keeping food hot and supporting the trend to casual buffet-style eating, one of the nice things about these stainless steel servers is their industrial-feel; one we associate with restaurants. So if we can’t eat out, we can at least feel like we are… or make believe that a fancy caterer came over to serve us dinner!

Buffet servers are ideal for heavy entertaining seasons. They were  especially popular this past Thanksgiving when Target, for one, priced entry level versions between $49 and $69. But they’re also ideal for summer  barbeques and entertaining on the patio. 

Look for a trend to cordless buffet servers as well. Most of us use our dining room table to serve buffets and cords are both unattractive and a safety hazard. Also, look for some furniture manufacturers to install built-in buffet warming surfaces into the top of the buffet.

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With more of us eating and entertaining more at home these days, next week’s 2009 International Housewares Show in Chicago should prove a great source of new ideas for home. 

Check out a few new products above from Prodyne (www.prodyne.com)… their  “New Items for a Better Home Life” will likely appear on retail shelves in the coming months.

Fruit Infusion Pitcher (left), a crystal clear pitcher has a removable fruit infusion rod that can be filled with cut fruit and screwd into the lid – the pitcher can be refilled without replacing the fruit. $24.99.

Martini Mate Happy Hour Garnish Server (middle), holds drink garnishes such as olives, cherries and lemon wedges with colorful acrylic martini picks in a break-resistant acrylic. $14.99

Fruit Next Expansion basket – (right), an expandable metal spiral basket with easy-carry handle that folds flat for sorage or can be used as a centerpiece. $24.99

The company is also introducing an Iced Carafe – a double wall acrylic carafe that keeps beverages cold with a non-toxic re-freezable liquid sealed between the walls. It keeps pre-chilled wine, juices, milk refrigerator-cold for hours. $19.99
Photos: HomeWorldBusiness magazine (Mar 15, 2009). www.homeworldbusiness.com