It’s a Small World After All – On Brazilian Bakers and Star Trek Universal Translators

It’s a Small World After All

On Brazilian Bakers and
Star Trek Universal Translators

I recently received an e-mail from Brazil which was written in Portuguese.  Although I couldn’t read it, I was able to figure out that it was about my Kaleidoscope Heart and Butterfly Molds.  Since I don’t speak Portuguese, I went straight to Google Translate.   After several pleasant e-mails back and forth, I’d met Brazilian Baker Marilucy Ruppel and happily sent her molds off to her.

Here are some of the lovely cakes she’s made with her ZANDA PANDA Molds

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You can see more of her beautiful creations on her website  and her Facebook page and contact her at:

I’m still a little amazed at how easy it was to connect with her, to talk about the molds and send them out to her.  But it will be even easier next time, since amazing new devices and apps like World Lens and the Sigmo Voice Translator are well on their way to making Star Trek‘s Universal Translator a reality.  I LOVE today’s technology!


And for those of you reading who do speak Portuguese, here is Google’s translated version. I’m sure it’s not a perfect translation, but for me, it made bridging the language barrier… a  piece of cake 😉



É um pequeno mundo depois de tudo

Em Bakers Brasileiros e Star Trek Universal Tradutores 

Eu recebi recentemente um e-mail do Brasil , que foi escrito em Português . Embora eu não pudesse lê-lo , eu era capaz de descobrir o que era o meu coração Caleidoscópio e Moldes Borboleta . Desde que eu não falo Português, fui direto para o Google Translate . Depois de várias agradáveis ​​e-mails e para trás, que eu conheci no Brasil Baker Marilucy Ruppel e felizmente enviou seus moldes fora dela.

Aqui estão alguns dos bolos linda que ela fez com os moldes  ZANDA PANDA 

 Você pode ver mais de suas belas criações em seu site e sua página no Facebook e contatá-la em :

Eu ainda estou um pouco surpreso com o quão fácil era para se conectar com ela, para falar sobre os moldes e enviá-los para ela. Mas será ainda mais fácil da próxima vez, desde novos dispositivos e aplicativos incríveis , como Lens Mundial eo Sigmo Voice Translator estão bem no seu caminho para tornar tradutor de Star Trek Universal uma realidade. O amor de hoje a tecnologia!



Chipotle-Almond Butterflies, Baby goats and Apple Blossoms – It Finally Feels Like Spring!

Baby Goats, Chipotle-Almond Butterflies and Apple Blossoms…Spring!

Chipotle-Honey GoaChipotle-Honey Goat Cheese and Almond Butterflies Made with ZANDA PANDA's Kaleidoscope Butterfly Mold.  Teacup and saucer courtesy RiRi's Pottery Haust Cheese and Almond Butterflies made with ZANDA PANDA's Kaleidoscope Butterfly Mold

Chipotle-Honey Goat Cheese and Almond Butterflies Made with ZANDA PANDA’s Kaleidoscope Butterfly Mold. Teacup and saucer courtesy RiRi’s Pottery Haus

It’s finally feeling like spring and that called for a trip to Beltane Farm to see the baby goats and get some goat cheese and milk.   They’re hosting cheese tastings every Sunday through the month of May.

Cheese Tasting at Beltane Farm

Cheese Tasting at Beltane Farm

It was wonderful tasting the different varieties of goat cheese.  It was hard to decide which were our favorites.  Here, we’re tasting chèvre with chives, dill, Herbes de Provence or chipotle-honey.


My favorite Baby Goat

My favorite Baby Goat

Seeing the baby goats and other animals was even more fun than the cheese tasting.  I think this little guy was definitely the cutest of the bunch.  The new kids will be kept for the herd, or sold either as milk producers, or as all natural lawn mowers.


Armando the Adorable

Armando the Adorable

I think his name should be Armando…He’ll be going to a neighboring farm and it’ll be his job to mow the lawn.  I think Nick’s favorite animal may have been Nestor, the guard donkey.


Chipotle-Honey Goat cheese and Almond Butterflies

Chipotle-Honey Goat Cheese and Almond Butterflies made with ZANDA PANDA’s Kaleidoscope Butterfly Mold

Chipotle-Honey Goat Cheese and Almond Butterflies made with ZANDA PANDA’s Kaleidoscope Butterfly Mold. Teacup and saucer courtesy RiRi’s Pottery Haus

This couldn’t be simpler.  Mix the Chipotle-Honey Goat Cheese with ground nuts and make butterflies.  Chill and pop on a cracker.

I love the earthy, ‘all natural’ look the little specks of ground nuts gave the butterflies.  I made them with both walnuts and almonds.  I preferred almonds, the color was richer and I think the flavor complimented the smokey, spicy cheese better as well.  Figs or grapes would be lovely served alongside the butterflies.


Grind your favorite nuts in a food processor.

Grind your favorite nuts in a food processor, then mix with your favorite goat cheese.

Molding Cheesy, Nutty Butterflies in ZANDA PANDA's Kaleidoscope Butterfly Mold

Making Cheesy, Nutty Butterflies.  Put them in the freezer for a bit so they’ll pop out of the mold.

Press the mixture into the the butterfly shapes of a Kaleidoscope Butterfly Mold.  After you’ve molded your butterflies, put them in the freezer for a bit so they’ll pop out of the mold.  I put these on round Breton Mini crackers; they’re small, so you see mostly butterfly.  Pepperridge Farms make a butterfly shaped cracker that looks very cute with these, too.

Chipotle-Honey Goat Cheese and Almond Butterflies made with ZANDA PANDA’s Kaleidoscope Butterfly Mold

Chipotle-Honey Goat Cheese and Almond Butterflies made with ZANDA PANDA’s Kaleidoscope Butterfly Mold. Teacup and saucer courtesy RiRi’s Pottery Haus

More ideas for spring:  A Butterfly Tea Party, using the ZP Kaleidoscope Butterfly Mold.


Oh yes, and apple blossoms!


Apple Blossoms 5-5-13

Enjoy your spring!


Cookie Class at Create A Cook with ZANDA PANDA Molds

ZANDA PANDA Cookie Clas at Create a Cook

ZANDA PANDA Cookie Class at Create a Cook

I had a great time teaching a cookie making class at Create a Cook in Newton, MA.

It was on Earth Day, so I thought everyone would enjoy making butterfly cookies.  They loved using the butterfly molds, but I think the stoneware cookie molds were definitely their favorites.

Along with the butterflies, they made cats, bats, robots, unicorns, dragons, witches, knights, shields and castles..

ZANDA PANDA Cookie Class at Create a Cook

ZANDA PANDA Cookie Class at Create a Cook

A creative and delicious way to spend  a rainy Earth Day!


Photography by NIKO


Did I Mention Toffee?


Toffee made with ZANDA PANDA's Kaleidoscope Butterfly Mold

Toffee made with ZANDA PANDA's Kaleidoscope Butterfly Mold

I’m going to make toffee again soon, but next time I will make all of the scrollwork and flowers in chocolate as well.  The back is also coated with a thick layer of dark chocolate (of course!).  The technique I used for making the chocolate butterflies was the same as in the directions for a chocolate cake topper, (also Video Here) but the second layer was toffee instead of a contrasting color of chocolate.  I’ll make this again soon and include photos, a recipe and instructions.

It was incredibly delicious; crunchy at first, then meltingly buttery and chocolatey.  Very satisfying – but you you won’t be able to stop eating it!

Happy National Ice Cream Sandwich Day!

Happy National Ice Cream Sandwich Day!

I almost forgot!

Here’s our contribution to the celebration:

ZANDA PANDA Kaleidoscope Butterfly and Heart Sandwich Cookies

Kaleidoscope Butterfly and Heart Sandwich Cookies

There’s a demo and video on making them on the Zanda Panda website.

Happy Baking!!!

Strawberry Butterfly Pie

Strawberry Pie with Embossed Kaleidoscope Butterfly Crust

Strawberry Pie with Embossed Kaleidoscope Butterfly Crust

Summer isn’t summer without berry pies.  Lots of berry pies!  Here’s a twist on a traditional favorite.  Visit the Strawberry Butterfly Pie page on the Zanda Panda website for a demo and recipe!

Butterflies in your Stomach…The Yummy Kind!


It’s spring, and one of the ways I’ve been celebrating it is by making delicious tidbits with the Kaleidoscope Butterfly mold.

The Butterfly Brunch page shows how to make butterfly appetizers with port wine cheese spread and crackers.   Today I made cheddar cheese butterflies on butterfly-shaped crackers and made sweet bean paste butterflies with lima beans! The bean paste really tasted great and the butterflies were a pretty, soft spring green.

Butterflies made of cheddar cheese and sweet bean paste using Kaleidoscope Butterfly mold

Cheddar Cheese Butterflies

Making the cheddar butterflies is really simple.  First, press shredded cheddar cheese into the butterfly shapes of the Kaleidoscope Butterfly mold.  This part is great for kids to do because they get to squish it in.

Press shredded cheese into the butterfly shapes of the Kaleidoscope Butterfly mold

Press shredded cheese into the butterfly shapes

Microwave for three to five seconds on half power.  Adult supervision with hot cheese, please!  Dab them with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil that will rise to the top.

When the cheese has cooled, flex the mold away from the butterflies and gently peel them off.  If you’re in a hurry, pop them into the freezer for a few minutes to cool them before removing from the mold.

How to Remove Butterfly from Mold

Flex mold away from butterfly to pop one side out, then gently remove from mold.


Easy, cheesy butterflies!

They look especially cute on Pepperidge Farm’s Butterfly shaped crackers.  If you’re really feeling creative, you could make a flower from roasted red peppers for the butterfly to rest on.

This is a very cute and easy appetizer for spring and summer get-togethers.  It’s also fun to make with kids (just be sure to help them with the microwaving).

Cheddar Cheese Butterfly Appetizer

Cheddar Cheese Butterfly Appetizer

Sweet Bean Paste Butterflies

I really like sweet red (adzuki) bean paste.  I didn’t have any on hand and I wanted to see if it would work in the Kaleidoscope Butterfly mold.  I did have lima beans, so I cooked about a cup of them until soft, drained them and added a little less than a cup of sugar and a dash of cinnamon.

You are supposed to remove the skins, but I just put everything in a food processor.  I tried it in the mold a bit chunky and then some that had been pressed through a sieve.  I froze them for a few minutes before removing from the mold, as the paste is very soft.  You wouldn’t want to handle them after they defrosted (put it on a cookie, custard tart or ice cream while still frozen).  I think both the chunky and smooth version came out great.  It tasted wonderful, took the details from the mold very well and the color was very pretty.  I’m surprised that I’ve never seen lima beans made this way before!

Sweet (lima!) Bean Paste Butterfly

Sweet (Lima!) Bean Paste Butterfly


I also experimented with guava paste, but it remained gooey even after freezing.  I added confectioner’s sugar to some to see if it would stiffen up, but it changed the lovely flavor too much.  If you have an idea for guava or tamarind flavored jelly or paste that would be moldable, please let me know!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Cinco de Mayo Recipe: Mexican Butterfly Pizza


Mexican Butterfly Pizza with a Sculptured Cheese Top*

Mexican Pizza with Sculptured Butterfly Cheese Top

Mexican Pizza with Sculptured Butterfly Cheese Top

Here’s an idea for an easy dish to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.  This is a fast, fun recipe that’s great to make with kids.

Mexican Pizza IngredientsMexican Pizza Ingredients

One Mexican pizza will make an entree for two, a side for eight, or appetizers for twelve to fifteen.

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 lb  shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 lb  ground beef
  • 16 oz jar of salsa
  • Packet of taco seasoning mix (optional)
  • 4 tortillas
  • ZANDA PANDA’s Kaleidoscope Butterfly Mold

The seasoning packet is optional.  I only used about a tablespoon of it, sprinkled on the beef when cooking.  Next time, I think that  I’ll just mix the beef and salsa together .

Constructing the pizza

Tortillas, Ground Beef, Salsa and Cheese

1.  I used whole wheat tortillas, you can also use corn or white flour tortillas.  Place four overlapping tortillas on the serving plate.

2.  Place the seasoned, cooked beef on the four overlapping tortillas.

3.  Add salsa on top of the ground meat.  You can also add a layer of cream cheese, guacamole, or salsa verde.

4.  Press the shredded cheese into the Kaleidoscope Butterfly mold.  This is great for kids to help with, as this job has ‘squish appeal’.  Place the cheese-filled mold into a 350°F  (177 °C) oven for a few minutes, watching carefully, as it melts fairly quickly.  Remove from oven  and allow to cool a bit and solidify. Caution: mold and cheese will be very hot .

Top off with the Butterfly cheese top.  It will still hold it’s shape if you re-warm it.
Tip: Dab with a paper towel to remove excess oil from the melted cheese before placing it on the pizza.

Slice of Mexican Butterfly Pizza
Slice of Mexican Butterfly Pizza

So there you have it.  Cute, fast and fun.

*What do butterflies have to do with Cinco de Mayo, you ask?  Why we’re also celebrating the return of the monarch butterflies from Mexico!  Yes, I know that this stylized swallowtail isn’t quite a mariposa monarca (it’s Mexican name), but this is a pretty ‘cheesy’ way to celebrate after all…




Butterfly Brunch

How to make a Butterfly-Themed Garden Party/Tea Party


Butterfly-Themed Spring/Summer Tea Party!

Butterfly-Themed Garden/ Tea Party!

Yes, I had to wait patiently for the apple tree to bloom for this shot – and for a sunny day!

Jump over to the Zanda Panda website to see how to make all the goodies pictured above, such as butterfly cake and cupcake toppers, embossed tea sandwiches, Kaleidoscope Heart and Butterfly mini sandwich cookies and port wine cheese butterflies on crackers!

I didn’t have room to show the iced tea with little butterfly ice cubes (just freeze colorful fruit juices in the Butterfly mold, then add to iced tea). Beautiful stoneware pottery courtesy of the very talented Ria Lira Levine.


Easy, fun ideas for spring or summer entertaining – and a really tasteful way to tell Mom how much you love her this Mother’s Day!

Join the Zanda Panda Mailing List for new product news and special offers only for list members (It’s free, we promise NEVER to share your information and you can unsubscribe at any time).

New Video, New Chocolate Technique!

Kaleidoscope Heart and Kaleidoscope Butterfly Molds

Make two-tone chocolate cake toppers or No-Bake Backwards Cakes™

I’m very excited about this new chocolate technique!  I had been making multi-colored chocolate cake toppers by filling just the hearts or butterflies with a separate color.  I realized, quite by accident, that the scrollwork and flowers could also be made in another color from the background.  I think the two-tone look is very elegant.

Don’t be afraid to try this technique, even if you’re a novice baker/chocolatier.  It’s very easy and will give you amazing results.

No-Bake Backwards Cakes™

If you want to make a complete Kaleidoscope Heart cake with a chocolate shell – a No-Bake Backwards Cake™ – rather than just a cake topper,  just brush chocolate onto the sides of the mold after the second (background) color has been chilled.

Then fill the shell with layers your favorite ingredients, such as cookie crumbs, lady fingers, sliced, store-bought pound cake, jam, fruit, Nutella, drizzles of syrups or liqueurs, ice cream – anything you like!

You can optionally add a final layer of chocolate to seal the cake (which will become the bottom of the cake after demolding).

If you use candy making and dipping chocolate, you won’t need to temper it.  If using regular chocolate, here are some tips on melting and quick-tempering:

Quick-Tempered Chocolate

Finely chop chocolate or use chocolate chips. Melt two thirds of the chocolate in the microwave for thiry second intervals, stirring in between with a silicone or rubber spatula (don’t use a wooden utensil, it can introduce moisture which will cause your chocolate to ‘seize’). Keep the temperature below 120F. When chocolate has melted, add the remaining one third in three batches, stirring until smooth after each addition.

Using a pastry brush, paint the melted chocolate into your mold. Be sure to brush into the crevices, brushing out any trapped air bubbles.

Try this cake topper for Valentine’s Day!

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