There's two kinds of fake food: the replica fake food like the food displays in the windows of Japanese restaurants, and the cute kind. My collection of fake food is the cute kind.
And my ultimate favorite kind of fake food is much harder to define, but I like to call it functional fake food. fff is adorable and should have a high design quality. It's cute but usable, playable. You can cuddle with it, use it in the kitchen, or maybe it's a funky display item. It's realistic but does not try to be exact. There's always lots of whimsy. Hand-crafted is good and natural materials are best.
On the other hand, here is plastic fake food that is super cute. The difference is that these donuts are not trying to look realistic so the plastic doesn't detract from its playfulness. Children's toys are a great source of fake food. These donuts came as a half dozen from Lakeshore Learning many years ago. The frosting comes off and can be mix n' matched with the bottoms.
Wood food is best, and Haba is the best of the best! These butter cookies evoke the real thing but leave lots of room for imaginative play.
It's a gray Sunday afternoon and Franny and Jordan are playing Scategories at the dining room table with their friend, Charlotte, so it must be time for me to bake cookies!
I'm making my favorite chocolate, chocolate chip cookies which are the same as Barefoot Contessa's Chocolate White Chocolate Chunk Cookies except I substitute chocolate chips for the white chocolate chunks. I do this because I always have chocolate chips in the pantry (unless Dave has eaten them all), and second, because I find white chocolate too sweet.
The contrast of the white on dark brown cookie does make for a more enticing-looking cookie, but I prefer the semi-sweet taste of the chocolate chips.
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies, from Barefoot Contessa's Chocolate White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Yield: about 3 dozen cookies
1/2 lb. room temperature butter
1 C sugar
1 C brown sugar
2 Large (or XL) eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2/3 C cocoa powder, unsweetened
2C flour, unbleached
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2C semi-sweet chocolate chips
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter in a standing mixer. Add both sugars, eggs, and vanilla. After mixing well, add cocoa powder. Careful, it will float up and dust everything! Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer if you want to catch the dust. Mix the cocoa powder in well.
Gradually add the dry ingredients and be careful not to overbeat. Hand stir in the chocolate chips, scraping the bottom and the sides to mix in any dry ingredients.
Using your wooden spoon or a soup spoon, spoon the batter on to a parchment-lined sheet pan. Don't overcrowd. I usually only put 9 to a half-sheet pan. Wet fingertips and flatten slightly.
Cook for 11 minutes if making 3 dozen cookies. Ina's recipe makes larger cookies and so she cooks hers for 15 minutes. Be sure to not overcook. These are best when they are chewy in the middle but crusty on the edges.
Addendum from May 5, 2013:
Having just written about salt, I think Ina Garten always uses kosher salt, even when she bakes. I use table salt when I bake, and you really can taste the salt in the above cookies. Personally I like this because it creates a complex umami flavor like eating caramels with sea salt. Next time I bake these cookies, maybe I'll try them with Diamond Crystal kosher salt and see if we can taste the difference.