“The Hello Kitty Baking Book” is full of interesting recipes that range from ice cream cakes to cupcakes, cake pops to tartlets. But what makes the book different from other baking books is that the recipes give instructions for some clever artwork to turn all the baked items into images of Hello Kitty. (Really.)

The book by Michele Chen Chock includes templates to help home bakers sketch out accurate Hello Kittys and other Sanrio characters, like Keroppi and Badtz-Maru. And it gives instructions on basic piping so baker/decorators can reproduce these adorable creations.

We made the Hello Kitty French Macarons – classic, very light almond cookies that for this version were made to look like Hello Kitty – no cookie-cutter required. The recipe was very detailed, and each step was easy to follow. That said, there were a few tricky moments.

Making the cookie itself required melting sugar before beating in egg whites and almond meal. The recipe assured us the sugar wouldn’t crystallize as long as we didn’t stir – we didn’t, but it did. We also had to swirl the pan around with a candy thermometer attached to make sure we got the right temperature reading – not easy. Nor was getting the heated sugar out of the pan to add to the cookie batter – it really sticks. Once these steps were done, though, the rest was simple.

The frosting recipe made way too much, plus it didn’t taste as good as we hoped (to fix it we added more jam and a few crushed, fresh strawberries). And we found it easier to form Hello Kitty’s ears with our hands than with a toothpick, as the recipe instructed. But in the end, everyone at our house liked the cookies. And they were very cute.

The Hello Kitty theme makes it seem like this is a cookbook for kids. It is not. People who use the book need to have baked before and be familiar with a lot of baking techniques (like how to use a candy thermometer). Even if an adult were supervising the baking, we think some of the steps would still be too tricky for a child. But based on the one recipe we tested, at least, for a couple of teenagers like us who have baked a lot, the “Hello Kitty Baking Book” offers a fun challenge.

– GAETANA ALMEIDA AND ANNA STEINMUELLER

Hello Kitty French Macarons

This recipe requires colored food markers, gel-based food coloring, a piping bag and tips and heart-shaped sprinkles.

Makes about 40 macarons

MACARONS:

2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon water

4 egg whites, room temperature

1/4 cups almond meal (ground almonds)

11/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup unsalted butter

3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Pinch salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Gel-based food coloring

FILLING/DECORATING:

2 tablespoons strawberry jam

1 tablespoon heart-shaped sprinkles

Black and yellow food markers

To make the macarons, add the sugar and water to a medium-sized saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer and bring to a boil, swirling mixture by moving the saucepan, until the temperature reaches 245 degrees. (Tip: Don’t stir. Stirring will crystallize the mixture.)

While the sugar mixture is cooking, start whipping half the egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. When the sugar mixture is ready, reduce the mixer speed to low and pour the hot sugar down the side of the mixing bowl into the egg whites. Continue whipping at a high speed until the meringue becomes glossy and holds stiff peaks.

Combine almond meal and confectioners’ sugar. Add remaining egg whites, mixing with a rubber spatula until combined. Fold in meringue in three additions. Continue until the mix is well combined and has the consistency of a thick batter; it should be thick enough to hold peaks.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Fit a piping bag with a large round decorating tip and fill with batter. Reserve about 1/3 cup of the batter if you plan to use the leaf tip to make Hello Kitty ears. Pipe 11/2-inch rounds of batter onto the baking sheet, spaced about 1/2 inch apart.

Next, add ears onto half of the macarons (the bottoms will not need ears). Fit a piping

bag with a leaf tip, fill the bag with batter, and pipe on ears. Alternatively, use a toothpick and drag the batter out to form two pointy ears. Let shells rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature before baking. This will help form a nice shell.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and bake for 14 to 15 minutes, until slightly golden. Let cool.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Add the sugar, salt and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Use immediately or cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate, mixing briefly (using the paddle attachment) before using.

To assemble the cookies, mix strawberry jam with frosting until well combined. Fit a piping bag with a large round decorating tip and fill with frosting. Place a bottom macaron shell (with no ears) upside down on a work surface and pipe a dollop of frosting in the center, leaving a narrow border. Place a top macaron shell (with ears) on top and gently press to evenly spread filling just to the edge of the shells.

To decorate, use a toothpick or a piping bag fitted with a small round tip to apply a bit of filling onto two red heart-shaped sprinkles and attach them just below the ear. Draw eyes and whiskers with black edible food marker and a nose with yellow edible food marker.

Refrigerate the assembled macarons for at least 24 hours and up to 3 to 4 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.