Best Of 2022

Best Jello Mold Desserts

Calliope Sweets

Consider, if you will, the gelatin mold. Sixty years ago you’d be hard-pressed to find a household that didn’t have one nestled in a cupboard with the bundt pans and pie plates. Jelly desserts and gelatin-encased foods were expected at dinner parties, but these days, your best shot at finding a gelatin mold is next to the tarnished kitchenware at your local antique store. At least that’s where Amanda Bowman finds hers. Through her home-based baking business, Calliope Sweets, she’s putting jelly desserts (as well as cakes, cookies, pies — you name it) back on the table after decades of dormancy. Bowman founded her bakery in January of 2021 and named it after the giant steam-whistle organ popularly played at circuses. She isn’t timid about using psychedelic color palettes and concocting unexpected flavor combos in her work, and she has the longtime culinary expertise to whip up just about anything requested of her. Bowman’s pastries run the gamut from sculpture-esque cakes to classic 1960s-era pastries to gelatin molds of all shapes, sizes, colors and flavors. But the latter has been her calling card.