MAKE & GIVE: ROLL PLAY
Colorful crepe paper turns humble paper-towel tubes into cute containers for gifting cookies. Pack small treats in parchment first to keep them fresh, then slide them into a tube. Wrap it with paper, and seal each end with a twist.
PISTACHIO SHORTBREAD COINS
If the cookies expand while baking, trim the edges with a 1 1/2-inch round cutter while they’re still hot.
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: Makes about 90
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup coarsely chopped shelled pistachios
1. Pulse butter, sugar and salt in a food processor until smooth. Add flour and pulse until a dough forms. Stir in pistachios. Shape dough into two 12-inch, 1 1/4-inch diameter logs, tightly wrap in plastic and freeze until firm, 30 minutes.
2. Heat oven to 350 F, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Cut dough into 1/4-inch slices and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies are set and barely golden at edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.
QUICK CLEAN: SPARKLE AND SHINE
Get lackluster gold jewelry and dull diamonds gleaming fast with an unexpected cleanser that’s probably already stashed under your kitchen sink: Mr. Clean.
1. Mix 1 tablespoon Mr. Clean into 3 cups warm water in a shallow dish; submerge gold pieces, diamonds and other hard stones. (Don’t dunk pearls, rose gold or porous minerals like turquoise.)
2. Degrease each piece by scrubbing it gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush, suggests Denise O’Hara, owner of Blue Caribe Gems, in Palm Beach, Florida. Rinse under clean water, then buff dry with a lint-free cloth.
PERSONALIZED EFFECTS: BOLDER COASTERS
Stripes and paint splatters bring out the playful side of inexpensive leather coasters. Block off a pattern using masking tape in various widths, then brush the exposed sections with craft paint. Allow to dry completely before removing the tape. Spray with clear sealant, let cure for 24 hours and use them at your next get-together.
DO-IT-YOURSELF STYLE: SETS IN STONE
All you need for a head-turning accessory is a pair of semiprecious pebbles and a couple of earring posts. The best part: These rock stars cost less than $10 each to pull together. To make a stud, adhere a jewel to the flat side of a post with a drop of strong craft glue, holding the stone in place until it sticks. Let set for 24 hours before showing it off.
IN SEASON: WITH CHERRIES ON TOP
Don’t wait until dessert to serve this juicy summertime fruit — take cherries on a savory spin as a bruschetta topping. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss 3 cups pitted and halved dark sweet cherries with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and a few fresh thyme sprigs; season with coarse salt. Bake at 425 F until the juices begin to caramelize, about 17 minutes. Spread 10 ounces room-temperature goat cheese among 12 slices of toasted rustic bread. Spoon on the fruit and enjoy!
DRINK UP: PACK A PUNCH
Say hello to your new summer sip: “clerico” — South America’s version of sangria. This refreshing cocktail is made from a mix of white wine and fruits. Present this party‑pleaser in a glass pitcher, or pour it into lidded jars to bring on a picnic. To make, combine 2 bottles dry white wine, like Sauvignon Blanc, with 1/4 cup brandy, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice and 1/4 cup sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved, then add 1 1/2 cups sliced peaches, 1 cup sliced strawberries and 1 cup halved seedless grapes. Let chill at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Mix in a thinly sliced banana just before serving. Pour into glasses filled with ice, and use a spoon to scoop the wine‑soaked fruit into each one.
SMART STORAGE: RIGHT FOR THE PICKING
Instead of relegating fresh herbs to the refrigerator (where they’re likely to languish faster), store them at room temperature in the kitchen, where their beauty and aroma will entice you to cook with them more often. Arrange rinsed stems in a pretty vase or vessel filled three-quarters of the way with water; keep it on the counter so you can easily pluck a sprig or petal when needed. Choose the types you use most often, like rosemary, or branch out with ones you want to try, such as shiso.
ROLLS: Paper Mart Premium colored crepe paper, $2 for 8 feet, papermart.com.
COASTERS: Dharma Trading Co. leather blank rounders, 3 3/4-inch diameter, $1.50 each, dharmatrading.com. Martha Stewart Crafts multisurface craft paint, in Greek Tile and Indigo; metallic craft paint, in Sterling; and pearl craft paint, in Jet Stream, from $2.50 for 2 ounces, michaels.com.
EARRINGS: Various stones, firemountaingems.com; instantkarmashop.etsy.com.
( Questions may be sent by email to: email@example.com. Martha Stewart regrets that unpublished letters cannot be answered individually. For more information on the topics covered in the Ask Martha column, visit www.marthastewart.com.)