Well, it’s been a while since I told you all that I’m writing a cookbook, and I figured it’s finally time for a proper update. Plus, I am finally going to reveal the name – you’ll have to scroll down for that!
So first, let’s talk about the recipes. In case any of you missed it the first hundred times I mentioned it, this cookbook is going to have desserts, baked goods, sweet things, etc. My biggest focus, while working on the book and developing the recipes for it, is to have sweets for every occasion. It’s a pretty daunting undertaking – “every” occasion, but I am really trying hard. Need something quick and easy for an after school snack? I’ve got you covered. Looking for treats to bake for your gluten-free friend? You got ’em. Fancy desserts to serve after an elegant sheva brachos? You bet. Simple bundt cakes to bake for shabbos when you need something but have no time or energy to patchke? YES! I have that too. Seriously, I have been wracking my brains to come up with everything you might want, then I’ve been creating recipes for it.
What can I say? I’m a people pleaser!
Anyway, I figured it’s about time I shared some behind-the-scenes glimpses of what’s been going on with my book. These photos aren’t staged, they’re just simple iphone shots of real life – showing you what it’s been like to be me the last couple of months.
Some of the recipes went through major changes from their original to the end result you’ll see in the book. Here’s an early version of a recipe in my cookbook. I love the shape of this pastry, but decided that the filling was too similar to another recipe in the book, so I make a new filling. Either way, these are gorgeous – and so delicious!
Speaking of delicious, one of the recipes I am most excited to share with you is Grandma’s yeast dough! My grandmother A”H was an incredible baker, and her sticky buns were absolutely legendary. It gives my mother such nachas to know that all of you will be making grandma’s recipe too.
One of the major requests that I’ve been getting from my readers, as I’ve been working on this project, is for healthy recipes. And while I definitely wouldn’t say that the whole book is healthy, I tried my best to put as many healthy recipes in as I could. These delicious swirls are made without any white flour or sugar, and they’re low fat too!
Sometimes being a recipe developer is about trying a ton of versions of the same recipe to get it perfect. In the case of my fudgy brownie recipe, I think I made it 100 times. I tried different baking temperatures, different cocoas, etc. The good news is, I’m confident saying that the final recipe is divine. And SO easy to make. How’s that for a win?!
Here’s another one I had to test a few times to get perfect. This mousse is ridiculously good, Iand wish I could share it with you right now. But sadly, you’ll have to wait. I promise you though – it’s gonna be worth it!
Recipe inspiration comes from all kinds of weird places, including this hand cream. When I was wearing it, it smelled SO good that I was craving warm apple cider. So there’s a warm apple cider inspired recipe in my book. It’s so delicious.
Have you ever been to Pardes in Brooklyn? It’s the ultimate Kosher foodie experience, and naturally, the dessert inspired a recipe in my book. Isn’t it great, when you get to order dessert and call it research?!
I keep calling recipes in the book my favorite, so I don’t think it means much anymore, but these truffles are legit one of my favorite recipes in the book. There’s really no word that describes them besides for…decadent.
I like to say that if I had a dollar for every time someone asked me for a “no margarine” sugar cookie recipe, I would be able to retire next week. Well, I certainly hope that every one of the gazillion people who have asked me for that will buy a copy of this book, because after (what felt like) 100 batches of dough, I finally perfected the most amazing no-margarine sugar cookies! I wanted to dance with joy when I finally got this right.
What you’re looking at here, my friends, is nothing short of the most delicious milkshake ever. In the history of the world. That’s partly because of the booze in it, and partly because of the…oh wait! I can’t spoil the surprise! Don’t worry – I’ve got some great non-boozy milkshakes for your kids to enjoy too.
One of the great things about working on this cookbook was the ability to multitask. I made these gorgeous – and delicious – cupcakes for the cookbook, but served them at a simcha. How’s that for killing two birds with one stone? I can’t wait for this book to finally come out, so you can serve them at your own simcha.
Another one of my healthy recipes. They were good, originally, but I just made some improvements to them, and now they’re insanely delicious. And healthy. Yep, you can have it all.
…And here I am, just trying to balance out all these goodies with a big bowl of salad. 😉
Now, let’s talk a little about the photoshoots! Some of you may know that I’m a professional food photographer. I work on editorial projects, like magazines, commercial projects, like packaging and websites, and more. But of all the photography projects I’ve taken on, nothing comes close to photographing my entire cookbook!
In most cookbook photoshoots, there’s a team. Someone cooks the food, another person chooses the props. There’s someone who styles the food, and there’s someone who shoots the food. Often there’s an art director overseeing the whole process. But here, it’s just me. Doing it all! Oh, and my amazing baking assistant, Ava, who’s been baking up my recipes and taking some of the work out of my hands.
Well for starters, I shopped for props.
Lots and lots of props.
Every time I think I finally have enough props, I realize that I need more. I’ve been doing food photography for 4 years now, and I have a huge prop collection built up in my studio, but when you’re shooting an entire cookbook, you need so much.
I wasn’t kidding! How cute are those red and white checked plates? I can’t wait for you to see what I shot on them!
Anthropologie. I wanted everything in the store, but settled on just a few amazing pieces.
When I’m actually shooting, there are a ton of little details that I have to watch out for and pay attention to. First I pick the props to match the food, then backgrounds. I have a ton of backgrounds, but sometimes I feel like it’s not enough.
Every little detail has to be thought about and considered. I try to choose the right one from the start, but often, over the course of the shoot, I’ll switch things like the cutlery or the napkin three or four times.
Once I pick everything out, there are still a ton of decisions to make and things to figure out. Lighting, camera angle, camera settings…all of them have to work together to create the exact mood, style and look that I want the photo to have.
Sometimes I’ll snap a photo of my camera screen and send it to a friend for a quick opinion. On an unrelated note…I love this recipe. It might be my favorite in the book. Oh wait, did I say that already? 😉
Honestly though, writing a cookbook isn’t just about working in the kitchen or the photo studio. There’s so much work – so, so, so much work that I didn’t really think about before I started this. I’ve never worked this hard on anything in my entire life. I can’t go an hour without thinking about my cookbook. I’m constantly panicking about getting everything done in time. And of course, I want nothing less than perfection, because this book is a piece of my heart and soul, and I want all of you to love it as much as I do.
And that leads me to the name! If you’re in my facebook group, you already know how hard it was for me to choose the name. I wanted something that would convey what my book was about. Nothing with “baking” because it’s not just baked goods. Nothing with “desserts” because some of these things aren’t exactly desserts. I deliberated and deliberated. Went through about a million suggestions, and finally found one that I loved. It describes my book so well:
This amazing book will be in stores and available for order toward the end of the summer, before Rosh Hashanah, and just in time for you to prepare many many days worth of desserts and treats for the holidays. It isn’t available for preorder just yet, but as soon as it is, I will definitely let you guys know, so keep visiting, keep commenting, and follow along on social media for more info and behind the scenes. Thank you all for your support and encouragement – I know that all of my hard work will be worth it when you guys are holding my masterpiece in your hands and baking from it and enjoying my treats.
Make sure to follow me on your preferred social media channels to stay updated on all the latest recipes!
Thanks for stopping by and reading my ramblings! I’d love to hear from you – so please comment and let me know what you think! -Miriam