Did you know that one of our very own Craftsy writers, Jessie Oleson Moore, has a new book out? In The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for American’s Favorite Desserts Jessie shares the fascinating histories and tastiest recipes for America’s favorite sweets, including whoopee pies, chocolate chip cookies, Baked Alaska, and New York cheesecake. From romantic musings on how desserts got their names to sugar-fueled scandals, this book covers it all. We were lucky enough to catch up with Jessie to find out about her inspiration for her latest book and a few details about what makes it so special.
Better yet, she’s offering an exclusive giveaway to Craftsy readers! One lucky winner will receive a signed copy. To enter, just head here by May 24, 2013. Then comment on this blog post, and let Jessie know your most beloved dessert! We’ll randomly select the winner on May 25, 2013. But first, learn all about the book from its lovely author, herself.
Where did you find your inspiration for this book?
It is my firm belief that everything tastes better with a back-story. So why not tell the stories behind some of our favorite and most beloved desserts–therefore making already good stuff even better? It was a delicious idea that really took off!
Can you tell us a bit about it?
Each baked good has a section in which its delicious story is told, followed by a recipe. There are chapters for cookies, cakes, pies, of course…as well as fancy desserts, foreign desserts, commercial snacks, and more!
What’s one of your favorite parts of the book?
I did the illustrations for the book, but I did them in a different style than usual: rather than watercolor and simple pen outlines, I did delicate, detailed ink illustrations featuring cross-hatching and shadowing. It was a personal challenge, and as I see the spot illustrations in the book, punctuating chapters and entries, I am really proud of trying something new. And goodness me, are the photos ever gorgeous! Photographer Clare Barboza did a fantastic job, as did Laurie Pfalzer, who styled the desserts for the shoots.
What was something you discovered while researching that surprised you?
So many little things. For instance — did you know that chocolate chips (morsels) were invented in response to the chocolate chip cookie’s popularity, rather than the other way around? Or that the Hydrox cookie preceded the more-famous Oreo? Or that Apple Pie, so famous as an “all-American” treat, was invented long before the country was even America?
Who will love this book?
It’s really designed for people (like me!) who can read cookbooks as if they are novels. The recipes range from very simple to fairly involved, so there is bound to be something for everyone’s skill level!
How was the process of writing it different from your first book?
It was very different, actually! My first book largely drew upon years of archives from my website, CakeSpy.com, so a lot of the work was already done and it was more a matter of cleaning it up, formatting and perfecting it, and making it sparkle. No small task, of course! But with this book, I really did have to start “from scratch”, and it has a lot more writing in it, so it involved a lot more research and storytelling. Both books are quite different, but I believe they share a deep love of sweets and whimsical wit!
To enjoy all the heart, history, and classic recipes this book offers, don’t forget to enter the giveaway here. Plus, be sure to purchase The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for American’s Favorite Desserts here to find out more about beloved red velvet cupcakes, Girl Scout cookies, and more. Want to check out Jessie as she visits a city near you? Find her book tour locations and dates here.