During my first cookbook tour, I sometimes brought a kichel cookie as a prop to show why I became a pastry chef and started writing baking books. But then some people were offended that I was mocking their beloved sugar-coated dog biscuit that still appears on dessert tables at Jewish events. I just couldn’t understand why anyone was eating those when French macarons existed in the world.
I see my cookbooks, the new Holiday Kosher Baker and The Kosher Baker, as gifts to a Jewish community that had suffered long enough with bad desserts.
I have enjoyed amazing kosher pastries in Israel, Europe and even Los Angeles so I know what is possible in 2013 when there are so many quality kosher baking ingredients. I give you the tools to bake elegant and flavorful homemade desserts that just happen to be kosher and parve.
While The Kosher Baker was organized by time and degree of challenge, The Holiday Kosher Baker is divided into chapters for Jewish holidays. The book is color coded so you can easily find each holiday section. The chapters are further refined into snacks and entertaining desserts.
Each recipe is also labeled easy, moderate and multiple-step, and tagged for gluten-free, parvee, vegan, low-sugar and nut-free challenges so you can find the right dessert no matter what special diet you are on. I wanted one book to have something for everyone in the community—you can make one great gluten-free dessert that everyone at your table will enjoy.
The book has desserts that will remind people of their grandmothers, yet introduce bakers to desserts they may not have considered for a particular holiday such as pumpkin doughnuts for Chanukah, green tea hamantashen for Purim, napoleons for Shavuot and novel Passover desserts such as Fruit Pie and Black and White Cookies.
The book also offers healthier versions of traditional Jewish desserts such as a whole-wheat chocolate babka and whole-grain hamantashen plus over 45 Passover recipes, that holiday when we truly suffer from bad desserts.
Ever over-ambitious, I have already brought my revolution to Hong Kong China, Boston, Los Angeles, San Diego and New Jersey and will soon be in New York City, Baltimore, Providence and Philadelphia.
Even I am amazed that only three years after The Kosher Baker was released, I have another book. Then I remember the summer of 2012 when I baked ten desserts a day, every day, six days a week for three months. My kids remember Chanukah in August, eating a rainbow of hamantashen for Shavuot and consuming the 80 desserts we photographed in September 2012 over one Rosh Hashanah holiday.
My goal is not just to see better desserts on our home tables. We must demand high quality baked goods from our bakeries, restaurants and caterers. The desserts we share for the special occasions in our lives must be worth the calories. Packaged desserts have evil preservatives our bodies were not designed to digest.
I have proven that we can do better. Please help me change the culture of Jewish baking. Spread the kosher baking revolution and make the Jewish world a sweeter place.