Just over five years ago, I started writing a cookbook. The process proved to be longer and far more challenging than I had ever imagined, but more rewarding, too—not that it’s over yet. Fortunately, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel: a sunny day in August when my book will finally hit store shelves.
So why the heck am I talking about it now? Because it’s finally available for preorder online! Of course, if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you probably saw when I revealed the cover a few weeks ago. (Same for those of you who read the fine print, as I snuck a link into my profile around that time, too.) But after waiting so long, it’s hard to be subtle when all I want to do is scream—BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts is on its way! You can even find it through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.
BraveTart is basically everything I know about American dessert, from Snickers to snickerdoodles, crammed into one place. It’s all the handmade and “brand-made” classics, like yellow cake with fudge frosting, lemon meringue pie with mile-high meringue, cookie dough ice cream, and Cracker Jack, too. It also includes many of the recipes I’ve covered on Serious Eats in years past—think Fauxreos and Fig Newtons—but updated for home cooks, and retooled to be even more exact in the flavors and textures they’re meant to capture.
Since half the fun of baking is making recipes your own, mine include tips and tricks to “mix it up” with your own variations at home. Not, say, adding chocolate chips and pretending it’s something new, but complete reformulations that turn a white layer cake with marshmallow buttercream into an apple cider spice cake with caramel frosting—plus all the info you need to make either option gluten-free.
Even so, I wouldn’t say BraveTart is strictly a cookbook. While my work on Serious Eats focuses on science, my book explores the secret history of classic American sweets. Not the corporate fairy tales we hear time and again, but stories that haven’t been told before—the true meaning of the word “Oreo,” the weirdly vindictive origin of graham crackers, and the marketing-driven machinations that led to Key lime pie. There’s also a ton of really, really ridiculously good-looking photography from Penny De Los Santos, and full-color vintage advertisements to illustrate how pop culture has shaped our country’s notion of dessert.
The idea is that BraveTart will have plenty you can sink your teeth into even if you don’t want to bake a thing—if you’d prefer to, for instance, just snuggle up on the couch and learn about the forgotten history of chocolate chip cookies. (Spoiler alert: It didn’t start with Toll House.) And, of course, I’ll still be sharing my recipes and techniques right here, while you can stay in the loop regarding pop-up events, signings, and everything else related to BraveTart on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, too.
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