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Cookbook Spotlight - The Holiday Kosher Baker

holiday baker collage

Two years ago Paula Shoyer came to market with The Kosher Baker.  A cookbook that filled the void for many to create amazing non dairy desserts that left no need for apology.  Check out our first interview with Paula and learn more about her transformation from lawyer to pastry chef to cookbook author.  Now, Paula is back with more amazing recipes to add to your holiday repertoire.   The Holiday Kosher Baker Cookbook is a go to bible filled with tips and tricks for any new or seasoned baker.  Paula is especially gifted and making our favorite desserts without any dairy, although this book does include some specialty dairy recipes for Shavuot.

holiday kosher baker cover

Your new cookbook focuses on holiday recipes, how did you decide which recipes to include?
I have a vision of a new approach to Jewish holiday baking, so my goal was to include recipes for updated version of traditional Jewish desserts as well as encourage the community to consider some new ideas for the holidays. I updated traditional recipes to include modern flavors of sufganiyot for Chanukah such as pumpkin and chocolate ganache and hamantaschen flavors such as green tea and red velvet. New ideas include plated desserts for Rosh Hashanah, homemade candies for Purim, pies for Passover and classic French pastries for Shavuot.

Decorated non dairy Brownie Bites

Decorated Brownie Bites

What is your favorite recipe in this book and why? Please share that recipe with us.
I love my Decorated Brownie Bites from the Purim chapter. They are mini 1-inch pieces of brownies where you dip one side in colored sprinkles. I created them as a great idea for Mishloach Manot, but they are so pretty that they make a festive dessert all year round and would be great for any family celebration. For Chanukah you could do just silver and blue ones, for a bris or baby naming you could go with blue or pink, or any time you can match them to your table decor. The brownies can be frozen and taken out and decorated. They are really good brownies, just made a little fancier.

If you have to pick one recipe from this book that you want everyone to try, which one would it be and why? Please share.
I love the Chewy Chocolate Olive Oil Cookies. I find I am making them every week and even started adding another 1/4 cup chocolate chips, a change that will be in the second printing of the book.

You gave many tips in this book like when it is best to use a silpat and when parchment paper is preferred - can you give us 1 must have tip you learned in creating this recipes?
I learned how to create perfect chewy cookies. Most people overbake cookies and I developed a test for making sure cookies designed to be chewy are indeed chewy. After the cookies bake for three quarters of the baking time, open the oven and press a cookie. If you can press halfway down and then your finger stops - take out the cookies. They will harden slightly but stay chewy. If your finger goes to the cookie sheet, give the cookies another 1-2 minutes to bake and check again.

How long did it take you to create this cookbook?
I wrote it in a year,  but then did photography and editing for another 8 months.

How many times did you test the recipes?
Over and over and over and over and then I sent them out to home bakers all around the US and also to the UK for testing.

Almond Olive Oil Cake

Almond Olive Oil Cake

Can you share the Almond and Olive Oil Cake and let us know what inspired you to create it?
Even though I love making fancy desserts, I prefer to eat simple ones. This cake is similar to cakes I have eaten in Italy. Moreover, I wanted to create a dessert with olive oil to recall the Chanukah miracle that was not fried.

Enjoy the recipes for

Chewy Chocolate Olive Oil Cookies

Almond Olive Oil Cake

Decorated Brownie Bites

Thanks to Paula for talking to us and sharing these fantastic recipes, get The Holiday Kosher Baker on Amazon.