Each week we will find the best home cooks and home bakers who have taken their craft to the next level. Move over Chefs, these inspiring artists are cooking up delicious original recipes that will blow you away. Today we chat with Elizabeth LaBau of SugarHero.com and the author of The Sweet Book of Candy Making available at Amazon.com– Christine Gerani, SpotOnMagazine Follow @SpotOnLI
Tell us a little bit about your upbringing. Were you a young baker?
You know, I wasn’t interested in cooking or baking at all when I was growing up. I did like making cookies with my mom, but that was mostly because I liked eating the cookie dough! In fact, my parents still think it is funny that I do this for a living. I was always a bookworm and had a vague idea that I wanted to write for a living. Well, life moves in a roundabout way, and even though this isn’t the career I would have guessed I’d have, I do end up doing some sort of writing almost every day, so it all worked out!
What motivated you to decide to leave the bakery business and create your own enterprise?
For several years, I juggled my professional baking career with a side job writing candy recipes for About.com. There are parts of professional kitchen work that I really liked, but I also found it a little repetitive, and I wasn’t sure what my long-term career trajectory might be. In contrast, I love the freedom to develop recipes on my own, and I enjoy the unique combination of cooking, writing, and photography skills that food blogging requires. Making the switch to full-time self-employment was a leap of faith, but I’m so glad that I did it!
The Sweet Book of Candy Making is quite a success! What recipe(s) do your fans love the best?
Thank you! From the feedback I get, it seems that the traditional recipes are the big crowd favorites: things like classic chocolate truffles, chewy caramels, and English toffee. That makes sense to me—everyone wants to know how to make their favorite store-bought candies, or the classic candies they remember from their own childhood.
You live in the Los Angeles area what are some of your favorite restaurants and why?
Oh man, this question exposes me as a total non-foodie. I would love to list some really impressive food destinations, but the truth is, I’m not one for fancy restaurants! Los Angeles has every type of cuisine imaginable, and I love finding hole-in-the-wall Thai, Indian, and Mexican places. I also like a local restaurant chain called Lemonade that offers a wide selection of fresh, interesting salads. For dessert, I have to put in a plug for Sweet Lady Jane (where I worked when I was fresh out of culinary school!) and Scoops in Hollywood, which is still my gold standard for really creative, delicious ice cream flavors.
Is there someone that inspires you to create such beautiful and tasty treats? (Family, Chef, Celeb, yourself)
My biggest culinary inspiration is my Aunt Corinne. She was an amazing cook and was fearless in the kitchen. She loved to enter recipe contests, and would come up with the most creative dishes, mixing ingredients and flavors that I’d never even thought of! Once, she gave me the gift of a recipe that she created just for me, based on what she knew about my personality and tastes. I was so touched that she knew me so well and that we shared this common language. She really taught me how to show love through food. She passed away a few years ago, but I think of her often, and I know she would get such a kick out of what I’m doing now.
by Elizabeth LaBau
For the Cookie Dough:
- 4 oz butter, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips
Get the Full Recipe: http://www.sugarhero.com/recipes/?recipe_id=6050910