LIANE HANSEN, host:
Nearly ten years ago, Sarah Magid became obsessed with all things sweet -cakes, cookies, candy. At the time, she was working as a shoe designer for Tommy Hilfiger by day and experimenting with big treats by night. One day, her three-year-old son asked for a box of Twinkies, a snack food that Magid's parents never let her eat.
After she read the ingredients on the package, she understood why. To avoid what she calls a Death Con 3 meltdown, Magid whipped up a batch of Twinkies with organic ingredients, and she calls them Goldies.
Sarah Magid has written "Organic and Chic: A Cookbook of Recipes for Organic Sweets and Baked Goods." And, yes, it does include a recipe for those Goldies. And she joins us from the studios of Chicago Public Radio. Welcome to the program, Sarah.
Ms. SARAH MAGID (Author, "Organic and Chic: A Cookbook of Recipes for Organic Sweets and Baked Goods"): Thank you for having me.
HANSEN: So, basically if Goldies is your organic take on the infamous Twinkies, what exactly is in the recipe?
Ms. MAGID: Well, I sort of divert from having it be a vanilla sponge cake and go towards the chocolate cake, because that's the most popular cake that's requested of me. So, it's a dark chocolate sponge cake that is filled with an organic whipped vanilla buttercream and coated in a dark chocolate glaze. And then I chill them and dust them with an edible gold metallic powder.
And it's sort of my influence from loving jewelry and fashion that adds a little sparkly touch.
HANSEN: Does it end up being more expensive? I mean, it may be better for you but a little bit gold dust?
Ms. MAGID: A little goes a long way so it's not as expensive. And in general, organic ingredients have come down in price as people are buying more and more of it. So, it's accessible.
HANSEN: Don't you think organic junk food is an oxymoron?
Ms. MAGID: Well, you know, I'm a mom of two. You know, I'm not going to shelter my kids from the world of candy and cakes. There's birthday parties, there's weddings, there's all kinds of celebrations and I think we all deserve to have sweets in our lives. And kids and adults are always going to be eating chocolate and cake and it's better to have it be organic than none at all.
HANSEN: I'm looking at these cakes in the book and, wow. I mean, so many of them look like they, you know, you should be on Martha Stewart or something. I mean, there's a, you have a recipe for the easiest chocolate cake and yet all these flowers are on it and decorated. I mean, isn't this tough for the normal person to do?
Ms. MAGID: Well, the thing that I tried to include in "Organic and Chic" is tips of decorating for people who really want to have an involved project. For example, a do-it-yourself bride, but also somebody who just wants to make a really great cake for their child's first birthday. So, you don't have to have a cake covered in the hand-sculpted flowers. But that's something if you want to take the time and try your hand at something special you can do it.
HANSEN: Did you find that there were some things that you tried that you found it couldn't make organically?
Ms. MAGID: There are some elements to cake decorating, such as fondant or even gumpaste that guargon(ph), which is one of the ingredients in that, doesn't come organic. It's natural but it's not organic. But I found it a stumbling block to recreate everything that I found in decorating. In terms of the baking, I didn't find any obstacles because they're pretty much now is everything available organic that you can find in conventional ingredients.
HANSEN: Now, most of the recipes in here come from family members or memories you've had of family meals. And you mentioned that your parents didn't let you eat Twinkies. So, what…
(Soundbite of laughter)
Ms. MAGID: They're quite a…
HANSEN: Go ahead.
Ms. MAGID: Well, I grew up in a Jewish home, so we were not allowed to eat things that were not kosher. So, that was one element of it. And the other was that they were really into health food. You know, growing up in Southern California in the early '80s, there were health food stores everywhere. In our own backyard, we had tons of fruits and everything that we would eat from it.
But in a way, that's why the Goldies are made with chocolate cake, because I'm creating my own memory of Twinkies since I was never allowed to eat them. So, it always seemed to me that a Twinkie should be made with chocolate because it's a better flavor than vanilla.
HANSEN: But you also have some dessert memories. I'm looking at the recipe that you have for Grandma Eva's…
Ms. MAGID: Eva.
Ms. MAGID: She was a crazy grandmother of mine who always wore tons of jewelry, red nail polish, was a jazz singer. And she would just come over and bake. And whatever we had in our pantry, she would just put it all together really haphazardly and come up with these great cookies. And so it's my homage to her. She passed away a while ago but her spirit is something that I always think about when I'm in the kitchen.
And I just feel like everyone in their life has a Grandma Eva even if they're not related to them. And that kind of whimsical, fun spirit is what that recipe sort of is all about.
HANSEN: Sarah Magid runs a custom-made cake business in New York City and she's the author of a new cookbook, "Organic and Chic," published by William Morrow. She joined us from the studios of Chicago Public Radio. Thanks so much, Sarah.
Ms. MAGID: Thank you so much.