Our mom did not believe in supermarket baked goods (ex: Chips Ahoy). When the world was falling for margarine, Splenda and Snackwells, mom was faithful to what she loved: butter, eggs, dark chocolate and real sugar. Every week, she churned out crispy chocolate chip cookies, rich brownies, and gooey coconut bars. She stacked them in the freezer in Tupperware containers for when we wanted treats. We were her sous chefs – and she taught us all her baking secrets.
Many had been passed down from my grandfather, who studied the French masters to learn everything from the perfect truffle to homemade oreos. As we got older, we learned that our father’s family had owned bakeries in Hungary before the war.
Soon we began using our mom’s secret techniques to tackle classic Jewish pastries. The result: The World’s Best Rugelach (really).
Joanna Perl graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2004 and the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health in New York. She trained at a series of restaurants and spas devoted to whole foods including Laurel Springs in Santa Barbara, Enniscoe House in Ireland and Cookshop in New York City. She lives in New York City.
Lina Perl graduated from Northwestern University in 2001 and works as a writer, editor and marketing executive in New York. She lives in Westchester and currently training the youngest Perl Girl, Edie.