Since 2003, Valerie Gordon has wooed Angelinos with her award-winning sweets and baked goods. Sweet is her first cookbook, a tome filled with recipes for favorite desserts, including cakes, truffles, petit fours, cookies, and so much more. For November’s Artisan Cookbook Club, we spotlight Sweet and ask Valerie our burning questions.
Your usual breakfast: I eat the same breakfast every day: two cups of coffee and a cookie.
Fantasy vacation: A vacation.
Your ideal kitchen sound track: My kitchen soundtrack changes according to my mood. On any given day it might include Judy Garland, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder (’70s specific), Pink Martini, Justin Timberlake, Roxy Music, Amy Winehouse, and Zero 7.
Guilty pleasure: It feels like I’m sharing something really intimate and torrid. A bowl of Sour Patch Kids accompanied by a glass of ice-cold Ketel One. I know; it’s a lot to take. Don’t judge me!
Kitchen utensil you can’t live without: My zester(s).
Food you won’t eat: I stay away from any foods that are purchased in a drive-through.
Ingredient you’re currently loving: Oolong tea.
Last meal you made for your family: Roast chicken, pasta with butter and Parmesan, and a tomato salad.
Last meal on earth: Billecart-Salmon rosé, two dozen oysters on the half shell, and a crusty baguette with freshly churned butter sprinkled with fleur de sel.
Recipe you cherish: The Bon Ton-style fried chicken recipe that I found in Gourmet magazine about fifteen years ago. That recipe triggered a small fixation with fried chicken. I absolutely love making fried chicken—not eating it, just making it.
Recipe you hope readers will make this holiday season: Fruitcake Blanc. Fruitcake has such a terrible reputation, but this recipe tends to convert the most ardent naysayers.
Your kids’ favorite treat: My children gleefully and voraciously consume any cookie, cake, ice cream, chocolate, or pie I serve them, which is never as often as they might like.
Restaurant you can’t stop recommending: Trois Mec in Los Angeles. Ludo Lefebvre’s food is consistently delicious and creative. A reservation requires some effort, but it’s definitely worthwhile.
Signature clothing item: A black T-shirt with three quarter-length sleeves.
Wisdom you’ve gained from owning and operating your own shops/restaurants: Flexibilty and communication are the keys to success.
Recipe in Sweet that best reflects your personality: The Durango cookie—it has rigid ingredients but is naturally pliable.