Organic and Chic: Delicious, Nutritious (and Pretty Pretty) Baking!

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I’m LOVING Sarah Magid’s new book, Organic and Chic: Cakes, Cookies, and Other Sweets That Taste as Good as They Look!

It is not only laid out gorgeously (inspiring me to want to bake away a weekend!) with lovely photos of most of the recipes, but it every recipe encourages use of organics, healthy alternatives (like whole grains, healthy sweeteners and natural flavors) and farmer’s market and seasonal ingredients. And the style is pure lovely; cakes don’t look ‘all natural” at all, but totally fab while referencing flowers, leaves and vines and other nature-inspired designs – and yes, there are descriptions of exactly how to reproduce Sarah’s too-pretty cakes yourself.

As any hipster eater knows, old-fashioned treats, like mac ‘n cheese and hot dogs have made a gourmet comeback in recent years, and this goes for desserts too. Sarah awesomely recreates healthier (and tastier!) versions of Ding-dongs and other bad-for-you treats that are sure to work at many a party- for kids or adult kids. I’m def going to try making some of these at my next Summer party to seriously impress my guests.

I had a few questions for Sarah about her connection to organics, her life and book, and her love of baking!

Eco Chick: What led to your interest in organic food? Do you think it tastes better?

Sarah Magid: I grew up in Southern California where we ate mostly organic food as a default living near health food stores and having lots of fruits growing in our backyard. As I grew up, I always maintained a passion for eating, and when I became pregnant with my first son, I really focused on eating organic. Now with two small children, I am conscious about what we eat and where its from since their small bodies are growing so quickly.

I do think eating organic tastes better. Anyone can tell a difference between a farmers market strawberry that is sweet and perfumed, versus one that is slightly green in a plastic box at the grocery store!

EC: What’s your local farmer’s market? Care to give them a shout-out?

SM: McCarren park! The park between Greenpoint and Williamsburg, Brooklyn, every Saturday morning. This year there are some fabulous new booths such as a mushroom stand and a bean stand. Fresh black beans are a revelation when you cook them! Ronnybrook Farms makes creamy yogurt drinks that my kids love, and the woman who runs it remembers my kids when they were babies.

EC: Does your whole family have a sweet tooth?

SM: My husband, son, and I love a good sweet. My daughter prefers cheese and smoked salmon to cake!

EC: Did you gain weight testing all these recipes? Seriously! If not, how?

SM: Well, lets just say that I eat mostly well balanced meals, what happens in the other hours is between me, my refrigerator, and the empty cupcake wrapper.

EC: Do your kids know they are superlucky to have a Mom who cooks such amazing desserts?

SM: My son’s desire for a Hostess Twinkie inspired me to bake organic versions of junk food. So now they think we can make anything, and I love that. I think they will realize in a few years that not every mom sculpts an organic Yoda cake for their birthday.

EC: What are your two fave recipes from the book?

SM: Goldies and Crumbly Shortbread Cookies. They alleviate my sweet tooth.

EC: What’s the easiest recipe? The most complicated (but clearly worth it)?

SM: The ‘Easiest Chocolate Cake’ is truly the most simple recipe since there are no eggs, milk, butter in the batter. Most people have the ingredients on hand, and I find that it is fast, easy, vegan-friendly, and super delicious. As for complicated, I don’t think any one recipe is hard, but some do require more preparation and prep time.
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Sarah Magid, author and sweet-tooth extraordinaire!

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.