My first cookbook, For the Love of Popsicles, is released tomorrow!! Making this cookbook has been such a delicious, exhausting, new-to-me whirlwind and I’m so excited to finally share it with you. Today I’m sharing a peak behind the scenes at the making of For the Love of Popsicles, from the first idea to the recipe development to the finished book!
I had actually been toying with the idea of a frozen treat cookbook for a while when my publisher first contacted me. So when the editor that would eventually help me bring this book to fruition reached out to me about potentially creating a popsicle cookbook, I was all “ohmygosh yes let’s do this”. To have a physical representation of my recipes, especially in this weird online space we call “food blogging”, was an exciting idea.
So I spilled all of my ideas onto paper – what I envisioned for the book, what was missing in the world of popsicle recipes – and the idea for an encyclopedia of popsicles emerged. I wanted to create a recipe for everyone: fruity and creamy, classic and unique, kid-friendly and boozy. But above all, I wanted to create healthier recipes that were easy to make. So I got to work.
Recipe development and shooting
I was wrapping up my master’s in sensory science during the recipe development and shooting phase, meaning almost all of the work for the book happened in the margins – before I left home in the morning, during lunch, and after dinner.
My days were stretched in both directions as I tested and shot popsicles made on the previous day, then prepped popsicles for the next day (all while continuing to create new recipes on the blog). Well-rounded dinners became an afterthought most days. Tulip-man would go to bed for the night and I would get to work on the next day’s pops. My desk was overflowing with scratches of paper scribbled with ideas for how to shoot that day’s batch. I literally had stress dreams about popsicles, guys.
But then I found my rhythm (there were many spreadsheets involved). This busy season was monumental in learning to manage my time and set boundaries, and it still impacts how I run the blog today.
Oh, and there was plenty of research (aka I never passed a popsicle shop without hopping in for a taste).
The taste testers
After I tested and perfected a recipe, I would send it off to be tested! It was important for me that all of the recipes in For the Love of Popsicles worked in real kitchens with real people, so I recruited 15 taste testers from all over the country to provide critical feedback on the recipes. There were foodies and food bloggers, young families and empty nesters, popsicle newbies and popsicle fanatics. Together they helped take these recipes to the next level!
Near the end of the recipe development and shooting phase, after I had stockpiled half a freezer worth of popsicles, I shot the cover! I always imagined shooting the cover a cookbook would be shiny and glamorous and high tech, but y’all…it was not.
I woke up early to shoot the pops before it became too hot (we don’t have air conditioning, and naturally I decided to do all of this in the heat of summer). I had also recently painted a white backdrop for the pops to sit on. Little did I know, this paint was not waterproof.
So when the popsicles began to melt, the paint did too. By the end of the shoot my backdrop was a melted muddy mixture of popsicles and paint, I was a hot mess, and it looked like a colorful bomb had gone off in my kitchen. But somewhere in there, I got the shot!
My publishers were amazing in letting me get involved in design elements of the book, and after a few experiments with the style we landed at this final version!
The writing of the book
I wrote the recipes and their introductions as I went, meaning by the end of the recipe development summer I had a nearly complete manuscript, graciously copy edited by both my mom and dad from start to finish. I promptly printed off the manuscript and flew to Hawaii for a much needed vacation (I should say, “vacation”, because I proceeded to edit the entire manuscript while laying on the beaches of Hawaii).
It was also in Hawaii where I learned that posing for a portrait with a popsicle is not an easy task, but my photographer-extraordinaire of a sister managed to get a few shots!
In the fall I handed off the manuscript to my publishers, who spent the winter putting all of that work into beautiful book form! I worked on other projects, tulip-man and I went to Greece, I stopped having dreams about popsicles…and then one day without warning, there was a book-shaped package in my mail. I screamed and jumped and hugged the first physical proof that all the work was for something. And I’m so excited to finally share For the Love of Popsicles with you now!
My favorite parts of the book
I mean, my favorite parts of the book are obviously everything about it, but there are a few things in particular I can’t wait for you to see.
Difficulty levels: Every recipe is relatively easy to make, but some require a little extra work (like roasting peaches or whipping meringue). I’m so in love with these difficulty level gauges for each pop!
Pictures of every recipe: Eating and cooking is so visual, and to have a colorful photo of every recipe makes me feel so happy!
Nutrition information: I have a bachelor’s in nutrition, meaning the healthy aspects of a recipe are always in the back of my mind. Each recipe in the book has basic nutrition info, calculated by me and double checked by my nutrition/math enthusiast father (thanks, dad!)
Hardcover: Okay I love that the book is hardcover, but aside from this, she’s an absolute unit (as the kids say). It’s hard to understand how long words in a Google Doc end up being, so I wasn’t expecting the book to be so thick! It somehow makes it feel like a real, real cookbook. You know? Here she is with all her favorite cookbook friends.
For the Love of Popsicles is officially released on May 7th! You can order it on: