perlgirls_dishesOur 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 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 secrets.

Many had been passed down from my grandfather, who studied the French masters to learn everything from Grand Marnier truffles to homemade Oreos. Others came from our father’s family, a long line of bakers from Hungary.

Soon we began using our 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 where she is training the littlest Perl Girls, her daughters Edie and Anna.