Skip to main content

Lucky’s Bakehouse Holiday Cookbook

A case study for book design of a four-color cookbook of delicious holiday recipes by premiere dessert chef Jennifer Bush.

spread from Lucky’s Bakehouse Holiday: Noosa Panna Cotta with Caramel Chocolate Streusel
A spread for Noosa Panna Cotta with Caramel Chocolate Streusel.

The goal: To introduce Chef Jennifer Bush and her bakery, Lucky’s Bakehouse & Creamery, to the foodie world outside of Boulder, Colorado, with a short holiday-themed desserts cookbook showcasing a wide variety of her desserts.

The Challenge: Pack a lot of recipes into a fixed page count and trim size already determined and budgeted — while conveying the appealing beauty of the desserts and at the same time designing the layout to be an easy-to-use go-to cookbook.

We had two things going for us:

  • The interesting and very clearly described recipes written by the chef, and…

  • some truly gorgeous photography by Jennifer Olson of the completed dishes.

Form follows function #

From the start, we knew the photography would be a primary appeal to draw people into the book.

But I knew the design had to present the actual recipes in a clear, useful, consistent way that is easy to refer back to.

The Introduction #

close-up on Raspberry Pistachio Frangipane Tart text with arced margins
The introductory paragraph for the Raspberry Pistachio Frangipane Tart

In the introduction of a recipe, the dish is sold to the reader … why it’s so good … occasions it’s perfect for … where the recipe came from … maybe a little tip on a perfect embellishment or additional ways to enjoy it.

Jennifer’s friendly, down-to-earth personality comes through in the prose. These recipes are her creations. They reflect not just her chef’s genius but her passion for her work.

When Jennifer Olson’s photographs started coming in, we knew we had gold — photographs that capture not only the scrumptious details of the desserts, but also convey the mood.

Spread for Dark Choloate Fudge with Honeycomb
Spread for Dark Choloate Fudge with Honeycomb

I laid out the introductions to complement to the photography, integrating the text with each photo’s composition, drawing the eye through the paragraphs without obstructing the image.

Spread for Pumpkin Pie with Ginger Streusel
Spread for Pumpkin Pie with Ginger Streusel

The Recipe #

Cooking can be a stressful time. You’re often juggling multiple things at once — preparation of several dishes, gathering the ingredients for each, cleaning utensils that need to be repurposed, coordinating prep and cooking tasks so everything is ready at the appropriate time, greeting guests as they arrive, and of course the other various distractions that can pop up at any time. In this situation, the chef’s anchor, especially with a new recipe, is the cookbook.

Because of this, the recipe needs to be clear, easy to read, and easy to scan at a glance in the midst of the process.

The nitty gritty of a cookbook recipe comes down to two primary semantic components:

  1. The ingredients
  2. The preparation steps
The ingredients #

Recipe from Lucky’s Bakehouse Holiday cookbook
Note: I scrambled the recipe details out of courtesy to the chef. You’ll have to ask about the actual recipes at the Lucky’s Bakehouse website.

I set the ingredient lists in boldface, arranged in two-column stacks with hanging indents, with a consistent structure for each:

  • Count
  • Measure
  • Description.

All counts were set in numerical form with diagonal over/under fractions. Measures were abbreviated consistently.

The preparation #

I used marginal breakouts to highlight:

  • Cookware and utensils needed
  • Prep time
  • Baking temperatures
  • Storage
  • Important tips to be aware of during the process

Spread from Lucky’s Bakehouse Holiday cookbook
Interior spread for the Pavlova.

The preparation steps were numbered (to make it easy to refer back while in the midst of preparation), brief, and to the point.

Result #

The final book turned out beautifully. I also created a fixed-layout ebook version.

Spread for Bello Italian Cheesecake
Spread for Bello Italian Cheesecake

Spread for Holiday Brunch Kale Quiche
Spread for Holiday Brunch Kale Quiche

cookbook Case Study: Lucky’s Bakehouse Holiday cookbook
Full spread for the Raspberry Pistachio Frangipane Tart

Credits #

I worked with the author, Jennifer Bush, producer and editor Curt Pesmen, and photographer Jennifer Olson. The cover was designed by Mimi Bark. The book was printed in 4-color offset by Frederic Printing in Aurora, Colorado. As for the delicious desserts, find out more at the Lucky’s Bakehouse website.