If you consider yourself a dessert connoisseur or sugar aficionado, chances are you already know Dani Beckman by her Instagram. Brownie on top of sprinkles on top of cake on top of whipped cream on top of chocolate chips on top of more brownie, sprinkles, cake, and whipped cream? Yea, Dani's your go-to girl.
With pop-up shops in both of Bloomingdales' Manhattan locations, Jars, her dessert company, continues to take the city by storm. What started as a passion project for the pre-med graduate turned pastry chef quickly evolved into one of New York's most sought after desserts.
Last week, Paige and I caught up with the super sweet and super stylish Dani Beckerman to see what other cool things she has planned for Jars.
Let's start from the very beginning. How did it go from regular mason jars to Jars by Dani?
I was really into experimental baking. I don’t know if you know my background but I was pre-med, I moved to the city, [and then] I decided to go to culinary school. I didn’t want to be a line chef. I wanted to do something innovative in the culinary world. I was making 18 different kinds of mousses using chocolates and everything. Then, I saw the jars and I thought they were so pretty. I was putting everything I was making into them, layering them. In the beginning the jars [looked] messy and gross. But, they tasted delicious! With all the experimental baking, I learned to make each [layer] so that it would kind of sit a certain way on top of each other very neatly.
Where do you find inspiration for your Jars? How do you come up with the flavors?
Again, just with the experimental baking, [I go with] what tastes best. I love the Fudgy Brownie—it’s something different. It’s a new dessert. You have ice-cream, you have brownies, and then you have Jars. I call them Jars. If they’re in the jars, they’re Jars. I just put different inserts like cookie dough—[toppings] everyone loves—cookies and cream, and peanut butter. Coming up with new flavors, though, is the most fun. You know, you’ll see something on the street that looks good, like a certain croissant, and you’ll do a play off that.
Did you think Jars by Dani would blow up the way it did on Instagram?
I never thought I'd be running a business. It wasn't my goal in life. It just happened!
How long did it take you to make a Jar when you just started?
It would take me all day to [finish] one order and then deliver it. I was working out of my kitchen in my apartment. And, it's Manhattan. I lived and I still live in a five floor walk-up. I was hand delivering Jars myself the first six months so in the winter, my hands were frosted in. It was crazy! I loved it though.
Any funny stories?
Do you remember that horrible blizzard? I posted on Instagram asking people if they wanted Jars and they ordered. I literally walked around in the snow delivering Jars. It was insanity. But, if you get up at 4:00 a.m. and you're down to do this—if you're happy and jumping out of bed. Then yea, you've found what you love to do.
Do you take breaks?
I can't! Even if I stay at home, if I don't come [into the office], I'm always on my phone coordinating. Always.
Was cooking always a big influence on your life?
I come from a pretty religious Jewish family. Every Friday night, we would have the traditional Friday night meal. My mom would cook like a crazy person. 10 main [dishes]—for an army! I would always do the baking. I kind of got [the cooking] from her. We would always have a million main dishes and a million desserts. I always loved to bake. I always found it therapeutic. If I was stressed, I would bake.
You took a leap of faith and left the medical world behind for the culinary world. What pushed you towards that decision?
I kept finding myself procrastinating on culinary school. It was so last minute. I made an appointment to go see the [Institute of Culinary Education] and I signed up there.
What are some of your future plans for Jars?
I see myself going into the innovative dessert world. The name will always be Jars. It'll be coming up with desserts under the Jars brand name, not necessarily in containers or Jars.
(Jars will be launching their online store next week. Immediate orders can be made via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. They ship nationally!)