I'm Dana Blankman, The Leading Lady. I have always had a very special relationship to butter and sugar, however it wasn't until I got married, and acquired appliances that I started baking regularly. Starting with a challah recipe ripped out of a magazine, two cookbooks, and my sweet friend, a cobalt blue KitchenAid Mixer, I've been on dessert duty for family events ever since. Additionally, I've acted since I was eleven years old. It seemed fitting to give a nod to my first love in my business name. You get "Leading Lady" now, don't you?
LLD is a one-woman show. I shop, prep, sanitize, bake, melt, stir, photograph, post, correspond, slice and wrap your special order from start to finish. With love.
The LLD Story
I got a cookbook for my birthday. A cookie cookbook from my best friend, Eryka. I realized I was baking once every few months and it wasn't enough. I was agitated. At the same time, I finished reading "Julie & Julia" and the inspiration began. I would bake one cookie every week for a year. So "The Cookie Project" began and I posted my results, baking challenges, and photos on Facebook.
Thanks to my Hot Cookie tasting group, and my neighbors, and my family, I learned that my baking touch was special. Working on recipes and crafting them to my taste yielded the best chocolate cake ever. It took a year, but I did it. There were rounds of lemon bars and trays of caramel-filled blondies. I loved seeing people's eyebrows furrow together when they tasted something I baked - the best compliment ever! Then I started hearing the "you shoulds". "You should open a bakery." "You should have a storefront". "You should be a chocolatier."
Then Eryka (you remember her) nudged me to bake for her son's school holiday craft fair. I did and everything sold out. I then tried having my own table at my children's school holiday craft fair. Everything sold out. Friends asked if they could buy challahs and neighbors clamored for English Toffee. Thus the Leading Lady left the wings and took the stage.
Special thanks also go out to:
- Judy C. who gave me tons of information about Cottage Food licensing and held my hand through the process
- The Hot Cookies of Oakland who tasted dozens of cookies, cakes, bars, and chocolates
- Kara M. and Gregg M., the marketing geniuses who generously gave their time to get LLD to the stage
- David D. whose contagious optimism achieved the impossible – a real live website
- My family who have encouraged me to follow my passion from the footlights to the cottage kitchen
- The M&Ms who tell me how much they love their mommy's baking and partake in pleasure baking adventures
- My husband Adam's incomparable taste-buds who helped craft my fudge down to the gram of chocolate, his patience with piles of sanitized LLD dishes, schlepping pounds of confections on fair days, and has believed and shared in my dreams for twenty-five years