Dana Dumas of SugarJam Cookies: Pie Social Celebrity Bakers 2013

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Forks up, Phoenix! Chow Bella and Roosevelt Row present the fourth annual Pie Social Saturday, November 16, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the "What Should Go Here" Pop Up Park at Second and Roosevelt streets. We've got an all-star lineup of bakers making pies for you to taste, and from now till Pie Social, we'll introduce them to you, one by one.

Today: Dana Dumas of SugarJam.

You may have seen head baker Dana Dumas of SugarJam Cookies selling her fruit jelly-filled treats at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market -- but she wasn't always in the food industry.

Formerly a director of business development in the travel industry and a newlywed at the time, Dumas wanted to find a way to utilize kitchen items she received as wedding gifts, so she began baking.

See also: Pie Social 2013: The Celebrity Chef Line-Up is Sweet Dumas, a New York native, wanted to replicate a cookie from a bakery she remembered from her childhood. She experimented with baking sugar cookies, by tweaking the recipe and came up with a cross between shortbread and sugar cookies, complete with various types of fruit jelly and a heart-shaped center.

"I love the shape of hearts," she says. "That's like my staple."

After catering events and taking suggestions from others, Dumas started SugarJam Cookies in 2011 and began baking under the cottage law, which allowed her to sell cookies commercially.

By November 2012, she launched her own pie business, starting with a sweet potato pie, which was a hit at local farmers markets.

"I said to myself, I am going to hone in on the pie business," she says. "The pies really took on a life of their own."

Dumas says she enjoys Southern-based baking. She uses seasonal fruit, fresh ingredients and real butter in her pie crust.

Within the next month, in addition to Pie Social, Dumas will make the transition to becoming a commercial baker and will be working out of My Goodness Cakes in Cave Creek.

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