Award winning Yockelson has turned her chocolate obsession into a rich, sumptuously photographed homage to one of the world’s most popular flavors. Stunning pictures aside, it is the wealth of information about the nuances of chocolate, the way it works in a recipe that sets this collection above the rest. Thirteen pages are filled with the names, weights and cacao percentages enabling bakers to see how those semi-sweet chocolate squares hidden in the back of the pantry measure up. This section is followed by insights into the way different chocolates interact with staple ingredients, invaluable information for those times when substitutions have to be made. Even experienced cooks will discover new ways of handling chocolate, its batters and doughs.
It is nice to see a beautifully produced cookbook that doesn’t rely on impossible to find, overpriced ingredients to make a statement. The majority of recipes use staples found on most bakers shelves. Take the chocolate crinkle cookie; it’s been a bake sale favorite for years before falling out of favor. Yockelson revamped the recipe to include three different chocolates that elevates this simple treat to the sublime. This easy cookie has become my chocoholic husband’s favorite and my coworkers demand a batch in lie of birthday cake.
Throughout the book there are interesting, entertaining personal stories and observations which add a nice touch. My favorite tale is about the tried and true chocolate cake recipe that failed. Not only did it fail, it was so miserable the garbage disposal threw it back onto brand new, freshly painted cupboards, splattering the ceiling, clogging the refrigerator-freezer grill and more. It’s nice to know other cooks suffer the occasional kitchen disaster!
There are recipes for stunning yet simple cakes, cookies, sauces, waffles, pancakes, breads, beverages and more although confirmed chocoholics will notice there are no Black and Whites or sadly, Whoopie Pies which every New Englander knows isn’t a pie at all. Of course these are regional treats so it’s not surprising they aren’t included in this broad collection of old and new favorites which is sure to become stained and dog eared from plenty of use.
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