Sunday, June 18, 2006

"Chocolate," by Jan Hedh

Photo: Barnes and Noble

Last night, Master Chow and I dined with friends at a local mall. We wandered into the nearby Barnes and Noble and, predictably, I found myself in the "bargain book" cookbook section.

Among all the summer grilling books, I discovered a wonderful tome: Chocolate, by Jan Hedh. It is filled with beautiful color photographs of virtually every finished dish (a big plus), as well as technique photos. This is not a book for novice bakers, unless they aspire to greater culinary feats. Many of the recipes are quite complicated. Some are simple, yet time-consuming, taking up to five days in one case.

If, however, you are hard-core, or love beautiful cookbooks, or desire a valuable resource on hand as your skills develop, this may be the book for you. Where else will you find recipes to make your own marzipan and marron glace? Seriously. All that for only $9.98!

Some of the book's contents:

Chocolate candies
Chocolate cookies
Petit pains au chocolat, brioches, and other goodies - brioches, chocolate jam (!), chocolate mint buns
Chocolate cakes
Exotic tarts and cakes
Ice cream bombs and ice cream cakes
Mousses, brulees, and bavaroises
Hot chocolate desserts
Drinking chocolate
Chocolate menu (savory chocolate dishes)
What to drink with chocolate

The dishes are very European, with heavy use of ganache, Valrohna chocolate, marzipan, hazelnuts, fruits, and liqueurs. They range from the simple, such as a Chocolate Pain de Genes (an almond, rum, and chocolate cake that uses potato flour), to a Christmas "pine cone" cake decorated with meringue mushrooms, to an Italian tarragon cake that is filled with chocolate mousse, a hazelnut brulee, and then all wrapped up in luscious white chocolate.



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