Desserted by chocolate: Book highlights how to use lots and lots of chocolate in simple ways
"It's hard to have too much chocolate," says Annette Lyon of American Fork. "When I read a lot of other people's recipes, they sound anemic. I personally don't think they use enough chocolate, but I guess it's a matter of taste."
So be forewarned: her new cookbook, "Chocolate Never Faileth," (Covenant Communications, $21.99) is intense with chocolate.
"Someone asked me about the hot fudge cake recipe, because it calls for a whole cup of cocoa. To me, that's not uncommon," she said in an interview.
The cookbook is a departure for Lyon, who is better known for her novels, most recently "Band of Sisters," also with Covenant. But, she has a chocoholic background, as one of the founders of the Utah Chocolate Show with her sister, Melanie Henderson. "I thought, if I don't do it someone else will."
And the process was completely different from writing fiction. "The bulk of the time was spent in the kitchen, experimenting and playing around with different ideas. But then my novelist side crept in and I wrote little anecdotes for each recipe. So it's a chocolate cookbook with personality."
She was especially pleased when a woman told her she used the cookbook as bedtime reading. Another thing that sets it apart from the myriad of dessert books out there: "I'm big on simplicity. You don't need a culinary degree to made good things from scratch. I made the recipes so they're easy to do with ingredients that are readily available at the grocery store."
A tip for working with chocolate: "One of the most common mistakes is that people will work with melted chocolate too fast because they're afraid it will set up."
That sometimes leads to "bloom," the whitish-gray coloring on the chocolate's surface, which is caused by rapid temperature changes.
If your dipping chocolate is getting too thick, thin it with a little oil, she advised. Or better still, nonstick cooking spray, which contains lecithin, which Lyon says is a "fantastic" thinning agent, especially with chocolate chips.
"Just give the chocolate a two-to-three-second squirt, then stir it up," she said.
Some of her favorites from the book are the hot fudge cake, marbled pumpkin chocolate chip bread and the French silk pie — "sometimes I'll forget the crust and just eat the filling."
There are also nonedible recipes such as chocolate-scented playdough. She recently hosted a "chocolate" party for her 13-year-old daughter, where the guests made chocolate lip gloss and body scrubs from the book. "One tip: make sure when you use the body scrub, you wash it all the way down the drain, because it looks frightening when it dries!"
HOT COCOA MIX
4 cups dried milk powder
1 cup cocoa, sifted
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup flavored coffee creamer of your choice (hazelnut, chocolate toffee, cinnamon, French vanilla, almond, etc.)
Put all ingredients in a large bowl and mix with a big spoon, making sure to mix thoroughly. Store in an airtight container or divide into smaller airtight containers for gifts. To use the mix, add ¼ cup to a mug containing 1 cup hot water, and stir. If desired, add some mini marshmallows and a squirt of whipped cream.
— "Chocolate Never Faileth," by Annette Lyon
CHERRY CORDIAL POPCORN
½ cup water
¼ cup butter
2 cups sugar
½ teaspoon salt