From cover to cover, "Chocolat" is a beautiful book dedicated to lovers of chocolate from the home chef to the dedicated professional, and it delivers on every page.
"Chocolat" is the creation of celebrity chef and French patissier Eric Lanlard, a French native who currently lives in the United Kingdom and owns the shop Cake Boy. He credits his love of chocolate to family visits to a local boulangerie (bakery) where they would purchase brioche and "Chocolat Poulain." As he moved into his career, he continued to study chocolate, and this cookbook is one of the results of that passion.
The first several pages of "Chocolat" are dedicated to the understanding of chocolate in general, giving some of the history of the plant-based sweet and instruction for working with various varieties. Once this base of information is created, the rest of the volume is broken into four sections highlighting decadent flavors and recipes for baked goods, desserts, truffles and confections, and drinks, spreads and sauces.
Each recipe is preceded by a line or two of story relating why the author chose the particular recipe and many recipes include tips to make preparations easier or to add variety. Most of the entries include mouth-watering photos of the finished products, and in several cases there are photographic step-by-step instructions to highlight a particular technique. While the end products are beautiful and rich, the recipes and instructions are simply enough presented that a novice chef can be comfortable trying their hand at anything in the book. As well, the ingredients used are generally available at any grocery store, with only a few requiring a visit to a baking shop or speciality store.
"Chocolat" is hard-bound and sturdy and would be a beautiful addition to any cookbook collection and the results of the recipes welcome on any table.
As kids, we used to love going to Belgium for two reasons — first, the light, fluffy waffle, and second, the famous chocolate. This is my homage to these great trips — a combination of both waffle and chocolate.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes per waffle
2 ounces cocoa powder
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 ounces butter, melted
10 ounces golden caster sugar
4 eggs, beaten
8 ounces plain flour
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
icing sugar and cocoa powder, for dusting
Preheat a waffle iron. Sift the cocoa powder into a large bowl and stir in the cinnamon and melted butter. Add the sugar, eggs and flour, then whisk in the milk and vanilla until smooth.
Fill the waffle iron with some of the mixture and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Repeat until all the mixture is used.
Dust the waffles with icing sugar and cocoa powder and serve warm. These are great served with chocolate sauces.
— "Chocolat," by Eric Lanlard
Jana Brown is a writer, wife and mother. She is an excellent cook and chocolate lover. She blogs at kitchwitchesblog.com. Twitter: kitchenwitchesblog