Chocolate Chocolate

by Lisa Yockelson and Ben Fink

Hardcover, 496 pages, John Wiley & Sons Inc, List Price: $45 | purchase

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Title
Chocolate Chocolate
Author
Lisa Yockelson and Ben Fink

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Book Summary

Demonstrates the art of baking with chocolate, blending practical information and instruction with more than two hundred recipes, essays on chocolate, and personal reminiscences.

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Note: Book excerpts are provided by the publisher and may contain language some find offensive.

Excerpt: Chocolate Chocolate

Chapter One Brownie style

PERHAPS NO OTHER SWEET ELEVATES THE FLAVOR OF CHOCOLATE to such unpretentious loftiness as the brownie. In this batter, the taste of chocolate is broadened to create the essence of fudgy. In all its luscious creaminess, a bite of brownie should convey the sensation of richness with a moistly memorable texture, making a fabulous chocolate statement. Just remember to treat the batter with consideration, as it is sensitive to prolonged or vigorous mixing and is easily overbaked.

BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

16 brownies

When a brownie batter supports little chunks of premium bittersweet chocolate, a delectable thing happens-the small chunks of chocolate form pools of goodness throughout, and the sweet resonates with flavor. Even though I can't, you should try to restrain yourself from cutting the brownies too soon.

BITTERSWEET BROWNIE BATTER

1 cup bleached all-purpose flour 1/3 cup bleached cake flour 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/8 teaspoon salt 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small chunks 1/2 pound (16 tablespoons or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to tepid 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid 5 large eggs 2 cups superfine sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla extract Confectioners' sugar, for sifting on top of the baked brownies (optional)

PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 325 DEGREES F. Film the inside of a 9 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

MIX THE BATTER Sift the all-purpose flour, cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper. In a small bowl, toss the chocolate chunks with 1 teaspoon of the sifted mixture.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk the melted butter, melted unsweetened chocolate, and melted bitter-sweet chocolate until smooth. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until blended, about 15 seconds. Add the sugar and whisk until combined, 30 to 45 seconds. Blend in the vanilla extract and melted butter-chocolate mixture. Sift the flour mixture over and stir to form a batter, mixing thoroughly until the particles of flour are absorbed, using a whisk or flat wooden paddle. Stir in the chocolate chunks.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

BAKE, COOL, AND CUT THE BROWNIES Bake the brownies in the preheated oven for 30 to 33 minutes, or until gently set. Let the brownies stand in the pan on a cooling rack for 3 hours. With a small sharp knife, cut the sweet into quarters, then cut each quarter into 4 squares. Remove the brownies from the baking pan, using a small offset metal spatula. Store in an airtight tin.

Sift confectioners' sugar on top of the brownies just before serving, if you wish.

Bake-and-serve within 3 days

STUDY The chopped bittersweet chocolate forms creamy pools of flavor in the baked brownies. The following bittersweet chocolates are worth noting for using in the recipe (both for the chunks and melted chocolate): Valrhona Extra Amer Bittersweet 61% cacao; Valrhona Le Noir Amer 71% cacao; Valrhona Le Noir Gastronomie 61% cacao; Valrhona Carabe Dark Chocolate 66% cocoa; Valrhona Grand Cru Noir Manjari Gastronomie Chocolat Noir Dark Chocolate 64% cocoa; Valrhona Equatoriale Chocolat de Couverture Noir Dark Bittersweet Couverture 55% cacao; Michel Cluizel Chocolat Amer Dark Chocolate 60% cacao; Michel Cluizel Ilha Toma 65% cocoa; Lindt Chocolate Cr Berne Swiss Bittersweet Chocolate; or, Lindt Excellence Swiss Bittersweet Chocolate.

DOUBLE-DECKER FUDGE BROWNIES

16 brownies

Exquisite and loaded with chocolate, these are the brownies that I swoon over, for they never fail to please: the batter is plied with cocoa powder, miniature chocolate chips, melted unsweetened chocolate, and melted bittersweet chocolate. Within moments of pulling the moist block of brownies from the oven, it is covered with a thick swath of chocolate fudge that bonds irresistibly with the dark chocolate firmament below.

DARK CHOCOLATE BATTER

3/4 cup bleached cake flour 1/2 cup bleached all-purpose flour 3 tablespoons unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/8 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips 1/2 pound (16 tablespoons or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to tepid 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid 4 large eggs 2 cups granulated sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

TOPPING

Chocolate Fudge Topcoat (page 79)

PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 325 DEGREES F. Film the inside of a 9 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

MIX THE BATTER Sift the cake flour, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper. In a small bowl, toss the chocolate chips with 3/4 teaspoon of the sifted mixture.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk the melted butter, melted unsweetened chocolate, and melted bitter-sweet chocolate until smooth. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until blended, about 15 seconds. Add the sugar and whisk until combined, about 30 to 45 seconds. Blend in the vanilla extract and melted butter-chocolate mixture. Sift the flour mixture over and stir to form a batter, mixing thoroughly until the particles of flour are absorbed, using a whisk or flat wooden paddle. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

BAKE THE BROWNIES Bake the brownies in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until set.

APPLY THE TOPPING Let the baked brownies stand in the pan on a cooling rack for 3 minutes. Carefully place dollops of the frosting on top of the hot brownie layer. Smooth and spread the frosting with a small offset palette knife or rubber spatula, taking care not to cut into the top of the brownie cake.

COOL AND CUT THE BROWNIES Let the brownies stand in the pan on a cooling rack for 5 hours, or until completely cool. The topping should be set and softly firm. With a small sharp knife, cut the sweet into quarters, then cut each quarter into 4 squares. Remove the brownies from the baking pan, using a small offset metal spatula. Store in single layers in airtight tins.

Bake-and-serve within 3 days

ACCENT Add 1/4 teaspoon chocolate extract to the brownie batter along with the vanilla extract.

STUDY Applying the fudgy topcoat to the block of brownies while hot ensures that it will meld to it. The topcoat will begin to melt slightly as it is spread onto the brownie base, but will firm up as it cools.

CHOCOLATE FUDGE TOPCOAT

About 2 2/3 cups frosting

This is a first-rate frosting for brownies-chocolatey and softly dense. The topcoat melts down initially as you spread it on a hot brownie slab (or on top of a single-layer sheet cake), but firms up as the sweet cools down. The topcoat is one of my favorite ways to finish a baked bar-simply the creamiest and richest counterpoint to what it conceals.

3 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, sifted Large pinch of salt 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to tepid 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 6 tablespoons milk, at room temperature

MIX THE CONFECTIONERS' SUGAR and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the butter and melted chocolate until smooth. Blend in the vanilla extract. Pour the chocolate mixture over the confectioners' sugar, add the milk, and beat for 2 minutes on low speed, using an electric hand mixer, or until combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl once or twice to maintain an even texture.

Use the topcoat immediately, or press a sheet of food-safe plastic wrap directly onto the surface of chocolate frosting and use within 30 minutes.

STUDY Combine the mixture only until it is smooth and creamy. Overbeating the topcoat once the confectioners' sugar is added will increase volume and spoil its texture as it sets. Using low speed will produce a smooth, almost velvety fudge topping that's not at all fluffy, which is exactly the texture you want to top the brownies (or any kind of sheet cake). The topcoat should be relatively dense, but refined.

ELEMENT Use the topcoat for covering a pan of freshly baked blondies. The same principle applies for covering blondies as it does for brownies, and that is to frost them 3 minutes after removing the pan from the oven.

SUPREMELY FUDGY BROWNIES

16 brownies

The flavor of chocolate comes through solidly in this pan of brownies. If you like your brownies dense, buttery, and creamy, preheat the oven now.

FUDGE BROWNIE BATTER

1 cup bleached all-purpose flour 1/4 cup bleached cake flour 2 tablespoons unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/8 teaspoon salt 1/2 pound (16 tablespoons or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to tepid 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid 4 large eggs 2 cups granulated sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract Confectioners' sugar, for sifting on top of the baked brownies (optional)

PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 325 DEGREES F. Film the inside of a 9 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

MIX THE BATTER Sift the all-purpose flour, cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk the melted butter and melted chocolate until smooth. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until blended, about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and whisk until combined, about 30 seconds. Blend in the vanilla extract and melted butter-chocolate mixture. Sift the flour mixture over and stir to form a batter, mixing thoroughly until the particles of flour are absorbed, using a whisk or flat wooden paddle.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

BAKE, COOL, AND CUT THE BROWNIES Bake the brownies in the preheated oven for 34 to 38 minutes, or until set. Let the brownies stand in the pan on a cooling rack for 3 hours. Refrigerate for 1 hour. With a small sharp knife, cut the sweet into quarters, then cut each quarter into 4 squares. Remove the brownies from the baking pan, using a small offset metal spatula. Store in an airtight tin.

Sift confectioners' sugar on top of the brownies just before serving, if you wish.

Bake-and-serve within 3 days

STUDY The combination of all-purpose and cake flour creates a tender but substantial brownie.

PEANUT AND COCONUT CANDY FUDGE BROWNIES

16 brownies

Crunchy chunks of candy, made of peanut butter and toasted coconut, are a bold seasoning agent for a brownie. The peanut candy-sparked batter is heightened and rounded out by a little peanut butter. Lightly salted whole peanuts (a generous 3/4 cup) or three more candy bars, cut into rough chunks, can be scattered on the top of the unbaked pan of brownies-either would make an indulgent overlay.

PEANUT AND COCONUT BROWNIE BATTER

1 cup bleached all-purpose flour 1/4 cup bleached cake flour 3 tablespoons unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder 1/4 teaspoon baking powder ? teaspoon salt 1/2 pound (16 tablespoons or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to tepid 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid 2 tablespoons smooth (creamy) peanut butter 4 large eggs 2 cups superfine sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 4 (1.75 ounces each) crunchy peanut butter and toasted coconut candy bars (such as Zagnut), cut into 1/2-inch chunks Confectioners' sugar, for sifting on top of the baked brownies (optional)

PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 325 DEGREES F. Film the inside of a 9 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

MIX THE BATTER Sift the all-purpose flour, cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk the melted butter and melted chocolate until thoroughly combined; whisk in the peanut butter to blend well. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until blended, about 15 seconds. Add the sugar and whisk until combined, about 30 seconds; do not whisk vigorously or the batter will become overly lightened. Blend in the vanilla extract and melted butter-chocolate mixture. Sift the flour mixture over and stir to form a batter, mixing thoroughly but lightly, using a whisk or flat wooden paddle, until the particles of flour are absorbed. Stir in the candy bar chunks.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

BAKE, COOL, AND CUT THE BROWNIES Bake the brownies in the preheated oven for 33 to 38 minutes, or until set. Let the brownies stand in the pan on a cooling rack for 3 hours. Refrigerate for 45 minutes. With a small sharp knife, cut the sweet into quarters, then cut each quarter into 4 squares. Remove the brownies from the baking pan, using a small offset metal spatula. Store in an airtight tin.

Sift confectioners' sugar on top of the brownies just before serving, if you wish.

Bake-and-serve within 3 days

ACCENT To increase the intensity of the chocolate, add 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips to the batter along with the candy bar chunks. These are rich.

Add 1/4 teaspoon chocolate extract to the batter along with the vanilla extract.

LAYERED CHOCOLATE COOKIE BROWNIES

16 brownies

These brownies are just packed with chocolate: a bottom chocolate cookie layer is gilded with chocolate chips, and a darkly moist, cocoa and unsweetened chocolate-charged brownie batter seals it all together.

CHOCOLATE COOKIE LAYER

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled to tepid, and combined with 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (such as crumbs made from Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers)

CHOCOLATE CHIP LAYER

1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

BROWNIE BATTER

1 cup bleached all-purpose flour 1/4 cup bleached cake flour 1/4 cup unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/8 teaspoon salt 1/2 pound (16 tablespoons or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to tepid 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid 5 large eggs 2 cups superfine sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

TOPPING

1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Confectioners' sugar, for sifting on top of the baked brownies (optional)

PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 325 DEGREES F. Film the bottom of a 10 by 10 by 2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

MIX, BAKE, AND COOL THE COOKIE LAYER Pour the melted butter-vanilla mixture into the prepared pan. Spoon the cookie crumbs evenly over the bottom of the pan and press down lightly with the underside of a small offset metal spatula so that the crumbs absorb the butter. Bake the cookie layer in the preheated oven for 4 minutes. Transfer the baking pan to a cooling rack. Immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the cookie layer. Cool for 10 minutes.

MIX THE BATTER Sift the all-purpose flour, cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk the melted butter and melted chocolate until smooth. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until blended, about 15 seconds. Add the sugar and whisk until combined, about 30 seconds. Blend in the vanilla extract and melted butter-chocolate mixture. Sift the flour mixture over and stir to form a batter, mixing thoroughly until the particles of flour are absorbed, using a whisk or flat wooden paddle.

Spoon the batter in large dollops on the cookie crumb layer. Carefully spread the batter over the cookie layer, using a flexible palette knife or spatula.

BAKE, COOL, AND CUT THE BROWNIES Bake the brownies in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Quickly sprinkle the chocolate chips on top and continue baking for 3 to 5 minutes longer, or until set. Let the brownies stand in the pan on a cooling rack for 3 hours. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. With a small sharp knife, cut the sweet into quarters, then cut each quarter into 4 squares. Remove the brownies from the baking pan, using a small offset metal spatula. Store in an airtight tin.

Sift confectioners' sugar on top of the brownies just before serving, if you wish.

Bake-and-serve within 4 days

ACCENT Add 1/4 teaspoon chocolate extract to the brownie batter along with the vanilla extract.

(Continues...)