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The Essence of Chocolate

Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate

by Robert Steinberg and John Scharffenberger

The Essence of Chocolate

he name "Scharffenberger" is synonymous with chocolate, so even the thought of a collection of recipes by this king of cacao may make mouths water. The Essence of Chocolate, by Robert Steinberg and John Scharffenberger, unites drool-worthy recipes with legends and narratives about the world of this decadent delight. The combination of all these elements—food, history, chocolate factory mechanics, cacao cultivation and more—results in a huge tome of knowledge; this is no ordinary cookbook. Whether you are in the mood to cook or learn, The Essence of Chocolate will serve you well.

Titles of recipe chapters are based on the role of chocolate in the dish: "Intensely Chocolate" (for those whose desire for the flavor can never be quenched), "Essentially Chocolate" (recipes where chocolate has an important but supporting role), "A Hint of Chocolate" (where chocolate is a minor theme) and "Basics and Add-Ons" (simple sauces and additions to bring desserts to the next level). The recipe chapters include classics like That Chocolate Cake and Factory Store Hot Chocolate as well as unique creations such as Chocolate Chunk Challah and the savory John’s Cocoa Rub to give meats a kick. Those interested in recipes alone will have to page through chapters on subjects like how Scharffen Berger sweets are made, but anyone with a true love for chocolate will find this entire book thought-provoking and comprehensive. And as for the decadent recipes...chocolate never tasted this good.

Reviewed by Laurie Hartzell

(Updated: 11/11/08 SB)

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