We can't ever have too many chocolate recipes, can we? Since the quality of chocolate available in the supermarket has dramatically improved over the past twenty years or so, it's great to have a few more cookbooks that focus on using the most widely available products including chocolate bars, cocoa powder and chocolate chips. Here are three recent titles.
First up is a book that falls into the "I can't believe I didn't think of that!" category. The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookbook. Veteran baking expert and pastry chef Elinor Klivans who has written books on cupcakes, cookies and cakes has created a book devoted to chocolate chips and surprisingly there are only 6 cookie recipes in it. The book contains 45 recipes and is divided into chapters starting with Chocolate Chip Cookies and Candies, Chocolate Chip Brownies, Bars, Muffins and a Tea Loaf, Chocolate Chip Pies, tarts and Puddings, Chocolate Chip Cakes without Frosting, Chocolate Chip Cakes with Frosting and/or Filling and finally Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Desserts. There are recommendations for brands of chocolate chips to use, and happily most of the recipes come together very quickly.
One of Klivan's top picks for chocolate chips is Ghirardelli, especially in the bittersweet category. Ghirardelli has their own cookbook, The Ghirardelli Chocolate Book. A hardback book, it has 16 recipes for cookies, though not all of them are chocolate chip cookies. The book contains 80 recipes in all. The chapters are fairly similar to the chapters in the chocolate chip book, but also include Chocolate Breads and Breakfast and Anything-but-Boring Chocolate Drinks. Despite the ice cream parlor at Ghirardelli Square, there are only two ice cream desserts. The book has many classics like chocolate souffles, flourless chocolate torte, and chocolate fudge sauce plus some new ideas such as butter breakfast scones with chocolate chunks and chocolate dipped lemon cookies.
The slimmest volume of the three books is Viva Chocolate! but it is the most diverse and includes 50 savory as well as sweet recipes. Smokin' Hot Chili and Turkey Mole both caught my eye as did a recipe for champurrado, a Mexican chocolate drink with masa I've been wanting to try for ages. During citrus season, the Chocolate Tangerine Pound Cake with or without the Tangerine Whipped Cream is a great pick as well.
While each of these books are smaller format "gift" types, they are also solid choices for the chocoholic looking for easy recipes to whip up at home.
Double Chocolate-Hazelnut Biscotti
Makes 48 cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa
4 ounces Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate baking bar, finely chopped
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two cookie sheets.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, ground chocolate and semisweet chocolate.
In a separate bowl, combine the eggs and vanilla, and stir until well-blended. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until a dough forms (it should adhere to the beaters), 2 to 3 minutes. Fold in the nuts.
Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. On the prepared cookie sheets, using lightly floured hands, shape each portion into 1 1/4-inch-by-10-inch logs. Place the logs at least 4 inches apart.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the logs are firm to the touch. Let cool on the cookie sheets for 15 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Transfer 1 log to a cutting board and with a serrated knife, cut into twelve 1-inch-wide cookies. Repeat with the remaining 3 logs. Remove 1 oven rack and place the 48 cookies directly on it. Return the rack to the uppermost position in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp. To test for doneness, remove one cookie, let it cool, then check for crispness.
Transfer the cookies from the oven rack to a wire cooling rack and let cool completely. Store at room temperature in a tightly covered container.
Reprinted with permission from The Ghirardelli Chocolate Cookbook Copyright © 2007 by the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company published in 2007 by Ten Speed Press.