It has finally happened, I have been asked to review a cookbook that is totally, and solely, about chocolate. Or as I like to say…the 5th food group. CRAZY ABOUT CHOCOLATE by Krystina Castella is full of every kind of recipe that a chocolate lover could ask for; candy, cookies, pies, cakes, ice cream, pudding, cocktails, party foods, crusts, sauces, toppings, and all kinds of special occasion foods. It took me nearly a week to decide which luscious treat that I would be making, and then I decided to make two decadent goodies.
When Krystina Castella was a little girl, her secret ambition in life was to grow up and own a chocolate factory, she studied the history of chocolate, organized Saturday morning bike rides to the candy store, and her role model was Lucille Ball (mine too!!) because Lucy showed you that you could have fun while working with your friend, and hiding chocolate under your hat.
Halloween was a special day for Krystina. She carefully planned her Beggar’s Night windfall to allow herself 1 piece of candy each day for a year. She would do 7 rounds of trick-or-treating (6 solid hours), returning home only to dump the candy on her bed when her container was full, before returning to her task. Once she was done collecting candy, she would divide the spoils into 52 plastic bags that each contained 7 pieces of candy. You’ve got to admire that kind of willpower. 365 pieces of candy would have been dangerous at my house, especially chocolate. They would have found me in a sugar coma, strung out on a bed of candy wrappers, with a puddle of chocolate drool next to my head.
Now that she is all grown up, Krystina Castella is an industrial designer and professor who has been a busy girl, authoring several cookbooks as well as designing furniture, clothing, toys, and baked goods. Her love of chocolate is evident in this well-organized book. The entire first chapter explains everything you would need to know about working with chocolate; from the types of chocolate, to the tools, equipment, cookware and environment necessary in the kitchen. Essential techniques, such as melting, tempering, shaping, and molding, are explained in an easy to understand manner. The chapter also covers transporting chocolate, gift giving, and mailing.
Chapter 2 covers the Everyday Chocolate; Hand-Dipped Salted Caramels, Turtles, Fudge, Truffles, Orange Chocolate Marble Pound Cake, Brownies, Macaroons, Chocolate Cream Pie, Chocolate Croissants, Pudding Pops, Mocha Cappuccino Mousse, etc. These are the recipes necessary for a chocolaty treat mid-week. Chapter 3, Chocolate for Special Occasions, has recipes for birthdays, weddings, and cute miniature tidbits for baby showers. Chapter 4, Party Chocolate, offers up chocolate recipes for brunches, BBQ’s, dinner parties, and cocktail parties.
Chapter 5, Holiday Chocolate, has recipes for all the holidays, starting with New Years’ Day and ending with Christmas. Along the way you’ll find; Chinese New Year treats (Chocolate Pineapple Moon Cakes), Chocolate Cream Cheese King Cake (for Mardi Gras), Chocolates for Valentine’s Day, Chocolate Easter Cookies, treats for Jewish holidays (Rugelach , Hamantaschen, and Chocolate Chip Challah), 4th of July Berry Pie with a Chocolate Crust, Candy Corn Bark for Halloween, and Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie for Thanksgiving…just to name a few. Krystina finishes off the book with chapter 6, Crusts, Sauces, and Toppings.
The first recipe I made is Chocolate Spice Sorbet, which is a light and refreshing alternative to ice cream. If you do not like cardamom ( or do not want to spend a lot of money on a spice that you will never use again), Krystina Castella recommends some flavor variations; you can replace the cinnamon and cardamom with mint, ginger, lavender, raspberry, or orange. Sorbet does not freeze as hard as ice cream, so plan on placing the sorbet in the freezer overnight before serving.
The Chocolate Sauce I made is rich, velvety, and full of fat. It is a great contrast to the sorbet, and would be delicious served with cakes or breads (gingerbread or banana bread would be awesome), or bottled and given as a gift with an ice cream scoop. I dipped walnuts in the sauce and drizzled some sauce on the sorbet. This book would also be a terrific gift for the chocolate lover on your list. Enjoy!
We got about 1 inch of snow…so pretty!
Recipes and photos are here.
Chocolate Spice Sorbet and Chocolate Sauce are courtesy of CRAZY ABOUT CHOCOLATE by Krystina Castella
Published by Sterling Publishing, 387 Park Avenue South, New York, N.Y. 10016
Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Elizabeth Levesque