Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Gift Guide: Chocolate: More Than 50 Decadent Recipes by Dominique and Cindy Duby

Chocolate: More Than 50 Decadent Recipes (Whitecap Books), the latest book from world renowned chefs and cookbook authors Dominique and Cindy Duby, came out in October but, somehow or another, the food styling and even the recipe choices seem very Christmas-sy. Or maybe that’s just me. Lots of reds and greens. Lots of shiny foils. It all looks distinctly... seasonal.

It’s not true, of course. Chocolate is intended for year ‘round enjoyment. But if you only had one book to get you through the sweet part of the season, you could do a lot worse than this one.

In many ways, Chocolate is a natural progression from the cookbooks the Dubys have already written. From their first book, 2003’s Wild Sweets: Exotic Dessert and Wine Pairings to Wild Sweets Chocolate in 2007 to last year’s Crème Brulèe with Chocolate. Now here we are at Chocolate, a book that touches almost every aspect of cooking with and using that ever popular ingredient.

The recipes here range from ultra simple -- like Baked Chocolate Custard Pudding -- to comfortably old-timey -- Dark Chocolate Pots de Crème -- to silly -- Chocolate “Chips & Salsa” -- to perfectly sophisticated -- Hazelnut Chocolate Mousse Patè.

Like the recipes themselves, instructions range from suitable to the beginning chef to a few that probably only those with a fair amount of kitchen time logged will want to attempt. In both cases, though, the instructions are clear and non-hazy and the food styling and photography is so fantastic, it’s difficult to not want to try everything.

The recipes are varied and terrific but two sections at the back of the book really elevate Chocolate: one chapter offers some serious words on how to pair wine with chocolate. Another chapter offers tips and techniques for getting professional looking results.

The book is from Whitecap’s Definitive Kitchen Classics series. It is not over-reaching to suggest that Chocolate will live up to that promise.

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