Friday, April 10, 2009

Death By Chocolate Cookbook

Did you know... that if you're someone who keeps empty Godiva chocolate boxes in your lingerie drawer (just so you can smell chocolate first thing in the morning) you might be a "Chocophile"?! I didn't know that there was a label for us....except for maybe "strange" or "unusual".
Well, Chocophiles get ready! Today's the chocolate cookbook review that I've been promising. The title is Death By Chocolate and it's written by Marcel Desauliniers of the Trellis Restaurant in Williamsburg, Va. It was published in 1992 by Rizzoli International Publications (Kenan Books, Inc.) and its ISBN is 0-8478-1564-1.
Now that you know about my Godiva boxes, I'm also willing to admit that as a cookbook hoarder, I have several with chocolate themes, but this is one of the best. It's written by a chef who's clear passion is all things chocolate; you can tell by the tone of his writing how much he enjoys the subject. I like the beginning of the book where he quotes "Baron Von Liebig":

"Chocolate is a perfect food, as wholesome as it is delicious, a beneficent restorer of exhausted power; but its quality must be good, and it must be carefully prepared. It is highly nourishing and easily digested."

I wanted to sign the Baron up as my personal physician until I realized that he was a fictitious character. It's refreshing to find a chef who specializes in "chocolate miracle creations" and has a sense of humor; sometimes folks with a "claim to fame" can be such Divas (i.e. TV chef/commentators).
On the practical side, he starts the book by saying that all ingredients used in the recipes are easy to find in a common grocery store. "The point," he says, "is that first class desserts can be produced at home with ingredients that are readily available". He goes on to recommend using "real chocolate such as Baker's, Hershey's, or Nestle's, and large eggs in all recipes". More basic information includes: the history of chocolate, grading its quality, proper storage, and identifying the various types used for the book's recipes.
I have to add, the photographs of these wonderful desserts, alone, make the book worth owning. Photographer, Michael Grand, makes the food look so beautiful that the reader feels as if she could dip her finger in the chocolate.
Although there are only five chapters to this coffee table-sized book, it's full of take-your-breath-away desserts with step-by-step instructions and tips from the chef in the side margin. Admittedly, these are recipes that take some extra effort; they're not weeknight "throw-a-cake-together" recipes. These are special desserts and would be perfect for guests or special occasions!
For me, the only thing that can improve a chocolate dessert is the addition of a coffee flavor to the mix, so that's how I chose today's sample recipe (my apologies to the non-coffee lovers among us!)

Pg. 73 Mocha Java Sorbet

2 C water
2 C granulated sugar
1 1/2 C brewed coffee, full strength
6 oz. unsweetened chocolate, broken into 1/2 oz. pieces
2 oz. semisweet chocolate, broken into 1/2 oz. pieces

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Equipment: Measuring cup, measuring spoons, 2 1/2 qt. saucepan, 2 stainless steel bowls (1 large), whisk, spoon, instant-read thermometer, ice cream freezer, rubber spatula, 2 qt. plastic container with lid.

Heat the water, sugar, and coffee in a 2 1/2 qt. saucepan over med. high heat. Whisk to dissolve the sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil. Place the unsweetened and semisweet chocolates in a stainless steel bowl. Remove the boiling liquid from the heat and pour 1 C over the chocolate. Allow to stand for 5 min. Vigorously whisk until completely smooth, about 3 min. Add the remaining hot liquid and whisk until smooth.
Cool in an * ice-water bath to a temperature of 40 to 45 degrees, about 18-20 min. When cold, add the vanilla and stir to incorporate.

Freeze in an ice-cream freezer following the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer semifrozen sorbet to a plastic container, securely cover the container, then place in freezer for several hours before serving. Serve within 2 days.

*Ice-water bath: Large stainless steel bowl partially filled with ice and water. There should be enough ice and water in the bowl so that the outside surface of the container to be cooled will be surrounded by ice and water. If the volume of the container is larger than can be accommodated by your largest bowl, then consider using the kitchen sink.

Look at Grocerycart challenge and Lifeasmom for more recipes and frugal ideas today!


  1. This sounds like a wonderful recipe. You might also be interested in Joy of Desserts upcoming Chocolate round up? You can find it at

  2. What a fun title. Sounds so mysterious too. I'm so glad you'll be joining us for the roundup. I noticed on your profile that you collect old cookbooks too. Looks like we have more than a few things in common. Would love it if you would share some of your vintage recipes by participating in my Vintage Recipe Thursday too if you are interested.
    Have a great Easter season.

  3. I'm already drooling, Marcia.
    Being a baking-newbie, it looks -- intimidating to me. But it won't stop me from trying, especially this one.

    Happy Easter.

    We Ate This!

  4. I that a Chocophile or a Chocoholic? I'll admit I love the smell of chocolate, but I'm not putting empty boxes in my lingerie drawer. Not on purpose, at any rate. :)

    Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  5. I have heard of this before and if I was more of a chocolate lover would love to have it. I would however fix this for my kids