Lora Brody, Author . Clarkson Potter $35 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4000-4597-6

Early on in her celebratory recipe collection, Brody (Growing Up on a Chocolate Diet ) addresses the difficulty of cooking with chocolate and explains the tools and procedures necessary for success when attempting her recipes. No chocolate snob, the author favors quality ingredients but minimal fuss for her desserts. Her credo is "Lemme at it" instead of "It's much too pretty to cut." Brody's first chapter lays out the differences among unsweetened, bittersweet and semi-sweet; simplifies a method of chocolate preparation called tempering; and distinguishes between "natural" cocoa powder and "Dutch process" cocoa. Brody's attention to detail makes a few of her recipes longer than usual. Later chapters deal with candy making, holiday baked goods and introducing kids to cooking with chocolate projects. Brody believes Americans "boldly weave what we learn from the world's greatest cooks with our own dining experiences to produce singular expressions of our chocolate love," and supports her point in nearly 120 recipes. There are clever cake and pie makeovers, in which she "Americanizes" international favorites like biscotti, chow mein noodles and Linzer Torte with chocolate. Brody's democratic approach embraces the plain (e.g., Coke Cake and Chocolate-Covered Cape Cod Potato Chips), the luxe (e.g., White Chocolate-Coconut Milk Crème Brûlée) and the downright odd (e.g., Chocolate Chile Cake). Her can-do writing style invites novices to give all these desserts a go and should appeal to home chefs with a sweet tooth and average culinary skills. Agent, Susan Ginsburg. (On sale Apr. 13)

Forecast: National publicity and author interviews out of Boston and New York might hook readers.

Reviewed on: 02/02/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
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