cover image Chocolate: From Simple Cookies to Extravagant Showstoppers

Chocolate: From Simple Cookies to Extravagant Showstoppers

Nick Malgieri. HarperCollins Publishers, $42.5 (480pp) ISBN 978-0-06-018711-8

Malgieri's paean to the cocoa bean collects just about every classic chocolate dessert. A thorough introduction to chocolate offers not just the history of the magic bean, but definitions of the various types and explanations of their uses, tips on storage and equipment and clear instructions for melting and tempering. As in his earlier How to Bake (1995), Malgieri, who is chairman of the baking department at Peter Kump's Cooking School, takes a gentle, educational tone in both homegrown recipes (Easy Fudgy Loaf Cake and Chocolate and Vanilla Pinwheels) and more sophisticated ones (Chocolate Paris-Brest, Chocolate Orange Trifle, and Chocolate Souffle Roll with Striped Chocolate Filling). Malgieri doesn't experiment with a lot of exotic ingredients (an exception is Warm Chocolate-Chile Cakes with Caramelized Bananas). When he does wax inventive, it's with regard to presentation: Individual Chocolate Cheese Tartlets have white filling in chocolate crusts, and each is dotted with chocolate batter in the center, while White Chocolate Strawberry Tart is topped with whole strawberries dipped in white chocolate. The pieces de resistance here are the challenging projects that close the book. These include a Chocolate Basket made by weaving strips of Chocolate Plastic; a Chocolate Flowers Wreath Cake topped with hand-fashioned flowers; and a cunning Chocolate Victorian Cottage Cookie Box complete with white chocolate cornices. Photos. (Oct.)