cover image Luscious Chocolate Desserts

Luscious Chocolate Desserts

Lori Longbotham. Chronicle Books, $19.95 (144pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-3516-9

There's no shortage of chocolate cookbooks out there, but this volume stands out for its user-friendly nature and the sheer deliciousness of its recipes. Longbotham (Luscious Lemon Desserts), a former food editor at Gourmet, clearly knows her material: she provides a concise history of chocolate, a description of the journey from cacao pod to hot cocoa, and a brief glossary explaining the myriad different forms chocolate can take. She even includes a short discussion on the health benefits of chocolate consumption, which should come as a relief to anyone tempted by fat and calorie-laden recipes like Killer Chocolate Cheesecake or Luscious Chocolate Custard Ice Cream. Individual Molten Chocolate Cakes have become a restaurant cliche, but made at home, they regain both their originality and their integrity. And Luscious Chocolate Layer Cake, a birthday classic, is rich, gooey and satisfyingly all-American. Some of the best recipes are the ones that mix fruit with chocolate; Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread on Toast with Nectarines is like Nutella to the nth power, the nectarines a perfect foil for the chocolate spread, and Crisp Chocolate Chip Cookies with Dried Cherries and Pistachios are wonderfully crunchy and chewy at the same time. The dried cherries provide a terrific sweet-tart kick. The diversity of the recipes, along with the photographs of all these heartbreakingly gorgeous desserts, make this the perfect cookbook for any chocolate fanatic--those who love to eat chocolate and those who just love to read about it.