26 October 2009
View and Review : Divine, Heavenly Chocolate Recipes
The devoted bloggers over at BloggerAid...Changing the Face of Famine are always coming up with wonderful new initiatives, and recently they've launched the View and Review program, in which agreements were reached to partner cookbook publishers with BloggerAid and to offer members participation in book and product reviews. I, of course, immediatly signed up, very excited about the prospect of getting free cookbooks, testing new recipes and then telling you about it!
Then, when I finally got my first one, I got sick! So... while I meant to test at least 3 or 4 recipes before writing, I only got to test 2. I did however, read quite a few of the recipes AND drool over -- er, I mean, look at -- all the pictures. My other quick caveat is that Divine: Heavenly Chocolate Recipes, published by Absolute Press, is a recipe book that's supposed to accompany Divine chocolate (a fair-trade farmer-owned chocolate company "with a heart"), which unfortunately is not distributed in France. I did buy organic fair-trade chocolate products to test their recipes, but I'm sure they would've been better with the chocolate for which they were written!
Divine has a great introduction with the story of Divine chocolate, the meanings of the Adinkra symbols on their products, as well as helpful tips about working with chocolate. The cookbook is very well presented. The recipes are laid out in a way that is easy to read at a glance. You can quickly see if the recipe is a complicated or simple and whether or not it appeals to you. There are a wide ranges of recipes from cookies to brownies to cheesecakes to drinks and even a small savory section with a couple recipes that would be great for the holidays. Also all the oven temperatures are in Celcius, Fahrenheit and gas mark -- very useful for those of us straddling systems!
Considering that, I was surprised that author seems to assume that we all have every modern convenience. I would have liked to have seen alternative methods proposed for those without a food mixer or other amenities.
I tested both the Butterscotch Swirl Brownies and the Honey Chocolate Madeleines and both times had some trouble with the batter (again, possibly because I didn't have the right chocolate). When I tried to swirl the chocolate into the brownies, it mostly ended up mixing in in some places and staying on top in others, making the texture a little mushy once cooked. (Though still yummy of course.)
I didn't quite master the Honey Chocolate Madeleine batter either, which never became thick at the beginning, like it was supposed to, and the end result tasted good but had a texture more like cakey brownies than like madeleines.
Still, there are quite a few delicious-looking recipes still to try (White Chocolate Cookies Studded with Cranberries, Toasted Pecan Shortbreads, Lemon and Chocolate Tart...) and I know some guinea pigs who will be happy to test until I get the batter just right!
A big thank you to Absolute Press and View and Review for letting me test this cookbook!