Working with chocolate in the kitchen brings a small degree of anxiety — What if I accidentally get a minuscule spec of water in my tempered chocolate? What if I melt this at too high a temp? Still, nothing a warm cup of rich drinking chocolate can’t cure. Or even just a nibble from the bar your busy melting.
Check out my full review of Theo Chocolate: Recipes & Sweet Secrets from Seattle’s Favorite Chocolate Maker.
*sigh* Rain coming down outside. Quiet in the kitchen with the toddler napping and the others at school … this is my quality time, with a favorite cookbook. Sweet joy.
First up. I whisked up a batch of Thierry Rautureau’s Chocolat Chaud Grand-Mère which I believe translates as “hot chocolate grandmother.” This drink sure comforts like an enfolding hug from my grandmother … so I’m ok with this translation, but my French is virtually nil, so don’t quote me on this.
The kids okayed me to use whole fat coconut milk here, and the richness of the 70% dark Theo bar happily covered most of any coconutty flavor.
On a whim I’d already grabbed a loaf of Macrina Bakery Cinnamon Brioche a few days earlier in Seattle. Perhaps this drinking chocolate recipe paired with toasted brioche slathered in butter had wrapped itself deep in my psyche … either way, I recall actually speaking out loud to the sweet loaf.
“I can’t have you anymore, but a life without Macrina brioche … that’s something my kids won’t have.”
If anyone overheard me, they didn’t say.
It should almost go without saying that this. Was. Delicious.
“Oh, Mom! You can make this any time!!”
“You’re such a good cook!”
“Yes, I toast well.”
However, my “egg” choice was a major no-go. This recipe needs a light dough to gently bind all the butter and chocolate goodness and give it a little lift, something the whipped egg whites in the original recipe can easily do, but not my eggless effort.
Here’s where some kitchen magic happened. A little bit of this and a little bit of that, et voilà! I had the most beautiful brownies I think I’ve ever had. Ooey gooey double-chocolate mocha brownies.
Not a bad cookie substitute. And now, not really a “fail.” I say, “A” for effort!
There are a couple other decent egg substitutes I considered re-trying here, but I really wanted to dig in to some of the other recipes … time is a tickin’!
And on to something breakfasty. Certainly not one to shy away from chocolate at breakfast, I prepped Fran Costigan’s Super-Healthy Nibby Chia Breakfast Sundae then went to bed while it slept in my fridge, soaking up all its chocolaty chia goodness.
Breakfast was tasty, and I made this again, but added a little vanilla to the overnight soak and a squeeze of citrus to the finished product. The citrus really makes the creaminess pop.
Good stuff. I try to make overnight oats like these every Sunday night for those dragging Monday mornings. But now I add a healthy dose of chocolate nibs. :)
Now for the savory bit. I had the privledge of being able to bug Maria Hines of Seattle’s Tilth restaurant with a question regarding Tilth’s Toasted Durum Tagliatelle with Lamb Sugo which she’d made as a ravioli version for the Theo Chocolate cookbook event I attended.
“Is it okay if I make this with just the sugo and use a gluten free pasta? It looks absolutely delicious, but I need to use something gluten free … and without eggs. Otherwise I’d make the pasta myself, but it’s just not the same.”
“Of course. If you’d noticed in the recipe I use tagliatelle. You can use whatever you want, it’s just a jumping off point.”
Schooled. Read the book more carefully next time you go bugging the James Beard Award winning author of an included recipe.
Hines was very kind. And I was happy I did ask, because then I felt no guilt whatsoever in swapping out her lovely homemade nibby durum tagliatelle for what I consider the best brand of gluten free pasta ever — duh, it’s Italian — Jovial Pasta.
This dish is amazing. The nibs soften and the flavors meld. Rich and satisfying, this one was a hit. I loved the coarsely chopped heirloom and cherry tomatoes too.
I bought my lamb from a local resource, Island Grown Farmers Co-op, that sources meat (and bones and offal) from Skagit Valley and the Islands. All from small farms who’d normally have trouble finding a regular purchaser for their meats.
I love the meat co-op. I can get lamb, beef, pork, goat … livers, bones, sweetbreads, rocky mountain oysters. (I guess that’d be Island County “Oysters.” But that could get confusing since we also have kick-ass oysters out here too.)
Anyhow. If you’re in the Bow/Edison area on a weekend, grab your meat. It sells at a great price and it’s all local and grass fed. Love it!
(Also visit Tweets or Mariposa for a meal. They use the meat from the farmer’s co-op too. While you’re there you can also grab bread from Breadfarm and enjoy meat and cheeses with a wide selection of wine at Slough Food.)
Two for dessert. The recipe for Dark Chocolate Stout Bunt Cake with Chocolate-Stout-Caramel Hot Fudge Sauce is included in my review, so try the cake for yourself! There’s lots of chocolate in this one, but you won’t be sorry.
In exchange for diving into making Theo’s Big Daddy Bars, I honed in on this delightfully bizarre recipe of brittle with currants, capers and pine nuts.
Don’t shy away from this one! Chris Cosentino’s Agrodolce Brittle is divinely weird. Salty, briny, sweet bites of portiness from the currants, chocolate and buttery pine nuts. *sigh*
If you need further convincing, the cookbook even states, “it’s one of our all-time favorite creations.” (So go for it!)
Get the book. Given that I’ve hardly scratched the surface of all the deliciousness housed between the covers of Theo’s cookbook, I say find yourself a copy. Get thee some chocolate. And get on with your sweet self. :)
Happy Cooking (or Chocolatiering),