Even though I have a robust--some might say embarrassingly large--collection of dessert cookbooks, I'm always on the lookout for more, which is why I was more than happy to accept a copy of Ed Engoron's new cookbook, Choclatique: 150 Simply Elegant Desserts.
Engoron, the co-founder of artisan chocolate company Choclatique, has crafted his book around a unique concept: the book begins with five basic ganache recipes, and each subsequent dessert recipe utilizes at least one of the five ganaches. The ganache types include milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, hot fudge, and spiced dark chocolate. The recipes range from chocolate soup to s'mores pizza, lava cakes to cheesecakes, milkshakes to chocolate waffles. The wide variety of recipes and the creative ways the ganaches are incorporated really emphasize the versatility of the ganache recipes. Sure, they're sometimes used as a dip or a garnish, but they're often incorporated straight into the recipes in unusual ways as well.
The book itself is beautiful. It's a sturdy hardcover with lovely photos (although not all recipes have pictures, which would be a requirement in my perfect world.) There are numerous sidebars called "ChefSecrets" with tips about ingredients and preparation for the recipes. Engoron has also traveled to over 130 different countries in his quest to learn about chocolate, and scattered amongst the recipes are sections titled "Ed's Journal" where he shares anecdotes and photos from his journeys. In short, this is a cookbook for those who love diving into cookbooks and reading and learning about food, not just consulting recipes.
I've tried four of the five ganache recipes, and they've all been hits. The method he uses is different than my usual method, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were all very reliable and produced beautiful, unbroken ganaches every time. The dessert recipes themselves are fun and different. There are some usual suspects (cookies, souffles, puddings) but also some unexpected and adventurous twists, like chocolate pasta and 3-D chocolate-filled pancakes. For a book coming from the founder of a chocolate company, there are actually not too many candy recipes, so it's a good buy for those who want an all-around chocolate dessert cookbook.
The biggest drawback is built into the concept of the book itself: because all of the recipes require at least one ganache, even basic recipes are a two-step process of first making the ganache, then making the recipe itself. And if the recipe requires two or three ganaches, as some do, that increases the time factor and ingredients needed. This setup isn't practical for every cook, and can be a detriment when a recipe requires just a small amount of ganache. There are some recipes where the ganache isn't an integral part and could probably be omitted, but of course this isn't true for every recipe.
My other critique is that the ganache recipe yields are given in weight, but all of the recipes calls for volume measurements. Yes, this is nitpicky, but hear me out! When making a recipe that requires a small amount of ganache (say, 1/2 cup) you may want to half or quarter the original ganache recipe so as not to be left with lots of leftovers, but it's difficult to know what the volume yield will be until you make the ganache. This isn't a huge deal, but it would be convenient to have the yields be in the same format, or (ideally) include both weight and volume for the recipes. As it is, Engoron says the ganaches can be kept for up to three months in the refrigerator, so if you're a regular dessert maker, there's plenty of time to put them to good use before they spoil.
Of course I couldn't talk on and on about this cookbook without also sharing a recipe! The publisher was kind enough to give me permission to reprint a recipe from Choclatique, and naturally I had to choose a candy recipe to share with you all. I chose a recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Glazed Fudge, which is an easy microwave fudge that includes semi-sweet chocolate, condensed milk, and dark chocolate ganache. Peanut butter chips are added at the end, and the whole thing is finished with a delicious peanut butter glaze.
The recipe only requires 1 cup of ganache, so I recommend making a half batch of the ganache, or making a full batch and rolling the rest into truffles or using it as a chocolate sauce over ice cream or cake!
Get the recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Glazed Fudge
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this cookbook from the publisher. I did not receive any additional compensation. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.