Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Vegan Chocolate
Review and Giveaway

Vegan Chocolate—the two sweetest words in the English language and the title of pastry chef extraordinaire Fran Costigan's latest book. Within the pages of this gorgeous, museum-quality, hardbound edition you'll find nothing less than the fulfillment of all of your chocolate dreams.


Do you dream of decadently delicious chocolate creams, puddings, truffles, cakes, cookies, pies, tarts, or frozen desserts? With recipes like Intensely Chocolate Trifle, Chocolate Pecan Cranberry Coffee Cake, Chocolate Pecan Pie, Chocolate Coconut Whipped Cream, and White Chocolate Mousse, Chef Fran has got you covered! I flipped when I read the recipes for chocolate eclairs, blackout cake, and gelato! (Now that's what I'm talking about!) And with so many enormously helpful tips on techniques, sweeteners, and yes—choosing the perfect chocolate for your recipe, you'll feel like Fran is standing right beside you in the kitchen.

I received my copy of Vegan Chocolate just in time for Passover and couldn't wait to make Fran's Dukkah-Spiced Chocolate-Covered Matzoh. What's dukkah? It's a fun-sounding word and a lovely Middle Eastern blend of nuts and spices. The result: savory, salty, spicy, and sweet flavors all dancing together deliciously atop a chocolate ganache-covered matzoh!


My husband thinks that the Almost Instant Chocolate Pudding tastes just like the Jello Instant Pudding he loved eating as a kid. I think it tastes like creamy brownies. He said that's the same thing. You'll say "WOW!" when you taste this dreamy creamy treat.


With almost a dozen tantalizing recipes for chocolate truffles in Vegan Chocolate, the challenge was deciding which one to make first. Since I adore chai, I honed in on Chai-Spiced Truffles. These melt-in-your-mouth cocoa confections were heavenly.


If you want to treat yourself or your favorite chocolate lover to a spectacular gift, indulge all of your chocolate fantasies, or just tease yourself silly with the exquisite photos in this book, don't wait another second to get a copy of Vegan Chocolate! Until your copy arrives, here's a little nibble of what you'll find inside. The recipe for Very Fudgy Chocolate Chip Brownies from Vegan Chocolate ©2013 by Fran Costigan is reprinted with the kind permission of Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group. And if you're feeling lucky (and even if you're not—someone is going to win, and it could be you!), scroll down to the bottom of the post, leave a comment below, and then follow the Rafflecopter prompts to enter to win a copy!* Your comment is the only mandatory entry requirement, and you'll earn 10 easy entries with just one little comment! To earn additional entries, you can also follow any or all of the other steps. Good luck!

Photo credit: Kate Lewis
Very Fudgy Chocolate Chip Brownies

You’ll get plenty of “brownie points” for these soft, fudgy, and rich chocolate treats studded with chocolate chunks or chips. Walnuts add crunch and cut the sweetness, but if you like a brownie unencumbered by nuts, just say no to this option. No matter what you prefer, these brownies will stay fudgy when frozen, making them the perfect cake for ice cream sandwiches or any of the frozen desserts in chapter 8. Make a Blow Them Away Brownie Sundae or just dip into some of the Thick Fudge Sauce. Just watch out: These brownies are not low fat or low sugar—a small square should satisfy. Note: If using coconut oil as the fat, make sure the other ingredients are at room temperature, or the oil will harden into clumps.

Makes one 8 x 8-inch / 20 x 20-cm square pan

Ingredients:
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon/73 grams organic all-purpose flour
½ cup/70 grams organic whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup/58 grams Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ cup minus 1 tablespoon/98 grams organic granulated sugar
¼ cup/38 grams organic whole cane sugar, ground in a blender until powdered
2 tablespoons/12 grams arrowroot or organic cornstarch (14 grams)
1 teaspoon/5 grams aluminum-free baking powder
½ teaspoon/2.5 grams fine sea salt
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons / 90 ml mild tasting extra-virgin olive oil or an organic neutral vegetable oil
½ cup/20 ml pure maple syrup, Grade B or dark amber
¼ cup/60 ml any nondairy milk
2 teaspoons/10 ml pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon chocolate extract (optional)
Heaping ½cup/85 grams vegan chocolate chips or mini chunks
1/3 cup/43 grams lightly toasted walnuts or mixed nuts, coarsely chopped (optional)

Directions:
1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350˚F / 180˚C. Oil an 8 x 8-inch / 20 x 20-cm square pan and then line the bottom with parchment paper. Do not oil the paper.
2. Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add the all-purpose flour, pastry flour, cocoa, granulated sugar, whole cane sugar, arrowroot or cornstarch, baking powder, and salt to the strainer and stir with a whisk to sift the ingredients into the bowl. (If any small bits remain in the strainer, add them to the mixture in the bowl.) Whisk to aerate the mixture.
3. Whisk the oil, maple syrup, nondairy milk, vanilla and chocolate extract, if using, in a separate medium bowl until completely combined. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix with a silicone spatula until the batter, which will be thick, is smooth. Allow the batter to rest for ten minutes.
4. Stir the chocolate chips and nuts, if using, into the batter. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, and spread into an even layer with a metal spatula.
5. Bake for 23 minutes until the top is set and dry and the sides have pulled just slightly away from the pan.
6. Remove the pan from the oven and set on a cooling rack. Immediately insert a wooden tester diagonally into the brownies. The tester will be coated with batter, but not wet. If necessary, bake another minute.
7. Cool to room temperature. The middle of the cake will sink as it cools; don’t worry. Once cold you can push the sides down to level the cake if you like. Refrigerate until very cold before cutting into squares.

Keeping: Refrigerate the brownies in a covered container, in layers separated by parchment, for up to three days, or freeze for up to one month. Defrost unwrapped or eat straight out of the freezer.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
*Sorry international friends, this giveaway is open only to U.S. residents.   

37 comments:

Shannon R said...

Man, these photos are fantastic, I'm putting these brownies on my list for sure.

Jenni (aka Vegyogini) said...

Hmm...my vegan chocolate fantasy would be a veganized Skor bar (or Heath bar). Thank you for the giveaway!

Ben said...

The pudding sounds amazing! Chocolate Jello pudding was always my favorite growing up.

VeganMarr said...

A vegan Sanders choc cake...like made by Sanders bakery in Detroit that we had for birthdays when I was a kid...."fingers" of whip cream on the top, covered by a thick hard layer of chocolate, cream layers, moist choc cake....delish.

Rebecca said...

Vegan tiramisu! I used to love it when I was growing up :)

bitt said...

Chocolate ice cream cake with brownie crumbles and chocolate frosting.

Shannon Hickman said...

I love literally anything chocolate, but my favorite was always the classic chocolate cake. The cover of the Vegan Chocolate cookbook is literally making my mouth water just looking at it!

Lydia Claire said...

A cake with a creamy center and caramel!

Corrine Greenfield said...

Pudding, mousse or anything creamy and decadent.

Handmade by Lorna said...

I have never tasted vegan chocolate before, that brownie recipe looks delish, thank you for sharing.

samantha said...

Those brownies sound unreal. Would love to try and make them as a cake with some crumbled nuts and coconut on top.

MonsterAteMy said...

A Russell-Stover-type box of assorted vegan chocolates that doesn't break the bank.

scarriemom said...

A big pot of chocolate fondue with all kinds of yummy dippers!

Ashley said...

I would love to be able to go to order out a (vegan) half baked chocolate chip cookie with ice cream...it's my favorite chocolate dessert and I always have to make it at home, which takes some of the fun out of it! That's my fantasy! :) Thanks for the giveaway!

Amanda H said...

Would LOVE to be able to make vegan chocolate covered marshmallows or rocky road.....heaven!!

Patty T said...

You covered all my favorites already! Looks so yummy!

Terri Cole said...

My fantasy is the perfect vegan German Chocolate cake. mmmmmmmm...

gaia (at) cinci (dot) rr (dot) com

Kendy P said...

anything peanut butter + chocolate is my friend!

The Vegan said...

More delicious photos and recipes I have never seen!

Fran Costigan said...

Thank you Gail for your wonderful review amd for the giveaway. I love all these comments. I think I've got to get a piece of the Sacher Torte which I just happen to have :)). That's the cover cake by the way. Good luck all. I'll be happy to send a personalized name plate to the winner!

Best,
Fran

Marsha said...

My vegan chocolate fantasy is eating an entire pan of vegan chocolate brownies without gaining one ounce!!

Anonymous said...

My vegan fantasy is making a chocolate cake to fool my friends who are not vegan.
heather hgtempaddy@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Love chocolate and having foods be healthier is my goal.

Karen Delaney said...

Chocolate mousse is my fantasy

Shannon said...

Ooh... the perfect vegan chocolate pot de creme, maybe? Or vegan chocolate souffle?

Melissa B said...

Those brownies look amazing - I love anything chocolate and my husband LOVES brownies.

sara said...

Making me so hungry! Chocolate peanut butter cheesecake please! :)

Helen said...

Chocolate (and vanilla) pudding is one of those things I missed the most immediately after going vegan. If I had this book, that is definitely the recipe I would try first!

++++ said...

hands down, a vegan cadbury creme egg.!!!

Kelly OMalley said...

I would try the truffles first. yummm. But the brownies look yummy too.

Bethany S. said...

I really miss chocolate malted milk balls (like Whoppers). Having them be vegan AND gluten-free would be best!

Millie said...

Gail all that wonderful chocolate makes me want to bake...love it all.

http://nuestracena-vegancuisine.blogspot.com

numbbutter said...

I want those chocolate truffles,lol, i thought i would never have chocolate again<3

Sam said...

I honestly don't eat a lot of chocolate, but I recently tried a vegan truffle called 1,000 Giggles--it was amazing, like a super-gourmet version of a 100 Grand bar! :D

VeganMarr said...

Rebecca, a couple restaurants in LA have vegan tiramisu. It's divine.

francesca said...

Vegan dark chocolate pie would be great!

Jen T. said...

Vegan hot fudge sauce over vegan chocolate ice cream!