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Chocolate Cookbooks

We seem to be in a cookbook frenzy right now, and in another thread a Chowhounder was lamenting the dearth of chocolate cookbooks in a list of cookbooks. Being the fifth basic food group, chocolate definitely needs its own thread on cookbooks, so I thought I would start one. Here is my contribution:

- "The Cake Bible". Some would say that this book appears ad nauseum on this board. It is not only about chocolate, but definitely belongs here as it has some great chocolate cake recipes, which I have made over and over again.

- "Cocolat", "Bittersweet", and "Chocolate Holidays", all by Alice Medrich.

- "The Art of Chocolate" by Elaine Gonzalez. Great book for various techniques with chocolate. Wish I could make all the chocolate flowers that she does, but I am all thumbs. I would not even try !

- "Chocolate Desserts", by Pierre Hermé, with Dorie Greenspan.

- "The International Chocolate Cookbook", by Nancy Baggett

- "The Chocolate Bible", by Christian Teubner.

- "Dessert Circus", by Jacques Torres

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  1. More by Medrich on chocolate in her fascinating "Pure Dessert", which explores other flavors as well as the food of the gods.

    1. The problem is that so many cookbooks go out of print in a year or so. Add to the above:
      Death by Chocolate, Marcel Desaulniers
      A Passion for Chocolate, Maurice and Jean-Jacques Bernachon, adapted for American kitchen by R.L Beranbaum
      Glorious Chocolate, Editor of Chocolatier Magazine
      Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts
      Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts, Alice Medrich
      Chocolate, Nick Malgieri
      La Maison du Chocolate, Robert Linx

      33 Replies
      1. re: PBSF

        Out of print butlmost always still available on ABEbooks, betterworldbooks.com or similar or often through Amazon. I've gotten 1960's books theough ABE.

        1. re: buttertart

          Thank you for the suggestion for ABEbooks, etc. There are so many sites selling out of print books that one can usually find a copy, and some at ridiculous prices. I've been looking for Claudia Fleming's Last Course and can't believe what people of asking for.

          1. re: PBSF

            You might be able to contact Fleming's B&B directly and get a new copy of Last Course for the typical price of a new book. If she still has copies.


            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              I think she sold out of those copies she reprinted in the summer of '08. If I recall correctly, she had to charge more than the $40 the book cost when it was first published and when she went back to reprint a second time the price had gone up even more.

              But sometimes you can get lucky. I found a copy on the not-yet-on-the-shelved table at the Strand and bought it for $20.00.

              1. re: JoanN

                I bought mine from the B&B last year for about $40 (with, I think, shipping on top of that.) I don't know which printing though it was though...

                I'm still envious of your $20 find!


                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  I had thought someone told me she was having to charge something closer to $50 for it. Entirely possible I'm misremembering. Happens more and more often these days.

                  1. re: JoanN

                    Hmmmm...well, now that you mention, it suddenly occurs to me that I might have paid $48 for it. So, I just looked up the receipt for it and it was $53 before tax and shipping. $58 in total. Someone is misremembering and it doesn't appear to be you!

                    But, it appears to be moot anyway. I don't see it for sale anywhere on their website. You used to be able to buy it from the website, though you had to treat it like a reservation.



              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                Thank you everyone for the suggestions on my search for Claudia Fleming's book. $40 to $50 is not outrageous since it was probably $35 when first published. I'll continue to keep my eyes open when I browse old bookstores. Maybe, I'll get lucky. Thanks again!

                1. re: PBSF

                  Just fyi, the retail price printed on the flap of my copy, which is the original first printing, is $40.

                  1. re: JoanN

                    Every year recently, I've been so glad I got The Last Course when it first came out (and from a book club, so I did not pay cover price). I had had Fleming's desserts at Gramercy tavern, and so I was anticipating its release at the time. I haven't baked a lot from it, but I have it, so I have plenty of time to do so! Joan, you were very lucky, as you know.

            2. re: buttertart

              I've had great luck buying older (and new) books at great prices from both Ebay and Half.com. Many of the great chocolate and bread books in my cookbook library are from one or the other of those two sites.

              1. re: housewolf

                I got Passion for Chocolate for $2 on Amazon, and in great shape too.

                1. re: souschef

                  I never pay retail for a book...ever.... Half.com or amazon but almost always used. Especially cookbooks. There are so many people buy cookbooks and thumb through them once or twice.

                  The shipping is usually more than the book.

                  1. re: tonka11_99

                    Some of the books in this thread are no longer readily available at even the retail price. The Last Course, being a prime example. :(. Such a bummer that these books go out of print so quickly.


            3. re: PBSF

              My mother has A Passion for Chocolate. It was a gift in, I think, the mid or late '80s, and she made a number of birthday cakes based on it. As I recall, there is a lot that's a mix-and-match approach with various cakes (mostly genoise), soaks for the cakes, and filling/frosting, especially ganaches (not surprisingly).

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                A Passion for Chocolate has a lot of nice cakes, many of them based on chocolate Génoise, which I made a couple of times and both times the Génoise was dry and heavy. Curiously, RLB has a much better Génoise in The Cake Bible - it involves mixing the cocoa with water rather than sifting it with the flour (as is done in Passion).

                1. re: souschef

                  I agree the numerous chocolate genoise recipes in Bernachon's book produce heavy and dry cakes, all have way too much flour. That also goes for the plain genoise. They must dump tons of syrup to moisten them. But their Le Succes and L'Opera and Chocolate St-Honore are really good.

                  1. re: PBSF

                    I found that syrup did not help at all.

                    If you like St. Honoré you will like Salambo - choux puffs filled with rum-flavoured pastry cream, the top dipped in caramel, and crushed pistachios drizzled over.

                      1. re: souschef

                        Saint-Honoré is the one cake I have always promised myself I would make one day. Hasn't happened yet! I take it you have?

                        1. re: buttertart

                          Yup, made it many times, with orange pastry cream (caramel on the puffs), and with chocolate pastry cream (chocolate on the puffs). The best-looking one I have seen is in the book "Finest Desserts" by Michel Roux.

                          1. re: souschef

                            There's a gorgeous-looking one on the pb of Nick Malgieri's "Perfect Pastry" which always sets my mind a-wanderin'.

                            1. re: buttertart

                              Okay, a challenge. You make one and post a picture here and I'll do the same. Time limit one month from today.

                              1. re: souschef

                                You're on. I have to find the Malgieri book first!

                              2. re: buttertart

                                Hey! what happened to the cake and photos??

                                1. re: toodie jane

                                  Buttertart and I both made them several months ago and posted pictures in a "What are you baking" thread. I did a quick search but could not find the thread. I made two; attached is a picture of one of them.

                                  1. re: souschef

                                    A la Berthillon, chocolate. Mine was the traditional, vanilla. I am SO GLAD I took souschef's challenge, it taught me a lot making this.
                                    The whole gory story: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7193...

                                    1. re: buttertart

                                      You mean Bernachon. Berthillon is known for ice cream, right ?

                                      1. re: souschef

                                        Dang, yes. I should know better since they're both pilgrimage sites for me!

                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                      Some of those ganaches are marvelous. I've had the book since it was first published but the only thing I've ever made from it is the chocolate truffles. I made one batch with the Ganache Antillaise (hazelnuts, dark rum, and bittersweet chocolate) and another with the Ganache Chinghalaise (bittersweet chocolate and cinnamon). A messy pain in the neck that I never bothered with again, but they sure were good.

                    2. re: PBSF

                      Do you know if Glorious Chocolate is just made up of recipes from Chocolatier magazine, or is it entirely different. I really loved the magazine, have lots of the issues, and have made some nice cakes from them. I'm trying to resist the temptation to buy yet another (chocolate) cookbook (I have too many as is), but if it is original .........

                      1. re: souschef

                        My copy's publishing date is 1989. Reading the inside jacket, they imply that the recipes in the book are from past issues of the magazine.

                        1. re: PBSF

                          Thank you for looking it up. I think I'll pass on buying the book.

                    3. Chocolate Artistry by Elaine González
                      Chocolate Ecstacy by Christine France

                      and I have most of the books already mentioned.

                      1. The Chocolate Bar
                        The Essence of Chocolate
                        Chocolate American Style
                        Chocolate Obsession

                        1. I particularly like Gonzalez's chocolate gift with a white chocolate bow. She makes the bow with sheets of clear plastic acetate. It sorta looks like the picture I have posted but hers is even nicer.

                          1. For me, nothing has surpassed "Cocolat."

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: pikawicca

                              I am an Alice Medrich fan, too. Another book you might want to explore is Chocolate Obsession: Confections and Treats to Create and Savor by Michael Recchiuti, Fran Gage, and Maren Caruso. I have yet to try the earl grey chocolates, but they are on my to do list! Don't overlook the much simpler sale books with lots of photos... my favorite chocolate tart and flourless cake recipes are from one of those. Keep your eyes open at the bookstore, you never know what you will find.

                            2. If you want to make chocolates, i.e. bonbons, and other confections (which I guess is sort of a sub-category but worth mentioning), these are my faves (I own them all):

                              1. Fine Chocolates: Great Experience, Jean-Pierre Wybauw (all of his, btw)
                              2. Chocolate Obsession, Michael Recdhiuti
                              3. Making Artisan Chocolate, Andrew Shotts
                              4. Chocolate and Confections, Peter Greweling

                              Also, under the more comprehensive category, I'm fond of Nick Malgieri's chocolate book. I think it's called "Chocolate".

                              1. Maida Heatter's dessert books, including the "Book of Great Chocolate Desserts", are simply the best. Gonzales' "Chocolate Artistry" is full of marvelous tips not readily available elsewhere, more from the decorative than the eating perspective.