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Dessert That Brings out Best in Chocolate?

  • j

I always remember a comment about how compared with Americans, who guiltily indulge in gorging on chocolate (describes me), Europeans use chocolate more as a flavor accent. With that in mind, I'm looking for recommendations for desserts that bring out the best qualities in chocolate, without just being a dressed up chocolate bar...



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  1. Anything in Maida Heatter's Great Chocolate Desserts book. It's important to follow her instructions to use good-quality chocolate.

    1. Interesting question. While I suspect you are looking for new ideas, a couple of North American classics come to mind... the hot fudge sundae and the chocolate chip cookie! The chocolate is obviously key, but it plays with other flavours and textures.
      I'm not personally a great fan of chocolate tart shells or chocolate-batter cookies, which I think are based on the idea that the more chocolate the better. It's just not always the case.

      9 Replies
      1. re: julesrules

        chocolate covered strawberries with whipped cream and german chocolate cake are my favorite chocolate desserts. Not sure if that helps... Good luck!

        1. re: danionavenue

          ooh chocolate covered strawberries - I showed my teenage slaves at home how to make those ;)

          If you don't do this already, keep a block of styrofoam handy; use toothpicks to dip the strawberries and stick them in the styrofoam upside down - that way you don't see a flat side.

          1. re: julesrules

            Chocolate chip cookies - I think my favorite example, and probably wouldn't have thought of it.

            1. re: lilgi

              lol, a totally american treat and i have had lots of mediocre versions.

              i can think of many french desserts that are mostly chocolate, so i think the issue here is how big are the portions, and how good is the chocolate, ya know? while many americans will happily munch on a giant movie-theatre hershey's bar, most europeans will be more satisfied with a few morsels of something excellent.

              jacques torres has basically become the king of chocolate desserts with some amazing confections, like pianos, stoves and ladies' hats. his books are gorgeous.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                You just reminded me of JT's chocolate cornflake mounds which I make quite often. Not sure if I would place it in this category but those are wildly addicting.

                Oddly enough, the one dessert that brings out the chocolate for me is Tiramisu, because the espresso brings out that light dusting on the surface, I taste the chocolate - but not in an overpowering way.

                1. re: lilgi

                  in most of my chocolate desserts i add some espresso powder. it really adds oomph to the flavor, without going all the way to mocha.

                  truly, i think the big difference here is the excellence of ingredients. truly great chocolate, eggs, butter and cream, vs. crap american supermarket semi-sweet not-even-really-chocolate and ultra-homogenized/super-pasteurized industrial dairy. yuk.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    +1 on espresso powder in nearly all my chocolate concoctions. Just made a Mexican chocolate pound cake (Mexican chocolate has cinnamon in it), and on a whim, tossed in my usual palmful of espresso. Heavenly.

          2. Chocolate mousse or chocolate pudding

            1 Reply
            1. I like the way Europeans frequently pair chocolate with fruit and nuts, and a glass of port or red wine. I'm thinking candied orange peel or candied ginger dipped in dark chocolate, maybe some toasted hazlenuts on the side? and long-stemmed strawberries dipped in chocolate are always great. But if you want more chocolate, a budino from Piemonte is always good, and you can't beat a simple, densely chocolate torte--think chocolate, butter and eggs as the only ingredients, with raspberry sauce on the side (like Meg Ryan's character in When Harry Met Sally, "on the side" is a big thing with me). My favorite recipe is Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte in Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible.

              1 Reply
              1. re: lisaonthecape

                Candied orange peel dipped in dark chocolate. Sigh.

                1. Here is a link to the richest chocolate dessert I have ever tasted.


                  Emeril's Hawaiian chocolate souffle. If you can't bring yourself to spend the money on the Hawaiian chocolate, just use good chocolate. It won't be quite as rich but it will still be RICH!

                  1. Dark chocolate tart with shortbread crust. JOC version is very easy.

                    1. Just received my copy of FN magazine (don't judge--it was a gift)--March theme is chocolate. Was amazed that--other than the cocktails--not a whole lot of creative ideas. Okay, maybe chocolate pasta was creative, but much of the rest was cakes, brownies, puddings, yada, yada.

                      1. I'd recommend making chocolate truffles. They are super tasty, and incredibly easy. Yeah, they are just gussied up chocolate bars, but if you've never had fresh ones, you are in for a treat. We gifte some homemade ones as a wedding present once, and they were quite a hit. Very easy to customize. The groom is a bartender, so we flavored them to be like a couple of his favorite drinks. We made some white chocolate ones with Bailey's, and some with orange zest and vodka for screwdrivers. We also made some with pepper flakes, for a nice spicy version. You should give it a try!