Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Serials and Scenarios ~ Fran Costigan's Vegan Chocolate Cookbook Review

A publisher sent a copy of Fran Costigan's Vegan Chocolate for my review and opinions. This cookbook is gorgeous coffee table art. The photos and recipe titles are drool worthy. 

So much chocolate, so much eye candy. 

I flipped through the book, almost afraid to touch the pages, they are that beautiful. I also set it aside until I felt brave enough to cook from it. 

Seriously, this is a real deal cookbook. Gourmet treatment, serious attention to detail. These are recipes to make when you want to knock someone's socks off. I didn't have an event planned or opportunity coming up that required a beautiful, glorious dessert of this caliber. Just like I look at Julia Child's epic cookbook as above my skill levels, Vegan Chocolate intimidated me. 

Then I got a touch of cabin fever. I've spent the last two weeks doing a whole lot of resting trying to kick a viral hybrid of yuck. And Sunday afternoon I decided I needed to do some cooking. So I flipped through this gem and picked some recipes for which I had the ingredients. This was a challenge based on the whole two weeks virus thing. I haven't been spending much time in the grocery store. 

For my experiences with the recipes and my opinions keep reading. 

Recipe 1... Graham Crackers. Store bought graham crackers are sure nice and convenient when you can find a vegan version. However, they don't touch the flavor of homemade. And honestly, these are delicious. I didn't get fancy and cut disks and make them cute like in the cookbook, I ran my knife over the flat sheet of dough and poked some holes. Nothing gourmet on my end. But this is an easy recipe and one that is the base for her Magic Cookie Bars, Smores and Moon Pies. I can only imagine how off the charts those are going to be based on how great the other desserts were. 

Recipe 2... Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies. I dare anyone to guess these are vegan. No way. These are chewy, crispy, chocolatey and delicious. The recipe doesn't make a huge batch and that is probably good. Just sayin. 

Recipe 3...Almond Cookie Crust. I put this together for a base for a chocolate cream pie made with her chocolate pudding. Let me talk about the crust. Yum. It would be a delicious base for just about any filling you could come up with. Cookieish and pie crustish at the same time and tasty. 

Recipe 4... Okay. The piece du resistance. Almost Instant Chocolate Pudding. Holy moly. Wow. This took me back to 8th grade Home Ec when I struggled over home cooked pudding. The horror of eggs being put in the pudding was replaced by finally getting it cooked without floaty nastiness...once. This Almost Instant Chocolate Pudding tasted so much better with no eggs and it really was easy. Easy. And honestly...so delicious. I consider the price tag on this book worth it for that recipe alone. It set up amazingly as chocolate cream pie. I can't wait to serve it for guests down the road. Off the charts creamy and decadently chocolately. 

With these recipes turning out to be so delicious I can't wait to try others. Yes. This cookbook calls for some ingredients you might not have in your cupboard. Yes there are steps to many of them that seem intimidating. But with results like I got, I am so ready to embrace vegan gourmet chocolate desserts that could absolutely make an omnivore weak in the knees. If you are tempted by this book, I don't think you'll be sorry for hitting "add to cart."