Fran Costigan’s ‘Vegan Chocolate’ – A Review + A Giveaway


Fran Costigan's 'Vegan Chocolate' a Review + A GiveawayI had the excruciating task of trying out a few recipes last month from Fran Costigan’s ‘Vegan Chocolate’  It was tough.  I managed to get through the book, several times in fact.  And now I can share some of my experience with you.  Fran will share a free copy of her book with one lucky reader as well.  Details on that at the end of the post. 

Fran Costigan is an internationally recognized culinary instructor, recipe developer, and innovative vegan pastry chef, and author of 3 cookbooks.  A graduate of the New York Restaurant School and the Natural Gourmet Institute, Fran was a pastry chef in both traditional and vegan restaurant kitchens.  Today Fran teaches her distinctive courses (including her Vegan Baking Boot Camp Intensive®) in her hometown of New York City at the Institute of Culinary Education.  

This woman knows her chocolate!

Fran Costigan's 'Vegan Chocolate' - a book review on & a GIVEAWAY!

You can almost taste the pages……..



Fran is generously sharing one of her recipes from the book with my readers as well.

‘Very Fudgy Chocolate Chip Brownies’

Fran Costigan's 'Vegan Chocolate' - a book review on & a GIVEAWAY!

 Once you’ve tried this brownie version, it will be hard to go back to any other.  The fudgy brownie contrasts with chewy nuts and the deep, rich chocolate flavors are just to die for.  I spiced mine up with a pinch of Chili Powder for a wonderful contrast of sweet and spice.   Love the flavors in these.  A must try for all.

Fran Costigan's 'Vegan Chocolate' - a book review on & a GIVEAWAY!


The Beverage section of Fran’s book was a pleasant surprise for me.  I could sip on her Hot Chocolate Mexican-Style drink every night after dinner and never tire of it.  Sweet, warm, spicy liquid never tasted this good. 

 Fran Costigan's 'Vegan Chocolate' - a book review on & a GIVEAWAY!

I also gave Fran’s Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread Pudding a try.  It’s simply marvelous.  

Fran Costigan's 'Vegan Chocolate' a Review + A Giveaway

I was a little hesitant with the bread pudding.  It called for a can of Coconut milk and my house is full of Non-Coconut eaters.  I substituted the same amount of Vegan Sour Cream for the Coconut Milk, sweetened a little with some Vanilla Stevia from NuNaturals and it was just perfect.  Creamy, a slight crunch from the crusty bread, and fancy enough for the most fussy guests.

You can check out the Fran’s Bread Pudding recipe HERE.

Fran Costigan's 'Vegan Chocolate' a Review + A Giveaway

 This book is full of fun, delicious recipes that run the full range of chocolate desires.  Ingredients and equipment, Truffles, Cakes, Cookies and Bars, Pies, Puddings, Frozen Desserts, Showstoppers, Beverages (truly inspirational) and Master Recipes to grow your skills in creating true masterpieces.  You’ll be thrilled with all the fun and delectable things Fran will teach you about God’s gift to dessert lovers:  Chocolate in all it’s finest forms.

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 type of frozen dessert. Just watch out: These brownies are not low-fat or low-sugar: a small square should satisfy.
  1. Makes One 8 X 8-Inch Square Pan
  2. 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon organic all-purpose flour
  3. 1/2 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
  4. 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  5. 1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  6. 1/4 cup organic whole cane sugar, ground in a blender until powdered
  7. 2 tablespoons arrowroot or organic cornstarch
  8. 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  9. 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  10. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mild tasting extra-virgin olive oil or organic neutral vegetable oil
  11. 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, Grade B or dark amber
  12. 1/4 cup any nondairy milk
  13. 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  14. 1/4 teaspoon chocolate extract (optional)
  15. Heaping 1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips or mini chunks
  16. 1/3 cup lightly toasted walnuts or mixed nuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350° F. Oil an 8 x 8-inch 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 for 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.
  8. 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.
  1. If using coconut oil as the fat, make sure the other ingredients are at room temperature, or the oil will harden into clumps during mixing.
  2. Recipe reprinted with permission from Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, © 2013 by Fran Costigan, Running Press. Book Cover Photo credit: Kate Lewis
Fran Costigan's 'Vegan Chocolate' - a book review on & a GIVEAWAY!

I think I could make one of Fran’s recipes each week from this book and be complete for months!  

There’s something here for each of us.

To enter to win a copy of Fran’s book, “Vegan Chocolate – Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts”

click below.  Contest ends September 1st, 2014.  U. S. & Canada resident only please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Many thanks to my Mr. Floyde, my little helper in getting through this review……….


I was provided with a copy of Fran’s ‘Vegan Chocolate’ for review although I was under no obligation to do so and all opinions are my own.

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37 thoughts on “Fran Costigan’s ‘Vegan Chocolate’ – A Review + A Giveaway

  1. The Vegan 8

    Angela. Your pictures are stunnninggggg!!! Wow!! I’ve seen Fran’s book around the internet so much and I have to say it looks to be one or the nicest, highest quality cookbooks I’ve seen. I love that it’s not a flimsy paper coverlet and the typography looks so high quality. What a gorgeous book and that Mexican hot chocolate, yes please!!!

  2. Jamie

    Wow what a beautiful book and the desserts look really fabulous! I have recently gotten to know Fran and she is wonderful… now is the time I start discovering her recipes and it is always best to start with chocolate, right?

  3. Terri Cole

    I checked this book out from my library and was so sad when I had to return it. One of my favorite chocolate desserts is Chocolate Covered Katie’s Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie. Thanks for the giveaway!

  4. Sasha

    Wow that book looks incredible! I’m pretty much a sucker for anything involving chocolate. Lately I’ve been obsessed with my favourite blueberry chocolate green smoothie. Wholesome enough to be a meal, but tastes like dessert!

  5. Jaclyn F

    Anything mexican chocolate is delish! Whenever I make hot cocoa, it always ends up being mexican-spiced…I can’t help myself.

  6. MonsterAteMy

    Weirdly enough, since cutting the dairy from my diet a couple of years ago, I really don’t crave chocolate the way I used to. Nevertheless, I do still love it, and I have a two chocolate-loving sons who can’t get enough of the stuff. When I was a kid, my favorite chocolate recipe was my mother’s chocolate mayonnaise cake. I haven’t tried to veganize it, though I’m sure the subs would be no-brainers, because my husband needs to be gluten-free and tender gluten-free cakes continue to elude me. But brownies? Now there’s a chocolate favorite the whole family can get behind, and subbing to make them GF is easy.

  7. Amber

    Thanks to you I want nothing but chocolate for the rest of the day now! ;] Those pictures are just stunning and have me drooling all over my desk. Since becoming vegan, I made a brownie recipe and it just didn’t hit the spot. :/ So I’ve stuck with chocolate chip cookies when a sweets craving strikes. I absolutely MUST have this book!

  8. Jenny K

    I’m not a fan of dense desserts like brownies, and most chocolate cakes I’ve had were so-so. Alas, I’m still searching for the perfect chocolate cake recipe.

  9. Robin

    I’m a firm believer that it isn’t dessert if there isn’t chocolate in it. I’ve been known to pass up dessert based on that missing element alone. There’s a chance this book was written for me.

  10. Mallory

    There’s nothing better than a super high quality dark chocolate bar, but my other favorite chocolate desserts are vegan avocado chocolate pudding, and a frozen banana chocolate shake with chocolate chip cookie dough. Anything is better with chocolate. I think this book was made for me haha… thanks for the giveaway!

  11. Ashley

    Favorite chocolate recipe is my mom’s chocolate peppermint bark, she makes it every Christmas & I look forward to it each year!

  12. Gemma

    Fran’s recipes are to die for! I’ve made several ones from her AMAZING book Vegan Chocolate and all of them were a success. 🙂
    Your brownies look so fudgy and delicious! I made this same recipe a couple weeks ago too.


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