I 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!
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’
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.
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.
I also gave Fran’s Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread Pudding a try. It’s simply marvelous.
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.
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.
- Makes One 8 X 8-Inch Square Pan
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon organic all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup organic whole cane sugar, ground in a blender until powdered
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot or organic cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mild tasting extra-virgin olive oil or organic neutral vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, Grade B or dark amber
- 1/4 cup any nondairy milk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon chocolate extract (optional)
- Heaping 1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips or mini chunks
- 1/3 cup lightly toasted walnuts or mixed nuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bake for 23 minutes until the top is set and dry and the sides have pulled just slightly away from the pan.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
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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