Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chocolate Never Faileth by Annette Lyon

Annette Lyon has outdone herself this time. From the moment her book, Chocolate Never Faileth, arrived in my mailbox, I have spent hours perusing the book and going over the recipes in great detail, including all the lead paragraphs introducing each recipe. Chocolate Never Faileth opens with important notes on non-chocolate ingredients as well as vital information on chocolate, itself. For goodness sakes, don't skip these two sections as they will be well worth your time.

Afterward, Annette dives right into Chocolate Cakes, one of the most daunting experiences (for me). Making a great homemade chocolate cake is something I've never achieved in my half-century of baking experiments. But, Annette makes it sound so easy; she actually starts this section with Devil's Food Cake and moves on from there to Chocolate Oatmeal Cake, then Cockeyed Cake, which is merely dumping all the ingredients into the baking pan and mixing it well with a fork before baking it (I'm sure I can make this one as it seems so simple a child could easily do it. Just wait until you reach Annette's Hot Fudge Cake (ooh, sounds so yummy!). She doesn't skip out on cheesecake, either, which is a true classic. The 3-Minute Microwave Chocolate Cake, which would be a great holiday gift to give with cute Christmas Mugs (microwave safe, of course), with the dry ingredients already stirred inside, and a little bow with a label that instructs on the wet ingredients to add and the baking/microwave directions.

Don't get me started on the Cookie section in Chocolate Never Faileth, with 14 cookie recipes ranging from delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies to Chocolate Coconut Macaroons, and a dozen more in between. The Brownies, Bars & Other Single-Serving Bliss recipes follows the Cookie Section, and covers Chocoholic Lemon Squares, Gooey Turtle Brownies, and several more heavenly bar recipes that sound so simple to throw together, I know even I can make them.

Annette's directions are clear and precise and the side notes are laugh-out-loud funny, such as on page 73, where it says, "Inside some of us is a thin person struggling to get out, but she can usually be sedated with a few pieces of chocolate cake." So true in my case.

The section on Mousses, Pies, Puddings & Stuff in Bowls is yet another chocolate treasure to lick your way through, and assures the reader: "Countless numbers of people have eaten chocolate for breakfast and gone on to lead normal lives." This section contains recipes like Luscious Chocolate Tart, White Chocolate Filling and Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. Annette offers Classic Chocolate Mousse in this section and it is positively as yummy as her Easy Chocolate Pudding, which is pretty much foolproof. Chocolate Cherry Cordial Ice Cream is one recipe I plan on trying this summer when we have one of our family get togethers because I've now learned the recipes within the pages of Chocolate Never Faileth are completely trustworthy. And, Annette's pie recipes, of which there are several that tempt me almost too much, including French Silk Pie, are too yummy to even attempt to explain.

Under the heading Snacks & Gifts, Annette gives us a large variety of fudges, including Orange Fudge, and "Symphonic" Peanut Butter Fudge, and of course, the best Perfect Chocolate Milk.

Annette's section on Molded Suckers & Mints will surprise you with the ingenuity and eye-appealing recipes found there, including Cherry Cordial Popcorn, Gourmet Gorp, and Hot Cocoa Mix.

An entire section is devoted to chocolate delights in the form of Pastries, and another for Icings, Toppings & Dips. Annette even includes a section she calls Fancy (But Easy) Bliss, which includes among its many recipes Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries, Chocolate Pizza, and even Chocolate-Dipped Boxes.

The last section, which entirely surprised me, is called Non-Edible Chocolate Bliss, which gives a number of body products such as Body Scrubs, Play Dough, Lip Gloss . . . you get the picture.

Along with the recipes within the pages of Chocolate Never Faileth, Annette Lyon has included many photos of the recipes already prepared, and they are very stylishly done. Sometimes the photo alone tempts me to try the recipe. If all this is not enough, Annette reminds the baker, "While there is chocolate, there is life." I couldn't agree more.

Great work, Annette. Will there be a sequel?