{My love affair with Mast Brothers}

January is a time of year where we are all bombarded with headlines like “Juice cleanse your way to healthy!” or “New Year’s Detox” . Magazines and websites are all plastered with images of electric green coloured juices and diet plans that make me feel like I might chew my arm off after the first day.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the start of the year is a great time to “reset” our eating habits. But I also think that eating a well-balanced diet should be a year round goal. And a well-balanced diet for me ALWAYS involves chocolate..And it’s even better when it involves some artisan dark chocolate from Brooklyn..

DSCF2619

I recently purchased the Mast Brothers cookbook along with a 24oz Chef’s tablet from my local grocer. Unlike most chocolate bars out there which are filled with preservatives and a bunch of ingredients I can’t pronounce, their ingredients are simple: cacao and cane sugar, hand wrapped up in beautiful navy patterned paper. The designer in me couldn’t help but appreciate the beautiful packaging.

I spent a lazy Saturday morning with a mug of warm tea going through the entire cookbook. Rick and Michael Mast are pioneers of bean-to-bar craft chocolate and their book is filled with drool-worthy recipes sprinkled with stories of their journey as chocolate makers, their philosophy that guides them through their business and recounts their adventure sailing across the Atlantic to bring back cacao beans directly from the farmers they work with. The full-page images are a stunning examples of food porn and seduced me to bring out the mixing bowls to try out a couple of their recipes that same day..

DSCF2624

Something I really love about the book is how most of the recipes have very few ingredients. I do want to warn you that this book is targeting at people with some baking experience as the instructions are fairly simplistic and don’t include some common tips like “don’t over mix the batter” or “grease the baking pan before pouring in the batter”. 

Their recipe for chocolate sauce has only 3 ingredients. I warmed my go to favourite Vital Greens Organic Heavy Cream on the stove, then added ribbons of chopped chocolate and a touch of organic coconut sugar and stirred it with quick tight circles till it made this velvety thick sauce. The sauce really brings out the delicious flavours of the chocolate which include hints of red wine, tobacco, cinnamon and plum.

DSCF2632

I placed the chocolate sauce in the fridge overnight and the next day I whipped the mixture in my Kitchenaid to incorporate some air to create a fluffy melt-in-your-mouth ganache frosting.

The chocolate cupcake recipe in this book is honestly THE BEST chocolate cupcake I’ve ever eaten. I used Valrhona cocoa powder and the addition of folding melted 70% chocolate into the batter makes the flavour so rich and intense, yet the texture is still light and airy, as a cupcake should be.

DSCF2656

I kept the decorating simple and spread the ganache with an offset spatula and sprinkled the tops with cacao nib peanut brittle (another recipe from the book) which I pulsed a few times in the food processor to make a fine crumble. A nice little savoury and sweet crunch to contrast with the creamy frosting and fluffy cake.

In addition to these three recipes, I’ve also made their chocolate gingersnaps which will most definitely be in high rotation in my kitchen (recipe to come). I cannot wait to dive into the rest of the book.

So as we go into the next few weeks eating cleaner, just remember, life is short..treat yo’ self..

DSCF2660

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

  • 1.5 cups heavy cream (I used 52% cream, conventional cream is about 35%)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 5 ounces of chopped good quality dark chocolate

Bring cream and sugar to a boil in a saucepan. Pour over chopped chocolate in heatproof bowl and let it melt. Using a spatula, stir in tight circles to emulsify. Cool sauce in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, allow it to sit at room temp for about 30 min, then whip in a mixer till fluffy. Use immediately.

All recipes can be found in the Mast Brothers Cookbook.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: