From Powder to Ganache: A Little Chocolate Inspiration

Fair warning: This week’s post is ALL about the chocolate. With one day left before Valentine’s Day, some of you might still be looking for the perfect dessert. We here at the History of Food & Drink Collection are here to help. Chocoholics may want to consider a bib or drool guard for their keyboards….

All set? Okay!

This 1955 publication, The Chocolate Cookbook, includes cakes and pies, but also cocoas and chocolate sodas. It also has a hefty selection of candy ideas, from toffees to fudge. (Click on any of the images for a larger view.)

Beverages
Beverages
Candies
Candies

If you need some breakfast to go with that cocoa, but still can’t do without the delicious fix, the 1971 reprint of the classic 1934 Hershey’s cookbook can help. It includes directions for chocolate waffles….and a variety of pies that might do nicely after lunch.

Chocolate Waffles
Chocolate Waffles
Chocolate Pies
Chocolate Pies

Want something to compliment that chocolate flavor? How about berries and cream? The 1983 Baker’s Book of Chocolate Recipes (we’ve featured recipes from the Baker Company’s early days on the blog before) includes a decadent layered cake and some delicate lace cookies.

Chocolate Berry Cake
Chocolate Berry Cake
Chocolate Cookies
Chocolate Cookies

Looking for something not quite so dense? This 1984 book, Chocolate (the title says it all, doesn’t it?) contains recipes cakes, pies, and cookies. But it also has some delicious looking classics and interesting alternative: Bite-sized chocolate dipped fruits, truffles, a variety of flavored chocolate sauces, ice creams, and mousses.

Chocolate dipped fruits
Chocolate dipped fruits
Mousses and cakes
Mousses, cakes, and cocoas

If you can think about anything besides chocolate after at this point, it’s time to interrupt with a brief historical note (after all, we are trying to provide you with a little background alongside the recipes). You may notice how relatively recent these publications are. While chocolate has long held a place in food history, its role in the realm of American desserts is largely a development of the 20th century. This doesn’t mean, however, that references to this milk (or dark), creamy, dreamy favorite are absent. One of our favorite regional American cookbooks and blog favorites mentions chocolate once or twice.

Mary Randolph’s 1831 The Virginia Housewife, or Methodical Cook contains a recipe for “Chocolate Cakes.” It isn’t the classic layer cake we might think of, but a sort of griddle cake cut into strips and served with chocolate. The only recipe in her book that actually integrates chocolate is homemade chocolate ice cream. But fear not, Virginia culinary history lovers, Mrs. Randolph doesn’t let us down! Why not try a few cherries in brandy with a gateau, tip a teaspoonful of rose brandy into your cake mix, or sip a homemade mint cordial with your mousse? Any one might be just the extra kick you had in mind.

Celebrate your Valentine’s Day in your own style and enjoy! And if you’re including chocolate, sneak a little nibble while you’re baking. We won’t tell. 🙂

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