Monday, October 19, 2009

Chocolate on the Brain ~ Random Book Review

You may sense a theme here. The last (and only other) book I reviewed was a novel called Eat Cake. And now here I am with Chocolate on the Brain, Foolproof Recipes for Unrepentant Chocoholics. This one is an actual cookbook (though the picture above is of the recipe notecard version, the book goes for $18). Written by the mother-son team of Nancy and Kevin Mills, this book is choc full of chocolaty goodness. I've owned this cookbook for several years (a gift from my mom, who knows me so well), and it's obvious by looking at the chocolate-stained pages that the book is loved. For me, a cookbook is a hit, or worth the money spent on it, if you get one really good recipe out of it. I can tell you that is more than true with this book. I'm obviously coming off a chocolate high - I made the Chocolate Oatmeal Brownies last night - as I write this.

Kevin Mills writes an introduction to the book that is spot on. He says, "I don't trust people who say they don't like chocolate. To me, it's like saying you don't much care for oxygen, or you're tired of living aboveground. I just can't relate to people like that. They should be closely monitored, if not rounded up an reeducated." Kevin's humor and family stories are sprinkled throughout the book. So even if you don't intend on making the Mexican Hot Chocolate recipe, you'll still be amused by his story about his sister's trip to Mexico.

Every recipe is rated in difficulty and the prep and baking times are given at the top. There are lots of "Mom Tips" throughout, too, where Nancy recommends types of chocolates or explains where some ingredients can be found in the store.

I have yet to try most of the recipes in the book - I tend to stick with the old standbys: brownies & cookies. But there's everything from Chocolate Chip Mini Bagels (Not So Easy) to Mississippi Mud Pie (Easy). One of these days I'll venture into the chapter on pies or puddings. For now, I'm extremely satisfied with Intensely Chocolate Cocoa Brownies (Very Easy). Here's what Kevin says about them:

"When regular brownies don't give you the chocolate fix you need, it's time to move on to the harder stuff. Intensely Chocolate Cocoa Brownies are the next best thing to injecting chocolate syrup into your veins."

Intensely Chocolate Cocoa Brownies

Makes: 25 (1.5 inch squares), Prep time: 15 minutes, Baking time: 15-20 minutes, Rating: Very Easy

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter + more for greasing
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Place an oven rack in the middle position and preheat to 350. Lin an 8- or 9-inch sq. pan with aluminum foil, making sure two ends of the foil overhang the pan by about 2 inches so you can easily lift the brownies out of the pan later. Lightly rub the bottom and sides of the foil with butter, set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium pot over low heat. When it has melted, turn off the heat and stir in the cocoa. Add the sugar, eggs and vanilla, mix thoroughly.

Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix just until combined. If you are adding walnuts, stir them in now.

Pour the batter into the foil-lined pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the top feels firm. These brownies taste better underbaked rather than overbaked. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Carefully lift the ends of the foil and remove the brownies from the pan. Cut into 25 squares and serve. Store in an airtight container or wrapped in foil or plastic wrap.

~ from Chocolate on the Brain, by Kevin Mills and Nancy Mills

And here is my photo of the finished product - I added chocolate chips to the top. :)


  1. That's so funny... as I was reading the recipe I was thinking about adding chocolate chips :) Looks so good!