Monday, February 4, 2008


I've figured out how to make my fortune. It's a simple product with a broad base of people that need it. I haven't figured out all the fiddly details yet, but you will see my face on the cover of Fortune magazine as the inventor of The Cookbook Patch. Actually, I'm not the inventor. The lovely and brilliant Melinda thought it up, but I will shamelessly rip off her idea, make a fortune and then take her and her husband with us to Tahiti.

What is The Cookbook Patch, you might ask? Simple. It's a pocket-sized cookbook that you can strap onto your forearm. When you are in a bookstore and you reach out to pick up a new cookbook, the patch is there to remind you that you have far more cookbooks than you already need. In fact, you can personalize your patch cookbook to include all the recipes you have bookmarked in your cookbooks at home that you have never made. You could even include a speech module that has a recording of yourself or family member saying, "For heaven's sake- what do you need another one for? We don't even have room for all the cookbooks you already own!"

As you can see, this is sheer genius. I will provide a link at the end of the post to order your own copy. Think of it as an investment.

I mention the cookbook patch because I recently came home from the library with yet another armload of cookbooks. I like to tell myself that borrowing them from the library is better because then I will return them and they won't live in my home, fighting for shelf space with the other cookbooks. But then I fall in love with them, the title sneaks onto my Amazon wish list, and then Poof!, somehow they seem to magically appear in my house at birthday, Christmas, anniversary, and other notable times.

Included in my recent stack is Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts. It's a truly fun cookbook. Filled with seriously good information, it's presented in such a playful way (including anime drawings) that I can tell this woman is a kick in the pants. She takes favorite desserts, deconstructs them, and puts the flavors and ingredients together again in unexpected ways.

Although there are a ton of dessert recipes, one of the first I made from this cookbook was just hot chocolate. But not just hot chocolate. This is a chocoholic's hot chocolate. I wish my pictures could show you how delicious it is. Deep, chocolatey, rich, with vanilla bean and cream. I swoon just thinking about it! This is a hot chocolate to sip and savor with someone special. And if you want it to be a little more adult, you can put a shot of brandy or whiskey in it.

Strong Hot Chocolate

adapted from Demolition Desserts

1-1/2 cups (12 oz) whole milk
1/2 cup (4 oz) heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean
2 Tbsp (about 1/4 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Dagoba Organic)
2 Tbsp (1 oz) firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, preferably 70% cacao, coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
a few grains of fleur de sel
8 homemade marshmallows or whipped cream

Combine the milk and cream in a 1-quart saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and, with the tip of the knife, scrape the seeds into the saucepan and then add the pod. Whisk in the cocoa powder and brown sugar, place over medium heat, and whisk the mixture for 5 to 7 minutes, or until it is frothy and simmering.

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Remove the vanilla pod from the hot milk mixture (it can be rinsed and saved to make vanilla sugar). Pour the mixture over the chocolate. Add the salt (not more than 3 grains) and whisk until the hot chocolate is smooth.

Divide the hot chocolate among 4 cups, top each cup with 2 marshmallows or a dollop of whipped cream, and serve. Or, allow the chocolate to cool completely; then cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently just before serving.


Chelsea said...

I went into a chocolate induced coma just reading the ingredients list.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

The brown sugar and homemade marshmallow with a great cocoa would definitely put this on my list!
Lynn you have so well described the effects of my trips to the library that result in some magical appearance of the same books appearing in my personal library. I don't find your link for the Cookbook Patch and I think it wouldn't work for me as I'd probably forget to wear it and there I'd be with books flying home to me.

Sarah said...

I laughed when I read your post because I just got 5 cookbooks in the mail. It is a problem many of us have. Maybe a support group would work? :)

Deborah said...

I need that patch. My cookbook collection has more than doubled since starting a food blog!

Anonymous said...

You are going to be rich!
I better go pick out a bikini for Tahiti! (me in a bikini...the mind boggles!)
I love this recipe for '5000 calorie' hot chocolate. Sounds exactly what I need. Naughty and delicious.

Brilynn said...

I particularly like Baileys in mine!

Peabody said...

Yeah, I probably need that patch!

Nora B. said...

Hola Lynn,

This is definitely the king of hot chocolates. What do you mean store in the fridge? Will it really last more than 10 minutes? Well, not at my house anyway. ;-) Have fun trying out the other recipes from this book, it sounds really interesting.

I have been a member of the CBA (CookBooks Anonymous) for the last three years, and I have not bought a single book myself (hinting to family and friends to buy me certain cookbooks for birthdays and christmas doesn't count, right?). I will however start borrowing more books after I finish writing my thesis (in two months time - yeah!!!).

p/s: to answer your question about "brown onion", it's sometimes called salad onion, it's just the usual onion (not the red/purple ones) that is used for cooking.

Marcia said...

Just heavenly!

Aimée said...

This looks amazing! I have been playing around with hot chocolate recently, too. Must try this.

Anonymous said...

What a decadent hot chocolate recipe! All I need now is cold winter day to truly enjoy the hot chocolate.

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

Dear Lynn
Toast to you idea and let me give, if i may, a little wind beneath your wings. Lets have your hot chocolate celebrate the idea.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Chelsea - And is that a bad thing??

My Kitchen In Half Cups - Ha ha, yes, you've discovered the snag in the plan. You've got to remember to wear it!

Sarah - No, I don't think a support group would work because we'd all just end up buying the cool cookbooks that the others talk about.

Deborah - Ooh, can I come over and browse?

Melinda - Tahiti won't know what hit it, babe!

Brilynn - You are my kind of gal.

Peabody - But you have that new kitchen to fill up, so you don't need the patch just yet.

Nora - yes, I wondered what the recipe meant about "storing in the refrigerator." What is this "leftover?" Thanks for answering the onion question. I have those, so I'm set to go.

Marcia - Thanks!

Aimee - Are you searching for the perfect recipe? Let me know what hits the top of the charts for you.

Gigi - No cold winter days? If you come visit I can give you gray and chilly, or you can go see my folks for snow up to the roofline. Or you can stay home and count your blessings. :-)

Aminka - Thanks you!

Nikki57 said...

I think I need somewhere around 5 of those patches. I can not leave the bookstore without a cookbook. It's a huge problem and I have no where to put them all

Dee Light said...

Thanks for the recipe, sounds warm and oh, so yummy!!!

I need a patch for recipe books, fabric, magazines, songs on itunes...

Liliana said...

I am putting in my order for that cookie patch. January brought in 4 cookbooks!!

Great recipe - maybe a sugar high will cure this everlasting cold/cough!

Homemade Heaven said...

I can't wait for it to cool down and then I am definately going to try this.
As for the patch - I'll have one in pink please.

Anonymous said...

Wow.... if that isn't a drink for real chocolate lovers I don't know what is! Sounds great!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

The cover of fortune magazine... We knew you when~

Anonymous said...

What a delicious looking cup of fun!!!