Amidst the dawn of a refreshing, mild March, a much-needed rain blankets the great state of California. Low, grey skies looming, high surf whisking the shoreline, and dewy canyon roads lend itself to enjoying the comforts of home for the weekend. So, in lieu of venturing out to farmers markets, I purge the pantry and take to my arsenal of comfort-food cookbooks, in search of rainy-day recipes to draw upon over the coming days.
The Mast Brothers, as many may know by now, are master chocolatiers who sail the high seas to direct source their cacao beans. The homegrown Iowans are now Brooklyn-based artisans, where they craft bean-to-bar chocolate so bold & bitter, that the revered Thomas Keller uses their chocolate in his Michelin-starred restaurants French Laundry & Per Se. Grabbing Keller’s attention has only one explanation: it’s that good.
Recently, the brothers authored a magnificent cookbook: Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook. It is hard to decide what is most compelling: the incredible story of Rick + Michael Mast journey to purveying chocolate, the dark + gorgeous photography of Tuukka Koski, or the exquisite recipes by Vesa Parviainen.
After getting lost in the book for a short while, I finally decided on the Ricotta & Dark Chocolate Pancakes. The only change I made was substituting standard flour with Thomas Keller’s Gluten Free Flour, Cup-4-Cup. The result produced wonderfully fluffy pancakes with a delicate sweetness.
Off to temper some chocolate. For more sweet & savory recipes incorporating artisanal chocolate, check out the Mast Brothers' book on Amazon.com.