Special Feature: Products Sally Recommends

An Interview with Alice Medrich

Sally and Antonia interview Cocolat's creator and founder, Alice Medrich.

MP3 Interview MP3

Interview Time (16:35)

Some of Alice's titles available from Amazon.com:

Chocolate & the Art of Lowfat Desserts
by Alice Medrich
Warner Books, 1994
$24.50 (Click here to purchase)


by Alice Medrich
Warner Books, 1992
$24.50 (Click here to purchase)


Join Alice Medrich for "Demonstration" classes and "Hands On" classes in her cozy Berkeley kitchen. Learn the recipes and techniques that made the late great Cocolat Stores famous as well as new desserts and extraordinary low-fat chocolate desserts too. Roll up your sleeves and make chocolate ruffles, glaze and marble a Queen of Sheba cake, and get your hands in the chocolate when we dip chocolate truffles. Demonstration classes are limited to eight students; "Hands On" classes are limited to six. Classes are always fun, with plenty to taste and take home. Call Alice Medrich at (510) 525-2592 for information.

Walnut Squares
Makes sixteen two inch squares

A San Francisco Food Critic once called these "brownies with a college education." It's no wonder since they are actually chocolate walnut torte squares. Take them on a picnic or serve them after dinner with a dollop of whipped cream.

6 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, cut into bits
6 ounces sweet butter, cut into pieces
3 tablespoons dark rum
4 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup finely ground walnuts
1/4 cup (1 ounce) flour
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
Confectioners sugar and/or cocoa to dust the tops

Special Equipment:

8-inch square cake pan 1 1/2 -2 inches deep
a decorative stencil, if desired

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line the bottom of pan with parchment paper.

Melt chocolate and butter in a small bowl placed in a barely simmering waterbath, stirring occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Or microwave on MEDIUM (50%) power for about 2 minutes. Stir until smooth and completely melted. Stir in rum. Set aside.

In bowl, whisk egg yolks with 1/2 C of sugar until pale and thick. Stir in warm chocolate mixture; set aside.

In a clean, dry mixer bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar at medium speed until soft peaks are formed. Gradually sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, beating at high speed until stiff but not dry. Set aside just long enough to whisk flour and walnuts into chocolate batter. Fold about one-fourth of whites into the chocolate batter to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whites. Turn the batter into the prepared pan and bake 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick or wooden skewer plunged into the center of the torte shows moist crumbs. Cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Torte will have risen like a souffle during baking, then fall in the center as it cools, leaving a faintly crusty higher rim around the edges. Level the torte before removing it from the pan, as follows. Run a small metal spatula or knife between the edges of the torte and the sides of the pan to release it. Press the raised edges of the torte down with your fingers until it is level with the center. Cake may be prepared to this point, wrapped well and kept at room temperature up to three days, or frozen up to 3 months.

Invert pan onto a cutting board; remove pan and peel off paper liner. If the torte is still uneven or appears slightly sunken in the center, level it again by pressing the top firmly with the bottom of the empty cake pan. Cut cake into 2 inch squares. Use a fine strainer to dust with confectioners sugar and/or cocoa, if desired. Store and serve at room temperature.

Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles "Maison"
Makes about 30 bite sized truffles

1 egg yolk
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chopped fine
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup dutch process cocoa powder

Place chocolate and butter in a 4-6 cup heatproof bowl. Place bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water, over low heat. Stir frequently until chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Remove bowl and set aside. Leave skillet on low heat.

Place egg yolk in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in 1/4 cup boiling water. Place bowl in skillet and stir constantly with a spoon until yolk mixture thickens slightly to the consistency of half and half (it will be between 160 and 165 degrees and safe from salmonella). Remove yolk mixture from hot water and scrape immediately into melted chocolate. Stir gently just until chocolate and butter are
completely melted and mixture is smooth. Pour through a fine strainer into a clean bowl. Cover and chill until firm, two hours or more.

To form truffles:

Remove truffle mixture from refrigerate and allow to soften about 30 minutes (if mixture is very hard). Pour cocoa into pie plate. Dip a melon baller or small spoon into a glass of hot water; wipe off excess water and scrape across surface of chilled truffle mixture to form a rough 1 inch ball. Pinch the truffle into shape with your fingers if necessary, it should not be perfectly round. Deposit truffle into cocoa. Repeat with remaining truffle mixture.

Gently shake pie plate to coat truffles with cocoa. Store truffles tightly covered, and refrigerated up to two weeks, or freeze up to 3 months.

Mexican Chocolate Cookies
Makes 40-45 cookies

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch Process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons sweet butter, slightly softened
3 tablespoons stick margarine
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
generous pinch of ground black pepper
generous pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg white

Combine the flour, cocoa, soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix thoroughly with a whisk. Set aside. Combine the sugars in a small bowl and mix well with fingers pressing out any lumps. (Process in a food processor if lumps are stubborn).

In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter and margarine until creamy. Add sugars mixture, cinnamon, peppers, and vanilla. Beat on high speed for about one minute. Beat in egg white. On low speed, beat in flour mixture just until incorporated. Gather the dough together with your hands and form it into a neat 9-10 inch log. Wrap in waxed paper. Fold or twist ends of paper without pinching or flatting the log. Chill at least 45 minutes, or until needed.

Place oven racks in the upper and lower third of the oven preheat to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Use a sharp knife to slice roundsof chilled dough a scant 1/4 inch thick. Place 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake 12-14 minutes. Rotate baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back about halfway through. Cookies will puff and crackle on top, and then begin to settle down slightly when done. Use a metal spatula to transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Allow cookies to cool completely before storing or stacking. Store in an airtight container up to two weeks, or freeze up to 2 months.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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