Monday, June 6, 2016

Cacao Pods, Chocolat Chaud, and Drunken Chocolate Pudding for #bookclubcookbookcc

It's funny for me to think that fifteen years ago, I didn't eat chocolate. One of my best friends from high school was floored when she saw me eat chocolate for the first time. In all the years she'd known me, I couldn't stand chocolate. But, as soon as I got pregnant with R, I began to enjoy it. Really enjoy it. 

Now, we've done chocolate tastings at boutique chocolatiers all over California's central coast; we've participated in chocolate walking tours (read about our Chocolate Walking Tour in San Francisco); I've taught an entire class about chocolate; and we've even curated our own chocolate pairings for dinner parties.

At a chocolate tastings at Alegio in Palo Alto, D really wanted to take one of the cacao pods home. I offered to buy it. No dice. "They're just for our display. They're not for sale," they apologized.

Then, last December, we visited Dandelion Chocolate in the Mission District in San Francisco and D spotted pods. For sale. "Mom," he gushed, "I want to use some of my birthday money to buy a pod!" That's a strange purchase for a 12-year-old, don't you think? But it's not strange considering he's my 12-year-old. He painstakingly went through the entire basket of cacao pods, shook them all, and finally made his selection.

Here we are at June's #thebookclubcookbookCC event. It's hard to believe that we only have two more months in this year-long journey to explore - and cook from - The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp.*

Judy, Vicki, and their publisher, Tarcher-Penguin, have provided the hosting bloggers with copies of the book plus copies to giveaway each month of the project. Woohoo. Incredibly generous.

This month Sarah at Things I Make (for Dinner) has selected Chocolat by Joanne Harris. The book was also made into a movie, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. I highly recommend both the book and the movie.** Click for Sarah's invitation: here. The book includes recipes for Chocolat Chaud and Chocolate Fondue.

I have read several books by Joanne Harris and Chocolat is - by far - my favorite!

Chocolat Chaud

In the story, Vianne has a gift of selecting the perfect chocolate for tantalizing each person. For instance, her daughter, Anouk, likes her chocolat chaud topped with crème chantilly and delicate chocolate trendils. Misanthropic Armande demands her mocha with a splash of Kahlua while Vianne herself prefers black chocolate - stronger than espresso.

We, too, like our chocolat chaud small but mighty. We've made hot chocolate a lot of different ways from a lot of different culinary traditions around the globe. We've made Andean Rose Geranium Hot Chocolate, Aztec Hot Chocolate, Chocolate en Leche de Coco from Columbia, Chocolate en Agua that R blended with a molinillo, Chocolate Agasajo-Style from Spain, Xocolata Espanyola from Andorra, and Spiked with Tequila for a grown-up version.

Drunken Chocolate Pudding
While I considered making chocolate truffles (Honey Truffles with Bee Pollen and Death by Chocolate Truffles are two of our favorites), I settled on whipping up a batch of chocolate pudding spiked with Godiva liqueur and topped with raw cacao nibs. The hardest part is the waiting. It has to chill for two hours before you can dig in.

  • 1/3 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • Pinch of smoked sea salt
  • 2 C whole milk
  • dash of ground ancho chili powder
  • dash of ground ginger
  • dash of ground cinnamon
  • dash of ground nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 T chocolate liqueur (I had Godiva liqueur)
  • cacao nibs for garnishing

Whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, spices and salt in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, and boil, whisking, until pudding is thick, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Immediately beat the egg lightly in a medium, heat-proof bowl, such as a hard plastic or ceramic mixing bowl. Very gradually add the hot chocolate mixture to the egg, whisking constantly. Whisk in the liqueur until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the pudding into the ramekins or cups. If you want, cover the surface of each of the pudding cups with some cut out wax paper to prevent a skin from forming on the top of the pudding. Refrigerate, covered, until cold, at least 2 hours.

Garnish with cacao nibs. Serve with a cordial of Godiva liqueur or a strong cup of coffee and settle in to read the book or watch the movie!

This month Sarah at Thing I Make (for Dinner), this month's host, is giving away two copies of the book.* Enter to win a copy of the cookbook so you can join us in future months, if you wish!

TWO of our lucky readers - US and Canada only! - can enter to win a copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, courtesy of Tarcher-Penguin. Giveaway runs from June 1st till June 30th at 6 o'clock PM, Pacific time. Please see terms and conditions in the rafflecopter widget below. Many thanks to Tarcher Books. You may find Tarcher: on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Disclosure: Sarah received a complimentary copy of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp as an opportunity to give a copy away. Opinions are our own. We received no further compensation for our posts.

**This blog currently has a partnership with in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to and search for the item of your choice.



  1. I enjoyed the book and am going to grab a chocolate bar and curl up with the movie soon.

  2. These all look amazing! You are making me hungry.


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