Mast Brothers in Brooklyn are famous for their beautifully wrapped, meticulously crafted chocolate bars and for being key players in the bean-to-bar chocolate revolution. (The brothers themselves are also famous for their beards but that's another post.) So it's no wonder that they produced a beautiful, thoughtful cookbook that not only delivers their take on the tried and true with recipes for brownies, cupcakes, and truffles but also offers some innovative chocolate-based recipes such as Chocolate Meringue Pie.
• Who wrote it: Rick Mast & Michael Mast
• Who published it: Little Brown
• Number of recipes: 92
• Recipes for right now: Minnesota Fudge Cake; Chocolate Black Velvet Cocktail; Cocoa Balsamic Vinaigrette; Steak with Nibs and Peppercorns; Chocolate Meringue Pie; Chocolate Egg Cream; Savory Chocolate Cream Sauce
• Other highlights: There are three basic reasons to pick up this book: one is for the recipes, another is for the stories, and the third is for the beautiful photographs and clean, simple design. Beginning with the later, Mast Brothers Chocolate is a stunning example of the beauty of understatement in cookbook design and food photography. Rather than trying to falsely brighten and jazz up what were bound to be a lot of dull brown colored photographs, photographer Tuuka Koski leaned into and embraced the dark, luscious nature of chocolate. The results are muted, subtle works of art. Thankfully, the book's designer matched this tone with a simple layout and lots of white space. Aesthetics are clearly a high priority at Mast Brothers and this cookbook follows suit.
In the beginning of the book, the brothers share a list called The Seven Crowns, the principles they used to develop and grow their company. The list begins with 'love, respect, and serve family and community' and goes to to list things such as 'master your craft', 'connect customers to the source', 'innovate through simplicity', and 'be honest and transparent.' Mast Brothers Chocolate also reflects these guiding principles as evident in the many stories that run through the book. For those of you who like to read cookbooks as much as cook from them, this book is a winner.
Finally, the recipes, which are the heart of any cookbook. One of the Seven Crowns is 'make everything delicious' and the recipes here are well on their way to doing just that. There are the classics such as Mole Sauce and Chocolate Mousse and then there are some really fun things such as Cocoa Coq au Vin and Cacao Nib Sausage. A word of caution: the recipes have been paired down to their most basic instruction, so beginner cooks may occasionally find themselves in trouble. The Minnesota Fudge Cake, for instance, doesn't mention greasing or flouring the Bundt pan beforehand. More experienced cooks will be just fine.
• Who would enjoy this book? People who love chocolate, of course, and people who love beautiful cookbooks that tell wonderful stories. But if you're buying this as a gift, save this for more experienced cooks who can fill in the blanks and missing pieces in the recipes.
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: Mast Brothers Chocolate by Rick Mast & Michael Mast
• Visit the author's website: Mast Brothers Chocolate
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Image credits: Dana Velden)