Alice Medrich, cookbook author and culinary educator in Berkeley, CA, shares her secrets for using chocolate in every day recipes.

eat your heart out chocolate

In 1972, Alice was in her early 20s and living in Paris with her husband. For her birthday, her landlady made her tiny, cocoa-dusted bittersweet chocolate truffles. "I had never tasted anything like it," Alice says. In 1976, she opened Cocolat, a chocolate dessert shop in Berkeley, California, that was credited with introducing truffles to Americans. Her chocolate empire included seven stores before being sold to investors. "I still make those truffles," she says, "but with even better chocolate."


Use the best chocolate you can afford
 Whenever you splurge on special chocolate, use simple recipes that don't use too much butter, cream, sugar or distracting spices that might mask the chocolate. "You want the chocolate to shine through," Alice says.

Milk chocolate and white chocolate may be substituted for one another in recipes, but sub in dark chocolate only when "used as chips or chunks that remain intact"
 For recipes that call for bittersweet or semisweet without specifying cacao percentage, use chocolate with no more than 62 percent cacao to prevent less-than-desirable results, such as a dry cake.

A white film, or "bloom," on chocolate is caused by temperature changes
 The chocolate's texture and taste may be affected, but if you melt it in a baking recipe, the flavor will return!