AndyTalk: The Simple Pleasure of Chocolate Bruschetta

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I try to include a dessert in every cooking class, even when the lesson is salmon, chicken, or pasta. Because the participants expect to make salmon or chicken or pasta the dessert in such classes needs to be simple. Sometimes it's cookies, sometimes it's an easy fruit dessert, but when the class is lucky it's chocolate bruschetta.

See Also: - AndyTalk: Toaster Envy - AndyTalk: The Anatomy of a Tart, Or, I'm Not a Lazy Cook, I Just Don't Want to Go to the Store

My Chocolate Bruschetta is like cinnamon toast on a hefty dose of steroids. How good is it? Sandy (AndyFood's sous chef) is a vegetarian who aspires to veganism. This dessert trumps her vegan inclinations every time. She always has a slice.

Dense and crusty bread is the foundation of any good bruschetta - sweet or savory. Toppings will drip through soft, airy bread, but a dense loaf (such as a good baguette, ciabatta, or puglese-style loaf) absorbs all the good stuff that's melting from the top down. In the chocolate bruschetta recipe, sweetened butter is doing the seeping.

The spread on top of the bread is a blend of confectioner's sugar, ground almonds, cinnamon, and butter. While in the oven this mixture turns into a nut and sugar crisp that's reminiscent of a Florentine cookie; a really buttery Florentine... This topping bonds to the bread trapping some melted butter near the top of the slice. The result is a hint of very enjoyable chewiness that goes into your mouth alongside the crisped top.

Technically, the bread with the sweet butter and nuts doesn't need chocolate. On the other hand, a schmear of dark chocolate turns the toast into a tasty nirvana. The hint of bitter in the dark chocolate balances the sweetness of the crusty sugar coating. The cocoa butter in the chocolate adds a silky quality to the dessert.

After eating the first slice of chocolate bruschetta I always want another. I usually stop at two, not because of self-control, but because I want a slice leftover to have with my morning coffee.

Andy Broder is the chef/owner of AndyFood, A Culinary Studio.

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