For a person like me who loves fabulous, rich desserts but yet is trying to fight the battle of the bulge, Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts, by Alice Medrich, is truly a godsend.
When I was in college at Berkeley and weighing-in at a scant 118 pounds, Alice Medrich's Cocolat bakery on Shattuck Ave. was a frequent indulgence. I adored her sinfully delicious capuccino truffles and could down several in a sitting. After graduating from college and moving to San Diego, away from the land of Cocolat, I was ecstatic when Alice published her first book, Cocolat, as I found I could easily replicate her delicious and stunning creations at home on a weekend afternoon.
Unfortunately, time, age and a sedentary lifestyle no longer permitted me to indulge in the heavy cream and chocolate-laden desserts. Cocolat was permanently shelved and titles bearing the words "spa cuisine" became ever-frequent additions to my cookbook library. I tried and tried to find satisfaction in fruit sorbets and poached pears but failed miserably. There was just no substitution for the desserts I loved.
Two years ago, I was combing the cookbook shelves of my local bookstore and was both shocked and delighted to find that Alice Medrich had written a low-fat chocolate cookbook. Although I had high hopes that this could be the answer to my prayers, I could not bring myself to believe that her prized desserts could possibly be transformed into low-fat versions. I rushed home and cooked-up a batch of "Michael's Brownies" (a recipe Alice came up with as a birthday cake for a hospitalized child whose liver ailment prevented him from eating fat) and shared them with my husband, a devoted chocoholic and low-fat skeptic. Much to our amazement, they were the best brownies we had ever eaten.
All of the recipes in Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts have been consistently delicious and relatively easy to prepare. We recently brought the Chocolate Pound Cake to a party. One of our friends said it was "orgasmic," and all refused to believe it was low-fat. Our personal favorite is the Bittersweet Chocolate Truffle Mousse, which is heavenly rich and silky.
As a cookbook aficionado, Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts is the best cookbook I have ever owned. I am deeply indebted to Alice Medrich for her efforts in making wonderful desserts accessible to those of us who can no longer afford the higher-fat versions.