High-End Chocolate in America

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John Scharffenberger steps into studio to discuss a new book from the Scharffenberger team, The Essence of Chocolate. He has shared a few recipes with us.


Our chocolatier, Robert Steinberg, enjoys making these dense brownies. (Adapted from "Barron's brownies": Maida Heatter's Great American Desserts. Knopf, 1985)

8 ounces Scharffen Berger 70% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 scant cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 to 1 cup walnut halves or pieces
Adjust a rack 1/3 up from bottom of the oven and preheat to 325 F.

Butter or line with parchment paper an 8-inch square cake pan and set aside.

Heat the chocolate and butter in the top of a 2 1/2 to 3-quart double boiler or water bath. Stir occasionally until melted. If necessary, whisk to smooth. Remove from heat, stir in the salt, vanilla, and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition until incorporated.
Add the flour and stir briskly for about a minute until the mixture is smooth and shiny and comes away from the side of the pot. Stir in the nuts. Turn the mixture into the pan and smooth the top.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted gently into the center comes out moist, but free of batter.

Remove from the oven. Cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes sixteen 2-inch brownies.


Recipe by David Lebovitz (from Room For Dessert)

9.75 ounces Scharffen Berger 62% Cacao Semisweet Chocolate
7 ounces (two sticks minus 1 tablespoon) butter
5 eggs
1 cup sugar

Position the oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 by 2-inch round cake pan, and line the inside with a round of parchment paper.
Set a large bowl over a pan of simmering water to create a double boiler. Cut the butter and chocolate into small pieces and put them in the bowl to melt, whisking occasionally.
Whisk together the eggs and sugar in another bowl. Thoroughly whisk in the melted chocolate.
Pour the chocolate batter into the cake pan. Place it in a larger baking pan, and pour in warm water to reach halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the cake appears to have set and when you touch the center, your finger comes away clean.
Remove the cake from the water bath and cool completely before serving, plain or with gently whipped cream. This cake can be refrigerated for several days.
Serves 12 -14.

Music Break: Blues a go go - Lalo Schifring