Revealed: The Secret Recipes from Dominique Ansel You've Always Wanted — Off the Shelf
Dominique Ansel made his mark on the dessert world with the invention of the Cronut and its subsequent and meteoric rise to culinary fame. He’s been lauded as the Willy Wonka of modern pastry, and, flipping through the pages of his new cookbook, Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes, it’s not hard to see why. The book is fun, imaginative and innovative. Ansel’s penchant for playing with food is written into every recipe, and when you bring this book into your kitchen, you’re unlocking delicious possibilities for you and your family.
The book begins with a foreword by Daniel Boulud and an introduction by Ansel himself. Then seven chapters cover the tenets on which he rests his baking philosophies: Time is an ingredient; Beyond the comfort zone; Don’t listen; What’s in a name?; Create and re-create; Everything but the flavor; and Never run out of ideas. After that come the recipes, separated into sections based on difficulty: beginners, intermediate and advanced. The book closes with a section on additional techniques called for in the recipes, skills like cooking custard, tempering chocolate and piping.
Ansel’s tour through his approach to pastry is fascinating. The insight he lends to his inspirations and process for developing new, innovative desserts is enthralling. Take, for example, the casual retelling of how the Popcorn Chouquettes came to be: He was inspired by customers who came into his bakery late and wanted a snack that they could enjoy while watching a movie they were en route to catch. A light bulb switched on and a new treat was born. The recipes are a lovely mix of classic favorites (like the Mini Madeleines, the Cannelé de Bordeaux, the Pink Champagne Macarons and the Mini Mes meringues) and inspired new bites (like the Ibérico and Mahon Croissant, the Frozen S’mores and the Angry Egg, which resembles an adorable popular mobile-phone game character). Give the Chocolate Pecan Cookies a try at home (recipe below) and make some magic for yourself. Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes goes on sale October 28. You can preorder your copy here.
Time: 15 minutes one day before, rest overnight, 20 minutes the day of
Melt 1 1/2 cups of the chocolate chips in a double boiler: Fill a pot with about 2 inches of water and bring it to a simmer. Place chips in the stainless-steel bowl and place the bowl over the water. Stir slowly with a spatula to ensure the chocolate chips are completely melted and smooth before turning off the heat.
Melt the butter in the microwave (about 30 seconds on high). Mix it into the melted chocolate. Keep the mixture warm over the hot water.
In a mixing bowl, combine the granulated sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, and kosher salt. Add the eggs and whisk until fully incorporated and the mixture resembles pancake batter. Use the spatula or a bowl scraper, if necessary, to make sure you incorporate any dry ingredients that have settled on the bottom or sides of the bowl.
Slowly whisk in the melted chocolate–butter mixture. (If it has cooled and begun to solidify, gently reheat it before incorporating.)
Gently fold in the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips and the pecans with the spatula.
Transfer the dough to the baking dish. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap that touches the surface of the dough. Set in the refrigerator to rest overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and set a rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
Using your hands, break the dough into pieces the size of your palm (approximately 3 1/2 tablespoons). Roll the dough into balls and place them on the baking sheet at least 2 inches apart from one another. Press gently on the top of each ball with the palm of your hand to make a thick disk. This dough doesn’t spread much, so the disk should be relatively close to the size of cookie you’d like.
Bake for about 8 minutes on the middle rack, rotating the baking sheet 180 degrees halfway through. When the cookies are just beginning to crack on top but the dough is set on the edge and has a soft spot in the center (about the size of a quarter), remove from the oven.
Let the cookies cool in the baking sheet for 5 to 7 minutes, to further set.
Remove the cookies from the baking sheet, still on the wax paper, and set aside. Reline the sheet with clean wax paper and continue with the remaining dough.
Excerpted from Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes, published by Simon & Schuster, October 2014.