Chocolate, sweetheart?

Chocolate All Day: From Simple to Decadent, 100+ Recipes for Everyone’s Favorite Ingredient
by Steven Hodge

Toronto: Appetite by Random House, 2023
$37.50  /  9780525612025

Reviewed by Rebecca Coleman

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Back in 2015, I got invited to an influencer event at Temper Pastry in Dundrave Village of West Van. The bakery had opened the year before, and this wasn’t my first time there. I had a friend who lived just up the street, so Temper had become our go-to hang out spot for coffee meet-ups.

Opened by Steven Hodge, a chocolatier and pâtissier, Temper is still going strong, both as a neighbourhood hotspot and as a destination for lovers of pastry.

Chocolatier and pâtissier Steven Hodge hails from West Vancouver

To this day, they still have one of my favourite croissants in the city.

Hodge grew up in a kitchen, watching his mom bake from a young age, not far from where Temper now is. He eventually went on to pastry school, then putting in time at Wolfgang Puck and Gordon Ramsay. Prior to opening up his own shop, he worked at Thomas Haas.

More recently, Hodge was tapped to host, co-host, or judge several Food Network programs, and now, a cookbook, called Chocolate All Day, From Simple to Decadent, 100+ Recipes for Everyone’s Favourite Ingredient.

So, if you’re a chocoholic like me, then this book is for you. If you have dreams of winning the Great Canadian Baking Show, this book is for you.

Hodge squeezes a ton of knowledge into the pages of this cookbook. The first few chapters are a knowledge dump of the years of skills he’s acquired working with chocolate. He educates on different types of chocolate and cocoa, and which ones work best for the home baker. He teaches how to melt and temper chocolate, and how to make fancy chocolate garnishes. There’s also a section on tools and troubleshooting.

From within the pages of Chocolate All Day:
Dark Chocolate Passionfruit Tart

We then get into recipes, and we start at breakfast (chocolate for breakfast? Yes, please!) and end at dessert. And while I realize that Hodge’s area of expertise is pastry and sweets, I think it was a missed opportunity not to include a savory chapter in the book—as chocolate adds so much to savory dishes like mole, chili or as a sauce for meats.

Chocolate All Day includes more than 100 recipes for breakfast, cakes, tarts and souffles, cookies, squares and bites, a section for drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), frozen desserts (ice cream), candy and kid-friendly recipes (Hodge and his wife have two young children).

I tested 5 recipes from this book: White Chocolate Raspberry Scones, Chocolate Raspberry Brownies, Chocolate Lemon Madeleines, Peanut Butter Chocolate Energy Balls, and the Chocolate Souffle.

One thing I really like about this cookbook is that most of the recipes are relatively simple and straightforward. I would think it would be really easy for someone who is a master chocolatier to get into some pretty technically complicated stuff, but Hodge does a good job of including both very easy and simple recipes for beginners, as well as more difficult and complicated recipes for the more advanced baker.

Reviewer Rebecca Coleman gave one of Steven Hodge’s recipes a try: Peanut Butter Chocolate Energy Balls. Photo Rebecca Coleman

The first recipe I tried were the Peanut Butter Energy Balls, a healthier, no-bake recipe that’s similar to one I make quite often. I don’t always include chocolate in mine, so I found that a welcome addition, though I chopped my chocolate too coarse, and did not enjoy the harder texture of the larger chunks inside the soft balls. That one was on me, the recipe calls for bittersweet dark chocolate, “chopped fine.”

I’m always looking for an excuse to bust out my madeleine pan, so I was excited to try Hodge’s take on those, and I was pretty happy with the outcome. If you’ve never had a madeleine, they are kind of a cross between a cake and cookie, and are baked in a pan which gives them a kind of seashell shape. Proper madeleines should have a “hump” and mine did. My taste-tester (aka my next door neighbour Rita) on this one and I both agreed that we would have liked to have seen more chocolate in this one—dipping the finished cookie in dark or white chocolate would have taken it over the top.

“I’m always looking for an excuse to bust out my madeleine pan…” Rebecca Coleman’s Chocolate Lemon Madeleines from Steven Hodge’s recipe in Chocolate All Day. Photo Rebecca Coleman.

Chocolate Souffle is one of those desserts I think most people, maybe even good bakers, fear. We’ve all heard horror stories of souffles turning into hockey pucks, and how incredibly temperamental they can be. Souffles, however, are not to be feared! This was not my first time making one, and while it didn’t turn out perfectly, I’m going to chalk that one up to user error. I made mine one day while cooking a large meal with a group of foodie friends, and I don’t think I gave it the attention it properly deserved. It didn’t rise as much as I’d have liked, but it was delicious. This one I will try again, probably for Valentine’s Day.

The last two recipes I attempted, the scones and the brownies, were pretty big fails. I can never rule out that I am responsible, but both recipes had an ingredient in common: frozen raspberries.

For the record, I love baking with raspberries. They bring a nice tart counterpoint to sweet desserts that helps to balance them. I was pretty stoked about both of these recipes, but both had similar issues with baking. For the brownies, they began to burn on top, but they were still not fully cooked on the inside. I like my brownies a bit on the gooey side, but these were pretty mushy still on the inside, but I didn’t feel like I could leave them in the oven any longer, as the top was starting to blister and burn. The mush still tasted good, though.

The scones were an even bigger fail—I sadly had to bin them. I baked them on my favourite cookie sheets, which also happen to be rimless. The scones spread so much while baking that they oozed off the edges of the cookie sheets and burned onto the bottom of my oven.

I think the problem here was the frozen raspberries. When the batters went into the oven, the frozen raspberries melted and that extra moisture in the dough lead it to become too wet and heavy.

It’s Valentine’s Day. You could get your sweetheart some chocolates. Or you could buy them Chocolate All Day and give the gift of chocolate for years to come. It’s kind of the “give a man a fish/teach a man to fish” philosophy, but with a much tastier and more romantic subject: chocolate.

“Souffles, however, are not to be feared!” Rebecca Coleman’s attempt at Chocolate Souffle. Photo Christine McAvoy

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Rebecca Coleman. Photo Cody Briggs

Rebecca Coleman is a content creator, foodie and 2x cookbook author. She specializes in vegan/vegetarian food, and is always on the hunt for the world’s greatest donut. Rebecca lives in Vancouver, BC, with her son and their tuxedo cat. She has previously reviewed books by Denise Marchessault, Jillian Harris & Tori Wesszer and Jessica Schacht. Visit her website at: https://cookingbylaptop.com

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The British Columbia Review


Interim Editors, 2023-24: Trevor Marc Hughes (non-fiction), Brett Josef Grubisic (fiction)
Publisher: Richard Mackie


Formerly The Ormsby Review, The British Columbia Review is an on-line book review and journal service for BC writers and readers. The Advisory Board now consists of Jean Barman, Wade Davis, Robin Fisher, Barry Gough, Hugh Johnston, Kathy Mezei, Patricia Roy, Maria Tippett, and Graeme Wynn. Provincial Government Patron (since September 2018): Creative BC. Honorary Patron: Yosef Wosk. Scholarly Patron: SFU Graduate Liberal Studies. The British Columbia Review was founded in 2016 by Richard Mackie and Alan Twigg.

“Only connect.” – E.M. Forster

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