Cooking

Full Mast

Two easy chocolate treats from the Mast Brothers

Melt chocolate and butter. Stir in peanut butter, honey and some puffed rice cereal. Chill. Cut. Done.

No need for fancy cookies this holiday; we'll be making Chocolate Crunch (see the recipe), a ridiculously simple recipe from a pair of brothers who take chocolate very seriously.

Rick and Michael Mast, the Iowa-born, Brooklyn-based bros, practically invented the whole artisanal hipster "bean to bar" thing. His Exaltedness Thomas Keller is a fan. And the sibs have one-upped fair trade to work directly with farmers and collectives.

The new cookbook

Their new Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook ($40) is earnest but not too self-serious.

"We wanted to create recipes that are written in a way that inspires readers to actually make them," Rick tells us. "We saw an opportunity to re-introduce chocolate recipes that were more ingredient-focused and had a simplicity and clarity in their execution."

That translates to thoughtful instructions for childhood favorites like chocolate milk (with syrup made from scratch, naturally) and interesting savory things like a cocoa nib salad.

Toasted almond truffles | Chocolate crunch

Back to the holidays: The other treats we'd recommend making and gifting this season--or eating solo on the couch watching Love Actually on repeat--are the brothers' dark chocolate truffles rolled in toasted almonds (see the recipe). The technique is a touch more involved than the Crunch--it involves tempering--but isn't intimidating.

"Practice makes perfect," Rick says. "But the great thing about tempering chocolate is that you can always re-melt it and try again."

Mast Brothers 111 N. 3rd St. New York NY 11211 718-388-2625

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