Chocolaterías in San Cristobal, Mexico 

The center of San Cristobal is very much a tourist town. Since not everywhere has chocolaterías, I thought I’d share some chocolatería photos with you. These were all within walking distance of each other.

Plus a couple bonus photos at the beginning. P.S. I think today is the official publish date for the cookbook!

Tourist menu in Palenque, MX. Achiote is annatto.
Wall with graffiti that says “sin mujeres, no hay revolucion”
Chocolates on display
Inside one of the chocolaterías in san cristobal 
Display discusses cacao en español
Inside a different chocolatería
Name of above chocolatería
 With menu and colorful seating
More menu
La tenda de melina
Vegan chocolatería
Sign above vegan chocolatería
Some place selling churros and chocolate
Another chocolatería

P.S. Mole in a big box store in Palenque:

Vat of mole.
Bulk mole

Ranger Cookies by Heidi Timm (p.66)

Note: All mentions of aquafaba in this recipe actually came from the publisher, not Heidi.  She’s probably fine with it, but we didn’t notice those edits to run them past her.

We spent so much of the winter at Heidi’s café writing this cookbook and eating the most amazing baked goods in the entire city. She was kind enough to share one of her recipes with us. So if you happen to have a friend with cows and chickens, or maybe you’re actually freegan, this is our highlighted dairy recipe.

Heidi suggests that vegans can swap Smart Balance for the butter and replace the egg with a smashed ripe banana or 3 tablespoons of aquafaba.

Makes 15–20 cookies
Takes 45 minutes

1 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 cup dried sour cherries, chopped coarse
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces or chocolate chips
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons, 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 extra large egg or 3 tablespoons of aquafaba
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C), with racks on the top and bottom thirds. Use parchment paper to line 2 sheet pans and set aside.

Pour dry ingredients into a bowl.

In another bowl combine the oats, pecans, dried cherries and chocolate.

In the mixer cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Slowly add the egg and beat until incorporated.

Gently sift, or with the mixer down to low, add the flour mixture to the bowl. Stir until just combined.

Finally incorporate the oats, nuts, fruit and chocolate with wooden spoon.

Use a 1/3 cup scoop, then press to 3/4 inch.

Bake the cookies, two trays at a time, for 12 minutes. Rotate at 6 mins. Cook until the cookies are uniformly golden, but still wet in the middle. They should appear slightly undercooked.

Remove from the oven and cool on the speed rack.

Sunset Wheatberry Salad by Angela Piller (p. 145)

Contains honey

Angela brought this sweet, wholesome salad to our chocoluck and everyone really enjoyed it. I didn’t even think I liked wheatberries and it was so good that I ate every last bite.

Persimmons are in season during the fall and winter. This is easy to remember because they are very striking on the tree when in fruit. Persimmons are a ripe, bright orange during the grey time of year when the trees have lost all their leaves.

Makes 3 cups
Takes 10 minutes

4 Fuyu persimmons, peeled and sliced
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup cocoa nibs
1/3 cup raisins
2/3 cup cooked wheat berries

1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Combine dressing ingredients and whisk. Pour dressing over salad and gently toss. Enjoy!

Chocolate Midnight Cake by Rebecca August (p. 51)

My recipe is based on the famous vegan “wacky cake,” as modified by a friend of mine, Sunday Harvie. I reduced the sugar by a 1/4 cup, and subbed half the oil with aquafaba. It is very moist and holds together well, with a lovely crumb. I’ve noticed the aquafaba gives cakes a certain bounce that is very appealing.

Frost this cake with 1 1/2–2 cups of Goose’s Aquafaba Cashew Chocolate Frosting (p.50).

Makes one 9 x 12-inch cake or two 6-inch rounds
Takes 60 minutes

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened soymilk or other plant milk
1/3 cup safflower, canola or sunflower oil
1/3 cup aquafaba, in liquid form (not whipped)
1 cup strong hot coffee

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; add soymilk and oil and aquafaba, and blend with a spoon. Stir in hot coffee. The batter will be very thin, but don’t worry!

Pour into two 6″ round pans lined with parchment paper, or 9 by 12-inch pan. Bake at 350°F for about 40 minutes (your time may vary, so please start checking around the 30 minute mark, since my oven temp is unreliable). Keep checking frequently until the center is set and a toothpick comes out clean. Don’t overbake!

Cool and frost.

Aquafaba Cashew Ganache & Frosting by Goose Wohlt (p.48)

While we were writing this cookbook, we learned about this new-fangled ingredient called aquafaba. “Aqua” as in water, and “faba” as in bean. You may know it as the viscous water that garbanzo beans are packed in. Turns out that viscousness means it can do all sorts of amazing tricks! Plant-based meringue, anyone? Seriously. Aquafaba. It’s blowing minds and rocking the vegan world.

Goose Wohlt coined the term “aquafaba” and was the first to use it to make a vegan meringue in 2015. Shortly thereafter, Rebecca August started the “hits and misses” Facebook group where all the initial aquafaba experimentation emerged. These two luminaries of the aquafaba community have both graciously agreed to include a recipe for this cookbook. Serendipitously, their two recipes complement each other perfectly.

Chocolate ganache is typically made from chocolate and cream. In this recipe, the combination of blended cashews and aquafaba with a touch of coconut oil act as the cream substitute.

This recipe can be a bit temperamental to match up with the variation in aquafaba consistencies available, but once you find the right balance of aquafaba, cashew, and chocolate, it makes a super easy and quick dark-chocolate ganache. Using cashew cream made from aquafaba resulted in a nice and glossy ganache, even when set, without imparting any discernible bean or cashew flavor. The best part, it only takes a few minutes to whip together.

If you have 2/3 cup of aquafaba, top it off with water. Between the aquafaba and cashews, there is enough emulsification to prevent it from seizing the chocolate. The amount of cashews, aquafaba, and chocolate will determine how thick the final ganache is. If your aquafaba is really thick, use fewer cashews. If it’s really watery, go with the higher amount.

Makes 2–3 cups
Takes 15 minutes

8 ounces 50–70% dark chocolate
1/2–3/4 cup raw cashews, as needed
3/4 cup aquafaba
1 tablespoon refined coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Put the chocolate in a medium-sized bowl and set it aside, along with a lid that will cover it, for when you’re done blending the other ingredients.

In a vitamix or other high speed blender, combine cashews, aquafaba, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt.


Blend on highest speed for no more than 3 minutes. The idea is to get the cashews as creamy as possible and steaming hot, but not so hot that they cook and emulsify. If your mixture doesn’t pour out of the blender without scraping when you’re done, it probably got too hot or there are too many cashews for your aquafaba. It should be like thick cream, not pudding. I don’t need to scrape the blender.

I haven’t tried it, but I suspect that if you don’t have a high speed blender, you probably need to soak the cashews in the aquafaba overnight in the fridge before blending, and you may need to heat the cashew cream just to a simmer on the stove after blending. A high speed blender like a Vitamix will heat it up on its own in short order, so you don’t need the additional soaking or heating steps. [We found that our small “Magic Bullet” blender heated the mixture to steaming, but your blender may vary.]

Once the cashew cream is hot, pour it over the chocolate and cover the bowl. Let the bowl sit, undisturbed, for four minutes, but not too much longer because you don’t want it to cool down too much. Stir it all together quickly until completely uniform. You want the chocolate to melt slowly, but not get too cold. Stir it until there are no more chocolate lumps.

Final temperature should be right at 88–89° F (31° C) .

If you’re using it to pour onto something, you can pour right away. Or, cool it in the fridge for a bit to harden and roll into balls for dipping in tempered chocolate.

Chocolate frosting: Eight ounces of chocolate will give you a fudge-like consistency when it sets up. If you want something closer to a wet frosting, go with less chocolate (e.g., 6 ounces).

1630s Spanish Hot Chocolate (p.44)

We want to emphasize that this is REALLY sweet – it has way more sugar than you would find in most modern hot chocolate.  You can drink it if you want, but we included it mostly for historical interest.

We translated the recipe for hot chocolate from the 1630s into something you can make at home. The egg yolk is optional even in the original recipe. If you don’t have access to yard eggs, we recommend that you omit the yolk—it will still be a tasty plant-based rendition of an antique hot chocolate. You may also wish to omit the yolk if you’re very young, very old, have a compromised immune system, or don’t eat animal products. In the 1630s, sugar was for the gentry, so this recipe has a lot of sugar. It’s very sweet.

Makes about 2 pints
Takes 20 minutes

4 cups clean water
1/4 cup grated baking chocolate
1/4 cup sugar
One fresh egg yolk (optional)
Fresh white bread or biscuits (optional)

First, you’ll need access to clean water, which may be a little easier today than it was in 17th century Europe. We initially assumed the “Conduit Water” that the recipe calls for would have come from an aqueduct, but it turns out the term actually refers to spring water! For most of you, clean municipal tap water is an adequate substitute.

Next, boil your water. If it’s an option, boil your water in a covered pot over an open fire. If you don’t have access to an open fire, any method will do. In a small pot, whisk together the boiling water, grated baking chocolate and the sugar. Use a molinillo if you have one, otherwise, a common whisk or a fork will do. (molinilloMolinillos are traditional Mexican chocolate stirrers.)

This recipe comes from the 1630s, so when it calls for a fresh egg, we mean that if you don’t have a hen, find a friend who raises chickens. Then invite yourself over to make them antique hot chocolate, and schedule your date for the time of day when there is usually an egg still hot from the hen. If your egg has been refrigerated, let the yolk sit out at room temperature for a while so it froths easier. Beat the egg yolk until it’s very frothy, then add it to the beverage.

Pour the cocoa into a couple of mugs. Serve frothy and very hot with bread or biscuits.

Polish Truffles made from Leftover Dessert Tidbits, or, Ziemniaczki

My mom, as the youngest of half a dozen children, was pretty much raised by her live-in great-grandmother, who was from Poland and who only spoke Polish, all the way through second grade, when her great-grandmother died.

Then, when I was like 20, I was working in a national park, and every season we would get a different batch of student coworkers from a different part of the world on a student work visa. One season, it was Polish. It was like living in Poland in California; I loved it.

Here’s a link to No-waste Polish Chocolate Truffles. I haven’t made them, but I love this article just for the delicious stories, and I bet the truffles are good, too. Ziemniaczki, they’re like stone soup but for truffles.

Cookbook Style Guide – Handy References

We’re sharing the style guide and checklist we developed for this cookbook in the hopes that it will be useful for other people too.

The kitchen checklist (ODT & PDF) is to make sure you have all the relevant information when you’re done developing/testing the recipe.  The formatting checklist (ODT & PDF) covers some of the same items to be really sure the recipes are consistent and accurate; and adds a bunch of formatting & styling.  Some of it is based on the Microcosm style guide and other parts are from The Recipe Writer’s Handbook.

The recipe formatting checklist is a heavily used treasure trove of a resource that we referenced several times for each recipe in the book.

Chocolate Cauliflower Gratin by Frederick Lenza (p.137)

Frederick brought this innovative dish to our first “chocoluck,” a chocolate potluck where everyone brought a dish made with cocoa and we all sat around eating theobrominated deliciousness. It was a smash hit with everyone who attended. It’s good on its own, and it’s also great in crêpes.

Fills one 9″ round baking dish
Takes about 90 minutes


2 smallish heads of cauliflower, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon black pepper


1 tablespoon peanut oil
3 ounces Soyrizo
1 1/2 ounces baking chocolate
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 tablespoon ponzu sauce (citrus-infused soy sauce)
1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder
1/4 teaspoon Moroccan seasoning (optional)
1/8 teaspoon liquid smoke


3 slices rye bread
2 tablespoons black truffle oil


Preheat the oven to 450°F. Toss cauliflower with 4 tablespoons peanut oil and black pepper. Put in roasting pan and roast at 450°F for 25 minutes, mixing the cauliflower again half way through.


Heat skillet to medium high heat. Add peanut oil. Crumble and fry soyrizo in oil until slightly browned and some fat has rendered, 5–10 minutes.

Decrease heat to medium. Melt chocolate into Soyrizo. Once chocolate has melted, add flour. Continue stirring to avoid scorching. Cook an addition 2 minutes to cook the taste of raw flour out of the roux.

Add vegetable stock, stirring constantly. Add red wine. Add ponzu sauce, five spice power, Moroccan seasoning and liquid smoke. Simmer for 5 minutes to bring everything together; turn off heat.


Turn the bread to bread crumbs using either grater or food processor. Toss with truffle oil.


Preheat oven to 350°F. Take 9-inch round baking dish and combine the sauce with the roasted cauliflower. It should be enough to give a good coating to all the cauliflower. Mix well. Pack the mixture as tightly and evenly into the dish as possible. Sprinkle the topping on top of the casserole.

Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes. Place under broiler briefly until top is crunchy. Serve hot.