Mast Brothers Chocolate takes it back to the bean

Kemberly Richardson has the story.
February 26, 2014 7:34:29 AM PST
A chocolate factory in Brooklyn makes the sweet stuff in a unique way.

Their process begins all the way back with the cocoa bean, something you don't often find.

Yes, chocolatiers actually melt down chocolate and then make their product.

The Mast brothers are chocolate makers, and they bring it all the way back to the bean.

They go through about 100 tons each year inside their Williamsburg factory, a place where chocolate is a way of life.

"I think we love chocolate the way everybody loves chocolate when they are a kid," said Rick Mast, of Mast Brothers Chocolate.

You see, Rick and Michael not only love chocolate, they've committed their lives to it.

What started as a hobby has now grown into a full scale operating a chocolate factory in Williamsburg, where, well if you can dream it, they can make it.

"When we kind of went through those first batches, it was really like tasting chocolate for the first time," Michael Mast said.

It truly is a bean to bar experience.

In the roughly 3,000 square foot space, the Mast brothers and their team are determined to reintroduce people to a new, as they call it, heightened level of chocolate.

"It means decadent, it means life, it means energy, happiness, you're smiling just thinking about it, let alone when you taste it," Rick Mast said.

The pair points out even though chocolate is the most popular fruit on earth, most people don't know where it comes from, from farms around the world.

In 2011, the men proudly began transporting the beans into a port in Red Hook by sail boat.

"It was the first time a sailing cargo Bessel had unloaded cargo in New York since 1938," Michael Mast said.

There's a pastry shop where some of their mouthing watering recipes were recently featured in Bon Appétit Magazine.

Their motto is simple, think out of the box, of chocolate that is.

"If you like our chocolate now, wait for another five years, it's going to be even better," Michael Mast said.

Recently, Rick and Michael have been experimenting with the ageing process, like with cheese or wine, well the same thing can be done with chocolate.

So chocolate lovers get ready!

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Caramel-Dipped Popovers with Chocolate Mousse

These savory popovers are made with cheddar cheese, which keeps the dessert from veering into overly sweet territory.



  • 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cacao), melted, slightly cooled

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3 large egg yolks

  • ¼ cup sugar

  • 1 cup heavy cream, divided


  • Unsalted butter (for pans)

  • 2 large eggs

  • ½ cup heavy cream

  • ½ cup whole milk

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour

  • ½ cup grated white cheddar

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray

  • 1 cup sugar



    Place chocolate and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Cook egg yolks, sugar, and ½ cup cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thick enough to coat a spoon, about 4 minutes. Pour over chocolate mixture and whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Let cool.

    Using a whisk, beat remaining ½ cup cream in a bowl until soft peaks form. Fold into cooled chocolate mixture; cover and chill until cold, at least 2 hours.

    DO AHEAD: Mousse can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.


    Preheat oven to 425°. Lightly butter 10 cups of a standard 12-cup muffin tin or two 6-cup popover pans. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl to blend. Bring cream, milk, salt, and pepper to a simmer in a medium saucepan; whisking constantly, gradually add to eggs. Whisk in flour, then cheese (no lumps should remain).

    Divide batter among prepared muffin cups, fill remaining cups halfway with water, and bake 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and bake until popovers are puffed, golden brown, and crusty, 20?25 minutes longer. Turn out onto a wire rack and let cool.

    Just before serving, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly coat with nonstick spray. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring sugar and 3 Tbsp. water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil, brushing down sides with a damp brush and swirling pan occasionally, until mixture turns deep amber. Set the bottom of saucepan in ice water to stop the cooking and firm caramel slightly (this will make it easier to work with when dipping popovers).

    Working quickly and with 1 popover at a time, dip bottoms into caramel and set, caramel side down, on prepared baking sheet; let cool. (If caramel becomes too hard while dipping, reheat over medium-low heat to a workable consistency.)

    Once caramel has set, mix mousse with a rubber spatula to loosen. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a ¼" pastry tip. Working 1 at a time, poke holes in tops of popovers with pastry tip and fill popovers with mousse.

    Chocolate-on-Chocolate Tart with Maple Almonds

    When making the candied almonds, stir them until the caramel transforms into a dry, crystallized coating.



  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

  • ½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

  • 1 large egg yolk


  • ½ cup raw almonds

  • ½ cup
  • maple sugar or (packed) brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt


  • 10 oz. bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cacao), chopped

  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

    1½ cups heavy cream

    3 tablespoons honey

    ½ teaspoon kosher salt



    A 9"-diameter tart pan with removable bottom


    Pulse cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and 1¼ cups flour in a food processor to combine. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Beat egg yolk and 3 Tbsp. ice water in a small bowl; add to flour mixture and pulse until dough just comes together. Form into a ¾"-thick disk, wrap tightly in plastic, and chill until firm, at least 2 hours.

    Preheat oven to 350°. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 12" round. Transfer to tart pan; lift up edges and let dough slump down into pan, then gently press into edge of pan. Trim dough, leaving about a 1" overhang. Fold in overhang; press to adhere. Prick bottom with a fork. Chill in freezer 15 minutes. Line pie with parchment paper or heavy-duty foil, leaving a 1½" overhang. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until crust is dry around the edges, about 30 minutes. Remove parchment and weights and bake until crust is firm and looks dry all over, 5?10 minutes longer. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let crust cool.

    DO AHEAD: Dough can be made 2 days ahead; keep chilled. Crustcan be baked 1 day ahead; store tightly wrapped at room temperature.


    Preheat oven to 350°. Toast almonds on a rimmed baking sheet, stirring occasionally, until slightly darkened, 6?8 minutes. Let cool.Bring almonds, maple sugar, maple syrup, salt, and ¼ cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat and cook, stirring often, until mixture turns mahogany, about 5 minutes.Remove pot from heat and stir vigorously until almonds are coated with crystallized sugar (they will look sandy). Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet; let cool, then coarsely chop.DO AHEAD:Nuts can be candied 2 weeks ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.


    Combine chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl. Bring cream, honey, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan, whisking to dissolve honey. Pour cream mixture over chocolate mixture; let stand 2 minutes. Whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Pour filling into crust and chill until set, at least 4 hours.Top tart with maple almonds just before serving.DO AHEAD:Tart can be made 2 days ahead; cover and keep chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving.

    Glazed Chocolate?Crème Fraîche Cookies


  • 20 oz. bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cacao), chopped, divided

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour

  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1½ cups (packed) brown sugar

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 4 large eggs

  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream


    Place racks in lower and upper thirds of oven; preheat to 350°. Heat 8 oz. chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water), stirring until chocolate is melted; let cool slightly. Reserve saucepan for melting more chocolate for glaze.

    Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl; set aside. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs and crème fraîche and beat until just combined. Reduce speed to low and gradually mix in melted chocolate; reserve chocolate bowl. Mix in dry ingredients just to combine; fold in 8 oz. chopped chocolate. Cover and chill dough until firm, at least 30 minutes. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 2" apart. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are set but centers are still slightly soft, 15?18 minutes. Let cookies cool on baking sheets 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool.

    Melt remaining 4 oz. chocolate in reserved bowl set over reserved saucepan of simmering water. Let chocolate cool slightly, then dip or drizzle cookies with chocolate as desired. Let sit until chocolate is set, 15?20 minutes.


    Cookies can be made 2 days ahead; store airtight at room temperature.