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After my third attempt in presenting my brother with a dessert deemed worthy of his Valentine’s Day dinner menu, success! Although he liked them all, this one was the winner. Cayenne Chocolate Pots with Grand Marnier Whipped Cream. Outrageously decadent, I admit, but just perfect for chocoholics who are looking for that little twist in their chocolate pot. The taste of cayenne pepper is completely undetected. After the first spoonful you get the rich, unctuous taste of dark chocolate. After the second spoonful, you are in chocolate heaven! At this point, you start to feel a little heat at the back of your throat. By the third spoonful, the warmth that engulfs your throat and mouth, just slightly, leaves you with a pleasant sensation. And I haven’t even mentioned the whipped cream with Grand Marnier. Well, what more needs to be said about the marriage of dark chocolate and orange liqueur? Pure lusciousness in a pot!

I made a kid-friendly version for the girls. Meaning, no cayenne and freshly grated cinnamon in the whipped cream instead of Grand Marnier. And I made them in heart dishes. I chose to wait before having my dessert. I have to say, these are not for the faint-of-heart. It is pure, chocolate indulgence at its best. I thought that surely the girls couldn’t finish them off and that I would swoop in and clean-up their bowls. Clearly, I was mistaken!

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Although these little pots are quite simple to make and only requires 5 ingredients, the quality of the chocolate you use has got to be exceptional. I tend to use Belgian chocolate, Callebaut. But you can use Valrhona, Barry, Scharffen Berger… just not the baking chocolate you pick-up at the grocer’s.

Chocolate Pots

2 cups of whole milk
500g of dark chocolate (more or less 70% cocoa), chopped up
6 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, optional

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Over medium heat, bring milk to a simmer. Add the chocolate chunks, stirring until melted. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

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In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks. Slowly begin to add the chocolate, one ladle at a time, whisking continuously. You want to do this slowly so the eggs don’t cook and scramble. Once you’re about 1/2 way through, add the remaining chocolate and continue to whisk. Add the vanilla, salt and cayenne if using. I’m not very good at measuring and keeping track. Instead, I taste. So after adding say 1/8 of a teaspoon of cayenne, I tasted the chocolate and adjusted until I got the desired effect. Transfer the mixture to small pots, cups, glasses, bowls… or into one large bowl. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours for the small pots and 3 to 4 hours if using a large bowl. Add a dollop of whipped cream and enjoy!

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Whipped Cream

1 cup of 35% whipping cream

1 teaspoon freshly grated cinnamon or about 1 tablespoon of Grand Marnier

Whip up the cream until soft peaks form. Fold in some freshly grated cinnamon. Or if you’re using Grand Marnier, whisk it into the cream as you’re whipping it up. Again, I kept adding little splashes of it as I went along. Taste and adjust to your liking.

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