Saturday, March 27, 2010

Chili Chocolate


I think it was about a year ago that I discovered Lindt's chili chocolate, and have been addicted to it ever since. It is a smooth dark chocolate infused with chili, so it is sweet and rich, and has a wonderful after-burn.

But recently I've had a problem (other than keeping up my secret stock in the pantry) - I've gotten used to the chili burn, so I don't really "feel" it enough anymore. So I've been toying with the idea of making my own chili chocolates, to make them hotter.

So when I came across an "Easy White Chocolate Mint Truffles" recipe in the April 2010 issue of Canadian Gardening, I immediately thought of trying this recipe - but substituting chili for the mint, and dark chocolate for the white.

Well, it took two tries, but tonight I really succeeded in making a really hot chili chocolate.

Here's the original recipe, thanks to the Canadian Gardening magazine (which I should mention, I subscribe to, and would highly recommend):

Easy White Chocolate Mint Truffles

1 vanilla bean
1/3 cup 35% cream
1/2 cup whole fresh mint leaves
1 lb best quality white chocolate
2 oz (1/4 c) unsalted butter, chopped
1 Tbsp finely chopping mint leaves

Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the tiny black seeds. Add the seeds and pod to a small saucepan along with the cream and the whole mint leaves. Heat the mixture over medium heat for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 15 minutes. Strain, pressing the mint leaves and vanilla beans against the sieve to extract the most flavour.

Line the base and sides of a 8" square cake pan with parchment paper. Using a large serrated knife, chop the white chocolate into small, even pieces. Place the chopped chocolate, infused cream and butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Stir mixture frequently to melt the chocolate and incorporate the butter and cream. When the mixture is smooth and creamy, remove from the heat and stir in the finely chopped mint leaves. Pour into the cake pan and refrigerate for 2 hours, until set. Remove from the pan and cut into small squares.


The first time I tried my hand at it, I tried one batch of ginger, and one of chili. The ginger one turned out really nice. The recipe is something like this:

Easy Ginger Chocolate Truffles

1/3 cup whipping cream
3 or 4 slices of fresh ginger root
1 lb (8 oz or 454 g) pure white or milk chocolate (I used Chipits, and roughly half white & half milk)
2 oz (1/4 c) unsalted butter

Slice the ginger and add it to the cream in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat for 1 minute (I think I heated it for longer). Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 15 minutes. Press on the ginger slices with a spoon to release more juices. Add the butter and melt it in.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or wax paper. Add the Chipits to the butter and cream mixture. Stir mixture frequently to melt the chocolate and incorporate the butter and cream. When the mixture is smooth and creamy (although it thickens up to a paste toward the end), spread it thinly and evenly onto the cookie sheet and refrigerate (or freeze) until set. Remove from the sheet and break into squares.


I pressed some of the chocolate into a silicone ice cube tray (as shown above), which worked out fairly well.  Some of it, I rolled into little balls in my hands, which was pretty messy, but also worked out okay.  I also spread some on wax paper, and broke it into pieces later.  The little balls I rolled in cocoa after they were cooled, and that looked nice.  See photo left, of some of the finished product.

I tried the same method using chili peppers, which I sliced and heated in the cream, but the heat really didn't bring out the chili flavour, so even though it ended up as good dark chocolate (I used the Hershey Special Dark Chipits), I was very disappointed.

When I shared my disappointment with my friend Lily, who actually cooks with chilies, she told me that the heat in the chilies comes out by frying.  Ahah.  So I resolved to try again, which I did tonight.  This is my chili chocolate recipe.

Easy Chili Chocolate Truffles

1/3 cup whipping cream
2 or 3 thai chilies to taste (I used 4 tonight)
1 lb (8 oz or 454 g) pure semi-sweet or dark chocolate (I used Chipits, and roughly half semi-sweet & half dark)
2 oz (1/4 c) unsalted butter

Slice the chilies (being careful to wash your hands afterwards) and fry it in the butter in a small saucepan. Turn down the heat, and allow the chilies to continue to fry lightly (I left them for about 5 minutes, at which point they were starting to become tender).

Add the cream and continue over low heat, stirring occasionally (at this point, I left it for another 5 minutes). Strain the cream mixture into another saucepan over low heat. Be very careful not to allow any of the seeds to pass through. I also changed spoon, just to be sure I didn't transfer any seeds across, because they are deadly hot.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or wax paper. Add the Chipits to the butter and cream mixture. Stir mixture frequently to melt the chocolate and incorporate the butter and cream. When the mixture is smooth and creamy (although it thickens up to a paste toward the end), spread it thinly and evenly onto the cookie sheet (I also pre-scored the chocolate with a knife so it was easy to pull apart in pieces afterward) and refrigerate (or freeze) until set. Remove from the sheet and break into squares.

This time, the chocolate was VERY hot, like a 4-chili rating in a Thai food restaurant. I think if I did it another time, even 2 chilies would be enough. I am very pleased. It will be fun to find friends to try it out.

I am thinking that a good Mayan (cinnamon) chocolate may be another adventure I may try.  Or maybe lavender chocolate.  But I should give it a break for a while, as this will not be good for my resolve to live and eat healthier!

6 comments:

Susannah (Wanderin' Weeta) said...

I'm drooling! Try the chocolate with unsweetened chocolate and no-calorie sweetener. I mix cocoa, butter, hot coffee, and sweetener for a guilt-free chocolate treat. The little bit of butter melts with the coffee, but hardens up nicely when it cools.

Next time I'll add your cream/butter/chile mix.

Garden Lily said...

I don't do artificial sweeteners, but I like your idea of the cocoa and hot coffee... Wow, if I get mixing these up, I'd better find more friends to help me eat it - I think I'm gaining weight just thinking about it.

Susannah (Wanderin' Weeta) said...

Try stevia; it's not artificial, and it really sweetens!

Garden Lily said...

Good idea - I have some stevia in the pantry, and am thinking to try it out. It might take some experimenting on the proportions, but I can always eat the mistakes. ;-)

Beth Niquette said...

Well...you had my mouth watering!!!

My husband is bringing home food and I'm starved. If I could I'd be eating one of your chocolate treats.

AAaaaaahhhh...lovely!

Sharlene said...

That bittersweet chili chocolate sounds delicious Lily. I'm a Lindt chili bar junkie too, at least I was until a bookclub discussion prompted research into the chocolate slave trade. Now I can't appreciate my once-favourite indulgence. Fortunately our local Callibaut's chocolate is even better, and the thought of making it chili flavoured makes me want to skip dinner prep and start playing with chocolate. I had originally thought of making Easter eggs for the kids with the chocolate, and more recently of tucking in to recover from a low energy afternoon (I turned to the blog reader instead), and thank you for the inspiration to resist.

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