For the Love of Chocolate, Hot and Spicy

A Pot of Chili Pepper Chocolate Pate. . . 

For all you Nutella lovers out there, here’s something with a little afterglow and far more interesting to try.  Chili Chocolate Pate.  An easy, elegant dessert to serve as part of your  balanced diet platter of fresh fruit slices, berries . . . cheese and chocolate ginger shortbread. (Okay, forget the calories.) 

The recipe is an adaptation of my all-time Valentine’s Day cookbook, The Joy of Chocolate by Judith Olney.  For best results, use the highest quality  chocolate you have the tolerance to pay for.  For today’s recipes I indulged in a combination of Callebaut semisweet baking chocolate,  Taza Stone Ground Chocolate Mexicano with Guajillo Chili and Cacao di Pernigotti unsweetened cocoa powder (requiring a detour at Williams-Sonoma.)  

I whipped this up last-minute last last night and the kitchen is still redolent of chocolate. The prep is mindlessly simple.  So melt, stir, chop, mix and enjoy.   To follow your bliss, find more hot and spicy chocolate recipes on the ultimate foodie blog: Food 52.  Happy Valentines... 

Chili Chocolate Pate 

Here’s all you need:
4 ounces Mexican chocolate (or more)
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 2/3 cups heavy cream
5 tablesppons butter (softened)
3 tablespoons unsweetened  cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground expresso beans
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper  (for an extra kick) 
1 1/4 cups chopped toasted almonds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
Optional: 2 teaspoons brandy or liqueur of your choice 
Here’s all you do:
  1. Melt the chocolate in a small sauce pan over hot water
  2. Heat the cream in a saucepan until nearly scalded (just about to boil). Add melted chocolate, butter, expresso beans, cinnamon (and red pepper to taste) and stir briskly until the mixture cools. 
  3. Stir in the vanilla extract, nuts and liqueur
  4. Spoon the mixture into a small pate or cheese crock and cover with plastic wrap. If the pate is to be served within 2 to 3 hours leave a room temperature. To serve after refrigerating add a bit of warm cream to soften the chocolate again to a smooth consistency. 

Orange and Zesty Chocolate Ginger Shortbread

More chocolate intensity, yet not too sweet.  The recipe, again adapted from The Joy of Chocolate, melts in the mouth and just a bite satisfies for a rich dessert.   I make it easy on myself by foregoing the traditional shortbread mold, and rolling the dough refrigerator-cookie-style.  Kick it up a notch with the addition of fresh ginger, cinnamon, orange zest  and cardamom. . . and yum.   
Here’s what you need:
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate 
1 stick unsalted butter
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 or 3 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1/2 cup chopped pistachio nuts (optional)
2 tablespoons cream
Here’s what you do:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Melt chocolate over hot water and cool
  3. Cream butter and sugar together, add chocolate and blend well
  4. Stir cocoa, flour and cornstarch into the butter mixture, blend until the mixture lightly crumbles.  Add cream to moisten dough. 
  5. Form dough into a log, as you would with refrigerator cookies. Refrigerate for thirty minutes.  Cut log into thin slices and place on a greased cookie sheet
  6. Bake for 25 minutes

Photos: VHenoch
Happy Valentine's Day


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