With Valentine’s Day approaching fast, I’m sure there are a few of you out there desperately searching for a quick and easy dessert. Something that’s slightly fancy, can be made the night before and won’t break the bank. I know I would be as well, however, these days I’m a little over cooking for the miss on Valentine’s Day. It’s a lot of dishes and I try to get more extravagant every year which becomes very exhausting with my tight schedule. Don’t let me get you down about cooking for you special one! I’m just saying for us it’s a day off and we want to be pampered. Also for us, this doesn’t happen on Valentine’s Day, we celebrate the following Thursday (or next day off) because we are typically working the big day. Which is fine by us. You see,being cooks has some perks, might not be a lot,but going to restaurants on their slower days without reservations and getting seated makes a quieter, nicer date.
Anyhow I digress. This post is for you guys who want to impress their significant others with a chocolatey dessert on a special day. Nicole says this is what any girl wants to eat for dessert ever. I get it, its chocolatey, boozy and has the burnt sugar for a crunch. For the guys, you get to play with fire. I guess that’s not gender specific because Nicole fought me for the torch… I suppose she likes fire and that’s why she became a cook.
We originally made these desserts plain and simple (without the hazelnut liquor) but it made me think, how does that make us any different then the other ones? We garnished it with raspberries and mint, which taste good together but they just didn’t fit. We didn’t use any of those things in the making of the brulee. We believe there needs to be some thought behind garnishing our food and just garnishing with fruit and herbs is lazy and not creative (although I am guilty of this sometimes). Round two we fixed this.
For our second batch we had a few things we wanted to fix. We adjusted the egg to cream ratio to allow a creamier set in the custard, making it lighter. We added hazelnut liquor for extra flavor and so we could add nuts as a garnish. You can use any flavored liquor, we were just after an adult nutella flavor profile. Oh, I should mention that one of the byproducts a custard is egg whites. I feel like they usually just get throw away, but you can use them! Our idea was to make meringues and use them to garnish. They are light and fun so it wouldn’t be taking away anything from the dessert but be adding something to it. Plus, it can be piped into fun shapes like hearts or dots. That’s what I like about the idea, you can use a product that would be otherwise trash into something edible and fun. All you have to do is whip the egg whites up to firm peaks with a little bit of sugar. We chose to spread it out into a flat even layer and broke it up to create shards. There is a lot you can do so have fun with them and don’t throw out them egg whites! Hell, you can even make macaroons if you’re daring enough.
Like I said, these little boozy desserts are perfect for Valentines Day. You get fire, chocolate and I hope lots of ohhhs and ahhs when you torch the sugar. Also a hint is that turbinado sugar works best for crusts, its also known as sugar in the raw. Either buy some from the store or steal a pack or two from your local coffee shop. I think its about a pack per creme brulee. These can also be done ahead of time and in fact I suggest making them either the night before or in the morning so they can get completely cooled and set. The best results come to those who wait.
Dark Chocolate Creme BruleePrint This
- 4 Egg Yolks
- 4 TBS Sugar
- 2 Cups Heavy Cream
- 1 Vanilla Bean, Split or 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 5 TBS Frangelico (Optional)
- 4.5 oz Dark Chocolate
- 1/4 tsp Salt
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine cream, 2 TBS sugar, Frangelico, and vanilla in a saucepan on medium-low heat. Just before it starts to simmer, remove from heat, remove vanilla bean, and stir in chocolate until fully melted and incorporated.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together egg yolks and 2 TBS sugar until combined. Pour about 1/4 cup of the warm cream mixture VERY SLOWLY, into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. That bring the yolks up to temperature without scrambling them. Slowly pour the rest of the cream mixture while continuously whisking until it is all combined. Whisk in the salt.
Pour into ramekins and place in a deep pan. Fill the pan halfway up the ramekins with water. Place in oven and bake about 25 minutes. They should jiggle slightly but should not be liquidy.
Cool, then sprinkle sugar over the top (turbinido, or sugar in the raw, works best, but regular sugar in fine). If you have a torch, melt the sugar on the top being sure not to burn it. The top should be a deep caramel color, not black. If you don’t have a torch, pop it under the broiler, being sure to keep an eye on it.
These creme brulees are the perfect amount of creamy and crunchy in a dessert. We hope you enjoy these as much as we did.