Just in time for Valentine’s Day, a luscious baked chocolate custard with a bit of heat, topped with soft pillowy clouds also known as homemade marshmallows…
Over the years, February has become the month of chocolate and you know what? I am a-okay with it. I love most things chocolatey. Chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream, double chocolate cookies, fudgie brownies, chocolate mousse…
So I get these ideas sometimes for how I can use chocolate in even more imaginative ways. Or just use it more period. The excuse of recipe testing is a good excuse to make something else sweet and chocolate in this house. Remington puts up with a lot. 😉 Oh yeah, you should pity him.
For these little personal-sized gems, I thought about those heavenly cups of thick rich hot drinking chocolate at French Broad Chocolate in Asheville, and then I thought about how we used to always have hot chocolate with mini marshmallows when camping. And why do we always top chocolate mousse or custard, or those cute little pots de creme with whipped cream? Why not marshmallows??? Thus was born my cute little hot chocolate pots de creme. First I had to make homemade marshmallows because just like homemade whipped cream (although these are a bit more work than homemade whipped cream), you most definitely can taste the difference. OMG, can you taste the difference! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to eat a store-bought marshmallow ever again. The homemade version is just so spectacular. It’s like eating delicious sugary sweet flavored clouds. I used Alton Brown’s recipe, because well… Alton.
Then I whipped up a boozy spiked chocolate custard using both bittersweet and semisweet chocolate and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Pour that into ramekins or custard cups or even these glass hot chocolate mugs and bake in a water bath in a warm oven for 30 minutes. Top each with a homemade marshmallow and torch them off until the marshmallow is golden brown on top and melty. I finished mine with a pop of freeze-dried raspberries for a bite of acid to balance the rich chocolate.
These are amazing! They are like a super thick, rich chocolate topped with a warm
hug marshmallow that melts down into the custard just like a mug of warm hot chocolate topped with darling mini marshmallows. The little kick of heat in the back of your throat from the cayenne is a nice nod to how hot chocolate can warm you up on a cold winter night.
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoon Creme de Cacao dark liqueur (optional)
- Homemade Marshmallows , for serving (optional)
- Freeze-dried Raspberries, for serving (optional)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bring half-and-half and cream just to a simmer in a small saucepan. Remove from heat; add both chocolates and sugar. Let stand 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, stir together yolks, vanilla, cocoa, cayenne, salt, and liqueur if desired. With a fork, stir chocolate mixture until smooth, then gradually stir into yolk mixture. Pour through a fine sieve into a glass measuring cup.
Place 6 custard cups or ramekins in a shallow roasting pan, and divide chocolate mixture among them. Pour hot water into the pan so it reaches halfway up the sides of cups (or at least touches the bottom of the mug if using glass hot chocolate mugs)
Bake until custards are almost set in centers, about 30 minutes (custards will firm as they cool). Carefully remove cups from hot-water bath; let cool slightly.
Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate. Just before serving, top with a large marshmallow and brown off under the broiler or using a mini kitchen torch.
Crush a few freeze-dried raspberries over the top.
Serve immediately while marshmallow is still warm.
Now I’m gonna go shovel a few or ten more of those marshmallows in my face. 🙂 So good.