Are “chocolate pots” a new thing? I had never heard of them before August 24, 2009, when I was in the hospital with my newborn baby. I was trying to decide on my dinner from the hospital menu, and when I got to the desserts, I saw “chocolate pot”. I didn’t know what it was! A pot of chocolate? I didn’t order it. After all, it was hospital food, and I wasn’t particularly interested in hospital chocolate.
Eventually I discovered what a “chocolate pot” actually was. Lucky me! Or not so lucky, depending on how you look at it!
Most of the recipes I saw for chocolate pots used raw eggs, so I put off making my own for a very long time. Now that I’m more brave as I venture even further and further into the world of food (I’ve tried sardines now, I’ve made my own bread, I now eat my steak medium-rare instead of very-well-done, etc.) I put my fear of raw eggs aside (for the moment) because I found an amazing recipe for chocolate pots with salted caramel toffee. It was the cover recipe for April’s delicious. magazine, and comes from one of my dessert-recipe heroes, Valli Little.
This is such an easy dessert to prepare, and it’s so elegant-looking. Even better, it tastes incredible. This is one for the serious chocolate-lover, and if you love salted desserts, this will be one of your favorites.
A couple of notes… the recipe included salted butter for the chocolate part of this dessert, but I didn’t have any salted butter, so I simply added a pinch or so of very finely ground sea salt in with my unsalted butter.
For the salted caramel toffee, the toffee should be a light golden color, not dark, so as soon as the sugar starts to color, watch it like a hawk, and perhaps take it off the heat just before it turns the color that you want. I used Murray River pink sea salt flakes to sprinkle on the toffee.
The recipe also includes 1 tablespoon of brandy. I don’t have brandy and didn’t want to buy brandy just for this; I used 1 teaspoon of my homemade vanilla extract instead. You could use store-bought vanilla extract as well, just be sure it is the real extract and not the fake. Also, be sure to only use 1 teaspoon of vanilla and not a tablespoon.
And of course, once again I must stress the importance of using the best quality chocolate that you can find and afford. It truly makes a world of difference. I used a Whittaker’s 50% chocolate bar for these.
Personally, I didn’t like the salted caramel toffee on its own, but when tasting it with a bite of the chocolate as well – WOW! Words cannot describe it, it was just heavenly.
I originally made this last week, which is when I took these photos. But I liked these chocolate pots so much that I made them again as a Mother’s Day dessert when I made lunch for my mother-in-law. I did everything the same as before, except I crumbled the toffee up a bit more so that it resembled crumbs or small pebbles. I preferred it that way, more so than the larger chunks of the toffee I used in the photos above!
So delicious! This recipe is now one of my top favorites on my blog!
Adapted from delicious. magazine, April 2011
250g good-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
200ml thickened cream, plus extra whipped cream to serve
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon brandy (or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
20g salted butter, softened
For the salted caramel toffee
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt flakes
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set aside.
Heat cream and sugar in a pan over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to just below the boiling point, then remove from heat and pour over the chocolate, stirring until completely melted and smooth. If the chocolate doesn’t melt entirely, you may place the bowl in the microwave for 15-20 second intervals, stirring very well after each, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
Gently stir in the egg yolks and brandy or vanilla extract, then add butter and stir to combine.
Divide chocolate mixture between four 200ml dessert moulds or pots, then chill for at least 2 hours or overnight until just set.
Meanwhile, for salted caramel toffee, line a baking tray with a sheet of foil. Place sugar and 1/4 cup (60 ml) water in a pan over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Increase the heat to high and cook, swirling pan occasionally and brushing down sides with a damp pastry brush, for 4-5 minutes or until a light golden caramel. Quickly, but carefully, pour onto prepared tray, swirling and tilting to spread the caramel. Sprinkle over salt. Cool completely until hardened, then break into shards. Toffee can be prepared up to a day ahead and kept in an airtight container.
To serve, top chocolate pots with whipped cream and sprinkle over shards of salted caramel toffee.