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For the Love of Chocolate

Spiced Hot Chocolate, Andrew Meade

Photo by Andrew Meade

Chocolate is one of my biggest pleasures and weaknesses—especially dark chocolate. Its sultry richness seduces me every night at about 7 p.m. and I can’t resist it!

For the chocolate-lovers in your life, I suggest surprising them with my Cup o’Baked Spiced Hot Chocolate for Valentine’s Day. With a handful of ingredients, you can make an easy and unforgettable dessert that has fewer calories than the usual mousse or brownie. The top has a cake-like consistency, but once you dig in it oozes with molten chocolate. Even better, it is flourless! And it has just enough hint of spice to surprise your Valentine. Buen Provecho!

CUP O' BAKED SPICED HOT CHOCOLATE

Makes 4 servings

9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (you can also use chips or chunks)
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 large eggs, at room temperature
¼ cup sugar
Light whipped cream, for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof medium bowl placed over a medium saucepan of barely simmering water over low heat, stirring occasionally. (The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water.) Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the chili powder and cinnamon.

3. Whisk the eggs and sugar in another heat-proof medium bowl until combined. Place over the simmering water in the saucepan and beat until the egg mixture is warm to the touch (wash your fingers well with soap and water before and after testing the temperature), about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. With an electric hand mixer on high speed, beat the egg mixture until light and fluffy and more than doubled in volume, 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Pour the egg mixture over the chocolate mixture and fold together with a rubber spatula. Ladle or pour into 4 5- to 6-ounce ramekins or oven-safe coffee cups. Fold a kitchen towel to fit flat inside of a 9 × 13-inch baking pan. Arrange the ramekins on the towel. Put the baking dish in the oven, and slide it out on the rack. Carefully pour enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins; then carefully slide the rack with the baking dish back into the oven.

5. Bake until the tops look crusty, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Place each ramekin on a serving dish, top with a dollop of whipped cream, and serve immediately.

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