Chilli and chocolate are a match made in heaven. Fact. And I don’t even really like chilli all that much usually (spicy food isn’t my favourite). But I do like chilli with chocolate. Dark chocolate, of course – I’m not convinced that chilli and milk or white chocolate would be all that fabulous… I’ve done the chilli and chocolate combination a couple of times on Sharky Oven Gloves, first in the form of some rather delicious chilli chai and chocolate cupcakes and then in the form of some equally scrumptious chilli and chocolate icebox cookies (being ladybird-shaped was a total bonus. The cookies that is, not me.)
A few weeks ago, I had a rather brilliant idea. As we’ve just established, chilli and chocolate go wonderfully well together. So why not infused dark crème de cacao with some chilli peppers? Genius, right? I don’t know why I’ve never thought of trying it out before… Rather surprisingly, recipes for chilli-infused crème de cacao appear to be rather scarce, so I made it up as I went along (which I tend to do anyway). The recipes I found for other chilli-infused alcohols (think tequila, vodka, etc) all specified that the seeds should be removed but the little stringy filaments left in. No specific explanations were given but I decided to heed the advice – presumably the flavour imparted by the seeds isn’t all that great.
The resulting chilli crème de cacao is rather wonderful. The length of infusion depends on your preferred level of spiciness. I’m automatically a fan of anything that requires regular taste-testing and this recipe definitely ticks all the right boxes. Some of this liqueur is destined for baking, though I haven’t quite decided what I’ll be making with it yet, but you can rest assured that I’ll keep you informed. Adding a liberal splash of the liqueur to a hot chocolate would also be a great way to jazz it up. The same goes for cocktails – it could be a great addition to make a cocktail unique (depending on the cocktail, obviously).
Chilli crème de cacao
Makes 250 ml
Recipe from my imagination
This recipe can easily be scaled up without problems – I only made a small quantity since I was experimenting. The infusion time will depend on the combination of how spicy the chilli pepper that you use is (as chilli peppers go, mine wasn’t too too strong) and how spicy you want to make the liqueur. Tasting the liqueur regularly is the only way to determine how long you want to let it infuse (what a shame). Once removed, the infused chilli pepper can be chopped up and used for baking.
1 chilli pepper
250 ml dark crème de cacao
1. Wash and dry the chilli pepper. Halve it and carefully remove the seeds, but making sure to keep the white filaments, then add to a jam jar or preserving jar (depending on how much you are making). Pour the crème de cacao over the chilli peppers and close the jar. Store in a dark place (cover in foil if you can’t put it in a cupboard or something).
2. After about 24 hours, taste the liqueur to check the strength of the chilli. If not strong enough, return the liqueur to its dark place of hiding and check again in about 24 h (mine took about 48h). When the liqueur is ready to your taste, strain the crème de cacao through a cheesecloth (kitchen roll also works) and decant into a bottle to store.
Enjoy! (Moderately, of course…)