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Pots de Creme au Chocolat {pure chocolately goodness}

Now, doesn't that sound fancy?  For one of our recent Cook Book Club get-togethers, I chose this dessert and I am super-glad that I did.  It took me back to my college days, to a delightful restaurant that Kyle and I enjoyed going to in downtown Lafayette.  Typically, I would choose their bread pudding for dessert, but one day, decided to order their trio of dessert spoons (basically, a large spoonful--a perfect size after such an indulgent meal--of three of their selected dessert options).  Included in this listing, was pots de creme.  I had never heard of this dessert (and honestly, wasn't super-sure how to even pronounce it to the server) but decided to give it a try.  Let's just say, that it has since been a favorite.  So, when I saw it in the Betty Crocker International Cookbook from 1980 that our group was using for September, I thought 'perfect!".  While the name may sound fancy, it is super-easy to make, so if you are looking for a fun, individualized dessert to try, give this one a whirl!  

Ingredients
  • 1.5 c half-and-half
  • 6 ounces of semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Garnish: 1 c heavy whipping cream and 2 TBSP sugar (optional: ~1 tsp vanilla extract)
Directions
  1. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil and pre-heat oven to 350F.  
  2. In a separate saucepan, heat the half-and-half and chocolate chips over low-medium heat, stirring often and until the mixture is smooth.  Allow to cool slightly.
  3. In a small bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, and salt.  While whisking, gradually pour this into the chocolate mixture until incorporated.  
  4. Fill 6 to 7 ovenproof ramekins (each about 6 ounces in size) with the mixture.  
  5. Place the filled ramekins into a baking dish. Then, carefully pour/ladle the boiling water into the pan around (not in) the ramekins and filling to within about a half-inch of the top of the ramekins.  
  6. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until set.  
  7. With care, remove the cups from the pan and allow to cool for about 15 minutes on a cooling rack.  Then, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (note: these can be made up to 24 hours in advance of your dinner party).
  8. To make the whipped cream, add the cream, sugar, and vanilla extract (if using) to the bowl of a Kitchen-Aid style mixer (or use a bowl and a hand mixer).  Beat on high until stiff peaks form.  Use this to garnish the chilled pots de creme and enjoy! 


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