Introduction: Chili and Sea Salt Chocolates

About: Not much to say, I'm just a person that finds comfort in intellectual debate and a hot cup of tea.

You may have noticed that in grocery stores and coffee shops alike a wave of odd flavored chocolate bars have hit the shelves. They range from bars that have anything from ginger to pop rocks incorporated into the bar. Two of the most prevalent additions to the bars include the incorporation of sea salt or chillies, both of which are rarely associated with sweet foods.

Chilies in the chocolate tastes a lot like a very chocolate dominated mole, If you like chocolate and spice, this is a good thing.
The salt is not evenly distributed in the chocolate and is encountered by the taste buds in sporadic moments. Think of the encounter with the salt as a disruptor in a flavor continuation, which allows for you brain to be shocked for a moment and then refresh on the pleasure derived from the flavor of the chocolate. It makes it almost like take that fist bite out of the bar once more.

I will go through the process of how to incorporate the new flavors into the chocolate as well as give you an Idea of proportions that are well suited to this project as well as suggest a few simple ways to cool the chocolate so that it looks presentable.

Step 1: Gather Supplies

Obviously you will be needing three ingredients; Chocolate, chilies , and sea salt. However, the question is what type of the ingredients are needed.

As far a chocolate goes I suggest using dark chocolate in particular because it allows for a pure chocolate taste, not diluted by the creams added into milk chocolate, however if dark is not you thing go ahead and experiment with milk chocolate, bittersweet, or anything else you an think of. The mixture that I used was a blend of specialty dipping chocolate (about 4 oz) and 70% coco dark chocolate (4 oz). The dipping chocolate is good for easier handling on small projects like this one because it has a low melting temperature, and a low solidifying temperature, perfect for melting the chocolate in a microwave, which I will be doing in this tutorial.

The use of chili to introduce heat into the chocolate varies greatly You may end up using anything from chili oil  to chili powder which create different effects on the texture and overall taste of the final product. I will pulling the heat of the chilies through the use of super fine chili powder. in the mix, but I will give you some Ideas on how also to incorporate chilies into the chocolate later on.

There are many different types of salt, I personally prefer cracked sea salt crystals, but feel free to experiment or use what is handy. I cant speak for plain table salt though, the grains of table salt may be so small that it disperses the taste of it all throughout the chocolate, which counteracts the purpose of putting the salt in the chocolate to begin with.

Step 2: Melt Chocolate

As I said I will be melting my chocolate in the microwave for the sake of cutting the time it takes to make it as well as limiting the mess I'm able to make from the project.

So, if you are doing this project via microwave put both of you chocolates in a microwave safe container and nuke the chocolate on medium power for about 1 min. pull it out and stir anything that has already melted and reposition the solid pieces. Then set it back in the microwave for another 1 min round on medium power. When you take your chocolate out feel the bottom of the container if it is hot , do not put it back in the microwave. If there are still chunks floating around and the bottom is hot, just stir the lumps around in the molten lake that is the chocolate until they have dispersed.

Step 3: Incorperaiting Additions

The first ingredient you will be adding to the chocolate is the chili. I used a mix of chili powder (3/4 tsp to 8 oz) and condensed chili hot sauce (1/4 tsp per 8 oz with chili powder) this should make a nice heat that should sit in your mouth a while, but not be too hot to stand. Mix these in well. However, if you have a low tolerance for hotness, incorperate the chili powder into the chocolate 1/4 tsp at a time and taste after every time you mix it in until you reach a good level for you.

If you don't want to use chili powder, feel free to use chili oil or pull the essence out of whole chilies. Once again, I advise that you mix this form of chili into the chocolate in small increments such as 1/4 tsp at a time.

The salt is put in just before you pour it to cool. I suggest that you use salt crystals that are approximately no less than 1 to 2 millimeters in diameter. If your salt crystals are too large for your tastes, use the flat side of a knife and gently press the blade to crack the salt into smaller pieces. Add the salt to the chocolate and then stir enough so that you go over all areas of the chocolate, but do not over stir, overstiring will result in the contamination of the chili chocolate taste with the salty taste.

Step 4: Pour It Out

Technique 1: Molds
My chocolate received the name "Ice burg melters" because they were poured into a ice cube tray that looks like the titanic and ice burgs, but what ever type of mold you have available are fine and dandy.
Pour out the chocolate into the mold. Make sure it's full to the brim, and then tap the air pockets out of it by dropping the tray 1/2 to 1 inch onto a solid surface, chill and let solidify completely before taking them from the mold.

Technique 2: Silver Dollar sized wafers
Pour the chocolate out on wax paper in about 1 1/2 tsp increments from your container and cut the stream of chocolate off by scraping the edge where the container is pouring from while tilting the bowl flat again, Repeat the same step but leave about 2 inches of space between drops.
Before it solidifies stretch the chocolate out to a thinner size by tilting the wax paper momentarily so that the piled up chocolate slides off into a thinner continuation or the bottom layer.
Solidify and remove by peeling off the wax paper.

Technique 3: Wedges
Pour our chocolate onto wax paper as in technique 2 and tilt the wax paper  to create a wafer again, Let cool and solidify. Before removing from the wax paper, take a knife and cut through the center four times to make eight wedges. The n peel off the wax paper.

Step 5: Left Over Chili Chocolate?

If you have chocolate left over, put a lid on the container and store it in the fridge. It will last many more months, which give you enough time to find another occasion to make more for.

To reheat  just reheat in the microwave at 1 min on medium power once or twice until it is melted, add a few more salt crystals after reheating and pour out into whatever shape you choose. However I should note that this chocolate is only good for a few uses seeing as how  you add salt each time you reheat it gets progressively saltier each time you use it.

Chili Pepper Challenge

Second Prize in the
Chili Pepper Challenge