I read at some point that the original use for chocolate was in combination with peppers. That thought stuck in my mind for years. Eventually, I was messing around in the kitchen (years ago) and had some peppers left over from the dinner preparation since I had moved on to the set up for a dessert that needed a chocolate drizzle. As a lark, some bell pepper went into the chocolate and I had to admit the outcome surprised me a bit. The taste combination was very pleasing. Many adaptations have been served over the years, but here is my current favorite version.
Let’s talk about the peppers first, the classic is the jalapeno. It is just about the perfect size and it is the flavor is familiar and legendary. For my chili-head friends, it is a bit tame. They like the adventure of the more aggressive flavors from serranos to habaneros. The good news is that no matter where on the heat scale your tastes may fall, that pepper will work just fine.
Now, my friends that like the tamer flavors are in luck. There is now a wide range of less fiery peppers available. The good news is that all of them will work for this just fine. For this particular serving, I used the colopeno pepper. If you don’t know this one yet, it is basically a jalapeno without the heat. It has all the flavor without the bite. Think of this as a gateway pepper to bigger and more fiery things.
All I did was slice the pepper in half and remove the seeds. Then I set the halves in the frig until ready to stuff. Since we are going to be using melted chocolate, cold is now important. For my next steps I am going to need cold surfaces to work on. The simple way to get good cold surface is the double stack method. Get a couple of baking pans that will fit in each other and fill the bottom one with ice and set the top on the ice. Now you have a good cold surface work on.
Next, I step up my double boiler to melt my chocolate. You can use anything you want from semi-sweet baking morsels to commercially finished chocolates so long as they are only chocolate – no fillers. Since basically all types of chocolate melt at skin temperature, it is easy to burn. This is why I like a double boiler set on very low heat, as close to 100 f as possible. I check the chocolates frequently to make sure I know how the melt is coming along. I stir it with a chopstick or thin wooden spoon until we hit the viscosity that flows easily. Don’t worry, once you get the hang of it, it is fairly easy. Depending on the numbers of peppers you want to dip (I did six pepper halves), half a cup of chocolate is a good start.
So far, we have prepped our peppers, chilled them, set up our chilled surface, and melted the chocolate. Now, we get to talk about cream cheese. Personally, I think the standard cream cheese works best, however the flavored cream cheese work pretty good. Strawberry and blueberry are the ones I normally use.
Here we go, let’s put it all together. Get your peppers, cream cheese, and favorite spreading knife. Fill the cavity in the pepper with cream cheese. Once that is done, let’s clean up the work area and get our cold pan, it is chocolate time.
Hold your pepper at the stem end and either dip the pepper of drizzle it with a spoon full hot chocolate (whichever you are comfortable doing). Once the pepper is coated to your satisfaction, set it over on the cold pan. Once the pan is full or you are done dipping, time to set the tray in the frig for a few minutes until the chocolate sets up.
That’s it. Time to serve and eat an amazingly refreshing Summer treat. Once you have done this with one type of pepper, get adventurous and try a few other types. Each one will give a different experience. Have fun and enjoy ?