Chocolate certainly isn't a seasonal treat — if there's one confection that people should and very much do enjoy year-round, it would be chocolate, though a rich, chocolate-laden treat surely does taste better in cooler months. Now, there are quite a few ways to use chocolate and, moreover, there are quite a few types out there. While milk chocolate often gets the spotlight time and time again, we want to shift your attention to dark chocolate, which is like milk chocolate's slightly bitter cousin that has much to offer when it comes to baking.
Dark chocolate can be somewhat polarizing, with some people avoiding it due to its robust, bitter flavor profile. There's no denying that dark chocolate will lean less on the sweet side and more on the bitter side, but that's exactly the characteristic that makes it so ideal for baking. Nearly any baked good will include added sugar, so when you double down with sugary milk chocolate, the whole treat becomes a touch too sweet. Dark chocolate provides a nice balance in flavor, and you can still count on your sweet treat being, well, sweet, but without being overly so.
Our best dark chocolate recipes will prove that the confection certainly has a place in your baking repertoire, especially in your fall one. Who said fall baked goods had to be limited to pumpkin spice this or cinnamon that? Keep things classic with dark chocolate and you won't be disappointed.
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Dark Chocolate Rhubarb Brownies
Dark chocolate is not an unexpected ingredient in brownies, but rhubarb? That ingredient is a bit of a curveball, but one that works quite splendidly amidst the sweet, rich flavors that these brownies have to offer. While rhubarb might not work well in a milk chocolate brownie recipe, the tangy and tart vegetable proves itself a worthy player next to dark chocolate — after all, how could their mutually bitter flavor profiles not work well together?
In case you're worrying that these brownies will yield a big mouthful of bitterness, fear not. Both granulated and brown sugar help ensure that these brownies remain nice and sweet, and the finishing dollop of vanilla ice cream is guaranteed to bring plenty of sweetness (and creaminess) as well.
Recipe: Dark Chocolate Rhubarb Brownies
Mini Chocolate Eclairs
While most of us can safely say that we've eaten a chocolate eclair before, fewer can say that they've made the classic French confection from scratch. Thanks to this mini eclairs recipe, you'll soon be able to say you've done both, and you might just find that these homemade treats are much better than anything you could buy from the store.
There's no denying that this eclair recipe is a little more involved than your typical dessert, so you will have to whip out the piping tips and silicone pastry mats. You'll essentially create three distinct parts for this recipe — the eclair dough itself, the chocolate cream, and the dark chocolate ganache to go on top. While it might not be the easiest recipe in the book, it certainly is one of the most impressive, and anyone who is craving a chocolatey treat will surely be satisfied.
Recipe: Mini Chocolate Eclairs
Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Truffles
The good news about these dark chocolate raspberry cheesecake truffles is that they require virtually no cooking time, they're beautiful to look at, and they pack in quite a bit of flavor in a tiny bite. The bad news is ... actually, there really isn't any bad news here unless you're not a fan of raspberries. These truffles might not be for you, but if you are a fan of the sweet-tart fruit, then you'll find that they pair exceptionally well with the creamy cheesecake base and the rich dark chocolate layer on the outside.
The key to making these truffles is patience — you'll be moving them from countertop to freezer then back and forth again pretty often. Luckily, as we mentioned, these truffles won't need to spend any time in the oven, so those who don't particularly enjoy the baking aspect of most dessert recipes will thrive thanks to these truffles.
Flourless Chocolate Torte
There are many reasons that one might seek out a flourless dessert, whether you're baking for gluten-free folks or ran out of the baking staple at an inopportune time. Luckily, you don't need flour to make a cake-like dessert, nor do you need to waste time experimenting with gluten-free flour alternatives. If you need a flourless dessert in a pinch, then this chocolate torte is just the solution — it's rich, dense, ultra-chocolatey, and most importantly, your Celiac friends won't need to rush to the hospital after enjoying a slice.
Another perk to this recipe is that the ingredients list is short and sweet, with butter, eggs, and almond meal making up the bulk of the torte. Of course, it wouldn't be a dark chocolate dessert without the confection, and both dark chocolate squares and cocoa powder help give this dessert its rich appeal.
Recipe: Flourless Chocolate Torte
Espresso Chocolate Muffins
Chocolate muffins are decadent enough on their own, but when you add espresso to the mix, those flavors really pop and turn into something truly special. It's a tried and true sentiment that you can and should add espresso powder to chocolate cake, and as this recipe proves, the inclusion works just as well in muffins, if not better — after all, espresso and muffins are a breakfast match made in heaven.
This recipe successfully doubles down on the espresso inclusion by using both powder and freshly brewed liquid — and, don't worry, you can just use strong black coffee if you don't have an espresso machine handy. The espresso really plays up the rich dark chocolate flavor in the muffins, making for a morning treat that you'll likely enjoy as an after-dinner treat, too.
Recipe: Espresso Chocolate Muffins
If you're looking for a dessert that will truly wow your dinner guests and isn't your expected cake or pie, then this chocolate pavlova is guaranteed to impress. The classic meringue dessert gets a chocolatey upgrade in this recipe, and the final product gets dressed up in a fashion similar to that of a layered cake, but it's far more beautiful than your average chocolate cake.
The key to making this pavlova is to ensure that you beat the eggs just right. And, when it comes time to mix in the cocoa powder, dark chocolate, and special weapon balsamic vinegar, be careful not to overmix and deflate your hard work.
Recipe: Chocolate Pavlova
Vegan, Gluten-Free Chocolate Pomegranate Tart
It's not always easy to find a dessert that checks even one dietary restriction box, whether it be vegan or gluten-free, but this chocolate pomegranate tart defies all odds and manages to check each and every box. From the almond flour crust to the coconut milk and dark chocolate-based filling, this tart not only checks several dietary clearances but also manages to taste delicious in spite of it all.
As with any gluten-free treat, the main thing to avoid here is all-purpose flour. Both almond flour and coconut flour come into play, serving as the base for the tart crust that also contains cocoa powder, cardamom, and maple syrup. The vegan tart filling doesn't skimp on the chocolatey goodness, but instead of using dairy-laden milk chocolate, dark chocolate comes into play to give it that rich flavor profile.
Salted Chocolate Cronut
It's pretty hard to top a classic donut, but these salted chocolate cronuts really do give the fried treat a run for its money. At first glance, these cronuts look just like your typical donut, but one bite proves that these tasty treats actually combine two baked goods into one — donuts, of course, and croissants. The result is a confection that has that irresistible fried flavor, along with the added bonus of buttery, flaky layers.
The best part of making fried baked goods at home is that you can enjoy that level of freshness that stores, restaurants, or donut shops just can't deliver. Plus, you get to customize what goes into your cronut — in this case, you'll enjoy a delightfully chocolatey treat, and one that comes topped off with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.
Recipe: Salted Chocolate Cronut
Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Mud Pie
While a mud pie lives up to its name in terms of appearance, we can assure you that you won't be tasting any mud or dirt when it comes time to enjoy a slice. In fact, when you take a bit of this dark chocolate hazelnut mud pie, all you'll taste is rich, creamy goodness, with the perfect touch of nuttiness thanks to the chopped hazelnuts on top.
This mud pie is the perfect dessert to make for a family gathering as it is nearly guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser. Anyone who likes chocolatey desserts (so, everyone) will want a slice of this pie, and the inclusion of hazelnut syrup and chopped nuts on top adds some complexity to the dessert without veering too far from the chocolate-centric nature.
Recipe: Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Mud Pie
Chocolate Banana Brownies
It's no secret that bananas work well in baked goods, and it's also pretty apparent that the mild fruit tastes oh-so-good when paired with chocolate. So, naturally, it makes sense to add bananas to brownies — they won't overpower the taste of the dessert, but they will add a fruity sweetness that we consider to be a total upgrade.
These banana brownies are ideal as a weeknight treat seeing as the ingredients list is minimal and the prep work is just a matter of mixing everything together. The next time you need to use up some ripe bananas, don't make that same banana bread recipe for the hundredth time — switch things up and make brownies instead.
Recipe: Chocolate Banana Brownies
Orange-Cardamom Chocolate Truffles
These chocolate truffles are just about as rich and decadent as you'd expect, but the clever inclusion of orange helps add a pop of bright, citrusy flavor. You don't add juice or zest, but instead, you'll simmer orange peels in the ganache mixture — perfect for infusing orange flavor without it becoming overbearing.
Of course, we'd be remiss not to mention another star flavor here, which is cardamom. Much like the orange peels, you'll simmer cracked cardamom pods in the ganache, so that warm flavor profile will be there, but when it comes time to enjoy a truffle, chocolate will be the front and center flavor.
Fall Fruit And Cocoa Overnight Oats
For those who enjoy dark chocolate but aren't necessarily looking for a dessert, this overnight oats recipe is for you. These cocoa-soaked oats come finished off with a plethora of fall-inspired toppings, including pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, and of course, more dark chocolate.
If you can't be bothered to whip up a nourishing breakfast in the morning, then perhaps you'll be more inclined to do so the night before. With all of your garnishes ready to go, you can simply top off your chocolatey oats and enjoy, making for a fuss-free morning.
Chocolate Caramel Tart
If you're a big fan of Reese's peanut butter cups and have always dreamed of indulging in a giant one, well, it's your lucky day. Okay, this chocolate caramel tart isn't exactly like a peanut butter cup, but it sure does look like a giant one — instead of pairing chocolate with peanut butter, however, you'll enjoy it alongside another rich favorite: caramel.
Though such an impressive-looking tart may seem like it requires countless ingredients, you actually only need five ingredients to make the magic happen here — six if you opt for the flaky salt garnish. Pulverized Oreos make for an easy crust and canned caramel offers a useful shortcut over the homemade route. All told, it only takes about 15 minutes to whip up this tart, but you will need a little patience as it chills in the fridge for a few hours.
Recipe: Chocolate Caramel Tart
Chocolate Almond Bark
Chocolate bark is a great thing to make around the holidays, seeing as it makes for a simple but tasty gift and one that's certainly a notch above a box of store-bought chocolates. This chocolate almond bark recipe really couldn't be easier to make — the bark itself requires just dark chocolate and whole almonds, and you may want some flaky salt on hand as a final garnish.
The most difficult part of this recipe, if you could even call it difficult, is roasting the almonds in the oven. As for the chocolate, you'll simply melt that down in the microwave then mix in the almonds, spread it out onto a baking sheet, and let it harden. Then comes the fun part, which involves breaking your homemade bark into perfectly imperfect chunks and handing it out to your friends and family (or keeping it all to yourself).
Recipe: Chocolate Almond Bark
Miso Chocolate Lava Cake
Though miso may not seem like an obvious inclusion to a chocolate dessert (and, in fact, seem like a rather odd one) this miso chocolate lava cake proves that the salty paste can really shine in a baked good. The white miso paste adds an incredibly rich, savory undertone to the dessert, along with notes of nuttiness that pair exceptionally well with the chocolate. While chocolate certainly is the main flavor profile here, the miso adds an unexpected savory burst that helps balance out all of the ooey-gooey goodness.
This recipe yields four individual lava cakes, so it's ideal as a family dessert or for a small dinner party. These lava cakes are more time-sensitive than your typical dessert, seeing as you'll want to serve them very shortly after they get out of the oven to optimize the gooey lava effect. As long as you get the timing right, then there's no doubt that these lava cakes will impress your date, friends, or even just your own taste buds.
Recipe: Miso Chocolate Lave Cake
Muscovado Chocolate Ganache
Chocolate ganache is an important baking staple, useful for frosting cakes, filling pies, or making truffles. While there aren't too many ways to switch up a ganache seeing as that chocolate is the star ingredient, this recipe manages to add more depth thanks to the use of muscovado sugar.
So, what's the difference between muscovado sugar and brown sugar? At first glance, the two sugars look very similar, but the key difference is that muscovado sugar contains much more molasses than brown sugar. As a result, the sugar has a richer, caramel-like flavor, and as you can imagine, such flavors work very well in a chocolate ganache.
Recipe: Muscovado Chocolate Ganache
Black And White Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
Commonly associated with Valentine's Day and date nights, chocolate-covered strawberries are a simple but delicious dessert that one doesn't need an excuse to enjoy — you really can just make them whenever you're craving a sweet treat. If you find yourself consistently conflicted between dark chocolate and white chocolate, you're in luck with this recipe as it incorporates both types of chocolate for the best of both worlds.
For optimal aesthetic, you'll alternate between dunking one strawberry in dark chocolate and then drizzling it with white chocolate, then vice versa. The resulting strawberry not only looks effortlessly elegant and refined, but it conveniently features both types of chocolate for the perfect sweet-bitter balance.
Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
For those times when plain old chocolate chip cookies just don't cut it, perhaps coconut is the secret ingredient that you're looking for. This recipe throws desiccated coconut into the mix, resulting in a cookie that tastes and looks a lot like a classic chocolate chip one, but has a slightly chewier texture with nutty flavor undertones.
Anyone who bakes often or keeps a stocked pantry will be able to whip up these cookies in a breeze. The hardest part is waiting for the cookie dough to chill — which takes a minimum of an hour — but once the dough is portioned out and in the oven, your coconutty cookies will be ready to go in just 12 minutes.
Recipe: Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
Double Chocolate Derby Pie
A Kentucky Derby pie is a classic dessert that can vary somewhat regionally, but no matter what, it's always going to contain a healthy splash of bourbon. This double chocolate variation stays true to its boozy predecessors, as you will find bourbon in the ingredients list, though you'll also find maple syrup, pecans, and lots of chocolate.
You'll start by making the crust for this pie, which as the name suggests, will get the chocolate treatment just as the filling does. Cocoa powder adds chocolatey goodness to the crust, whereas dark chocolate and chocolate chips help fudge up the pie itself. Pecans provide a final crunch on this rich, decadent, nutty treat.
Recipe: Double Chocolate Derby Pie
Traditional Chocolate Cream Pie
Of all the types of chilled pies out there, we'd argue that chocolate cream pie is the best of the best — yes, even better than banana cream or lemon meringue. It's really hard to beat the combination of chocolate and cream, especially when the pie is served up in a luscious Oreo crust as this one is.
There are three distinct parts to this pie: the Oreo crust, the chocolate filling, and the chocolate-topped whipped cream layer on top. The only part of this pie that requires any baking is the crust, and otherwise, the biggest test of your patience will be allowing the pie to chill in the fridge. Luckily, the wait will be worth it, and this ultra-rich and creamy pie will no doubt be the star of your next dinner party.
Recipe: Traditional Chocolate Cream Pie
Read the original article on Tasting Table.