I like to think that I keep my blog pretty fresh. Indeed, things are set to get even fresher with a whole new blog design coming soon! I try to post at least twice a week, and I truly appreciate every comment and Twitter re-tweet I receive when I post new content.
Today, though, I’m standing up in front of everyone in the virtual food blogger self-help group and announcing, “Hi, my name is Gerry and my last post was on November 19.”
I can see the group covering their eyes and shaking their heads in utter disbelief. Feeling pure remorse for me, maybe even chanting to get my blog mojo back. The leader tells me it’s okay and things will get back to normal, then group hug…
Chocolate creme brulee with a crispy sugar topping
Okay maybe things aren’t that dramatic, but seriously, I don’t like it when I fall off the posting wagon. I feel a certain responsibility to my readership and I actually really do enjoy constructing a post and all of the work that goes along with it. However, the reason I haven’t posted for 16 days is a little mundane, but nevertheless the truth: I have been busy. The reason for being busy is anything but mundane, though, and in fact extremely exciting: my fledgling caramel business, Toot Sweet Artisan Caramels, is growing and the orders have been coming in strong, particularly during this holiday season. A dream come true!
I managed to squeeze this super easy and decadent dessert in between boiling vats of sugar. I love to make crème brulee for a few reasons. It screams to be made a day ahead, which is useful if your plate is already full (like mine), it has minimal ingredients and requires little oven watching – just look for the jiggle and it’s done! Chocolate and peppermint are the hot flavor tickets right now and instead of sprinkling boring old plain sugar on top, I took a rolling pin and some pent-up aggression to some candy canes and turned them into dust. This is what I sprinkled on top of the crème brulee before I took the blow torch to it and gave it that crunchy, minty topping. The silky chocolate combined with the crunchy candy cane topping is a must-have dessert for your Christmas dinner in a few weeks….trust me. Look out for more regular postings and a new blog after the holidays!
Creamy rich chocolate creme brulee
Prep Time- 15 minutes plus cooling time    Bake Time- 40 minutes    Serves- 4

Recipe for the creme brulee

2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup plus 3 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
5 egg yolks
6 candy canes

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Boil a 4 quart pot of water.

Heat the cream and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a small pot until simmering and the sugar dissolves. Add the chocolate and stir gently until it’s all melted. Add the mint extract.

In a bowl, whisk the other 3 tablespoons of sugar along with the egg yolks until well combined, about 5 minutes. Slowly pour some of the cream mixture into the eggs and stir. Pour the rest of the cream in and mix well but gently with the whisk.

Pour the custard mixture into 4 four ounce ramekins. Carefully place them in a roasting pan and fill with the hot water until it reaches about halfway up the side of the ramekins. Transfer the pan to the center rack in the oven and bake for about 40-45 minutes or until no longer jiggly when moved.

Let cool and refrigerate for at least two hours. Place some candy canes into a sandwich bag and seal to close. Take a heavy rolling pin and bash the candy until it becomes like sand.

Once the creme brulee has set, sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of the crushed candy on top of the dessert. Take your blowtorch and burn the sugar until bubbling and brown. You could also do this under a broiler if you don’t have a torch.