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5 Savory Chocolate Recipes that Will Blow Your Mind

5 Savory Chocolate Recipes that Will Blow Your Mind

Most of us think of chocolate as a sweet treat to be enjoyed for dessert or as a midday pick-me-up. But to exclusively confine chocolate to these roles is to miss out on so much of its culinary potential.

The reality is that chocolate can amplify a huge variety of savory dishes by adding richness, depth of flavor, and a unique twist to otherwise familiar meals. Need convincing? Here are five savory chocolate recipes that will vanquish the idea that chocolate is only for sweet tooths.

Black Bean Chili with Chocolate and Coconut

This vegan dish will delight even your most carnivorous friends. Smokey and savory with just a hint of sweetness, the recipe combines classic chili ingredients (such as black beans, garlic, green and chipotle chilies, onion, cumin, and chili powder) with unexpected add-ins in the form of unsweetened cocoa powder and coconut flakes. Whip it all up on the stovetop or in a slow cooker and enjoy for a nutritious lunch or dinner.

Chocolate Truffle Tagliatelle

A pasta dish might be the last place you’d expect to find chocolate, yet here it is. Wow your dinner guests with this rich, earthy pasta recipe, which combines sweet and creamy elements with sharp and savory flavors. The recipe features a slew of elevated ingredients such as nutty chapati flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, roasted chestnuts, gruyere cheese, shaved black truffles, smoked sea salt, and a topping of cacao nibs for some interesting texture.

Cocoa-Rubbed Baby Back Ribs

Give your favorite baby back ribs recipe an upgrade with this flavorful rub. Allspice, cinnamon, ginger, and unsweetened cocoa powder combine to create a rich, warm flavor for the ribs, while the addition of mustard powder gives them a bit of a spicy kick. For best results, prep the ribs a day ahead of time and allow them to sit in the refrigerator overnight while they absorb the flavorful rub. Bake them the next day for an unforgettable dinner.

Crispy Cauliflower Nachos

Everything about this chili nachos recipe is surprising, from using cauliflower in place of tortilla chips, to mixing cocoa powder into the chili, to topping off the whole shebang with pickled jalapeños. The cauliflower gets breaded in cornmeal before being baked to a crispy texture; the vegetarian chocolate chili boasts healthy ingredients such as onion, garlic, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and cacao powder; and a slew of garnishes complete this utterly unique appetizer or lunch.  

Spicy Tomato and Chocolate Soup

Tomato and chocolate may sound like an unlikely pairing, but allow this soup recipe to change your mind. This soup has it all: savory comfort, a spicy kick, and a silky texture thanks to the addition of chocolate. It’s also chock full of good-for-you ingredients such as garlic, onion, celery, carrots, tomatoes, olive oil, cumin, and antioxidant-rich bittersweet chocolate. Once you’ve blended it all together, serve it hot with a garnish of crème fraiche, fresh goat cheese, or queso fresco.

From soups to pastas, nachos, and everything in between, chocolate can be used to enhance a wide variety of savory dishes. As these recipes prove, chocolate’s culinary uses are limited only by your imagination.

How to Be More Creative with Chocolate in the Kitchen

How to Be More Creative with Chocolate in the Kitchen

If you never do anything with chocolate other than unwrap bars and enjoy snacking on the stuff, you’ll still benefit from antioxidants and tasty flavors all life long.

But if you want to deepen your relationship with this wondrous substance, there are plenty of exciting ways to incorporate it into your daily culinary activities. Here are eight simple strategies for being more creative with chocolate in the kitchen.

Experiment with different forms of chocolate.

There is so much more to chocolate than rectangular (or ahem...square) bars, and utilizing chocolate in its different forms is a simple way to up your culinary creativity. From cacao nibs to cocoa powder to couverture chocolate, there’s a huge variety of chocolate forms—each of which is well suited to different baking and/or candy-making projects.

Learn how to melt chocolate.

Mastering the art of chocolate melting opens up whole new worlds in the kitchen. Once you can melt chocolate successfully, you’ll be able to create a huge range of treats, from truffles to soufflés and basically any other project that involves decorating with or dipping into chocolate.

Don’t just eat chocolate; drink it too.  

Chocolate milk, milkshakes, and hot chocolate aren’t just for kids. There are plenty of creative, grown-up recipes for drinkable chocolate. To get started, check out these unique hot chocolate recipes, which include the likes of Slow Cooker Caramel Hot Chocolate, Cherry Vanilla Hot Chocolate, and Nutella Hot Chocolate.

Use it in savory dishes.

Most of us tend to think of chocolate as a sweet treat, but in reality it pairs just as well with savory meals. Experiment with incorporating small amounts of melted dark chocolate in veggie dishes, chili and other hearty soups, a wide range of Italian dishes, and so on.

Incorporate chocolate into sauces.

Chocolate adds a burst of rich, delectable flavor to a variety of sauces. From Mexican mole sauce to chocolate sauce for an ice cream sundae, dipping sauce for fruit, fondue, and even Dark Chocolate Marinara Sauce, there are tons of sweet and savory ways to incorporate chocolate into sauce.

Drizzle it over baked goods and other dishes.

A chocolate drizzle adds a lovely finishing touch to a huge variety of baked goods and other dishes. Melt down some dark chocolate and experiment with drizzling it over cakes, cookies, brownies, fresh fruit, and even some more savory fare such as nuts, popcorn, roasted cauliflower, pasta, or brie.

Mix it into your favorite pastries and baked goods.

Rare is the pastry that doesn’t pair well with chocolate. Try adding some chopped chunks or a chocolatey swirl to your favorite recipes for banana bread, cookies, cheesecake, bread pudding, blondies, bars, pies, and so on. (Just be aware this may involve some trial and error as you learn how to adjust your ratios to accommodate the presence of the chocolate.)

Add it to your breakfast.

Chocolate is associated much more with post-dinner dessert than with the first meal of the day, but it actually pairs well with a lot of breakfast dishes. Consider blending it into smoothies, topping a bowl of oatmeal or cereal with chocolate flakes, or cooking chocolate into pancakes, muffins, and waffles.

From chocolatey sauces and breakfasts to decadent hot chocolate recipes, chocolate can be put to a use in a number of surprising (and delicious) ways. By experimenting with different chocolate types and techniques, you’ll enhance your creativity in the kitchen and delight your taste buds in the process.

Invest in These Pantry Staples to Be Ready for Nearly Any Baking Challenge

Invest in These Pantry Staples to Be Ready for Nearly Any Baking Challenge

We’ve all been there: You get an intense craving for homemade cookies, and you decide you’re going to make your own dreams come true. You’re so excited to bite into those warm, gooey treats that you can already taste them.

...Then you open up your pantry to discover the only viable cookie ingredient is a sad box of baking soda that’s been open for a seriously questionable amount of time. So you walk away—cookie-less, despondent, hoping to have your craving satisfied another day.

Luckily, the key to avoiding this sad state of affairs is straightforward: Just invest in a few pantry staples and keep them on hand so you can whip up all manner of baked goods at a moment’s notice. Here’s how to be ready for nearly any baking challenge.

The Basics

The following ingredients will enable you to produce a huge variety of classic baked goods, from cookies and brownies to simple cakes.

Flour

There are several options here depending on your culinary prowess and your dietary preferences and constraints:

  • Unbleached white all-purpose flour works in pretty much any recipe that calls for flour, from pizza dough to cookies.
  • If you prefer whole-wheat, you can swap in whole-wheat all-purpose flour in place of the white stuff.
  • There’s also a variety of specialty flours including bread flour, cake flour, pastry flour, and gluten-free options such as almond flour.

Leavening agents

Leavening agents such as baking powder, baking soda, and yeast help baked goods rise and achieve an airy (read: not dense and crumbly) texture. Purchase both baking powder and baking soda to cover most bases.

Salt

Fine-grain salt is essential for enhancing flavor in virtually all baked goods. The salt you choose can be as basic or as fancy as you’d like; the important thing is that you have it.  

Sugar

There are several varieties of sugar that deserve a place in your pantry. These include white and/or brown granulated sugar (which aid in creaming wet ingredients) and confectioner’s sugar (which is frequently used to make icings and has a slight leavening effect).

Depending on your preferences, you might also consider stocking alternative sweeteners such as honey, raw sugar, coconut sugar, date sugar, maple syrup, agave nectar, molasses, or stevia.

Cornstarch

Cornstarch is a commonly used thickening agent and excess moisture absorber. It’s especially handy for cobblers and any pastry that contains cream or curd.

Baking chocolate

A huge variety of recipes call for bittersweet or semisweet chocolate. Choose high-quality versions without lots of additives in order to achieve the best consistency and flavor.

Cocoa powder

Cocoa powder can be put to use in everything from cookies to brownies and cake. It’s a must-have for anyone who enjoys baking (and eating) chocolatey treats.

Vanilla extract

Many recipes call for vanilla extract for extra flavor. If you can afford it, shell out for the pure stuff—imitation versions are often cloyingly sweet.

Oil

Opt for a neutral-tasting oil that won’t overpower the flavor of your baked goods. Vegetable oils such as canola oil are popular; sunflower oil and coconut oil are also growing in popularity. Just be sure to avoid partially hydrogenated oils, as these contain unhealthy trans fats.

Spices

Allspice, cinnamon, ginger, ground cloves, and nutmeg are most commonly used in baked goods. While not absolutely essential, they add a depth of flavor that isn’t achievable without them.

Upping the Ante

If you’ve stocked up on the basics and are looking to add more diversity to your pantry, you might consider the following ingredients:

  • Additional extracts such as almond, lemon, orange, or peppermint extract
  • Condensed and/or evaporated milk
  • Dried fruits such as apricots, cranberries, dates, or raisins
  • Ground, chopped, or whole nuts and seeds such as almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, poppy seeds, and walnuts
  • Rolled oats
  • Shredded unsweetened coconut

Once you’ve stocked up on your pantry staples, store all the ingredients in airtight containers that aren’t exposed to excessive heat, temperature changes, or light. This will help ensure that the next time you reach for your baking soda, it will be ready to rise to the baking challenge.