What sort of chile to put in chocolate?
I'm a big fan of Mark Bittman's mexican chocolate tofu pudding (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/20/din...), but putting generic chili powder in the mix seems a bit wrong to me. I'd like to do something a bit more focused, delicate, and traditional.
The problem is, I don't know what that would be. I love chile in chocolate, but am not sure what sort of blends I've tasted before. I have some arbol and guajillo on hand. Can I grind up these or other dried peppers in my spice grinder and replace the chili powder with them?
You can buy a dried chili pepper and grind it. Just select for the level of heat you want, or smokiness (ancho, chipotle, frex).
I no longer buy chili seasoning mixes; I grind my own peppers and add other seasonings to taste. I use a cheap coffee grinder with a metal blade (the type that should never be used to grind coffee, it's great for spices).
I'd make three kinds if possible. one with guajillo, one with arbol, and one with both.
My initial thought for chile in chocolate is always ancho. It works well for multiple taste buds (i.e. those who can't handle too much heat - but it does have a nice little warmth to it.) If I wan't to pack a punch, I'll look to a blend of chiles including pequin, arbol, and ancho for layering the heat.
You can use just about any kind of chili peppers with chocolate depending on the flavor and heat level you want. Gujillo will probably be better than arbol because they hjave a richer flavor. Make sure you toast dried chili's in a hot dry skillet before grinding for a richer flavor. Other good options are chipotles, piquin, habanero, and probably the most used with chocolate is ancho (also the most widely availble in powder form). You can also use chili oils if you want a fresher as opposed to smokier flavor. You can buy chili oils or ifuse your own with fresh chilis of any variety.
If there's any milk or cream in your recipe, that's a good medium for introducing a subtle chile flavor.
I steep dried chiles in cream (ancho for subtle chili flavor or anaheim for heat) in cream until I get the flavor I want, and then make ganache with the cream for chocolate truffles.