The Chocolate Factory

Ten chocolate-packed desserts in honor
of the holidays

By Aïda Mollenkamp

Basic (Vegan) Chocolate Cupcake
Basic (Vegan) Chocolate Cupcake
Chocolate Toffee Pumpkin Seed Bark
Chocolate Toffee Pumpkin
Seed Bark
Black Forest Strata
Black Forest “Strata”
As the weather gets colder and the holidays approach, it’s time to embrace the chocolate addict within. Hell, replace colder with warmer, and those holidays could be Mother’s Day and July Fourth for all we care. Here, in order of least intense to most intense, are our top 10 chocolate desserts.

1. Basic (Vegan) Chocolate Cupcake. The cupcake renaissance has spread far and wide, but we have yet to try a vegan version that can hold its own against a regular cupcake the way this one can.

2. Charles Chocolates Pecan Brownies. Well-made brownies can be addictive. And to be well made, they should balance flavor and cakey texture so that you can indulge in more than one without feeling like you ate a ton of bricks. This recipe achieves all that, plus it’s chock-full of nuts. If you want to up the chocolate factor, try our Intense Brownies.

3. Chocolate-Whiskey Cake with Fluthered Cream. A rich chocolate Bundt cake gets a kick of whiskey in the batter and a topping of fluthered (read: drunken) cream.

4. Chocolate Toffee Pumpkin Seed Bark. This bark tames dark chocolate with toffee, pumpkin seeds, and cayenne. And it couldn’t be simpler to make: Just mix, spread, and break it into shards once it’s set.

5. Mendiants. Bark’s sophisticated cousin. The chocolate gets dabbed onto a sheet rather than spread, and a mixture of high-quality dried fruit and nuts gives a less sweet, more adult face to chocolate.

6. Chocolate Almond Nut Jobs. Crunchy, toasty, and deeply chocolaty: The only acceptable excuse for not eating these is a nut allergy.

7. Chocolate Pudding. Have you been good? Reward yourself with this smooth, silky, simple pudding.

8. Chocolate Mousse with Olive Oil and Flaky Salt. A more mature take on pudding. This dessert juxtaposes sweet, salty, and savory, with layers of rich chocolate accented with pops of salt and olive oil.

9. Chocolate Soufflé with Blood Orange Crème Anglaise. This soufflé ups the decadence level, pairing chocolate with one of its favorite flavors, orange—or in this case, blood orange.

10. Black Forest “Strata.” A deconstructed, updated Black Forest cake that’s rich and boozy. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Aïda Mollenkamp is a food editor at CHOW.

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