This chocolate creme brulee is a shockingly simple dessert to make. Plus, it's made entirely ahead of time! This chocolate Valentine's Day dessert for two features a creamy luscious chocolate pudding under a crisp bruleed sugar topping. Every spoonful is like a dream. Read on for easy step by step instructions.
What is Chocolate Creme Brulee?
Creamy, luscious chocolate underneath a crunchy caramelized sugar crust is the best way to describe chocolate creme brulee. It is probably the most romantic thing I've ever baked. If you still haven't decided what to make for Valentine's Day, this dessert is what you've been waiting for.And so easy, too! There's only 4 ingredients here, so it's really important for the chocolate that you use to be great quality. Your sweetheart is worth it, I promise.
We all know and love my regular creme brulee for two, but this recipe takes it up a notch with the addition of melted chocolate. You can't go wrong with that! Chocolate can be tricky to melt perfectly, so read on for precise instructions with step by step photos.
If you're one of those people that thinks creme brulee only belongs on a dessert menu in a fancy restaurant, let me convince you this is one of the easiest desserts to make at home! The actual custard is made in advanced and chilled until you're ready. Plus, before you serve it, you get to act fancy and torch it with a small butane torch. I linked my favorite one here.
The only way you can mess this recipe up is by torching the sugar crust too far in advance before serving, because it softens as it sits. So, please, only torch right before you are about to serve, and you will have an incredible luscious chocolate pudding with a crisp sugar crust on top!
- Egg Yolks. We need the yolks from 3 eggs for this recipe. Separate the eggs using this tool, and save the egg whites for another recipe, like my banana sheet cake.
- Heavy Cream. True heavy cream or heavy whipping cream, also called double cream. It contains at least 35-40% fat. Do not substitute. Let it sit at room temperature for about an hour to bring up the temperature. If it's cold straight from the fridge, sometimes the chocolate can seize.
- Granulated Sugar. We need sugar for the custard and additional sugar for sprinkling on top to torch.
- Chocolate. I recommend bittersweet chocolate chopped from a bar to bring out a lovely balanced sweet chocolate taste. You can use semisweet or dark chocolate instead, but try not to use milk chocolate--it would be too sweet here. I highly recommend a chopped high-quality chocolate bar over chocolate chips anytime chocolate is the star of the recipe, like it is here for this chocolate creme brulee.
How to Make Chocolate Creme Brulee
- Gather all ingredients: egg yolks, heavy cream (at room temperature), sugar, and chopped chocolate. Yes, really, this recipe only has 4 ingredients!
- First, preheat the oven to 300-degrees Fahrenheit. Yes, this is much lower than we cook most recipes. Also, put on a pot of water and bring to a boil. You can use a tea kettle for this, too. Now, melt the chocolate. You can use a double boiler or the microwave on LOW. To use the microwave, chop it finely and stir after each 20 second pulse until almost fully melted. Set aside to cool while you make the rest of the custard for the chocolate creme brulee.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar by hand using a metal whisk.
- Whisk by hand until everything is homogenous and the mixture becomes a pale yellow and drips slowly from the whisk when lifted out of the batter. Then, add the heavy cream and whisk gently.
- Add the cooled melted chocolate to the custard mixture, and whisk until smooth.
- Divide the chocolate custard between two small ramekins that hold 6 ounces of liquid. Place the ramekins inside a baking dish that can hold water. Pour the boiling water until it comes up about ½ way on the sides of the ramekins. Be VERY careful not to splash any of the hot water into the chocolate creme brulee in the ramekins.
- Move the heavy baking dish to the oven carefully to minimize water sloshing. Bake for 40-44 minutes. When the chocolate creme brulee is done, the sides will be set but the very middle will be slightly jiggly. If the whole surface of the custard jiggles when wobbled, bake for another 5 minutes.
- Allow the ramekins to cool, and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 5 hours, or up to 48 hours. Before serving, remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle one full teaspoon of sugar on top of each custard. Use a small culinary torch to melt and caramelize the sugar on top, and then serve immediately.
These chocolate creme brûlées with their beautiful caramelized sugar crust are so delicious because the custard stays cold underneath the warm, crisp sugar topping. It reminds me of my chocolate cobbler, where the brownie mixture bakes but the inside stays soft. It's two desserts in one, and I love it!
Garnish with fresh or frozen blackberries, finely shaved chocolate and a sage leaf, if desired! Also consider my creme brulee French toast!
How to caramelize creme brulee:
- The fastest way to caramelize the sugar on top of creme brulee is to use a small butane kitchen torch. Be sure to keep an extra can of butane around, because it always runs out just when you need it!
- If you don't have a torch, you can place the ramekins on a sheet pan, and place them on the highest rack in the oven. Crank your broiler to HIGH, and keep a close eye on the sugar as it melts and caramelizes. It takes just a few minutes. With this method, the custard underneath gets slightly warm, so I really recommend the torch so that you get the experience that is cold, creamy custard with warm crisp crust.
Can you use white chocolate for this creme brulee?
Personally, I adore white chocolate, and I'm so glad you asked! Yes, you can use it here! If you love white chocolate, don't miss my white chocolate chip cookies.
- 1 ¼ ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 3 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup + 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, divided
- ½ cup heavy cream, at room temperature
- Gather all ingredients, and preheat the oven to 300° F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for a water bath to cook the custards.
- In a double boiler over low heat, melt the chocolate. Or, melt in 20 second pulses in the microwave on low, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together by hand the egg yolks and sugar.
- Once well incorporated, add the room temperature heavy cream.
- Pour in the melted chocolate mixture. Divide the mixture between two 6-ounce ramekins. Place the ramekins in a small baking dish and add the hot water until it comes up ½ way on the sides of ramekins. Move the baking dish carefully to the oven and bake about 40-44 minutes, until the custard is set. The middle will slightly jiggle, but the sides will be set. Let the custards cool in the water bath completely before removing them.
- Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and chill at least 5 hours or until ready to serve (can be made up to 2 days in advance). Before serving, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar over each.
- Caramelize the sugar with a kitchen torch until the sugar melts and is golden brown. Serve immediately.
Egg Yolks: Just the yolks from 3 eggs for this recipe.
Heavy Cream: Let sit at room temperature for about an hour to take the chill off before using. Use heavy cream or heavy whipping cream, also called double cream. It contains at least 35-40% fat. Do not substitute.
Granulated Sugar: Dividie use: some for the custard and additional sugar for sprinkling on top to caramelize.
Chocolate: Use chocolate chopped from a bar for the highest quality. You can use semisweet or dark chocolate instead, but avoid milk chocolate--it would be too sweet.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 414Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 344mgSodium: 33mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 8g