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On occasion, I make desserts for barVino to supplement the fabulous ones we purchase from the professional bakers at Cafe Sarah’s – just up the street from bV on Main Street in North Creek, NY. Here’s the thing about baking: it’s meticulous, measured and requires prior planning and preparation. Here’s the thing about me: I’m a bit scatter-brained, not naturally organized and tend to do things off the cuff. Not necessarily the qualities you look for in a baker. As a result, I usually choose recipes that require the most basic of ingredients (as well as the shortest list of ingredients), simple instructions and minimal time requirements. I’ve found great success with recipes from Smitten Kitchen and Bon Appétit. Pinterest is an awesome place to source ideas (and lose hours of my life that I’ll never get back) and of course, typing in whatever I think I might be able to make into Google is always a good option.

The latter method of finding recipes is how I came across a recipe Mexican hot chocolate spiced pots de crème. The original recipe is from Nom Nom Paleo and uses coconut milk. Not having coconut milk on hand and being too lazy to walk across the street to buy some (save the judgmental comments – it was really, really cold the day I decided to make the pots de crème), I substituted half-and-half. I also didn’t have cinnamon sticks, so I used a 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and added whole cloves to the custard mix. The 1/8 teaspoon of chili didn’t give my first batch enough heat so on the second go-around, I upped it a 1/4 teaspoon which produced the right amount of spice without overwhelming the bittersweet chocolate. My favorite part of this recipe (besides it being freaking delicious, especially when dusted with pink sea salt) is that it doesn’t require a water bath. Just pour the chocolate custard goodness into ramekins, cover with foil and pop in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours. The wait time is a bit long, yes, but the actually production time is less than 30 minutes which, if you’re a lazy baker, is perfect.

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