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Best Chocolate Chili

Best Chocolate Chili

Anne Dolce

When I first proposed this recipe to my mother, she was more shocked about me choosing to use steak instead of ground beef than the mention of chocolate. Because it reminded us of a Latin-inspired beef stew, we served it over mashed potatoes.

Click here to see Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate!


For the rub

  • 3 Tablespoons chile powder
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder

For the chili

  • 2 Pounds shell steak, fat removed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 Pounds beef chuck, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 medium-sized onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 jalapeños, seeded and minced
  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon coriander
  • 1 Teaspoon paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 Teaspoon oregano
  • One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Cups beef stock
  • 1 Cup water
  • One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

I Add Chocolate to My Chili to Give It Extra Flavor and Richness

Let’s just put it out there on the table, or in this case, in the pot: some cooks add chocolate to their chili. A pot of chili is more of a common concept than universal recipe across the South, with each cook adding secret touches and pinches to the mix, yet stirring in chocolate is a novelty to many of us, and we might not be sold on the idea. Not yet, at least.

Our hesitation and puzzlement might come from our association of chocolate with candy and desserts, but cacao beans – the plant source of chocolate – aren’t sweet, so our chili won’t taste sweet if we stick with some form of unsweetened chocolate, such as rich and flavorful cocoa powder.

Blending chocolate and chiles in savory dishes has delicious precedent both a little south and a little north of the U.S. South. In Mexico, for example, unsweetened chocolate is mixed with pulverized dried chiles, aromatic spices, seeds, and nuts to make a dark mole sauce – a quintessential chile sauce with origins in pre-Hispanic times – that is often served with meats. The practice of mixing chocolate and chile dates back to the Aztecs. Head north to Cincinnati and we find that recipes for their iconic chili include a little cocoa powder or grated unsweetened baking chocolate, and some cinnamon, too.

WATCH: Make Sheet Pan Nachos With Your Chili Tonight

So what does unsweetened chocolate do for a pot of chili? It adds richness, deeper flavor, and umami. The chocolate makes the ground chiles and other spices perk up and taste more like themselves. It’s akin to adding a splash of vanilla extract to a chocolate cake or spice cake to accentuate the chocolate and spice, although in this case, the chocolate is coaxing flavor from the other ingredients.

Adding a touch of unsweetened cocoa to a pot of chili is a quick, easy way to boost the flavor of one of our favorite comfort foods. The trick is to add only enough cocoa to make the chili taste better, not so much that it overwhelms the other ingredients or turns the chili into chocolate soup. Check out our recipe for Chocolate Chili here.

Another trick for making great chili is to make sure your spices are fresh and fragrant so that they are doing their job in the recipe. Give your spices a quick sniff test. If they no longer have bold, pungent aroma, they no longer have full flavor and need to be replaced.

1. Preheat Oven to 350°
2. In a large bowl, mix the dry spices together and set aside
3. Fill a pot (8 qt recommended) with the Base and heat until warm. There is no need to bring to a boil.
4. Once the Base is warm, add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT the Thickener and the shredded cheese and mix well.
5. Cover the pot and place in the oven and cook for 3 hours
6. Mix the warm (NOT hot) water and masa flour together
7. Remove the pot from the oven, pour the Thickener into the chili, stir well, and return the covered pot back to the oven for an additional 30 minutes
8. Remove from the oven and mix in the 3 cups of cheese
9. Allow to stand for about 10 minutes
10. Eat and Enjoy!

In a Slow Cooker

I haven’t made Chocolate Chili in a slow cooker myself because I don’t love stew-y things cooked in the slow cooker. But if the slow cooker is your thing, here’s the way one reader adapted this recipe for their crockpot. Proceed at your own risk I haven’t tested this version myself.

Sauté onions in fat in a cast iron or nonstick skillet, followed by the garlic place in the crockpot insert.

Put 2 pounds ground beef in the skillet (without cleaning it out) and sauté until just no longer pink. Place that (and the juices) in the crockpot.

Add all the spices briefly to the hot skillet to bloom the flavors, then add the tomato paste stir to combine and cook about 1 minute. Add the beef broth and stir to combine. Transfer to the crockpot.

Add the chopped tomatoes to the crockpot do not add the water listed in the recipe. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Note:I also heard from another reader who said she just “plopped” everything into the slow cooker and let it do its thing. My recommendation is use the step-by-step method, but if you’re not fussy about texture or you’re in a hurry, I suppose you could try the “plop” technique.

  1. Line an 11 by 7 by 2 bake pan with wax paper. Mix all ingredients in a double-boiler until melted and smooth.
  2. Pour chocolate into prepared bake pan. Spread evenly with spatula.
  3. Sprinkle with crushed red peppers as desired.
  4. Chill at least two hours or until set. Slice or break into pieces.
  5. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to two weeks, maybe longer I haven't been able to leave it alone longer than that )

I would make this but 214.5 oz., 115 oz what's up with that. Glad everyone else figured it out.

No, no, no. Do not add the cinnamon. At least don’t add that much cinnamon. That’s the right amount for apple pie not for chili. I should have known it was too much, but with me adding two fresh habaneros I thought I was ok, but I was wrong. My house smelled of cinnamon the whole time it cooked and the cinnamon is the dominant flavor throughout this chili. I am going to make this again sans cinnamon as the other flavors are great. Here are my tweaks: everything but only use 1 ounce chocolate, 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon (if you are dead set on that) and two fresh habaneros diced (seeds and all).

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I make this cake a LOT! It always comes out beautifully and can be dressed up in lots of ways: just with confectioners sugar, or with whipped cream, or ice cream, or lime or lemon sorbet, with or without fruit! Today I'm making it with almond milk as the liquid - the batter tasted lovely so fingers crossed!

I love this cake—I substitute milk for the water and use a bundt pan.

This is a fabulous recipe. Just make sure your pan is a full 2" deep and don't overbake. Have made this recipe multiple times. Perfect with whipped cream and fresh berries. Also an impressive cake.

Cake turned out awesome. will surely make it again. kids loved it. Thanks for recipie

So excited to make this cake with my grandson who loves chocolate cake. We followed the recipe exactly - and as I write this the batter is spilling over the sides of the pan, burning on the bottom of the oven and smoking up the entire kitchen despite open windows, vent on high, etc. Should have used maybe half the amount of batter in the 9" pan or maybe 2 pans? Hope we will be able to salvage something from this disaster but it's not looking good with 25 minutes baking time left. Very disappointed although we haven't tasted it yet, needless to say!.

I wouldn't change a thing about it. Perfect. Easy. Next time I will add a touch of chili powder. And I WILL make it again!

Made this cake five times and each time is wonderful. Tastes very, very light and could even be eaten for breakfast. Would not change anything in recipe.

Just made it and it turned very light and fluffy even though the batter seemed pretty thick. Used vegan margarine instead of butter. I had too much batter for the pan I was using and made a smaller one (two serving) with the rest and added a teaspoon of fine ground espresso and it tasted great. Have not tasted the other yet but am sure it will taste very good.

This cake was wonderful ! Served it with home made chocolate sause drizzled across the wedge and a dollop of whip cream. Very Decadent and delicious ! Served warm from the oven

This cake looked very delic but when I made it it turned out to be a waste ingredients honestly it was very very bitter and wasn't fluffy at all it was so strong

this was easy to make and so good ! I added cut up fresh strawberries in the batter and about 1/3 cup of semisweet chocolate chips since I had some left over. It was great ! Cake is almost gone, definitely a keeper !

I was looking for a small chocolate cake without frosting that I could make for Three Kings Day and decided to try this one. It was super easy to make and so so delicious. This recipe is a keeper. No frosting necessary, thank god.

I reviewed this recipe earlier and thought it was just OK. However, I just made it again and really thought it was great. The top was beautifully glossy--definitely not everyday!

I made this Cake it was not that fluffy and light. But was heavy and didn't rise till top. 2. In this recipe u have given 1 and 1/2 inch stick of unsalted Butter but I had salted butter which I added.Butter it was also written 3/4 cup in Bracket after 1 And 1/2 inch stick. What it means. Should butter be melted or how to use in recipe.

I have made this cake many times and it's one of my favorites. I always serve the cake with a bit of whipped cream and fresh raspberries with either a dusting of powdered sugar or cocoa powder. It is always a favorite of guests.

This is my new favorite dessert to make! I used a 10 inch round cake pan, and I didn't have any overflow. I ended up baking about 70 minutes, but I have an old oven. I only buttered the sides of the pan, then layed parchment paper on the bottom. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe!

This was a very good chocolate cake, & I thought I would mention that it works fine with Dutch process cocoa (hard to find anything else here). I used brewed coffee for the water, but otherwise followed the recipe & made it by hand. It was rich, very dark & great chocolate flavor. Not too dense or airy. Excellent with whipped cream & red currants.

I thought this was a very good basic chocolate cake. I think next time I would use brewed coffee instead of water, and use a larger pan. I used the pan size specified in the recipe and the cake overflowed over the edges a bit. I checked the cake at 50 minutes and the top was getting burned, so be sure to start checking for doneness early. I served the slices topped with some fresh cherry jam I had made earlier in the week, and some whipped cream. Even with being a little overcooked I didn't find the cake to be dry. But I have tried other recipes that have been dry and adding a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil to the batter makes a huge difference.

This recipe makes the best chocolate cupcakes I've ever eaten. Everyone loves them, not matter what their age. They are outstanding.

Made this for mothers day lunch, and it got rave reviews from the whole family. I thought all that water sounded sort of boring, so I replaced 1/3 cup of water with Kahlua instead. I think the cake ended up darker and richer tasting as a result.

BTW, if making 2 batches and 3 layers, cut baking time to 35-40 minutes

Very fast and easy cake that makes THE MOISTEST and chocolatey-est cake ever! Truly delicious! I mostly make it just as written with powdered sugar on top, but have also made 2 batches and used 3 pans for a triple layer chocolate cake with mocha buttercream - also great!

I thought this was OK. I made it with ingredients that were on hand, so I felt the convenience of the recipe was the best part! I make another simple chocolate cake that is much better--World's Easiest Chocolate Cake, which is on this site.

This recipe is& Amazing the slightly dense but slightly airy cake is perfect with the powdered sugar. If the top is perfectly crusty with a center as I described above (slightly dense but also kind of airy) then it is perfectly cooked and anyone who eats it will immediately love it and want to know the recipe.

I like my cakes to be sweeter, but after a while the subtle taste of the cake grew on me. I like the recipe because I didn't already had all the ingredients in my pantry.

Recipe Summary

  • ½ cup dried currants
  • 2 tablespoons coffee flavored liqueur (such as Kahlua®)
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Heat currants and coffee liqueur in a saucepan over low heat until it begins to simmer, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Combine unsweetened chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, and butter in bowl. Place bowl on top of a saucepan filled with 1-inch of water set over low heat. Stir chocolate mixture occasionally until melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Mix flour, black pepper, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper in large bowl and set aside.

Whisk sugar and eggs in a small bowl until light, fluffy, and pale yellow, about 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in vanilla and melted chocolate mixture.

Fold flour mixture into sugar and chocolate mixture until combined.

Stir in dark chocolate chips and liqueur-soaked currants.

Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake in the preheated oven until cookies are almost set, about 12 minutes.

Best Darn Chili

Your search for the best chili recipe is officially over! This is the Best Darn Chili you will ever eat. Hearty and seasoned to perfection with some seriously delicious ingredients, it&rsquos sure to exceed all your chili expectations.

I&rsquove always been obsessed with chili and then Brandon created this chili recipe and obsessed is now an understatement. I&rsquom so in love with this chili I crave it constantly, dream about it in my sleep and beg Brandon to make it pretty much every weekend so I can eat the leftovers all week long. I could eat it for lunch and dinner every day of the week and it would never get old. So delicious!

We call it BDC because it is without question the Best Darn Chili we personally have ever eaten.

It&rsquos got it all going on, but in such a thoughtful and balanced way. Brandon has tested and retested the amount and combination of each ingredient to insure that they all compliment each other perfectly. It&rsquos a recipe you fall in love with at first smell, sight and bite.

Sure it requires more ingredients than your quick-fix powdered packet seasoned chili recipes and might take a little more effort to prepare, but trust me, it&rsquos soooo worth it. The taste and texture are the real deal.

It gets its comforting heartiness from ground sirloin, beef chuck and kidney beans.

It&rsquos perfectly seasoned and spiced. Sweetness from brown sugar, a little bitterness from the espresso and unsweetened cocoa, slightly boozy from the beer and optional bourbon, and as much kick as you&rsquod like from the jalapeño pepper seeds.

A chili eating experience like none other.

We hope it becomes as much of a family favorite for you as it is for us. Be it for comfort on a cold winter night, for a crowd-pleasing meal during the big football game, or for that neighborhood potluck supper, it&rsquos a guaranteed winner!

The Best Slow Cooker Chili

That&rsquos it. You&rsquove arrived here, and now your search for the perfect chili recipe is over!

This Crockpot Chili is simply amazing &ndash perfectly seasoned, perfect texture, perfect heat &ndash and SOOO easy. Easy as in &ldquothrow the ingredients in the crockpot and push a button&rdquo easy.

I&rsquove had a wildly popular chili recipe on this website for years, but I never thought to convert it into a slow cooker meal until now. And you know what? Maybe I am crazy, but even though it has the same ratio of spices, this version actually tastes better.

There are the ingredients &ndash except the beans are missing from the photo. But you don&rsquot add them until the chili is just about ready anyway.

Oh, you noticed that cocoa powder and cinnamon, didn&rsquot you? Just trust me on this.

The other thing I need to mention is that you will want to use lean ground beef with this recipe (90%+ lean). Since you won&rsquot be precooking and draining the meat, you want to make sure you won&rsquot have all of that excess grease in the chili. I used 90% and there was no grease on top of the chili at all. It turned out perfect.

Simply place the meat in the bottom of the crockpot, top with spices and then liquids. Cook on high for 4 hours, medium for 6 or low for 8.

Don&rsquot have that kind of time? Not to worry! Here is my similar stovetop Homemade Chili Recipe that can be ready to eat in about an hour and a half, including prep! The flavor profile is just as amazing!

When it&rsquos done, you might have a mass of ground beef at the bottom if you haven&rsquot stirred it at all. This isn&rsquot a problem &ndash just use a potato masher and the meat with break apart with very little effort.

Add a half a can of rinsed red kidney beans and mix into the chili. Cook for another 20 minutes or so.

Serve with cornbread or whatever you like! This also makes a GREAT chili for chili dogs (my son&rsquos absolute favorite meal).

And if you like this one, you might be interested in 40 other slow cooker dump recipes that are AMAZING!

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