September 9, 2011 by Dana
You know how some people can just turn off their minds?
They can just sit down on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn, turn on some trashy reality TV show, and completely immerse themselves in whatever they’re watching, without a care in the world?
Well I’m not one of those people.
Now don’t get me wrong, I certainly watch my fair share of trashy TV (hello Jersey Shore), and I have eaten more bowls of popcorn in my life that I care to admit. But for whatever reason, I can never just turn my mind off.
Sometimes this can be super frustrating. Like when I’m trying to fall asleep and all I can think about is that work email I have to remember to respond to in the morning. Or when I’m trying to concentrate in class and all I can focus on is wedding details swirling around in my head.
But sometimes it can work in my favor. My mind just keeps going and going until it comes up with something amazing. Something spectacular. Something mind blowing.
Like last week. When I was in bed, trying to go to sleep, and my mind kept wandering over to the dried chiles in my kitchen cabinet for the Marx Foods Blogger Chile Recipe Challenge.
Clearly there was no reason for me to be obsessing over chiles at 11:00 at night. But there I was, exhausted, wishing I would just go to sleep, and thinking about chile recipes.
So I started thinking about what direction I would go in. Should I use the mild chiles or hot? Should I do something sweet or savory? How can I come up with a winning recipe by next week?
All of a sudden my mind was swirling with crazy ideas. Thai recipes… Mexican recipes… chili with chocolate in it… spicy chocolate truffles… Mexican hot chocolate… and finally, after about 50 different ideas, I knew what I was making.
Mexican Hot Chocolate Covered Strawberries.
And with that sweet thought, I was finally able to drift off to sleep.
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
3 dried chipotle chiles, ground (click here for advice on grinding dried chiles)
1 pint strawberries, washed and patted dry
Feel free to adjust the amount of chiles you use to your own taste. Three chiles was perfect for me, but if you prefer a little more or less heat, experiment to find what works for you.
1. In a medium saucepan combine chocolate chips, heavy cream, ground cinnamon, and freshly ground chile powder. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and immediately refrigerate for 5 minutes to cool.
2. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
3. Making sure they are completely dry, hold each strawberry by the stem and dip into the chocolate mixture. Allow excess chocolate to drip off and place strawberry on the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining strawberries.
4. Refrigerate the chocolate covered strawberries for at least 2 hours, and up to 48 hours. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve.
Not to toot my own horn or anything, but these were fabulous. They were just the right balance of sweet and spicy. Definitely worth a little tossing and turning before falling asleep!