Birthdays are especially fun when you’re heaping attention on someone you love. My husband celebrates his birthday this week and I am excited! Bob makes me laugh every day and with him I feel like life is a celebration – this is a gift he gives me. He is always charging forward and curious about what’s new and interesting and just around the corner. His positive attitude inspires me to think about all that is possible in life and I’m beyond grateful to have him by my side.
So what to make for this lovely man for his birthday dinner? Mexican is consistently his top choice so tortilla soup, beef tacos, pickled jalapenos and onions, salsas and grilled hatch chiles are on the menu. For the past few years I’ve made a frozen chocolate confection as his birthday treat. It’s more of a semi-freddo or frozen mousse than an ice cream, and in keeping with the Mexican dinner theme, I heat it up with chili pepper and cinnamon for a warm, spicy kick.
These chocolate pots are not very sweet – I use 85% dark chocolate – so if you prefer a little more sweetness you could add some milk chocolate or use a lower percentage of dark chocolate. While this is a rich, satisfying indulgence, it is made with almond milk in place of cream, so it’s not overwhelmingly heavy (making it a great treat to share with vegan or dairy-sensitive friends).
I have some more happy news: As an extra sweet birthday treat, Maren, our exchange student daughter, will arrive from Norway just in time for Bob’s birthday dinner. A gift for all of us!
Frozen Mexican Chocolate Pots
Makes 6 small ramekins
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons chili powder (I use a medium spice level, feel free to increase or decrease for your tastes), plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 1/2 cups unsweetened, vanilla almond milk
8 ounces dark chocolate (I use 85%, feel free to use a lower percentage if desired), roughly chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cacao nibs for garnish
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cinnamon, chili powder, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in the almond milk and stir occasionally over medium heat until it thickens, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate until it melts and is smooth. Stir in the vanilla and remove from the heat.
Pour the mixture evenly into 6 ramekins. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and pop them in the freezer for at least 6 hours. They can be made a few days ahead.
About 30-40 minutes before serving, remove the chocolate pots and let them sit out at room temperature. They need to start thawing to be soft enough to begin eating. Sprinkle a little chili powder and a few cacao nibs on each to garnish and serve.