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THE SAUCIER

Recipe: Cinnamon-cayenne chocolate sauce

December 5, 2007

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Total time: 12 minutes, plus 30 minutes steeping

Servings: Makes 1 1/2 cups

Note: Use a chocolate with between 70% and 75% cacao. The sauce can be stored tightly covered in the refrigerator for several weeks. To serve, heat it in a double boiler, stirring occasionally.

1/2 cup heavy cream

Pinch sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1/2 vanilla bean split lengthwise

8 ounces chocolate, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat, bring the cream, salt and one-half cup water to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Just before it starts to boil, turn off the heat. Add the cinnamon and cayenne. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the mixture and drop in the pod. Cover and allow to steep for 30 minutes. Remove the bean and return the mixture to the heat, bringing it up to a simmer again.

2. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate and butter, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to incorporate. Keep stirring until the chocolate and butter melt and the sauce is perfectly smooth. Serve immediately, or reheat when ready to use.

Each tablespoon: 74 calories; 1 gram protein; 3 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 7 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 9 mg. cholesterol; 8 mg. sodium.