- 1½ cups C&H® or Domino®sugar, divided
- ⅓ cup water
- 3 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1½ cups milk
- 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
- 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
- Fresh berries for decoration (optional)
- 8 mint sprigs for decoration (optional)
- Stir 1 cup of sugar and the water together in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, swirling the contents of the pan over the heat to dissolve the sugar—don’t stir the mixture. Turn the heat up and boil for 4 to 5 minutes, until the bubbles are thick and large. Continue boiling while swirling the mixture in the pan in a circular motion. Once the color begins to darken, continue to cook for approximately 1 more minute, until light brown in color. Remove from the heat and keep swirling the mixture, as the caramel will continue to darken. Pour equal amounts of the caramel into 8 ramekins and swirl to cover the bottom and halfway up the sides. Place the ramekins into a baking dish or roasting pan just large enough to hold them all. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and remaining ½ cup sugar. Stir the eggs rather than whipping them, as you don’t want them to become foamy. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, mix together the half-and-half, milk, chocolate pieces and espresso powder. Heat on medium-high until steaming but not boiling. Slowly add the hot milk-and-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture, a little at a time, stirring constantly. Pour the custard mixture into the prepared ramekins. Carefully pour hot water into the baking dish or roasting pan so that it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 30 minutes, until the custard has set. It will be slightly jiggly in the center. Remove the ramekins to baking racks to cool at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Just before serving, place each ramekin in a container with 1 inch of hot water. Let the ramekin sit there for 1 minute to loosen up the grip of the caramel at the bottom of the custard. Run a small knife around the edges of the custard. Invert onto a small serving dish and garnish with fresh berries and a mint sprig, if you wish.
- Chef’s Tip: For a fancier presentation, melt 3 ounces of chocolate over medium heat and add it to the tops of the cooled custards. Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours until it hardens. Then proceed with the rest of the directions for serving the Crème Caramel.