18 Cheap Recipes That Celebrate Chocolate

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homemade dark chocolate
Photo credit: Leszek Kobusinski/shutterstock

Americans consume 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate each year, in forms that go well beyond the bar. The cocoa bean has been enjoyed in savory applications such as sauces and spice rubs as well as cake and gooey brownies. These recipes provide some inexpensive and delicious ways to enjoy chocolate.

hot chocolate with red chili peppers
Photo credit: Tetiana Shumbasova/shutterstock

This spicy drink is a snap to make. Traditional Mexican chocolate is infused with cinnamon and occasionally chili pepper, vanilla, or almonds. 

Recipe: Dying for Chocolate

chocolate pieces
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The unlikely combination of bittersweet chocolate and Spanish chorizo is often on the menu at tapas bars in Spain. Be sure to use dark, bitter chocolate and Spanish chorizo when making this dish, as it won't work with milk chocolate or Mexican chorizo. 

Recipe: Chowhound

chocolate cake on white plate with whipping cream
Photo credit: janecocoa/shutterstock

The recipe for this chocolatey custard dessert includes chocolate in the crust, filling, and topping to satisfy even the most hardcore chocolate lover. Save time by purchasing a ready-made chocolate cookie crust.

Recipe: Epicurious

red wine chocolate cake
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Red wine and chocolate, while more difficult to pair than most people realize, is a wonderful combination when it works. The red wine flavor comes through to enhance the rich, fudgy character of the cake. This is a delicious use for leftover wine

Recipe: Smitten Kitchen

chocolate pot de crème
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This version of a classic French dish can be made in advance for an impressive dinner party dessert. The extra step of pouring the mixture through a fine sieve takes extra time but creates a luscious final product. 

Recipe: Bon Appétit

homemade chocolate hazelnut spread
Photo credit: Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

This vegan, DIY version of Nutella has only four ingredients and requires nothing more complex than a food processor or blender. Fans of the commercially available spread will likely find that spending the time is worth the savings.

Recipe: Minimalist Baker

black forest cake on wooden table
Photo credit: kitzcorner/shutterstock

This traditional German dessert combines dark chocolate, cherries, and kirsch, a cherry liquor. To make an alcohol-free version, substitute cherry juice. This layer cake needs to rest in the fridge for the flavors to meld, so plan accordingly. 

Recipe: Genius Kitchen

mole poblano
Photo credit: JuanSalvador/shutterstock

Mole poblano is a Mexican sauce often served with chicken that combines everything from raisins, almonds, and chocolate with chilies, garlic, and aromatic spices. Look in the ethnic aisles of grocery stores to find the different varieties of dried chilies used in this budget-friendly Mexican dish

Recipe: Mexico in My Kitchen

bowl of chili con carne
Photo credit: cobraphotography/shutterstock

This recipe for triple-chocolate beef bean chili can be made in a slow cooker by pre-browning the meat and using pre-cooked beans. This dish uses semisweet chocolate and chocolate stout in addition to cocoa powder, but not enough to make the flavor sweet.

Recipe: Saveur

churros con chocolate
Photo credit: nito/shutterstock

This traditional Spanish treat is often enjoyed as breakfast or a mid-morning snack, although it works well as dessert, too. The churro dough is easy to make, although it requires a piping bag with a star-shaped nozzle to get the traditional shape. 

Recipe: Cooking the Globe

grilled marinated beef flank steak on wooden board
Photo credit: istetiana/shutterstock

The main ingredient in this steak rub recipe is cacao powder (which is made from unroasted beans, whereas cocoa has been roasted). Because the cacao is complemented with chili powders and black pepper, it's savory instead of sweet. 

Recipe: The Domestic Man

homemade chocolate fudge
Photo credit: Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

Fudge made its first appearance in Maryland in the late 1800s, and the mixture of cocoa, milk, sugar, and butter has become an American classic. This basic recipe can be adapted to include nuts, peppermint, or other additions.

Recipe: The Kitchn

homemade chocolate peppermint patties
Photo credit: Verena Matthew/shutterstock

This chocolate-and-mint candy recipe uses only six ingredients, and the patties can be made by hand if a mixer isn't available. After mastering the peppermint patties, create other flavors to wrap in chocolate. 

Recipe: Chocolate, Chocolate and More

chocolate liqueur
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Specialty bitters for flavoring cocktails can be pricey, but they are surprisingly simple and inexpensive to make. You can infuse ingredients such as cacao nibs into alcohol until the flavors create a powerful tincture.

Recipe: How Sweet It Is

chili chocolate brownies
Photo credit: Tachjang/shutterstock

It's a Latin American tradition to give chocolate confections a spicy kick to enhance their flavor. This recipe yields a brownie with a kick that also happens to be gluten-free.

Recipe: Tess Ward: The Yes Chef

homemade chocolate bark
Photo credit: Yala/shutterstock

Chocolate bark is a quick and easy confection that can be customized to include nuts, fruits, candies, and more. This recipe suggests even more unusual additions, like popcorn and granola. 

Recipe: Tasty Yummies

flourless chocolate cake
Photo credit: Arina P Habich/shutterstock

Flourless chocolate cake is not as simple as regular chocolate cake. Fortunately for those who lack the stamina for whipping egg whites, a mechanical mixer can do the job.

Recipe: The Kitchn

chocolate cheesecake
Photo credit: Olyina/shutterstock

A staple from a time before commercially available frozen cakes, the icebox cake is just as delicious and easy today. This version is a frozen cheesecake that takes a few minutes to whip together and 12 hours to chill. It stays fresh for a few days -- if it lasts that long.

Recipe: Real Simple

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