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Chocolate Guajillo Crunch
By Lou Bank

This is what I imagine Butterfingers would have been if the Curtiss Candy Company had been located in Oaxaca instead of Chicago.

16 oz. sugar
16 oz. water
18 fresh (not dried) guajillo chiles
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate

Use the blowtorch to burn the skin of the guajillos. Remove stems and seeds, and as much membrane as possible; wash off most of the burnt skin.

Combine 16 oz. water and 16 oz. of sugar in a pot. Heat over medium heat to a simmer. Drop in the chiles, cover, remove from heat, and let steep for three to six hours.

Strain the simple syrup, putting the syrup into a jar that can be stored in the refrigerator. Puree the guajillos in a food processor.

Pour pureed guajillos into a fruit-leather base and drop into a 150-degree dehydrator. After two days, use a spatula to flip the guajillo leather over. Put back into dehydrator until crunchy, about another day.

Cut the crunchy guajillo plank into rectangles. Grate the chocolate. Heat 5 oz. of the guajillo syrup to 125 degrees. In a bowl, pour the heated syrup over the grated chocolate; whisk until chocolate is smooth. (You may need to put the bowl over a pot of heated water to get to this stage.)

Once smooth, dip the crunchy guajillo rectangles into the chocolate, and place on a parchment paper-lined tray. Let sit at room temperature until the chocolate is set enough that you can lift the chocolate-covered guajillo crunches off the paper without leaving the chocolate behind.

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