Chocolate Espresso Creme Brûlée

This post is sponsored by Imperial Sugar. Chocolate Espresso Creme Brûlée is a rich take on the classic dessert. Creamy espresso-laced chocolate custard is topped with a layer of granulated sugar that is then melted into a layer of almost-burnt caramel. Serve this elegantly easy dessert at your next dinner party or family gathering.

Chocolate Espresso Creme Brûlée

Chocolate Espresso Creme Brûlée is one of those desserts that looks intimidating and super-complicated to make, but is in reality, rather easy and mostly hands-off. If you can make pudding from scratch, you can make Creme Brûlée.

And really, I think the hardest part is probably separating the eggs. Or maybe waiting for the cream to simmer.

I had never made Creme Brûlée before this recipe, but I’ve made plenty of puddings and custards and ice cream bases, so I knew it wouldn’t be all that difficult. I opted to make a chocolate version, since this is #Choctoberfest and all. And because Imperial Sugar was once again such a generous sponsor (seriously, I haven’t had to buy sugar in YEARS, thanks to them), I had plenty of sugar on hand for the topping.

Plus, I’ll use any excuse to get out the kitchen torch!

Chocolate Espresso Creme Brûlée

Scary Scramble Contest

Open now, Imperial Sugar is hosting their Annual Scary Scramble Contest. Each day, they’ll post a scrambled-up recipe title and clue to help you figure it out. If you’re one of the winners, you’ll get an awesome prize pack, including free sugar! And let me tell you, Imperial Sugar is awesome.

Chocolate Espresso Creme Brûlée

Part of the fun with Creme Brûlée is breaking through the sugar crust. Which is easy to make with a kitchen torch. But if you don’t have one, you can broil the brûlées after topping them with sugar.

Chocolate Espresso Creme Brûlée

Typically Creme Brûlée is served chilled, so just after your sugar crust is set, you can pop them in the fridge for a few minutes to chill the custard again. Or you can be like me, and just dig in immediately.

Chocolate Espresso Creme Brûlée

If you do chill your brûlées, don’t do so for any longer than an hour. Otherwise you run the risk of the sugar crust softening up. And all the fun of tap-tap-tapping and breaking through the crust is lost.

Yield: 6

Chocolate Espresso Creme Brûlée

Chocolate Espresso Creme Brûlée
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Additional Time 8 hours
Total Time 9 hours 20 minutes


  • 2 C heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp. instant espresso powder
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 C Imperial Sugar Granulated Sugar + 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 6 Tbsp. Imperial Sugar Granulated Sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the 1/4 C sugar and heavy cream. Heat over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the cream is simmering. Whisk in the instant espresso powder and the chocolate. Continue whisking until the chocolate has completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the 3 Tbsp. of sugar. Slowly whisk in the chocolate cream mixture. If necessary, strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve.
  4. Divide the custard evenly between 6 four-ounce ramekins. Place the ramekins in a roasting pan, then add enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour.
  5. Carefully remove the ramekins from the roasting pan, and cool completely on a wire rack. Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least one hour, but preferably overnight.
  6. When ready to serve, top each custard with a Tbsp. of sugar. "Burn" the sugar using a kitchen torch, or place the ramekins under a broiler for 1-2 minutes. Chill again to reset the custard for 10-15 minutes, but no more than an hour.


You can caramelize the brûlées before serving, but chill for no more than an hour to prevent the sugar crusts from softening.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

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