Chocolate may get extra love come Valentine's Day, but it's a destination dessert any time of year. After all, true chocoholics don't need an excuse to indulge, especially when it comes to these over-the-top desserts.
Credit: Becca Wright
Alabama Stack Cake at Field & Tides
It takes five layers of chocolate cake to make this variation on the Southern staple, although you might be tempted to eat it all in one bite. Chef Travis Lenig uses 67% bittersweet chocolate to make those heady layers and adds a thick coat of chocolate buttercream icing.
705 E. 11th St.; 713-861-6143
Credit: Paula Murphy
Cacao at Xochi
All of the chocolate at Hugo Ortega’s restaurants (Hugo’s, Caracol and Xochi) starts with cacao beans roasted in-house, ground and mixed with cinnamon, sugar and vanilla. It is formed into tablets and incorporated into sweet and savory dishes like this life-sized edible chocolate cacao pod created by pastry chef Ruben Ortega. The unique treasure chest carved from white chocolate is spray-painted with edible ink and filled with tejate foam, milk chocolate cloud and chocolate criollo soil.
1777 Walker St.; 713-400-3330
Courtesy of Lucienne
Chocolate at Lucienne
In contrast to the restaurant’s bright and airy setting, this dessert stunner is dark in all the best ways. Chef Jose Hernandez starts with a filling of 72% dark chocolate mousse, drapes it entirely in a shiny chocolate glaze and tops the mound with white chocolate Chantilly gel and dollops of passion fruit. He sets it all atop a crunchy rice puff chocolate nougat and finishes it with colored chocolate squares.
1070 Dallas St.; 713-242-8555
Credit: Ellie Sharp
Chocolate soufflé at Chateau inside La Table
The secret to chef Otto Sanchez’ incredibly rich soufflé is the blonde roux base into which he incorporates 70% Valrhona cocoa powder, crème de cacao liquor and chunks of dark chocolate, among other ingredients like meringue and egg yolks. Take it over the top with an optional scoop of vanilla ice cream tucked inside.
1800 Post Oak Blvd. #6110; 713-439-1000
Credit: Ellie Sharp
Chocolatta frozen hot chocolate at The Chocolate Bar
An icy spin on traditional hot chocolate, this refreshment is the perfect extravagance for an afternoon snack (it works well for a late-night snack too). Rich dark European sipping chocolate is melted down, blended with heavy cream and stored in a cooler before being blended to order with ice and topped with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle. The consistency resembles a cross between a milkshake and a frappe with creamy and icy textures complementing the sweet and just-right bitterness of the chocolate.
Credit: Amy Spangler
Churros rellenos con dulce de leche at Hugo’s
There’s no wrong way to eat this caramel-filled baton of sugar-dusted fried dough, and that includes dipping it in spicy Mexican hot chocolate, alternating with bites of housemade chocolate ice cream or simply eating it straight up.
1600 Westheimer Rd.; 713-524-7744
Courtesy of Yauatcha
Raspberry Delice at Yauatacha
This ethereal beauty comes from the same kitchen that brings us carefully crafted dim sum. Beneath the surface lies a single plantation Madirofolo chocolate cake with lychee and raspberries for an opulent dessert perfect for sharing.
5045 Westheimer Rd; 713-357-7588
Triple chocolate cheesecake at Ooh La La
Chocolate cravings are sure to be sated after tucking into this heavy-hitter, which layers milk and dark chocolate cheesecake over a chocolate cookie crust and is finished with rich ganache.