1 cup (8 fl ounces/233 ml) heavy cream
4 ounces (113 grams) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee granules (any type, even decaf, will do)
2 tablespoons coffee-flavored liqueur
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Have ready 4 small ramekins or classic pot de crème pots (those are the little cups with the lids) just slightly larger than ½ cup each. (The vessels do not need to be ovenproof, as this is a no-bake recipe. You can even use teacups, so use your prettiest options.)
In a small saucepan or the microwave, heat the cream just until boiling. Meanwhile, dump the chopped chocolate, sugar, and espresso powder or coffee granules into a blender. When the cream is just boiling, pour it into the blender. Pop the lid on and blend on medium-high speed until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is frothy and smooth. Add the liqueur and vanilla and process until blended, about 10 seconds.
Using a spoon, skim off the foam from the top of the custard and discard. Pour the chocolate cream into the cups or ramekins, dividing it evenly. Top with lids (if you’re using proper porcelain pots de crème pots) or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and a few chocolate shavings, if desired.
Substitute an equal amount of bourbon or dark rum for the coffee liqueur. You can also substitute a licorice-, orange-, or raspberry-flavored liqueur, but make sure to omit the instant espresso powder or coffee granules when you use these.