Try Something Scary for Halloween – Ghost Chiles

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Oct 24, 2016 / 0 comments

 Cayenne Pepper. Not even hot.
Habaneros. They tickle. A little.  
But Bhut Jolokia. That’s where the real heat is. Chile heat!
Also called red naga, naga jolokia, and bih jolokia. But this hybrid chile from India is one of the hottest around. No wonder it’s garnered the name most know it as … Ghost chiles.
Chile heat is rated according to the Scoville scale. As the Smithsonian explains:  

When the scale was invented in 1912 by pharmacist Wilbur Scoville in search of a heat-producing ointment, it was based on human taste buds. The idea was to dilute an alcohol-based extract made with the given pepper until it no longer tasted hot to a group of taste testers. The degree of dilution translates to the SHU. In other words, according to the Scoville scale, you would need as many as 5,000 cups of water to dilute 1 cup of Tabasco sauce enough to no longer taste the heat.

That’s right – 5,000 cups of water to ward away the heat from the rather pedestrian zip of Tabasco (granted this is assuming you’re downing 1 cup of the vinegary, red sauce in a single sitting).
On the Scoville scale, jalapeños rank at around 5,000 Scoville units (SHU).
So what about Ghost chiles?
Once considered the world’s hottest chile (it’s since been surpassed by other chiles with titles that include “viper” and “scorpion”), Ghost peppers pack anywhere from 500,000 to more than 1 million SHU, according to The Chile Pepper Bible.
In other words, were you to eat a Ghost pepper, you’d likely be crying in pain for the rest of the day. But, add a little bit of diluted Ghost pepper to a recipe and it can add a memorable jolt.
Even, something a bit scary … like this recipe below for Dark Chocolate Ghost Pepper Cookies.
If you want to try something different this Halloween to surprise your family and friends, whip up a batch of these cookies – you can even decide whether you want to tell them what’s hiding inside or not.

 Dark Chocolate Ghost Pepper Cookies. Try Something Scary for Halloween – Ghost Chiles.
One note: Experiment with other chiles in this recipe by using cayenne, ancho (it’s smoky and sweet versus spicy), or chipotle. These varieties are usually more readily available at your local grocers or specialty shops compared to Ghost peppers.

 Dark Chocolate Ghost Pepper Cookies. Try Something Scary for Halloween – Ghost Chiles.

1 (12 oz.) package semi-sweet chocolate chips/chunks
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. Ghost pepper salt*
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup walnuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Melt 1 cup chocolate chips in the microwave; cool.

3. Stir in butter, sugars, baking soda, vanilla, cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp. of the salt until crumbly.

4. Add melted chocolate and egg and beat until well blended.

5. Stir in flour, nuts, and remaining chocolate chips.

6. Drop dough in scoops on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

7. Add a little bit of salt onto each cookie.

8. Bake for 9 minutes until just barely browned.

Makes around 25 to 30 cookies.
Tweaked from Savory Spice.

*You can purchase Ghost pepper salt from Savory Spice. Not looking for something too spicy? Use the ground pepper of your choice (1/8 to ¼ tsp.) instead of Ghost pepper salt and add ¼ tsp. table salt to the batter and sprinkle the cookies with coarse or sea salt.

More Halloween Goodness:
Test Your Halloween IQ
Halloween Memories and Donut Muffins
Ichabod Crane’s Halloween Candy Cookies
Scary! Best Halloween Travel, Recipes, Books, and More
Halloween Treats inspired by Roald Dahl

Kristen J. Gough is the Global Cuisines & Kids Editor for Wandering Educators. She shares her family's adventurous food experiences--and recipes--at


All photos courtesy and copyright Kristen J. Gough