For the dark chocolate pots de crème: In a large measuring cup or large bowl, add the chopped dark chocolate. Set aside.
In a saucepan, add the cream, milk, and vanilla, if using, and whisk to combine. Set over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Be careful not to let the mixture boil over!
While the cream and milk heat up, in a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until smooth.
As soon as the cream and milk simmer, turn off the heat. Whisking the egg yolks constantly, gradually pour in two ladlefuls of the hot cream and milk mixture into the egg. This will temper the egg yolks, that is, heat them slowly to prevent them from turning grainy.
Pour the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan while whisking. Return to medium-low heat and whisk constantly for 2 more minutes.
Here's how to tell when the custard is done: dip a spoon into the custard, then trace a line with your finger over the back of the spoon. If the indentation remains, it means the custard is done.
Strain the custard into the bowl containing the chopped dark chocolate. Let sit without stirring for two minutes, then whisk until smooth. (The chocolate pots de crème mixture will appear grainy at first as the chocolate starts to melt into the cream, but it will fully smooth out as you whisk.)
Divide the chocolate pots de crème mixture between 8 small glasses, cups, or ramekins, or bowls (½ cup/125 ml capacity). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours, or until the chocolate pots de crème are cool and set.
SERVING: Bring the chocolate pots de crème back to room temperature 15 to 30 minutes before serving. Garnish each serving with whipped cream and grated dark chocolate, if desired. Enjoy!
STORAGE: Keep chocolate pots de crème covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days.
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