These small peppers might not look like anything scary, but they pack an incredible level of heat. Deemed the world's hottest pepper by the Guinness Book of World Records, you may wonder why you'd ever want to try one. A few creative food minds have come up with some unexpected (and sweet!) ways to taste the flavor without the tongue-numbing heat.
The ghost pepper, or bhut jolokia, is native to India and believed to be the world's hottest pepper, 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce. Concepts like this are tough to grasp (how different does it taste than, say, a pepper only 200 times hotter than Tabasco sauce?), but let me tell you, these things are spicy. A few inspired food retailers have come up with unique ways to use this hot element.
Theo, a Seattle-based chocolate maker, crafts buttery caramels infused with ghost chilies, dips them in chocolate, and sprinkles a chili flake and sea salt mixture on top of each one.
• Ghost Chile Salted Caramels from Theo
Jay Sheldon, the Brooklynite behind Bhut-Pepper.com sells dried ghost chilies, chili flakes, and powder on his website, but it's the spicy watermelon candies that set him apart. The little green and black candies are available through his webiste.
• Spicy Sour Watermelon Ghost Pepper Candy $10 for two 1 oz packages from bhut-pepper.com
Born out of an idea two teenagers had for plum chutney, Plum Crazy Orchard Chili Spread combines mellow plum and apple flavors with a ghost chili kick.
• Plum Crazy Spread $6.50 for a 7 oz jar from Plum Crazy Foods
NYC's The Filing Station sells this ghost pepper salt -- perfect for making your own spicy salted caramels.
• Ghost Pepper Salt $11.95 for a small container at The Filling Station
Related: Food Science: What Makes Chile Peppers Spicy?
(Image: Flickr member wstryder licensed for use under Creative Commons)