In a heavy small saucepan combine the half-and-half or light cream, chocolate, and sugar. Cook and stir over medium heat about 10 minutes or until mixture reaches a full boil and thickens.
Gradually stir about half of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks. Return all of the egg yolk mixture to the saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Pour chocolate mixture into 4 or 6 pots de creme cups or small dessert dishes. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours. If desired, top with Caramelized Shards.
Makes 4 to 6 servings. (Nutrition facts are without shards.)
Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil; coat foil with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon slivered almonds onto prepared foil. Bake in preheated oven 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly toasted. Meanwhile, place 1/3 cup sugar in a heavy 10-inch skillet. Heat over medium-high heat until sugar begins to melt, shaking skillet occasionally to heat sugar evenly. Do not stir. When sugar begins to melt, reduce heat to low. Cook for 2 minutes more or until sugar is melted and lightly golden, stirring as needed with a wooden spoon. Remove pan from heat. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon hot water. Immediately pour over nuts on hot baking sheet. Let cool for 1 minute. Using 2 forks, gently pull caramel as thinly as possible, lifting up slightly as you pull. Let cool thoroughly on foil. Break into pieces; store tightly covered up to 3 days.
End a special-occasion dinner on a memorable note by serving these little pots of cream.