According to an article in “Joy of Kosher Magazine,” it was in the 60s that Konrad Egli, of the Chalet Swiss Restaurant in New York, invented the first chocolate fondue to get his “diet-conscious customers to buy dessert.”
…And we are are so glad he did! Who doesn’t love a rich chocolaty treat? As a chef, I can attest that chocolate desserts are still, by far, the most requested kinds.
With a few simple guidelines and less than 30 minutes, you too can enjoy a delicious fondue. Plus, most of the following ingredients are probably already in your pantry!
1. Decide flavor base
For the best flavor, choose a higher-end chocolate, in bar or chip form. If you prefer darker and richer chocolate flavors choose bittersweet or dark chocolate. If you like milder flavors try a combination of dark chocolate and white chocolate. Keep a few bags of milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate or butterscotch chips on hand for a quick fondue fix.
Looking for a dessert fondue that’s not chocolate? Try a simple caramel sauce dip made by caramelizing sugar and adding, vanilla bean and cream.
2. Choose liquid base
Cream or half-and-half are traditionally used. My go-to beverages, which are nut-based, include cashew, Brazil nut, coconut and almond milks. To make your own nut milk base, soak nuts in water for a few hours. Drain water from nuts and blend in high-speed blender with 3-times amount of fresh water, a pinch of salt and dash of vanilla extract. Strain liquid or use it as is.
3. Set up double boiler
Make your dessert fondue on the stove in a double boiler. Set a metal bowl over a saucepan filled about half way with water. Bring water to boil, making sure the water is not touching the bowl nesting on top, then turn heat to simmer. Warm liquid and melt chocolate. Keep fondue at a steady temperature (below 105 degrees F) to prevent breaking and separating.
Adjust thickness and add any other flavorings. Serve fondue in a fondue pot with warming unit underneath and keep the rest warm in the double boiler for refills.
4. Add a flavor booster
A splash of vanilla extract is the perfect finishing touch to chocolate and cream. Expand your flavor options with other extracts or flavored liquors. Feeling fruity? How about a splash of caramel, orange liquor or raspberry? Add a teaspoon of mint extract or go nutty with hazelnut or coffee flavored liquor.
For a more refined finish, add a splash or more of rich red cabernet. You can also spice it up with a sprinkle of chili powder or cayenne pepper.
5. Prep sweet and savory dippers
Offer a variety of dippers to pair with your fondue. Think sweet and savory and a variety of textures. Get fruity with whole strawberries, chunks of fresh or dried mango and apricots, crisp apple or pear slices and fresh figs.
Choose a few soft and sweet dippables such as mini muffins, marshmallows, doughnut holes or chunks of angel food cake or pound cake. Make sure items are not too crumbly or you’ll lose them in the fondue.
And don’t forget that serving salty dippers are a must! Pretzel rods or thick-cut potato chips are addictive flavor combos. Finally, cookies, biscotti, crispy vanilla wafer and crispy rice bars are also great additions.
6. More flavors, more fun
What’s better than a chocolate-covered strawberry? A chocolate-covered strawberry dusted with toasted coconut or sprinkles. Offer another layer of options to your spread by putting out a toppings bar featuring small bowls of toasted coconut, sprinkles, chopped nuts and cacao nibs.
Dessert fondue can be as simple or extravagant as you choose. You can make it a kid-friendly experience by including storytelling and games. Or, gather a group of adult friends and pair it with sparkling wines and good conversation. Either way, eating chocolate is always a good time.
… And I’ll leave you with this: according to Amano Chocolate’s website, “Eating chocolate releases several neurotransmitters that have positive effects on human feelings (that is, they make people happy).” So indulge, gather and get your fondue on!
For more simple party-worthy recipes, check out our 5 “Uncooked” Recipes for Summer!