Vol.1, No.3

How to make chocolate fondue at home

A chocolate fondue is guaranteed to please your guests and amazingly simple to prepare and present. Why not try one at home today?

Chocolate fruit fondue
Photo Credit: Carmen Martinez Banus
Chocolate fondue is such a rich and decadent dessert that most people assume it is too difficult to do at home. Not so! This is one of the simplest desserts you can make and yet it never fails to impress. The real magic is in the presentation of the fondue itself.

Let's begin with the hardware. You'll need a clean, functional fondue pot and a source of heat for it. Some fondue pots use Sterno canned fuel while others use tea light candles. Ensure you are familiar with the heat source required for your particular pot. It also helps to have a few extra cans of Sterno or candles just in case your guests decide to linger around your fabulous fondue.

Next, you'll need items to dip. Always look for a variety of colors. We eat first with our eyes, so remember to make your presentation as delicious to the eyes as the chocolate will be to the palate. Some simple items to start with are the standards: strawberries and cubes of cake. Ensure that your strawberries have their greens removed and are fresh, clean and dry. A wet or mushy strawberry can really ruin the mood. Although angel food cake is a lovely idea, it does have a tendency to break up in the fondue, leaving you with lumps in your chocolate and a guest disappointed about the cake that got away. Pound cake, on the other hand, holds its shape nicely and is easy to cut into cubes.

Some other ideas for dippers are:

Banana slices. Use a firm, ripe banana and slice it about one-half to one inch thick. The banana and chocolate combination is quite smooth.

Kiwi: Peel a whole kiwi, then cut it in half and slice the halves so that you have little half-moon shaped pieces that are about a half-inch thick. The kiwi/chocolate combination is uncommon, yet quite tasty.

Orange: Peel a seedless orange, tangerine or tangelo and separate the wedges. The combination of chocolate and sweet citrus is most exciting.

Berries: Blackberries and Raspberries, if they are large and firm, make for lovely dippers.

Marshmallows: Large marshmallows, dipped in chocolate, are always welcome. If you want to have a little fun with it, consider adding different flavors of graham crackers as well so that your guests can enjoy the ever-popular s'mores.

Cookies: Nilla Wafers, ladyfingers and peanut butter cookies are always a nice touch.

When presenting your fondue and dippers, be creative.

Present your dippers in low glass dishes, baskets made of chocolate or brandy snifters rather than just on everyday plates.

Consider setting your fondue pot in the center of a lazy Susan and surrounding it with small dishes of dippers. This way your guests can have easy access to the entire selection.

You could also set your fondue pot up in the center of a low table surrounded with cushions while presenting the dippers on a buffet or counter. Your guests can help themselves to whatever they'd like to dip and then settle in for casual fun on a cushion.

If you're entertaining a larger group, then a buffet is likely to be your most convenient option. Since fondue is such a hands-on dessert and half the fun is in the dipping, it is generally well suited to smaller groups of 2 to 6 people around a table.

Finally, we need to prepare the chocolate. Start with 3/4 of a cup of heavy cream. Heat it in a saucepan until it is hot but not boiling. Remove it from heat and then add a 12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate morsels. Allow the morsels to soften in the cream for a few minutes. Then add 2 tablespoons of light corn syrup and whisk the three ingredients together. Pour the warm chocolate syrup into your fondue pot and keep it warm over the pot's heating element.

A chocolate fondue is guaranteed to please your guests and amazingly simple to prepare and present. Why not dust off you fondue pot and plan your next party now?