This year, how about a Chocolate Fondue Party for Valentine’s Day? Making fondue is so easy it’s surprising. Pick your favorite brand of chocolate chips, as the flavor will be critical to the finished dip. You can also use bars of chocolate, just chop them up before melting. Watch that the heat stays low – otherwise the chocolate can separate and get grainy, and it burns easily as well.
You can dip all kinds of things into the fondue: bananas, apples, pears, orange segments, strawberries, marshmallows, cake or banana bread cubes, cookies, biscotti…you and the kids can have a pretty good time figuring out what to serve with your chocolate bliss. Find some great platters or cake stands to present your dipper choices, and make sure you have skewers, wither metal (if you have a fondue pot, it often comes with skewers in different colors so everyone can keep track of whose it whose, or just put out some disposable wooden skewers. This is a guaranteed kid please, and the grown ups aren’t exactly going to be sad about it either. If you have a smaller group the recipe can easily be cut in half.
- Chocolate Fondue:
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 24 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, or chopped semisweet chocolate bars (see Note)
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- To Serve (Choose Your Favorites):
- sliced bananas
- sliced apples
- sliced pears, orange segments
- cake or banana bread cubes
- graham crackers
If you have a fondue pot, prepare it according to the manufacturer's instructions and set it on the stand.
In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the cream until hot but not simmering. Add the chocolate, and stir just until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the chocolate fondue into fondue pot and set it up over the heat (if you don’t have a fondue pot you can just put the pot on the table; warn everyone, especially the kids, that the pot is hot. Rewarm it over very low heat as needed). Serve with all of the selected dippers.
If you are looking for a more intense chocolate flavor you can use bittersweet chocolate instead of semisweet. For the most part, Semisweet and bittersweet can be used in baking interchangeably, depending on personal preferences. The smart folks at Better Homes & Gardens explain the difference:
Bittersweet chocolate is at least 35% pure chocolate with some small amount of sugar added. In Europe it might be labeled dark chocolate. It’s usually – but not always - darker and less sweet than semisweet.
Specific sweetness and color intensity varies by manufacturer's recipes and cacao bean sources. It can be used for baking and straight eating.
Semiweet chocolate is also at least 35 percent pure chocolate, but it has added cocoa butter and usually a bit more sugar. It’s the most versatile chocolate, and you’ll see it called for over and over again in all kinds of baking recipes. It comes in many forms such as block, discs, squares, and chips. It also can be used for baking and eating.