In honor of Valentine’s Day, I was hoping to come up with a really tempting fondue recipe, like Chocolate Fondue with Bailey’s Irish Cream or Nutella Fondue, but you know what? I tried a bunch of variations and not one of them beat out plain ol’ chocolate fondue. I guess certain things are better left alone and chocolate fondue is one of them. I also realized that fondue is not just a romantic dessert for grown-ups: it’s actually the ultimate family dessert. There’s nothing like a bowl of melted chocolate surrounded by cookies and marshmallows to keep antsy children, who inhale lovingly prepared meals in a matter of minutes and then tell you they’re bored, lingering at the dinner table for a very long time. It also happens to be the easiest thing in the world to make — only four ingredients and you do it all in the microwave.
Begin by finely chopping 2 bars of premium quality semi-sweet chocolate. (If you’re wondering, I also tried the recipe with milk and bittersweet chocolate, but semi-sweet was the best—it’s intense without being too dark.) Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and add heavy cream, sugar and butter.
Microwave on medium heat for one and a half minutes. It will look not so pretty, like this…
Stir, then microwave again for 30-60 seconds until almost melted. There should be enough residual heat in the bowl to stir until completely smooth. The idea when working with chocolate is to keep the heat gentle, otherwise it might scorch and break. You could also do this over very low heat on the stovetop or in a double boiler, but I think the microwave is the easiest and most foolproof method. Here’s the beautiful finished product…
All that’s left is to transfer the melted chocolate to a fondue pot or pretty bowl and set it on the table.
As for what to serve it with, sky’s the limit. With the exception of strawberries, I’m not much of a fruit with chocolate kinda gal, but if that’s your thing there are endless possibilities — dried or fresh. I prefer cookies, especially almond biscotti, shortbread or European biscuit cookies (look for the Petit Lu or Walker’s brands in the international or gourmet cookie section in your supermarket). Other ideas are pound cake cubes, pretzel rods or madeleines. Kids love caramels, graham crackers and marshmallows, although you’ll probably need to remind them that the idea is to “dunk” rather than “drown.”
My Recipe Videos
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces premium semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (I like Ghirardelli)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Place all of the ingredients in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Cook in the microwave on medium power (50%) for 1½ minutes. Take out and stir. Microwave on medium power for 30-60 seconds more, then stir the mixture until smooth. (Note: you want to take it out when it is almost melted; there should be enough residual heat to melt any remaining bits of chocolate.)
- Transfer the mixture to a fondue pot or bowl and serve with assorted dippers.
- Note: It's a good idea to stir the fondue occasionally to avoid scorching. If you don't have a fondue pot, you can re-warm the fondue over medium heat in the microwave if necessary.