Fondue reminds me of skiing. Which tells you what type of skier I am. The type that likes to get a couple runs in, and then cozy up next to a fire with a cocktail and a warm snack. Fondue also pairs well with game nights, Christmas Eve or any gathering where you’re entertaining a group of friends and family. It gets everyone gathered around a central activity (dipping food into rich, melted chocolate is an activity, right?).
Cheese fondue can be a little tricky — it can separate or congeal or burn around the edges (which is actually totally and completely delicious). Chocolate fondue, on the other hand, is easy to put together and makes you look like a a pastry chef in disguise. The trick is buying good quality chocolate, and having your dippers ready to go when you pour the chocolate mixture into the pot (and don’t light the flame under the pot until after you’ve poured in the chocolate, otherwise it can scald as it gets poured into the fondue pot).
The best place to enjoy chocolate fondue is in front of a fire, but you may want to drape an inexpensive burlap or dark cotton tablecloth under your pot. Even with plates set out and fondue forks at the ready, appreciative guests may leave a telling trail of chocolate behind.
This recipe first appeared in the Houston Chronicle, and you can read all about it here!
Simple Chocolate Fondue
If you opt for a more traditional chocolate fondue with vanilla instead of peppermint, serve with any of the dipping items below, plus banana slices, pineapple chunks or whole strawberries. If you opt for the peppermint flavor, garnish with chopped peppermint candies just before serving. Serves 12.
2 cups heavy cream
1 pound good quality semisweet chocolate (such as Guittard or Scharffenberger)
1 teaspoon peppermint extract (optional) or vanilla extract
Items for dipping: brownies, marshmallows, gingerbread, pound cake, angel food cake and shortbread cookies. Garnish with crushed peppermint candy canes. If you're not using peppermint extract, bananas and strawberries pair will with the chocolate.
Fill a medium-size pot 1/3 full with water and bring to a low boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to medium-low and place a metal mixing bowl on top of the pot. Pour the heavy cream into the bowl.
If using whole chocolate, chop it into even, small pieces. It’s easiest to do this with a serrated bread knife. Once the cream is warm, add the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Then, whisk in the peppermint extract or vanilla extract, depending which you prefer.
Carefully transfer the melted chocolate mixture into a fondue pot. Light the flame underneath the pot to keep it warm.