Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Killer Chocolate Sauce

Here’s a simple yet killer Chocolate Sauce you’ll want to have up your culinary sleeve whenever you want to dress up a dessert. Whether you’re spooning it over your favorite ice cream, serving a small puddle of it alongside a sliver of a decadent torte, or drizzling it over a champagne semifreddo (recipe for THAT coming soon!), I’m convinced that this is likely to become your go-to chocolate sauce. This sauce is like that perfect accessory that pulls an outfit together, adding a classy distinctive touch without overwhelming the rest of the ensemble.

Most chocolate sauce recipes I’ve found involve butter and/or cream, but this ridiculously easy one from David Lebovitz involves neither. The richness comes from both unsweetened cocoa and bittersweet chocolate, and it doesn’t leave you feeling heavy afterwards since it doesn’t contain any dairy. It’s practically diet food. Okay, I realize that’s a bit of a stretch, but perhaps I’m trying to justify the fact that I’ve already made this chocolate sauce twice this week. Whoops…

I am having intense chocolate cravings these days that are most definitely emotionally-triggered. It’s not surprising, considering that the Broadway show for which I played in the orchestra these past months just closed on Sunday. It was a real blow, for though we knew it would be a limited run, it wasn’t supposed to be quite this limited. Our quirky musical didn’t enchant all the edgy New York critics, but every night we saw countless audience members welling up with emotion and enthusiastically singing along with the title song at the end, and people loved it. I was genuinely thrilled to work there each night, playing that gorgeous musical score with hilarious and lovely colleagues in the pit, not to mention a fabulous cast that included two leads who gave me serious goosebumps every single time I heard them sing. (Click here to hear what I’m talking about it.)

Needless to say, I wasn’t the only person incredibly bummed out about our final curtain falling in late January as opposed to early July. In some ways, this premature closing has felt similar to being in a relationship in which you know that the other person isn’t The One but you still have an absolute blast together—and then suddenly your other half blindsides you by announcing that it’s over. No discussion, no negotiation, nothing. And you can’t change their mind, no matter how loudly you protest, “I knew this wasn’t for the long-haul, but weren’t we having a great time together? Can’t we continue for just a little bit longer, please?!!”

When it comes to break-ups, be it affairs of the heart or the end of a much-loved job, I usually respond by spending serious time in the kitchen. I’ll be here on Kitchen Fiddler more frequently now, since I have a bit more time on my hands as well as a need to redirect my creative energies. But chocolate is also one of my tried-and-true coping strategies for break-ups. And I’m here to tell you that as fabulous as this chocolate sauce is served alongside your favorite decadent dessert, it is also quite satisfying eaten directly from the saucepan with a spoon, no matter what your emotional state is. Ice cream is strictly optional.

One Year Ago: Cornmeal Arugula Soup
Two Years Ago: Ruby Port Cocktail


I usually use agave nectar for this recipe because corn syrup skeeves me out a little, but you can use whatever you like. The corn syrup will make your sauce impossibly glossy and ready for its close-up. The agave will not make your sauce quite as shiny from a purely visual standpoint, but it adds a honey-like note to the sauce that I really enjoy.

½ cup sugar
½ cup agave nectar or light corn syrup
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the sugar, agave nectar (or corn syrup), unsweetened cocoa and the water in a small heavy saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until the ingredients are thoroughly combined and bring to a boil. Once the sauce comes to a simmer and begins to boil, remove the pan from the heat. Immediately add the chopped chocolate and the vanilla, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted.

At this point you will have a rather thin sauce, but allow it to stand for an hour or two to thicken up a bit before serving. This will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

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