Thursday, October 13, 2011

Luminaria's Chocolate Fondue Extravaganza by Amy Levinger of Mind Body Fuel

Chocolate Fondue at Luminaria Sanctuary!

This weekend was a blast! Our Creation Meditation Celebration was a wonderful success! We built a raised garden bed out of recycled materials from the Leaning Tower of Luminaria, loved and protected the land through wildland fire control, watched a screening of the new Tron, ate waaay too much, played and talked and hung out and had a mini-bonfire and sleepover.

HOLY COW Highlight!  Chocolate extravaganza!

Amazing sinfully delicious Chocolate Fondue was catered for our amazing community members and volunteers by the talented and beautiful Amy Levinger of Mind Body Fuel. She also rocked our world with her own special version of death-defying macaroni and cheese, and more on Saturday night. After a day of working in the sun, it was perfect. Total indulgence heaven!

Chocolate fondue is sooo easy to make, and sooo much fun!
It can be made gluten-free and vegan if you get the right kind of chocolate chips, and substitute coconut or other vegan milk for the cream in the recipe. This is the perfect food to play with! Get creative and experiment with different bits to dip in the chocolate: try drizzling it over pastries; over ice-cream popsicles and freezing them; or just dunk your favorite fruits!

 Here's how to make Chocolate Fondue for your next gathering:

The short version:

Basically, you will want to take some creamy-type substance (like cream, milk, coconut milk, etc.) and heat it. Then you will add chocolate chips and stir over low heat until milk and chips are blended, melted and smooth. You can add a little oil (like coconut oil or olive oil) to help the consistency if desired. There is no set-in-stone ratio; just give it a shot. While it is still warm, dip your favorite treats in the chocolate and NOSH IT UP! Yum!

Amy used fresh strawberries, candied pears, candied ginger, vanilla cookie wafers, dried mango, and banana for dipping into the chocolate. We quickly abandoned the keep-your-paws-clean skewers she thoughtfully provided and just went head over heels into chocolate heaven!

You'll need a double-boiler to melt the chocolate. If you don't have one, don't panic! They are easy to make. A double boiler allows eggs and other heat-sensitive sauce ingredients (like chocolate) to heat slowly and evenly, eliminating the possibility of scorching or overcooking. Chocolate must almost always be melted in a double boiler, because direct heat will cause the temperature to rise too quickly and the consistency to be ruined.

A double boiler is a "specialized" piece of kitchen equipment consisting of two fitted saucepans. The larger bottom saucepan is partially filled with water brought to a simmer or boil. The inner/top saucepan uses this indirect steam/hot water heat to melt chocolate, cook custards and sauces, or even melt wax for candlemaking. A double boiler can also be improvised with a large saucepan and a bowl, or two saucepans separated by a trivet or other heat-resistant spacer. A metal or glass bowl inside a saucepan works well.

The long version:

For an in-depth recipe, try



  • 12 ounces of dark chocolate (chips or roughly chopped if from a block)
  • 8 ounces of heavy cream
  • A pinch of salt
  • Dippables such as strawberries, banana pieces cut into 1-inch chunks, dried appricots, candied ginger, apple pieces



1 Warm the cream over moderate heat until tiny bubbles show and begins to lightly and slowly boil. Add the chocolate and whisk until smooth and full incorporated.
2 Immediately transfer to a fondue pot heated at low or with a low flame, or serve straight from the pot.
3 Arrange the dippables on a platter or plates around the chocolate pot. Use a fondue fork, bamboo skewer, seafood fork, or salad fork to dip the fruit pieces and other dippables into the hot melted cream chocolate mixture. Eat immediately.
If the fondue begins to feel a little stiff, add a tablespoon of heavy cream and stir. It will help it go a little longer. Eventually, it will cook down though and you may need to start a new pot.

Add a tablespoon or two of Bailey's Irish Cream to the chocolate. Other liquors such as Grand Marnier, Amaretto, or Kirsch are equally yummy.
Add a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and ancho chili pepper for a nice Mexican Chocolate.
The contents of a vanilla pod or some vanilla extract are always a decadent touch to chocolate.
A good pinch of espresso powder can do wonders!
Orange zest or grapefruit zest is nice way to create a slightly fruity chocolate.
A few tablespoons of Torani flavoring syrups (the kind used for coffee or Italian sodas) can add a nice dimension of flavor as well.
White chocolate is always a nice change, and spiked with a little liquor or citrus zest becomes heavenly.
Steeping the cream for an hour beforehand and while heating it can add a nice subtle flavor, lemongrass for white chocolate or a bag of Earl Grey tea for dark chocolate are particularly stylish and contemporary.

Happy Chocoholic-ing!

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