Thursday, May 25, 2006
Who needs $10-a-jar fudge sauce???
This picture has absolutely nothing to do with the post to follow...but I brought in an armful of lilacs this morning to make an impromptu bouquet for the table, and I thought they were pretty enough to photograph! Don't you agree? :-) And now, onto the topic of the day: HOT FUDGE!
At the end of each October, I faithfully attend the Essex Fall Craft Show near Burlington, Vermont. (There's apparently one in the spring, too, but not on as grand a scale.) Not only will you find wonderful works of art and all sorts of handicrafts, you will also get to sample TONS of gourmet food products. There is a man from Maine who makes the most AWESOME fruit salsas you've ever tasted--my favorites are blueberry, razberry, and mango tango, but some people swear by the peach. And I also stock up on Halladay Farms' excellent seasoning/dip mixes--my favorite is their Vermont Chardonnay mix. In fact, my neighbor just a couple of miles up the road in Mooers, NY who is both the local dog catcher and the best jam-maker in the whole world (and I can say that as I make some fine jam my own self!), has started selling his preserves there. His business is called Suprenant's Berry Farm, and he has over 150 varieties of jam in inspired and unconventional combinations, but his signature item may be the Quad Raspberry made with four different kinds of raspberries that he grows himself. Incredible!
But one of the products that I no longer buy at the craft fair in Vermont is Sundae's Best Fudge Sauce. This delectable product has been featured on the Food Network and one of the food magazines I get just had a blurb about it, too (I think maybe Rachael Ray's mag? I can't be sure right at the moment--my brain is already on summer vacay!). But if it's so good--and it is truly decadent!--then why don't I buy it anymore? Because you'd have to take out a second mortgage to be able to afford it! It comes in a small jar that's hardly worth your trouble (read: single-serving for a chocoholic!), and their large, 15-oz. jar is TEN DOLLARS! OUCH! So I decided to take it upon myself to develop my own version for much, much less. Plus, it is so easy, anyone can whip up a batch in no time. I gave some jars of the sauce away as Christmas gifts last year, and the recipients gushed over it! In fact, every time I see my friend, Angela, who is a dynamite Italian cook in her own right, she begs me to make her some more--which is only fair, as she gives me many jars of homemade applesauce every year. :-) I gave her the recipe, but she said it didn't turn out as well when she made it. I don't really get that, as you just dump everything in a saucepan, stir it well, and cook it over low heat until it all melts and comes together. Then pour it into a jar and stick it in the fridge. You can nuke it and serve it over ice cream, use a couple of tablespoons in a mug of hot milk for hot chocolate, throw some in your latte, or as Angela prefers, just grab a spoon and tuck in! Scrumptious!
Decadent Chocolate Fudge Sauce
12 oz. (1 1/2 cups) semi-sweet (or bittersweet) chocolate chips
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3/4 cup half-n-half (or since you're already living dangerously, use cream!)
1 teaspoon vanilla
(Ok, maybe some basic procedures should be followed to be on the safe side.) Melt the chocolate chips and butter together over low heat (if you don't trust yourself not to scorch it, do this over a water bath). In another pan, whisk the sugar, salt and cocoa into the cream or half-n-half and bring to a boil. Add the hot cocoa mixture to the melted chocolate and butter and blend together thoroughly. Remove from heat and add the vanilla, mixing well. Jar it up, refrigerate, and then try not to devour the whole thing in one sitting!