My husband and I usually like to stay in for Valentine’s Day. We both feel that it’s much more intimate and romantic to stay at home and cook together, rather than be out along with everyone else in the world. This year, my husband and I will be traveling on the east coast, which means braving the restaurant commotion. But seriously, a romantic dinner at a fabulous restaurant in New York? That’s just fine with me.
If you do decide to stay in, here is a fantastic hot fudge recipe from John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg’s cookbook, The Essence of Chocolate. It’s easy to make and can go on almost anything; ice cream, fruit, or whatever you can think of for whatever mood you’re in. Since Valentine’s Day is on a Monday this year, you can make it while the kids are at school and then store it for later.
Hot Fudge Sauce
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
5 ounces 72% bittersweet chocolate, chopped
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup half-and-half
Note: The recipe calls for a double boiler, but I will usually just put about two inches of water at the bottom of a large pot, and then place either a Pyrex bowl or a round-bottom pot on top, making sure the water below does not touch the bowl. You can do this for pretty much any recipe that requires a double boiler and it works great.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and cocoa powder.
In the top of a double boiler (or bowl/pot combination), melt the chocolate and butter over simmering water.
Meanwhile, place the half-and-half in a small saucepan over medium heat. As soon as steam begins to rise from the half-and-half, whisk in the cocoa mixture and continue cooking, whisking until the sugar and cocoa are dissolved. Do not allow the mixture to boil; adjust the heat as necessary to keep it at a very low simmer.
When the chocolate and butter have melted, stir until smooth, then stir into the cocoa mixture. Whisk the sauce for 2 to 3 minutes until slightly thickened. Pour into a container and let cool.
Store, covered, in the refrigerator. Rewarm portions in the microwave, or double boiler. I rewarmed mine in a saucepan over low heat and it worked just fine.
If you want to go all out with the chocolate, this sauce is amazing over McConnell’s Dutch Chocolate Ice Cream
You can also go entirely homemade with Smitten Kitchen’s adaptation of Claudia Flemming’s decadent and incredibly delicious Buttermilk Ice cream.
Lastly, this hot fudge is great for dipping: Strawberries, bananas, whatever you want. Get creative.