July 10, 2011

Lighter chocolate sauce

We recently returned home from vacation, having had a great time in a land of sunshine, palm trees, and turquoise seas.  It's so good to get away...and for a few days, I just stared at this...
and lounged around looking at this...
It's so good to be on vacation, with someone else to cook your meals and clean your room.  It also seems like an excellent excuse to eat more ice cream -I mean, is it me or does Ben & Jerry's ice cream just taste even better on the road?  Well, the trip was a blast but believe it or not, I missed my little kitchen and kept thinking of all the things I wanted to make when I got home.  I have developed a serious sweet tooth!

So here we go! 

To honor all the ice cream we ate while on vacation, I thought I'd make a chocolate sauce that I've wanted to try for some time.  When I first received David Lebovitz's book, Ready for Dessert, I tagged a number of recipes I wanted to try.  I've already made a few of them but this is another entry that caught my eye right away.  It's a bittersweet chocolate sauce.
As much as I love chocolate, it's no surprise that the words "chocolate sauce" would get my attention.  But what really did it was the fact that this particular sauce has no cream or butter in it (thus, the "lighter" label) and I am always on the lookout for ways to lighten things up a little so I can have more of it.  Seriously, though, this recipe for bittersweet chocolate sauce is so easy to make, requires just 5 ingredients, and you can keep it around for a couple of weeks in the fridge for when you'd like some over your ice cream or a slice of cake. 
I love a hot fudge sundae!  As a kid, I loved the one from McDonald's...you know the one with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge and you can get peanuts in a little packet.  Who am kidding - I still love it.  As with any sundae, I think the chocolate sauce is the best part, although the crunchy peanut topping comes in at a close second for me.  I had to make myself a little one today.

This "lighter" chocolate sauce is so easy to make, it takes less than 10 minutes to put together.  It has no cream in it which really cuts down the fat significantly.  It is super dark and deep in chocolate flavor using cocoa powder and a bit of bittersweet chocolate (you could also use semisweet).
The recipe calls for 5 ingredients: unsweetened cocoa powder (I get to use my favorite, Pernigotti, cocoa powder), sugar, light corn syrup, water, and bittersweet or semisweet chocolate.
To make 2 cups of this sauce, just plop 3/4 cup of cocoa powder (a Dutch-processed one is preferred since we're going for a deep dark color and flavor to "make up" for the lack of cream), 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of the light corn syrup, and a cup of water into a saucepan.  Whisk everything together until smooth and cook this mixture over a medium-high flame.
Unlike a pudding where you have to mix constantly, you can let this cook and just stir occasionally to break up any lumps.  Take the sauce off the flame once it begins to boil.  Add 2 ounces of chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate and whisk until smooth.
The chocolate sauce is done!  Let it cool and thicken for a few hours or overnight.  The recipe says this sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.  It will get very thick in the fridge.  When you're ready to use it, warm it back up over some simmering water.
A chocolate sauce can dress up many different kinds of dessert.  A drizzle of it would also be great with a slice of cheesecake or any piece of cake for that matter.  It's certainly perfect for that bowl of ice cream in the summer. 

The recipe:

"Lighter" Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce
From Ready for Dessert, by David Lebovitz

- Makes 2 cups -

3/4 cup (75g) unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (80g) light corn syrup or agave nectar
1 cup (250ml) water
2 ounces of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

Place the cocoa powder, sugar, light corn syrup, and water into a saucepan.  Whisk everything together until smooth.  Heat the mixture over medium-high flame, stirring occasionally to smooth out any lumps.  When the chocolate sauce comes to a full boil, remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped chocolate.  Whisk until smooth.

Preferably, let sauce sit for a few hours or overnight to thicken.  The chocolate sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.  Right before serving, reheat the sauce over some simmering water.

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