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Saturday, February 5, 2011

It's National Chocolate Fondue Day!!!

Well now that we have Super Bowl Weekend under our belts, I have only one question, which would you rather indulge in?

This:

Or...
This!

If you said the former rather than the latter, I apologize, I'm not posting about those today. I should. I would like to. But I'm not. Unlike Gail Borden who was much more focused about such things, I need chocolate NOW!!!
When Gail Borden, a surveyor and land agent at Galveston in the recently annexed state of Texas, heard of the starvation of the Donner Party and the hunger of the others who were trying to cross the continent, he was stirred to invent a way of making food more potable.The Americans, the Democratic Experience by Daniel Joseph Boorstin; available @ google books
Borden spent six years developing his product and eventually obtained U.S. Patent #7,066 on February 5, 1850. Gail Borden's patent was titled "Preparation of Portable Soup-Bread." In essence, it was a traveling meat biscuit packed with protein. Fortunately for me, and you, if you're just a tiny bit curious, Jana @ Time Travel Kitchen, a self professed Culinary Chronaviatrix, has plated Borden's Meat Biscuit in a most appetizing way. Quite honestly, I would not have done a better job. Not only just she include a condensed bit of history, she also includes her own adapted recipe. Whew! Thanks Jana:)

Consumers may have thought Gail Borden’s "meat biscuits" were disgusting, however, he hit the jack-pot with Borden’s Sweetened Condensed Milk which just happens to be included in today's Chocolate Fondue Recipe. (in this case, it doesn't have to be Borden's though:)
Mt. Gretna Chocolate Fondue
3-1/2 ounces Hershey's Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
1-1/3 cups (14-ounce can) sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup marshmallow creme
1 tbs. milk
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tbs. creamy peanut butter, optional (Sometimes, I use a few Reese's Peanut Butter Cups instead:)
Fondue Dipper (see below)
Combine baking chocolate and sweetened condensed milk in a heavy sauceppan or in the top of a double boiler. Stir constantly over low heat until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Blend in marshmallow creme and milk. Just before serving, stir in vanilla and, if desired, peanut butter. Transfer to a fondue pot. Serve warm with a selection of Fondue Dippers. Makes about 2 cups.
Fondue Dippers
Nut halves
Marshmallows
Pieces of cakes, (angel food, sponge, or pound cake)
Ladyfingers
Fresh fruit (strawberries, pineapple chunks, mandarin orange segments, cherries, sliced apples, pears, peaches, or bananas.)
Before making fondue, select your choice of dippers. Fresh fruit should be well drained and brushed with lemon juice to prevent browning.
Hershey's Chocolate & Cocoa Cookbook © 1982
Easy Chocolate Bar Fondue
1 (1/2 pound) Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar
1/3 cup light cream or evaporated milk
Fondue Dippers (see below)
Break chocolate bar into pieces. Place chocolate in a fondue pot or in the top of a double boiler. Add light cream or evaporated milk. Stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Serve warm with a selection of Fondue Dippers. Makes about 1 cup.
Hershey's Chocolate & Cocoa Cookbook © 1982
Now you know, I can't just leave you with two recipes for Chocolate Fondue Day and not at least touch on the history of today's namesake day:)
Numerous websites date the "beginnings" of chocolate fondues to the 1970s. I, like Barry Popik, must question that legend. He quotes numerous resources dating chocolate fondues to the 1930s. Here's one:
1 April 1931, Fitchburg (MA) Sentinel, pg. 10, col. 4:
Chocolate fondue - Add 1-3 cup sugar and 2 squares chocolate, melted over hot water, just after the eggs yolks are added.
According to author Susan Fuller Slack in her book Fondues & Hot Pots "A savvy marketing ploy to promote swiss products in the United States was the impetus for creating chocolate fondue. It was first served on July 4, 1964 by Chef Konrad Egli at New York's defunct Chalet Swiss restaurant."

I've Fondued; Have you?

You may remember, I'm a dunker from way back. I mean really, who doesn't like to dunk?
Entertaining the "fondue way" is generally done in one of two ways. A Fondue Pot can be used as a utensil where a food item is cooked in a hot liquid, usually hot bubbling oil. When I was a young wife and mother during the seventies, fondue parties were usually done in this manner. Canasta night was Saturday night. We would gather the kiddies and meet at another couple's house. Sometimes there were four of us most of the time there were six. Before the "big game" we would gather around the table, color coordinated fondue forks in hand and dunk to our hearts' content. The table for a fondue party of the day might look something like this one found in Betty Crocker's Hostess Cookbook © 1970. Actually, this is the book I used at the time:)

Off hand, I can't remember a time in that era where we had a Chocolate Fondue party. Our men wouldn't have it. For them, Chocolate Fondue parties fit under the category of "Real Men Don't Eat Quiche." Hey, it was the seventies:) Don't worry, I made up for it when I got "liberated." Actually, as I write this, I realize, a post devoted to the art of fonduing is long overdue. Note to self: Do a Fondue post before National Cheese Fondue Day; April 11th so we can all celebrate National Fondue Month in November dipping to our hearts' content:)
In the mean time, "Betty" offers a Chocolate and White Fondue in her Betty Crocker Recipe Card Library. (© 1971) In case you've never seen one, the cards are housed in an avocado green plastic box that fits nicely on the kitchen counter, if you happen to have the color avocado as your kitchen color. I don't. I would have taken a picture of it but my camera is on the fritz. (I've been yearning to get another camera anyhoo:)


She also displays a selection of "Fondue Equipment You Should Have" which may explain why every new bride during the 70s got a Fondue Pot as a gift. (gee I wish I still had mine:(

There are 27 suggested fondue recipes in the collection. I'll share one more with you since I totally neglected to retrieve a Nutella Fondue for you today being it's World Nutella Day too. FYI, Mary @ One Perfect Bite made her own Home Made Hazelnut Spread. And, if you're really Nuts for Nutella, you must check out Reeni's round-up. Oh my heavens, you will be drooling for sure! I'm almost afraid to suggest this Fruit Fondue recipe.

Uh OH, you dug under the kitchen cabinets and there isn't a Fondue Pot to be had. Here's one suggestion:
In a pinch, a chafing dish warmed with a tealight candle makes a great substitute for an actual fondue pot. A slow cooker can also do double duty, or try a suitable cooking pot or casserole dish over a warming plate to keep the fondue dishes warm.
For a chocolate fondue, all you're really trying to do is keep the chocolate warm enough to stay melted. A hot plate would work, a double boiler would work with a stainless steel bowl on the top. Just be careful, it is cooking you know:) Bamboo skewers are a great substitutes for the forks. If you use your imagination, I'm sure you can dream up something:) Just Have FUN!!!
Resources
1. Cupcake Fondue
2. Fondue Party Basics
3. Fondue and Tabletop Cooking (I have this informative book somewhere around here:)
4. Pizza Fondue (last year's Super Bowl)