I do especially love any sweet thing that shepherds a few extra nutrients into those growing little bodies. I don't mean that I stir yams into their flan or take measures with garbanzo puree or carob-spinach brownies; I just mean pudding or ice cream, on account of the calcium and protein, or fruit desserts, on account of, you know, the fruit. That's where this chocolate sauce comes in. I'm not going to make a case here for the healthfulness of chocolate and its antioxidant something or other, although a case can be made for such a thing. But if I make this chocolate sauce, then usually it becomes more or less a garnish to vast quantities of fruit. In the winter, I will cut up oranges and apples and pears and bananas and serve this in a bowl, fondue-style, for dipping--a dessert Ben has always called Frudité. (A few marshmallows or cubes of baguette or pound cake never hurt anyone, it's true.)
And now, well, now we're sitting pretty in fruitville, and, yes, perfect fruit doesn't need anything but a mouthful of teeth to be happily enjoyed--oh, but a little drizzle of chocolate really just takes it up a notch. I took pictures of ice cream sundaes mostly because that seemed like the classic chocolate-sauce vehicle--and partly because, given that this is what the kids were eating for lunch, I wanted it to be a little more substantial--but the truth is that it's usually just the fruit and the chocolate sauce. And the chocolate sauce is rich and satiny, deeply chocolatey and gorgeous, and it takes less than 5 minutes to make. And everyone will be all, "You made this from scratch?" and you will be all, "I did."
Satiny Chocolate Sauce
Makes about a cup
Total time: 5 minutes
This is our "company" version. If it's only us at home, usually I just put the cream and chocolate in a bowl and microwave it until the chocolate melts, then stir in the vanilla. But it's well worth the extra 11 seconds to make it this way; the moment when the chocolate suddenly goes from grainy to creamy is a beautiful one.
1/2 cup half and half
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (about 4 ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a small pot over medium heat, stirring, bring the half and half, butter, and sugar to a boil. Turn off the heat, dump in the chocolate, leave it for a minute or so, then whisk until smooth before whisking in the vanilla. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. Store leftovers in the fridge.