Tag Archives: new years

Dessert Fondues

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Chocolate and Vanilla Dessert Fondues: what other way could you possibly end an All-Dipping-All-Day Christmas? (Actually, next year I’m thinking butterscotch might be fun to try)

The best part (other than the actual eating) is how simple they are to put together at the last minute. The dipping items: fruit and other not so healthy items, can be prepared ahead of time. And it look less than 10 minutes to make both of the fondue mixtures.

It would be hard to do a day of fondue without ending it with a chocolate fondue. This was definitely everyone’s favorite dish (except Little A, but he was perfectly happy with his vanilla version).

I made a Dark Chocolate Fondue, but you could easily adjust that based on what kind of chocolate you use. The recipe is embarrassingly simple: heat some heavy cream in the microwave, pour it over some chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli Bittersweet), add some vanilla and a dash of salt and stir.

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The Vanilla Custard Fondue was only slightly more complicated, as it did require a pan on the stove. For this fondue, I adapted a simple stirred custard recipe. Normally it would be cooked, chilled and eaten as a pudding, but it was great warm as a fondue. The custard is made by combining beaten eggs, cream, milk, sugar and a vanilla bean and cooking until the mixture thickens.

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I used two mini crock pots to serve these fondues.

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What to dip in dessert fondues? What can’t you dip!

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Fresh fruit is an obvious great choice (strawberries, kiwi, bananas, melon, pineapple, mangos), but don’t stop there. We also used some dried fruit (apricots are fabulous!). And then there are the not-so-healthy dipping items: cakes (pound cake or angel food cake), unfrosted sugar cookies or shortbread cookies, graham crackers, marshmallows, pretzels, and everyone’s favorite: mini cream puffs!


Dark Chocolate Fondue

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¾ cup heavy cream
6 oz (about 1 cup chips) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tsp vanilla
Dash salt

Heat cream in the microwave for one minute (or on the stove for about 5 minutes). Pour over chocolate. Let stand one minute. Add salt and vanilla and stir until melted. Pour into a mini crock pot or fondue pot. Serve with Dipping Items.

Dipping Items:
Fresh or dried fruit: strawberries, kiwi, bananas, melon, pineapple, mangos, apricots
Pound cake or angel food cake, unfrosted sugar cookies or shortbread cookies, graham crackers, marshmallows, pretzels, mini cream puffs

Vanilla Custard Fondue

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3 beaten eggs
1 ½ cups cream
½ cup milk
¼ cup sugar
½ of a vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract

Split vanilla bean and scrape seeds. Add bean and seeds with remaining ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture thickens. Remove vanilla bean. (Add vanilla extract at the end of cooking if not using vanilla bean) Pour custard into a fondue pot or mini crock pot. Serve with Dipping Items.

Dipping Items:
Fresh or dried fruit: strawberries, kiwi, bananas, melon, pineapple, mangos, apricots
Pound cake or angel food cake, unfrosted sugar cookies or shortbread cookies, graham crackers, marshmallows, pretzels, mini cream puffs


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Four Fun Fondues

Continuing with our All-Dipping-All-Day Christmas menu, for dinner/dessert we made four fondues:

Kid-Friendly Cheese Fondue
Pizza Fondue
Dark Chocolate Fondue
Vanilla Custard Fondue
– specifically for the non-chocolate eating Little A, but it was definitely enjoyed by all!

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Today I will share our savory fondues: the cheese and pizza fondues, and then tomorrow everyone’s favorites: the dessert fondues.

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The Kid Friendly Cheese Fondue was a pretty standard cheese fondue recipe, but I substituted chicken broth for most of the wine (which I completely boiled down to remove the alcohol) and used a combination of Gruyere and Muenster cheeses, for a slightly milder taste than an all Gruyere/Swiss combination.

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The Pizza Fondue was a super fun kid favorite. The dip was an easy-to-assemble “pizza sauce” full of sausage and chopped pepperoni. We then dipped bread cubes, mozzarella cubes, and other “pizza toppings” (olives, mushrooms, peppers, broccoli-you can get creative here!) in the sauce. If you let the cheese cubes sit in the fondue for a little while (on your stick), it gets wonderfully melted and gooey! Or try putting two or three pizza items on a fondue stick for the full pizza experience.

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The bread and vegetable trays were shared between the two fondues.

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The cheese cubes were just for the pizza fondue-cheese on cheese is a little too much for even a cheese-lover like me.

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What to do with leftover pizza fondue? Make a real pizza, of course! Make (or buy) a crust, use the fondue for the sauce, top with the chunks of mozzarella and slice up your favorite toppings from the dipping plate. I love getting two family-friendly meals from one day of food prep!

And how about that leftover cheese fondue? Heat it up again with some heavy cream or half-and-half, pour it over some sliced potatoes (add some onions and diced red peppers, if you want) and bake until tender. Then pretend you slaved all day over these fabulous Au Gratin Potatoes.

What to do if you don’t own a fondue pot? Or don’t have enough fondue pots for an all-out fondue party? Here are a few alternatives for fondue pots:

  • Crock-pots: these are a fabulous way to keep things warm, without burning your delicate cheese or chocolate
  • Double boiler: heat water in the bottom pot of a double boiler, set on a trivet and put your top pot with your fondue mixture over the hot water. The water should stay hot enough to keep your fondue from solidifying while you eat. You can “make your own” double boiler by using a saucepan (one with small side handles is best) for the water and a glass or ceramic mixing bowl to hold your fondue.
  • Single-burner tabletop butane/propane stove (camp stove). Just be sure to keep the flame on low, and on a secure surface. These work really well for broth or oil fondues where you are actually cooking things (as opposed to just dipping them) and need to maintain a higher temperature.


Kid Friendly Cheese Fondue

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12 oz shredded cheese (I used 8 oz Gruyere and 4 oz Muenster)
¼ cup cornstarch
½ cup white wine
1 ¼ cups chicken broth
1 Tbs sherry, optional
Dash white pepper
1 clove garlic, halved
Dipping items: French bread cubes, fresh vegetables, cooked and cubed meats (sausage, chicken, shrimp)

Combine shredded cheeses and cornstarch. Set aside.

In a saucepan, heat wine to a boil. Boil and reduce wine until there is only 1-2 tablespoons of liquid remaining (watch pot carefully, or you will end up with a very burned saucepan). Add chicken broth and sherry and bring mixture just barely to the boiling point. Reduce heat and stir in cheese/cornstarch mixture, a handful at a time. Stir in each handful of cheese until melted. Stir in pepper. Cook until mixture bubbles gently and cheese is completely melted.

Fill bottom portion of a fondue pot with very hot water. Place over flame. Rub your  ceramic fondue pot insert* with the garlic clove halves. Discard garlic. Pour cheese mixture into ceramic fondue pot insert and place over hot water. Use skewers or fondue forks to dip bread, vegetables or meats in cheese.

*NOTE: Cheese fondues should not be placed directly over a flame. They will burn or clump easily. If your fondue pot does not have a ceramic insert (allowing you to create a double boiler), use a glass or ceramic bowl that fits just over the lip of your fondue pot.

Pizza Fondue

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½ lb sausage, mild or spicy
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 jar meatless pasta sauce
6 oz pepperoni slices, finely chopped
1 Tbs chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp (or more) crushed red pepper flakes
Cubed crusty French bread
Fresh mozzarella balls or cubed mozzarella
Vegetables: mushrooms, red or green peppers, whole olives, broccoli, pineapple-any of your favorite pizza toppings!

Cook sausage and onion; drain. Stir in sauce, pepperoni, oregano and red pepper flakes. Simmer for at least 30 minutes. Or put into a crock pot and cook for 3-4 hours on low.

Serve in a fondue pot or crock pot with skewers to dip cubed bread, cheese and vegetables.

Hint: leave your cheese in the sauce (on its skewer) for a few minutes and it will be nice and melted- just don’t overdo it or you will lose your cheese completely!



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Filed under Appetizers, Main Dishes

A Day of Dipping

With five children I quickly discovered that all food tastes better when it is dipped! So for Christmas day, after a post-present-opening brunch, the rest of the day was spent dipping food. The day was roughly divided into an early afternoon snack of:  Hot Artichoke dip, Veges and Dip, Hummus and pita, Tortilla chips and salsa, and a cheese, sausage and crackers plate (I know, the cheese&crackers kind of ruins the whole all-dipping-all-day concept, but we ate them anyway), and then for dinner: Four Fun Fondues! It makes for a nice grazing atmosphere, and if you choose to do so, you can eat constantly all-day-long.

As this would also be fun  for New Year’s, I thought I would share a few of the recipes.

Hot Artichoke Dip
with Crispy Bread Rounds

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Artichoke dip is definitely one of the favorites around here. But only if it is accompanied by Crispy Bread. They will consent to eat it with crackers once they have inhaled all of the bread, but only when I assure them that I really don’t have any more bread in the house to make more crispy bread. And don’t let this get out, but I have also seen my children dip carrots and raw broccoli in the artichoke dip, so be sure to also have a vege tray on hand, as well.

The bread is easy to make- so buy much more than you think you will need. Start with a long, thin baguette (or 2 or 3).

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Cut the baguette into thin slices. Pour a couple of tablespoons of olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet.

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Place bread slices on the oiled baking sheet. Turn each slice over to get a small amount of oil on each side. Bake at 350°F for about 10-15 minutes, turning once.  These can be made several days ahead of time-just be sure to hide them or your children (yes, you can blame them) will eat them all before you get a chance to set them out with your dips.

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Our favorite artichoke dip is a simple mixture of artichokes, green onions, garlic, mayo and cheeses.

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A food processor makes it quick and easy to whip up a batch at the last minute.

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Or prepare it the day before, keep it in the fridge and bake it just before serving.

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Tomorrow (hopefully-I am finding it very hard to get time on the one family computer with everyone home from school!), I will share our fondue recipes.


Hot Artichoke Dip with Crispy Bread Rounds

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Artichoke Dip:
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
2 cloves garlic
½ bunch green onions
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup shredded Mozzarella
¼ cup grated Parmesan
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
Crispy Bread Rounds, Crackers, Fresh Vegetables

Combine artichokes, garlic and green onions in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Stir in mayonnaise, cheeses, salt and pepper. Spread in a baking dish. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.

Serve with bread, crackers and/or fresh vegetables.

Note: Dip can be prepared ahead (unbaked), refrigerated and then baked just before serving.

Crispy Bread Rounds:
long, thin baguette(s)
olive oil

Cut baguette into thin slices. Pour about 2 Tbs olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Place bread slices, in a single layer, on baking sheet. Turn bread slices over to get a small amount of oil on both sides of bread.

Bake at 350°F for 10-15 minutes, turning once, until bread is crispy.

Store at room temperature.

NOTE: This is also a good way to make croutons: Add some seasonings to the olive oil (garlic powder, dry salad dressing mix, dried herbs, etc), spread it out on the baking pan and stir in some cubed bread. Bake until crispy.


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