This chocolate sauce is astounding in how delicious it is and how beautifully it coats things.
A Flickr Flash slideshow of these photos is shown at the end of this post.
As a starting point, I pulled out my trusty and, as yet underused, pastry culinary textbook from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) called The Professional Pastry Chef: Fundamentals of Baking and Pastry, 4th Edition. (I love to curl up with this book, even when I have no intention of cooking anything that day, and read all of the fascinating techniques and directions that give rise to some beautiful and classic desserts. I love this book, period.)
It had a deceptively simple looking recipe for chocolate sauce on page 820. I documented my experience with this and am sharing it here.
Yield: about 4 ½ cups (1 liter, 80 mls)
The equipment you will need:
A good scale (mine is electronic, goes metric if I need it)
Double boiler or an analogous set up (see my pics below for how I jury rigged it)
A small sauce pan
Various smaller bowls
Large metal bowl
2 cups (480 mls) water
10 ounces (285 g) granulated sugar (PLEASE use your scale for this, this is not a volumetric measure)
1/2 cup (120 ml) glucose or light corn syrup (This IS volumetric, use the measuring cup)
4 ounces (115 g) unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (I used Hershey’s Dutch Processed) (Use the scale here, this is not volumetric)
1 pound (455 g) sweet dark chocolate, melted (I just went by the weights on the chocolate bars)
Read these directions several times and imagine doing this process. You will need to have various things happening at the same time.
You need to sift the powdered chocolate and you need to have your chocolate melting and holding at a temperature that is not too warm.
1) In the small sauce pan heat water, sugar, and the glucose/corn syrup until this solution boils. Remove from heat.
2) Have ready the sifted powdered chocolate in a medium bowl. Add some of the syrup and mix into a paste. Add more syrup until all of the syrup is incorporated into the powdered chocolate. This is MUCH easier said than done! The powdered chocolate and the syrup doesn't want to get together perfectly, you may get lumps, work on them for all your worth. When you cant take that any longer, be sure to strain this chocolate syrup to remove lumps before the next step.
Be melting your chocolate simultaneously! I made a double boiler by putting a ring of crumpled foil in a pan, added water to the pan and heated water at medium heat, didn't even simmer. I paid close attention to the chocolate as it melted and stirred it occasionally to distribute heat gently.
Hold it at the consistency shown below, not too hot (do not want to kill this lovely stuff!).
3) Add the chocolate syrup to the melted chocolate. This too is not as simple as it sounds and it might scare you when you start because your dreamy melted chocolate, when you add your warm chocolate syrup, doesn't look so dreamy anymore!
Don't add all of the syrup at a time and when you have added some syrup, stir the melted chocolate well until it is incorporated and the lumpiness disappears.
Repeat until your syrup has been incorporated.
4) Pour finished chocolate sauce into storage container through a strainer to catch any last lumps. Store in the refrigerator, warm when you need a thinner sauce, use cool to coat pears and other desirables.
Flickr Flash slide show of how to make a dark chocolate sauce.