Robert is my friend Robert Lambert, who is a wiz in the kitchen. He knows his stuff about chocolate, having been a private dessert chef making designer-style, lip-smacking good fantasy chocolate desserts for the likes of Joan Collins and Lily Tomlin in his cooking-in-Hollywood days. He wrote a book based on this chapter of his life called Fantasy Chocolate Desserts (Chronicle Books, 1988). Now he has a business creating his own line of artisan condiments that are so personalized that he often goes out and picks the fruit himself, as well as preparing vats of gorgeous stuff, canning hundreds of jars, AND packing and shipping the orders around the country to the likes of Dean and Deluca. He is such a wiz, but really I don’t know how he finds the time to develop new lines of yummies. He even goes to the Marin County farmer’s market each Sunday to hawk his wares.
The sauce recipe he created and contributed for my microwave book is similar to the Dark Chocolate Cognac Sauce in his new line (www.robertlambert.com), and is based on the sauce he used for his Hollywood fantasy desserts. It is four ingredients and the type of chocolate you use gives it it’s character (Robert uses 72 %). He uses solid chocolate instead of cocoa powder, like so many chocolate sauces do. The sauce is not teeth-chattering sweet like ones made with cups of corn syrup. The type of liqueur you add will affect the overall flavor ever so slightly. Just a hint now. Don’t over do it. Chocolate is the name of the game here.
Serve on ice cream, drizzled over composed desserts, pound cake, use as a cake or brownie icing glaze, profiteroles, for a dessert fondue, drizzled over banana slices, or make hot chocolate by adding 2 to 3 tablespoons to a mug of hot milk heated in the microwave. You can substitute coconut milk for the regular milk. Its always a boon to have a little jar of chocolate sauce in the fridge for those moments when nothing else will do to satisfy the sweet urge.
Chocolate sauce is a fantastic gift.
Cookware: 1-quart Pyrex measuring cup or 1-quart microwave-proof bowl
Microwave Wattage: 1,100 to 1,300
Cook Time: About 2 to 3 minutes
Standing Time: 10 minutes
Makes 1 1/4 cups
- 8-ounces semi-sweet chocolate of choice (Robert uses couveture)
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons organic light corn syrup (don’t skip-important for the texture-see Beth Bytes, below, for more information)
- 2 tablespoons your choice of brandy, cognac, eau-de-vie (try pear) or liqueur–such as raspberry (Chambord), orange (Grand Marnier), cherry (Cherry Marnier)
1. Chop or break chocolate and place into a 1-quart Pyrex measuring cup or 1-quart glass bowl. Pour in the milk and corn syrup.
Sauce should be just above room temperature to pour, and will be firm when refrigerated. Microwave for 10 to 15 seconds to warm refrigerated chocolate sauce.
Excerpted from Not Your Mother’s Microwave Cooking, by Beth Hensperger. (c) 2010, used by permission from the Harvard Common Press.
Text copyright Beth Hensperger 2011
Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.
Corn syrup has to be the most controversial food today along with GMOs. Here is some information to help you understand what it is and how to use it.
Why do some recipes call for corn syrup?
Sometimes corn syrup is added for smoothness, body, and shine, and in that case its OK to use an alternative liquid sweetener like honey or agave. But corn syrup is primarily used in cooking with sugar to prevent the melted sugar from re-crystalizing, and in those instances, it is important that it be used and not substituted. In general you should use corn syrup in candy making, for example, or when it’s called for in fudge sauces or frostings. This technique in dessert making is known as introducing a second sugar molecule.
Are high-fructose corn syrup and regular corn syrup the same thing?
No. High-fructose corn syrup is never available in its pure form to consumers. It is a strictly commercial product that is created when corn syrup is further processed to create a greater ratio of fructose. It can show up in some corn syrup formulas, however. An old bottle of Karo from the way-back of my pantry does list it as the second ingredient after corn syrup, but newer Karo formulas have eliminated it.
But isn’t corn syrup still fructose?
Yes. But while corn syrup is fructose, it isn’t the same intense ratio of fructose as high-fructose corn syrup. And yes, you still process fructose through your liver, which is one of the reasons it is considered potentially dangerous to your health. But the tiny amounts you end up consuming when you use this in your average home recipe are negligible. Most recipes that serve 12 to16 people can contain a tablespoon or less, for example. This is completely different than drinking one can of soda.
Is there a best brand of corn syrup to use for those few times a baker needs it?
These days I use Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Light Corn Syrup in part because its the only organic, non-GMO corn syrup available in the US. Plus, it tastes good, made with real organic vanilla and a pinch of salt. And no high-fructose corn syrup! It’s rare that I use corn syrup but when I do, this is a good bet. Look for organic corn syrup in natural foods stores and Whole Foods.