Whether you plan to rent a chocolate fountain or purchase your own, this question will always come up. A chocolate fountain is a great way to serve chocolate fondue at your next party. They can be rented or purchased in a variety of sizes to fit your needs. The key to a great chocolate fountain is the chocolate you use along with its consistency.
For the best quality chocolate, it is ideal to prepare the chocolate beforehand (in a double-boiler for example) rather than adding it directly to the fountain. How much chocolate will you need? A general rule of thumb is about 1 pound of chocolate for every 10 guests.
You will want to use chocolate or wafers that are fluid and flowing at operating temperature and has a high cocoa butter content. Not enough oil and the chocolate will become too viscous and potentially clog the chocolate fountain. Too much oil and the chocolate is runny and slimy.
How to prepare chocolate for a chocolate fountain?
If you do not want to go through the hassle of preparing chocolate beforehand, chocolate candy wafers are specifically formulated for chocolate fountains. There is no need for added oils or early preparation as you can add the wafers directly to the fountain. I recommend Wilton’s Chocolate Wafers for the semi-sweet taste with a velvety smooth consistency.
If you need a larger amount of chocolate or want to control the quality of your own, then you will need chocolate with around 30% cocoa butter. This allows the chocolate to flow smoothly through the fountain while maintaining a smooth, creamy texture.
You can use vegetable or canola oil to thin out the chocolate. However, cocoa butter is a lot better for this purpose even if it is a little more expensive.
When preparing the chocolate (and while the fountain is in use), make sure no water gets in the chocolate! This will cause the chocolate to seize up and harden.
If you choose to prepare the chocolate directly in the fountain basin bowl, keep in mind that melting takes up to an hour. Add 1-2 pounds of chocolate at a time and stir the chocolate every few minutes by scraping the sides of the basin with a spatula to prevent burning the chocolate. Milk and white chocolate will need to be stirred more often (every couple minutes) on a lower heat setting.
How much oil or cocoa butter is needed?
Chocolate fountain chocolate must have a high oil content so it will remain fluid at room temperature. This is why most fountain chocolate contains 28-34% cocoa butter.
Make sure no water gets into the chocolate.
To prepare chocolate for a chocolate fountain, you will need a double boiler. This will help to ensure that the chocolate is melted and heated slowly and evenly, without burning. The operating temperatures of chocolate in fountains are approximately 105-125°F (lower for milk and white, higher for dark chocolate).
Add chocolate to the top pot of the double boiler and place over simmering water. Stir occasionally until chocolate is melted and smooth. Once the chocolate is melted, remove it from the heat.
Add warm cooking oil (vegetable or canola works fine) or additional cocoa butter, if needed, to bring the chocolate to a pouring consistency.
What treats are best to dip in chocolate fountain?
Dry treats that do not crumble are perfect for dipping in chocolate. It is best to use foods that will not crumble while being covered in chocolate. You don’t want bits and pieces to accumulate in the chocolate fountain and potentially clog it. Avoid foods like cake or bread.
- Rice Krispy treats
- Donut holes
- Sliced bananas
If you plan to use wet fruits or other similar foods, make sure to pat dry them and remove as much excess moisture as possible. Having too much water added to the chocolate fountain will cause the chocolate to seize up. This is undesirable as the chocolate becomes clumped up and solid.
For example, kiwis and pineapples must be patted dry before dipping them in chocolate. Better yet, dip the fruits in chocolate outside of the fountain in a separate container.
How to color the chocolate in a fountain?
Use oil-based food colorings such as these. Remember to avoid adding any water or water-based products to the chocolate.
Chocolate fountain maintenance and cleaning tips
Never let water or water-based flavoring/coloring come in contact with the chocolate. This will ruin the chocolate and make it clumpy.
Also never double-dip or allow fingers in the chocolate.
Chocolate fountain not flowing evenly or smoothly?
Make sure your chocolate fountain is set up on a flat, even, non-slip surface. Also, make sure to have some kind of tablecloth underneath as chocolate spills will be inevitable.
If the chocolate is too thick, add small amounts of warm cooking oil at a time. Remember, the chocolate should have around 30% cocoa butter in content.
Remove any large chunks and pieces of food from the reservoirs. With continuous dipping, it is easy for chunks of food to fall into the basin bowl.
Do not add cold chunks of chocolate or liquid to the fountain. Once the chocolate is warm and starts flowing, too much water or too big of a temperature change can cause the chocolate to seize up and harden.
Can you run water through a chocolate fountain?
Do not run water through chocolate fountains! When you need to clean the fountain, dispose of the chocolate in the trash (do not pour down the sink) and take apart the fountain. Then clean the individual parts.
Clean your chocolate fountain immediately after use. Once the chocolate cools and hardens, cleaning the fountain is a lot more difficult.