Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chocolate Sauce in Middle School

Last week I had the awesome opportunity to be a guest speaker/demonstrator for 2 days in my daughter's middle school FACS (Family and Consumer Science) class; I also spoke/demonstrated in two of her teacher's other classes. I had such a great time! The kids were fun, sassy, and squirrel-y, and all 91 of them (except one) liked the recipe de jour: Chocolate Sauce.

I picked the chocolate sauce because it's such an easy recipe to make, and I figured most of them would like it. I mean, what middle school student doesn't want chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream first thing in the morning? And this sauce blows anything you can buy at the store out of the water.

The first day I talked about recipe development in general, and how I came up with the sauce recipe. Then I demonstrated how to make the sauce so the kids could make it the next day. Last (and best) we did a taste-test. The afternoon before, the teacher, my daughter, and I made three batches of sauce, each with a different brand of chocolate. We labeled them "A", "B", and "C". The kids tasted each sauce and marked on a little form which sauce they liked best.

Now, I've done this test before, back in 2003 when I first came up with the recipe, and I have my favorite. And I was sure they'd pick the sauce made with my favorite chocolate. I was so sure the teacher bought a ton of my favorite chocolate for the kids to use the next day to make their own sauce. I mean, it's the best, right?


I was amazed when I totalled everything up. The three types of chocolate we used were Hersheys, a very cheap store brand, and Ghirardelli (my fav!). All of them were semi-sweet. To my surprise, and then horror, I discovered nearly 50% (46.9% to be exact) of the 91 students preferred the super-cheap store brand. Now, remember, the teacher bought a ton of Ghirardelli chocolate, and not only did the students prefer the store brand chocolate, my beloved Ghirardelli came in last. Last! Only 11% picked the more expensive Ghirardelli chocolate. Here's the horror part: one of the classes was 1st period. 1st period starts at 7:30 a.m. We had a ton of chocolate that was going to make sauce the kids wouldn't like. I had to go to the store to get different chocolate. But the class starts at 7:30. In the morning. And I'm presenting, so I can't go to the store in my jammies. All of this meant I had to get up at 5:30. In the morning.

Yes, I did survive the ordeal, thanks for your concern... ;)

I think most of the kids had a great time--I know I had a great time--and the teacher and I are already talking about next year :)

Chocolate Sauce
Printable recipe

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (you know my fav)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
pinch coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into 4 pieces

1. Combine the chocolate chips and water in a small saucepan, and heat over medium-low heat until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth, stirring constantly. (this picture is my girl :) )

2. Add the sugar, corn syrup, and salt, and stir well. Heat the mixture, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 2 minutes.

3. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the vanilla.

4. Add the butter and stir until it's completely melted.

Makes about 1 cup sauce.

**Let the sauce sit for about 15 minutes before using it; this allows it to cool some and thicken up. Store extra sauce in the fridge. To reheat, microwave the sauce on high for about 30 seconds. Or eat it cold with a spoon. Your choice. ;)


  1. I've never thought to make homemade chocolate sauce - what a great idea.

  2. There was a kid who didn't like your chocolate sauce? Haha! I bet he just wanted to be different or maybe difficult :)

  3. Thanks for going into the School. My daughter loved it! She loved the Chocolate Sauce and her favorite was the Ghirardelli!! We will have to try your recipe at home. My daughter was also thrilled that you recognized her from her monologue and complimented her on it. Thanks, that meant a lot to her.

    Gaylynn Mortensen

  4. @Pam, you'll never buy jarred sauce again. And it makes awesome hot chocolate! :)

    @katerina, I know, huh? I was watching her, and I think she really didn't like it. While being totally beyond my ability to comprehend, there are people who don't like chocolate. ;)

    @Mortensens, I really had a great time. I remember that she liked the Ghirardelli--an early bloomer for good taste ;) Her monologue was so great! She totally inspired my 7 year-old, who wants to try out with a monologue next year :)

  5. That sounds like so much FUN! I'll definitely have to try the chocolate sauce! Kids don't have a sophisticated palate yet, hence the chocolate choices:) LOL!

  6. Tiffiny you are such a cool mom!! What mom gets to go to middle school and make chocolate sauce?

    Family and Consumer Science classes are so important. Glad to see they haven't cut them out where you live.


  7. It was great fun for me! AND I am seriously addicted to the sauce now. Thanks for two fun days and a great write up.
    -Mysterious Middle School Teacher

  8. Was just thinking about how fun this was and how much I LOVE that chocolate sauce. Glad to see you're still blogging and cooking.


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