The feeling you get when pouring questionable liquids into a chocolate fountain: It's one of those phenomena that should have a direct, one-word translation in German or Danish, but an amalgamation of English nouns and verbs is all we have to work with for now. When you experience it, you'll know it - a mix of excitement, discovery, and shame. You'll soul-search, too: What lead me here? (This.) Am I doing something really important. (Probably not.) Will people love me for it anyway? (That's the hope.) And so went my journey of hacking a chocolate fountain.
If some genius went through the trouble of discovering a way to make melted chocolate cascade down plastic tiers, we should honor their work by seeing what else we can make flow. A month ago, we conquered ranch, but I knew there was more. That's what brought me to the condiment aisle of a Gristedes grocery store in Midtown Manhattan. No apathetic Can I help you find something?-s could actually help me. I grabbed everything viscous I could think of in the market: caramel, ketchup, queso, peanut butter, maple syrup.
Let me break down what I learned, so your fountain flows as freely as your spirit will when you show your friends your masterpiece.
Serious Tex-Mex lovers everywhere are probably rolling their eyes, but I have nothing against jarred queso. The problem with using that here, is that most are loaded with chunks of pepper and onion. They will get caught in the fountain, and you will rue the day that queso was jarred. Save yourself the headache, and look for a smooth version, or just buy a few blocks of Velveeta and melt them on the stovetop (adding milk to thin it).
Warning: Make sure everyone in your presence is a fan of the stuff. Some of my coworkers are not, which I learned when they freaked out at the smell of vinegar pervading the office. One even pulled out a face mask. You'll also want to shake up your bottles before dumping them into the fountain. Another thing I learned in this round is that it's scientifically proven ketchup thins out the more it's shaken. You can also add a little bit of water or vinegar to help.
So that you're not spending hundreds of dollars on tiny bottles of Grade A stuff - because you will need a lot of them - go generic here. No one will notice when they're shoving syrupy waffles and fried chicken into their mouths.
I was a sucker and bought out the market's supply of Reese's peanut butter topping for ice cream. Do. Not. Do. This. The bottles cost as much as regular jars of peanut butter (if not more) and contain half the amount of the good stuff. Just buy the jars, dump a few in a big bowl, and microwave them for about a minute. As the peanut butter gets hot, it will thin out enough to flow through the fountain.
Go for the kind that comes in squeeze bottles, not the gloppy caramel you buy in jars.
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