Chocolate “Sauce” Recipe

I’m putting sauce in quotes because a chocolate syrup is really what this is. However since I love David Lebovitz’s idea of bolstering regular chocolate syrup with a little eating chocolate to give it extra body, I’ll add some to my go-to syrup recipe and call it sauce! Thanks David! Cut the sugar down by as much as half for a less-sweet version.

2.25 ounces (2/3 cup) cocoa powder
7 ounces (1 cup) granulated sugar
8 ounces (1 cup) water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, water and salt. Whisk it over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Boil it for four minutes, whisking all the while, then remove the pan from the heat. Let the mixture cool about two minutes, then stir in the chocolate and vanilla. Allow it to sit several hours to thicken before you use it. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Note: if you’re cutting the sugar, try simmering for about another two minutes to reduce it a bit more. You can also add another 1/4 teaspoon salt or more if you want to do the hip “salted chocolate” flavor thing!

26 thoughts on “Chocolate “Sauce” Recipe”

  1. The beauty of this is that it’s a fat free way to have your chocolate and eat it, too! You wouldn’t really have to worry too much about how long this sauce has been in the refrigerator, well, if it lasts that long!

    1. Oh..btw…his sauce contains an equal amounts of corn syrup and sugar and it’s a pretty bitter-sweet sauce. Wouldn’t cutting the sugar by half in this recipe make it almost too bitter?

      1. I’ve made this with half the sugar and it’s turned out very well…deep and dark and delicious. It just needs to be simmered for 4 minutes to help it reduce a little more. Should have mentioned that!

        Thanks Susan!

        – Joe

    2. Very true…nothing to spoil!

      But yes, it’s a pretty nice brew for the chocolate lover!


      – Joe

  2. Interesting – I Just read his chocolate sauce recipe the other day. I note that you’re just using sugar and water instead of corn syrup – will that have any particular impact on the finished product?


    1. Nope. I’ve always used just sugar and water and it’s turned out great. I speculate he’s using corn syrup to inhibit crystallization and probably give it some more thickness, however I’ve never needed it for either, myself. I like the thinness and the slight acidity of the cocoa helps create some invert sugar during the boiling step. But there are all sorts of chocolate sauces out there for all sorts of things. This is a relatively thin and lean one. I’ll have to do some others some day soon!

      But let me know what you think!

      – Joe

  3. Looks great. One of my favorite recipes is one Alton Brown did (when those shows were quirky and fun and informative). It is low-fat and super easy but it puts any purchased sauce to shame–even the high-end ones that are so much better. This one looks very similar but that added chocolate does sound like it would make it even more amazing. I might try it and go for a less sweet version to make it darker. Thanks!

  4. Another year, another James Beard Food awards at Avery Fisher Hall.

    All the so-called Food “stars” were there. I saw Mario Batalli walking into The Met at about 600pm but I assume he was just saying hello to someone before heading over to the awards. It would be too funny if he spent the night listening to people screaming in German for 5 hours (it was The Valkeries) and blew off the JB Awards.

    I was heading to The Met myself so only had time to see Ted Allen (he’s shorter than he looks on TV), that women and her husband from Extra Virgin, the women host from Top Chef (tall) and J. Peppin. Most of the nominees I assume are working chefs not TV personalities so I didn’t recognize them.

    How come Joe Pastry never shows ?! I’ve not been to the actual awards but I assume there must be blogger awards ?

    1. Ha! Hey Merv!

      That’s funny, I’ve heard the Ring Cycle, despite some of the technical problems, is one of the best ever staged. I think I’d prefer that over the James Beard Awards in truth. But maybe one day I will show…I’ll pile out of a stretch Hummer limo with an all-female entourage, an open magnum of Dom Perignon under my arm. “Thank you New York! You’re Beautiful! I love ya!”

      Hey, it could happen.

      – Joe

      1. I think people wanted to jump on it because it’s new and old-timers at The Met don’t like knew and also “The Machine” was quite expensive. I saw the Cycle last year with no mechanical problems. This year I got a freebie to Part 2 so I saw it alone. They won’t be doing it again for at least a couple of years.

        Probably I would have preferred the Food show (at least the food looked nice from the outside not sure about sitting for the awards) but, alas, I was not invited.

        1. Interesting. So I guess it’s not a show for the ages like some opera buffs are saying.

          Thanks, Merv!

          – Joe

    1. Since Dutch process is very difficult to come by these days, anything will do in this instance. Non-Dutched will actually work out a little better in this instance since it creates some invert sugar that help prevent crystallization.

      Tanks for the question!

      – Joe

      1. I had also been wondering about which type of cocoa to use. (I find it more difficult to find good non-Dutched cocoa, but I seem to be in the minority.) Anyway: how does non-Dutched cocoa create invert sugar? Is it because the alkalization in Dutched cocoa would inhibit it?

        1. Hey Chana!

          Great question. Any time you heat sugar syrup with an acid present you get invert sugar. Chocolate is naturally acidic…or well maybe not “naturally” but the first step in cacao processing is fermentation, which produces lactic acid. Add that to the syrup and invert sugar is produced. Dutching as you rightly point out adds alkaline to take the edge off the chocolate flavor. Thus neutralized, the cocoa won’t behave the same way. However it’s not essential for this syrup by any means. I’ve made it with Dutched cocoa before and it’s both tasted great and kept for weeks without crystallizing.

          Thanks for the excellent question!

          – Joe

  5. Don’t suppose you have a good caramel sauce one? 🙂

    Would you class this one as a fudge sauce with the chocolate added for thickening or do you think you’d want to stick with a fudge sauce if a recipe called for that (say on a cheesecake)? I was thinking about trying this version with the chocolate added but wondered if it would be too thin.

    1. I have a great caramel sauce on the blog! Just look under the Pastry Components menu!

      Bt this one is definitely not a fudge. It has no dairy in it…butter, cream, the things that typically go into a fudge. ITo me this is a chocolate syrup, though I’llrobably call it a sauce for purposes of cataloging it!


      – Joe

      1. So….the obvious question would be do you have a fudge sauce? HA. I’ll see if I can find that on your site.

        1. Puh! Figures. I don’t have one on the site yet, though I do have an old family favorite that I can do for you. Sheesh!

          – Joe

  6. Found a link to your caramel sauce recipe doing a search that hit the blog and recipe. I’ll try that one. Someone mentioned adding balsamic vinegar…did you ever try that? Also ran across this link to a video about separating eggs. As noted you don’t need the audio to understand the video (audio is in Chinese). Amazing! I’ll have to try that next time I separate eggs. That is too cool!!

  7. Hi Joe, I wanted to use this as a dip — for pretzels — without added the bar chocolate. Any changes you might recommend?

  8. I made this today, and it was just wonderful! I used 85% cacao chocolate, halved the sugar, and cooked it for five minutes. It’s quite thick now that it’s chilled, nice consistency when warm, though. Next time, since I do intend to keep using chocolate with a high cacao percentage, which I suspect is partially responsible for the thickness, I will shorten the cooking time to ( hopefully) maintain a thinner consistency. Intensely chocolatey, definitely a keeper!

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