Chocolate fountains are always a welcome addition to the party! Here are our best chocolate fountain tips from set-up to clean-up, plus our easy 2-ingredient Chocolate for a Fountain recipe.
Some time ago, we hosted a little celebratory gathering for our graduating senior. Usually when I host a get-together, I get totally carried away making all kinds of party food, but life has been throwing us a few curves lately, and so I decided to keep things simple this time. And what could be simpler than a chocolate fountain, right?
Setting Up Your Chocolate Fountain
The Wind is Not Your Friend
We did a lot of things right. I'll share those chocolate fountain tips in a minute, but this is the most important thing I can tell you about using a chocolate fountain, so if you don't read anything else, read this:
When you are hosting a party and plan to use a chocolate fountain, the wind is not your friend.
Ever. (Say it with me… "The Wind is NOT my Friend.")
Even when you think it is only a little wind, and no one will notice. Because guess what? You're wrong! The chocolate will notice. And so will the laws of physics.
Location, Location, Location
Besides the actual chocolate recipe itself, location is the single most important factor in the success or failure of your chocolate fountain. Consider heating and air conditioning ducts, traffic flow, pet access, wind, rain, bugs and small children when choosing where to set up your fountain. Also, be careful about where you lay the electrical cord: if someone were to trip on it, it could have dire consequences for your entire party.
Once we moved everything inside, everything flowed like Willy Wonka's chocolate river.
Your chocolate fountain likely has three distinct parts: the tower, the auger, and the base. If it isn’t already set up, check your owner’s manual for how to put it together. (If your hard copy is lost, most manuals are available online, or on Youtube.)
Before you ever pour a drop of chocolate into your fountain, make sure it is level. As in, plumb bubble-up level. Once again, melted chocolate is all about the laws of physics.
What Kind of Chocolate to Use
Although I was tempted to buy more expensive chocolate, I decided to go with good old Tollhouse Semi-sweet Morsels, for a couple of reasons: they are low in milk solids, they are available at Costco in huge bags for a decent price, and they taste delicious when you melt them.
Tollhouse makes both semi-sweet and dark chocolate chips. If you want to make dark chocolate for your fountain, that's my recommendation.
We haven't tried making white chocolate with Tollhouse white chocolate chips yet: if you try them, be sure and let us know!
Easy 'Chocolate for a Fountain' Recipe
The recipe for chocolate for a fountain is as easy as it gets: chocolate + oil.
That's right: in order to get the chocolate to flow properly, you need to mix it with oil. (I know - you just squinched up your nose and said Eww.) But I stumbled onto the perfect solution: unrefined coconut oil.
A ratio of one tablespoon of coconut oil per cup of semi-sweet morsels works perfectly and tastes delicious.
How Much Chocolate?
The size of your fountain will determine how much chocolate you need and the number of people you can serve. Home fountains typically need at least 3 pounds to avoid gaps in flow, and can usually hold up to 5 pounds at one time.
Heating the Chocolate
Even if your fountain has an internal heating element (most do), do not attempt to melt your chocolate in the fountain.
Microwave: Heat the chocolate together with the coconut oil for 40 seconds at a time in the microwave, stirring after each interval and repeating until completely smooth.
Once the chocolate and oil are fully melted together, it is ready to pour into the fountain.
Follow the directions that come with your chocolate fountain to determine how much you will need to start out.
Fondue Pot: You can also prepare the chocolate mixture in an electric fondue pot set on Low, stirring frequently. (This is my preferred method for heating all things chocolate.)
No Oil Option: If you don't want to hassle with using oil, you can use Wilton Chocolate Pro Fountain Fondue Chocolate. They are no prep, no-fail. They are also mad-expensive, but sometimes the convenience is worth it.
Do not, under any circumstances, allow any water to get into the chocolate. Even a few drops can cause it to seize.
Pro Tip: Take the time to set up a second batch of chocolate for when you need to refill the fountain later.
Preheat & Prime the Fountain
Preheat your fountain while you are melting the chocolate mixture. Preheat on "Keep Warm", "Very Low", or "Flow" (depending on your machine) for at least 5 minutes.
Pour the melted chocolate mixture into the center of the bowl at the base of the fountain. Set the fountain to flow. The spiral augur inside the tower will draw the chocolate to the top.
When you have the fountain filled and running, let it run for a minute or two and then turn it off. Wait a minute or two and then turn it back on. This will help get any air bubbles out of the tube and auger system.
Every machine is a little different: adjust the fountain speed and temperature so that the chocolate flows smoothly and freely, but it still remains rich and thick. Test out a few dippers in the name of science to make sure everything is working the way you want.
If your fountain's flow is running uneven, or has breaks in the flow, first recheck to confirm the unit is level, then check the level of the chocolate in the bowl. If those all check out, turn the unit off for a minute and then back on. (Like resetting your router.)
Chocolate Fountain Dipper Ideas
There are a lot of delicious choices for dipping:
- Cream puffs
- Apple slices
- Pound cake cubes
HINT: If you don't have enough fondue forks, bamboo skewers work just fine.
After the Party's Over
If that bit about the Wind not being your friend is the most important point in this post, then this is the second most important:
No matter how tired you are - clean the fountain right away.
DO NOT, under any circumstances, leave it for tomorrow.
If you wait until the next day, the chocolate will harden up and it will take you ten times as long to clean.
Cleaning the Fountain
To clean a chocolate fountain, first turn off the machine. Allow it to cool to a comfortable temperature: warm enough to keep the chocolate soft, and cool enough to touch.
Use a silicone spatula to scrap as much chocolate down the tower and into the bowl as possible. Remove the auger and the tower and scrape them carefully.
Wash the fountain parts in warm, soapy water and dry with a clean towel. (Do not submerge the bowl/base unless your model's owner's manual explicitly says you can.)
Top Tip: Leftover Chocolate
Seal any leftover chocolate in an air-tight container. Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks and frozen for up to a year.
You can use leftover chocolate for many things. Some of our favorites are to swirl it onto waffles, dip strawberries, or shave for sweet garnishes.
Wilton, longtime leader in the Sweets industry, does not recommend using candy melts in your chocolate fountain. Candy melts don’t have the right viscosity to run through the fountain; if you do so, you risk breaking your machine.
We hope you have great success with your party planning, and if you learn some new chocolate fountain tips, please be sure to come back and share them with us all in the comments!
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Kyle Stone says
Can I put nacho cheese into a chocolate fountain?
Renée B. says
That seems like a brilliant idea, but I have no experience with it. I found this article on cheese in fountains. Good luck!
Vickie Gregory says
I had an even this past weekend and used my chocolate fountain. It was a huge success by the way. It worked well. We used fountain chocolate that did not require oil, which was very helpful. BUT, I noticed that the chocolate was getting thick toward the end of the night. Upon closer inspection, it appears that the chocolate was sticking to the bowl. Is there anything that you know about that would prevent the chocolate from sticking>
Renée B. says
It may be that with the introduction of the dippers in the chocolate, something interacted with the chocolate and caused portions of it to seize and stick; however, I haven't had enough experience with the fountain-ready chocolate to know for sure, so I'm not sure how to mitigate the problem.
Thank you Renee. Forearmed is forewarned; excellent advice on how to prep and use and clean. Learned a lot - so many thanks. The chocolate fountain is going to be the Xmas tea star attraction. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Jo Ann wilder says
I love my chocolate fountain
I’ve used one for at least 10 years no doubt always a family favorite
Jump in you’ll love it- yes clean it right away very first thing I clean
I use skewers vs toothpicks because much less messy
I’ve used chocolate chips with canola oil anyone added anything to the chocolate like a liqueur???
Thanks for the suggestions, Jo Ann.
Skewers are definitely a better choice than toothpicks!