And the Oscar goes to...Champagne Chocolate Sauce!

In order to make this fantastic dessert, you will need: champagne, chocolate, and a long red carpet to roll out when you present it to your naive party guests. My abysmally-lit photographs won't be winning any Oscars tonight, but this dessert should. This is because this chocolate sauce is, quite simply, the bomb. And if you know me, words such as those are entirely uncharacteristic of me, which means it really has to be that good. I'm sure that most people, if they're attending or hosting an Oscar party, already know what elegant (or not) food they want to make, so I don't expect anyone to rush out and change their plans. However, if you chose to do that after hearing about this precious gem...well, I certainly wouldn't blame you.

I want to let you in on a little secret before you do anything drastic, though: this is a perfect leftover recipe. As in, tomorrow, post-Oscars, if you find yourself with some leftover champagne? Maybe it went flat from sitting out for too long? Perhaps it's a little presumptuous to assume that there would be any leftover champagne in the first place, but I urge you to save just a little bit of it for this exact purpose. So, there's leftover champagne, and instead of drinking it, you put it in a sauce pan. And you heat it up, and then mix it with some cocoa powder. Then you add things like sugar and a little bit of butter, and stir them all together to form this warm, insanely rich chocolate liquid with a strong taste of champagne permeating throughout. And since you're making it after your Oscar party, you don't have to share it with anyone else, which might just be the best part of all.

If you're insane, you will let it "set" in the fridge for a little bit and then eat it straight. If you're even remotely sane still, it will be way too intense on its own for you, in which case I have several suggestions: serve it over ice cream (vanilla is wonderful but I tried it with some black raspberry swirl frozen yogurt and think I went to heaven in that moment), sandwich it between two pieces of bread and toast it, keep it warm and use it as a chocolate fondue for fruits and cubes of pound cake, just pour it over cake in general...I mean, do something with it, because it's one of the most uniquely indulgent combinations of flavors I've tasted in a long time. I had intended for it to be a thick mousse, but as it never actually thickened (go figure based on the ingredients), it's more of a sauce, and that's perfectly fine by me. The bottom line is that whatever consistency this champagne and chocolate combination comes to you in, you will not complain. I promise.

Champagne Chocolate Sauce
Yield: Approximately 2 cups*
(printable recipe)

The Ingredients
3/4 - 1 cup + 1 tablespoon champagne or sparkling wine, divided (I used Asti)
1 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup milk (any fat is fine)

The Method
Bring (3/4 or) 1 cup champagne to a boil in a medium sauce pan, and then pour into a bowl with the cocoa, whisking vigorously until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and set aside. Combine the butter and remaining tablespoon of champagne in the same sauce pan as before over low heat. Add in the flour and both sugars, and stir until smooth. Pour in the milk and whisk vigorously until thickened, about 5 minutes.** Remove from heat and fold in the chocolate mixture. Serve immediately warm, or allow to cool for a later use.

Notes: *I didn't actually measure it out, so I'm not totally sure. It made
enough that I froze some of it and gave some of it to my parents, but probably would not be enough for a big crowd of chocolate fondue enthusiasts.
"Thicken" is a relative term. Like I said, it never thickened as I had intended, and I might play around with this the next time I find myself with a little extra champagne. Corn starch might do the trick, though I would use less than 3 tablespoons and add it to some cold water before pouring it into the mixture, if you decide to try that.

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