"Fondue Cooking Tips - Just in Time for the Holidays"The Melting Pot, America’s premier fondue restaurant, has a series of modern fondue recipes that can be recreated at home.  Here are two winter fondue and cocktail recipes from The Melting Pot, as well as some fondue cooking tips for your use from Chef Shane Schaibly Head Chef at The Melting Pot Restaurants.

The easiest way to cook fondue at home is to start it on the stove using a double boiler and then serve it in a fondue pot.

Once the fondue has been transferred to the pot, never let it boil.
Keep cheese and dessert fondues at a low temperature – about 120 degrees – using a tea light.
When heating oil or broth for entrée fondues, keep the pot at about 375 degrees. To test the temperature, dip in a cube of bread. It should brown evenly in about 30 seconds.
Cheese Fondue Cooking Tips
When making cheese fondue, cheese should be shredded and tossed with flour or cornstarch to aid in thickening and to improve the viscosity of the fondue. The cheese fondue should be the consistency of warm honey when completed.
Monitor the cheese carefully as it is being added. Not all of the cheese may be needed, and, in some cases, more cheese may be needed to reach the perfect consistency.
Do not add water to cheese fondue. If it is too thick, add more of the liquid you used for the base. If it is too thin, add more cheese.
Keep the heat as low as possible so that the cheese doesn’t become rubbery.
Wondering what to drink with your cheese fondue? Try more of the wine or beer you used as the base in the recipe!

Chocolate Fondue Cooking Tips:
Dark chocolate: The strong, bitter flavor of dark chocolate fondue provides a unique contrast when paired with sweet dippers such as pineapple and marshmallows. If your chocolate fondue comes out too bitter, stir in a little confectioners’ sugar until it reaches the desired level of sweetness.
Milk chocolate melts fairly evenlyand its milder taste makes it a great base for mixing with sweet liquors and other additives, such as peanut butter or marshmallow creme. Of course, milk chocolate is also just as delicious in its purest form – with nothing added!
White chocolate has the same consistency as milk chocolate, but has a less intense flavor, which allows white chocolate fondue to take on more of the flavors of liqueurs, nuts, or any other mix-ins.
The Melting Pot’s Chocolate Fondue Wafers provide a quick and easy way to make dessert fondue at home. They can be quickly melted down and mixed with flavored liqueurs, candy or cookies to make your own chocolate fondue creations. The wafers can be purchased at Melting Pot locations or online at http://shop.meltingpot.com/category/58-chocolate-bars.aspx. And $1 from each box of chocolate fondue wafers sold is donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Tips for Selecting a Fondue Pot:
A ceramic or earthenware fondue pot is usually preferred for making cheese and chocolate fondues at home but a pot made of stainless steel is the ideal choice for preparing entree fondues.
It’s best to choose a metal pot that comes with a ceramic insert for preparing cheese and chocolate fondues so that you can use the same pot for entree, cheese and chocolate fondues.
Ceramic pots should be heated with a low flame. Fondue sets usually come with a burning apparatus, but, in a pinch, a tea light or small candle will usually do the trick.
There are two types of metal fondue pots: electric or the old-fashioned open-flame variety. Electric pots allow you to easily control temperature. Today’s open-flame pots have new types of fuels, such as gels, that are easy to use as well.
Look for fondue forks with color-coordinated handles. The colors help guests keep track of their food while it’s cooking. Forks with barbs on the end help keep food from falling off and into the pot, and thick metal forks are less likely to bend when cleaned.

Fondue Party Tips:
Have a separate fondue fork for each guest. Mark each fondue fork with a different color or charm so that guests can tell them apart.
Cut all the food to be dipped into bite-size pieces.
Make sure that guests have separate plates forunprepared meat and cooked food.
Never leave fondue pots unattended.


White Chocolate Apple Pie Fondue (Serves 4 to 6)

8 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup apple pie filling
2 tablespoons 151 rum
3 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs

Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, stirring constantly; or place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted, stirring every 30 to 45 seconds. Be careful not to le the chocolate burn. Pour into a warm fondue pot. Add the pie filling and stir gently to combine. Add the rum to the pot and ignite carefully, using a long wooden match or lighter. Allow the flame to burn out and stir gently to combine. Sprinkle with the graham cracker crumbs. Keep fondue warm over low heat.


Flaming Turtle Chocolate Fondue (Serves 4 to 6)

12 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
1 tablespoon 151 rum
3 tablespoons chopped pecans

Combine the chocolate and cream in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water. Heat until the chocolate is melted, stirring constantly; or combine the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted, stirring every 30-45 seconds. Be careful not to let the chocolate burn. Pour into a warm fondue pot. Pour the caramel into the center of the chocolate mixture. Do not stir. Add the rum to the pot and ignite carefully, using a long wooden match or lighter. Allow the flame to burn out and stir gently to combine. Sprinkle with the pecans. Keep fondue warm over low heat.

Siberian Warm-Up (serves 1)

6 ounces freshly brewed coffee
1 teaspoon sugar
¾ ounce brandy
¾ ounce Kahlua
Whipped cream

Pour the coffee into a mug. Add the sugar, brandy and Kahlua and mix well. Top with a dollop of whipped cream. Serve warm.

Serves 1.


Hot-Hot-Hot Toddy

16 ounces orange juice
8 ounces cranberry juice
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
Orange slices
Whole cloves

Combine the orange juice, cranberry juice, sugar, 1 teaspoon cloves, the cinnamon stick and orange zest in a saucepan over low heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain into a heated bowl or pitcher. Pour into heavy glasses or mugs. Top each drink with an orange slice studded with additional cloves. Serve warm.

Serves 6.

Chef Shane Schaibly is the corporate chef of Front Burner Brands, restaurant management company that supports The Melting Pot, affiliated concepts Burger 21 and GrillSmith and other concepts in development.