Image by Ginny; Flickr.
A mini chocolate fountain is always a hit at parties, but only if it's working correctly. The chocolate fountain operates on a relatively easy principle -- melted chocolate in the basin is lifted up to the tiers of the fountain and then comes cascading down. If this process is to go smoothly, however, you must follow the set-up instructions to the letter.
Wash and dry all the individual parts of your chocolate fountain -- except the base, which contains electrical components and should never be submerged -- with soapy water. Make sure that all the parts are completely dry before proceeding. Even a small amount of water in your mini chocolate fountain will cause the chocolate to clump and clog the machine.
Assemble your chocolate fountain according to the manufacturer's instructions. Most chocolate fountains come with a base, bowl, auger, tower, fountain tiers and crown. In most fountains, the tower is placed on top of the bowl, usually threaded on to pins that support it. The tiers slide over the tower, the auger slides into the tower's tube and the crown goes on top. However, individual machines may differ slightly, so your instruction manual is the best guide.
Move the mini chocolate fountain to the spot where it will be located during the party. Place a level on the edge of the base bowl to make sure that the bowl is perfectly level. If not, adjust the height of the feet at the bottom of the fountain until it is. Place the level at several different spots on the base bowl to make sure that it is truly level. Unbalanced fountains will not pour smoothly.
Pre-heat the base bowl. Your fountain should have two controls -- one that turns the auger and another that heats the bowl. Turn on the switch that heats the base bowl. Allow the base bowl to heat for 15 minutes before adding the chocolate.
Add the chocolate to a glass bowl. The amount should be dictated by the manufacturer. If not, you will need enough to fill the base bowl to within roughly 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) of its lip. Most fountain chocolate comes in small pellets. If your chocolate comes in a large brick, break it into small pieces before heating it.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave. The melting instructions should be written on the chocolate's packaging. If not, microwave the bowl on high for 40 seconds, then stir the contents. Microwave again at 20-second intervals, stirring thoroughly after each interval, until the chocolate is in a liquid state. Take care not to overheat the chocolate or it will burn.
Pour the melted chocolate into the pre-heated base bowl.
Turn on the auger.
- Image by Ginny; Flickr.