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VALENTINE'S DAY: Recipe for fondue duo of chocolate-mango and five-spice caramel sauces

01/20/2015 03:32 EST | Updated 03/22/2015 05:59 EDT
Worried your kitchen skills may not be up to pulling together something impressively decadent for Valentine's Day? Fear not. A pricy restaurant meal isn't your only option.

We created this delicious, yet simple pair of fondue sauces to be easy for even the most clueless cook. But we didn't sacrifice the wow-factor in the process. Warm chocolate-mango and five-spice caramel sauces are anything but ordinary. For ease, we pair them with purchased items for dipping — biscotti, pound cake, fresh berries, whatever inspires you.

And while fondue pots are nice, they aren't essential. You also can offer these sauces in small serving dishes. If they get too cool, just pop them in the microwave for a few seconds.

The only slightly unusual ingredient on this menu is the mango puree. It's usually sold in the grocer's freezer section alongside the Hispanic ingredients. If you can't find it, it's easy to make your own. Add about 1 cup of fresh or frozen (thawed) mango chunks to the blender and puree. Strain the puree, then proceed with the recipe.

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FONDUE DUO OF CHOCOLATE-MANGO AND FIVE-SPICE CARAMEL SAUCES

Start to finish: 40 minutes

Servings: 4

For the chocolate fondue:

1/2 cup mango puree

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

3 tablespoons honey

For the caramel fondue:

1/2 cup half-and-half

5 ounces caramels (about 17 to 18 pieces)

1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder

For dunking:

Wafer cookies

Fresh berries

Biscotti

Marshmallows

Pound cake, cut into cubes or sticks

Angel food cake, cut into cubes or sticks

In a small saucepan over medium, heat the mango puree and butter until simmering and the butter has melted. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate and honey. Allow to sit for 2 minutes, then stir with a rubber spatula until smooth. Set aside, but keep warm.

In another small saucepan over medium, heat the half-and-half until it simmers. Add the caramels and five-spice powder, then cook, stirring constantly, until the caramels are melted and the mixture is smooth.

Transfer the two mixtures to 2 small serving bowls. Set on a platter surrounded by the various items for dunking. Alternatively, set up 2 heated fondue pots according to product directions and pour the dipping sauces into those. Serve immediately.

Chocolate sauce nutrition information per serving (based on 4 servings): 260 calories; 140 calories from fat (54 per cent of total calories); 16 g fat (10 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 15 mg cholesterol; 33 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 28 g sugar; 2 g protein; 0 mg sodium.

Caramel sauce nutrition information per serving (based on 4 servings): 170 calories; 60 calories from fat (35 per cent of total calories); 6 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 15 mg cholesterol; 29 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 25 g sugar; 3 g protein; 100 mg sodium.

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