Cold Butter Is Key For A Thicker Chocolate Sauce

One of the best sauces to finish any dessert, chocolate sauce never disappoints — well, almost never. Whether it's a matter of using the wrong ingredients or employing the incorrect techniques, there are moments when a sauce can fall short. Unlike superior versions that boast just the right flavors and textures, less-than-impressive chocolate sauces tend to lack richness in both areas. The good news, however, is that transforming a thin and dull chocolate sauce into a wonderfully thick and deliciously velvety masterpiece is easy; all you need is a bit of cold butter. 

Regardless of the recipe, butter is always a good idea. Able to improve and balance flavors, the ingredient goes a step further when it's whisked into chocolate sauce. The reason being that a pat of chilled butter can contribute a significant amount of body. Essentially, as it's whisked into a nearly finished chocolate sauce, a process similar to emulsification takes place and gives the sauce a more luscious, full-bodied consistency. But, this only works if the butter is relatively cold.

In comparison to room-temperature butter, chilled butter melts at a slower pace, which helps the chocolate sauce thicken without the risk of splitting due to a stark contrast in temperature. Likewise, cutting the butter into cubes (as opposed to stirring in a giant knob of butter) can also ensure that the fats evenly break down, resulting in a sauce that's equally as smooth as it is thick. What can we say? Butter is best.

When using butter to thicken chocolate sauce, consider this

From glossy ganache to hot fudge sauce, cold butter can heighten the textural and gustatory richness of any chocolate sauce. As for which butter is best, unsalted versions are a good starting point. Otherwise, salted butter can be a good choice to balance sweetness, whereas creamy European butter can increase decadence, and cultured butter can impart tangy complexity. No matter what you decide, always be sure to cut and chill the butter before working it into the intended recipe.

Speaking of which, for a successfully thickened sauce, butter should be added to the chocolatey glaze last. After the saucepot is pulled from the stove, then and only then can the cold cubes of butter be gradually whisked in. The important thing to remember is to stir until everything has melted and the mixture is smooth and somewhat viscous. As the chocolate sauce cools, it'll continue to firm up even further. That said, it's worth noting that since butter doesn't have quite the same thickening capabilities as something like cornstarch, the finished sauce will still be thin enough to drizzle — which isn't a bad thing given that it is a sauce.