So, you’ve managed to eat this and not that, your willpower is at its zenith, and you’re starting to think maybe Jillian Michaels should be calling you for tips.

THAT’S when it strikes.

A chocolate craving so intense you start feeling around in the cabinets for loose chocolate chips.

You debate the merits of just making a pan of brownies and snorting them with a straw.

OK, deep cleansing breaths. You are not comic-strip Cathy. (ACK!!)

At least, that’s what I told myself last night when I was ready to trade my car for a peanut butter cup. For real.

I was flipping through my cookbooks, looking for SOMETHING that might tame the beast without leaving me with an entire batch of cookies, candy or cake lying around. And that’s when I stumbled on this Chocolate Orange Fondue.

Oh, yes.

You don’t need a fondue pot. Just grab your favorite small saucepan, and bring a half-cup of cream (or half-and-half) and some orange peel to a boil. Take it off the heat, cover it, and let it steep for 30 minutes, so the cream gets infused with orange flavor. Then, reheat the cream to a simmer, and pour it over a few handfuls of milk chocolate chips. Yesss. Wait for 30 seconds, and then grab a whisk and make some magic. A rich, deep, dark, satiny-smooth cup of orange-infused chocolate ganache.

Wanna swank it up? Add a tablespoon of Grand Marnier.

And then, forage, my friend! Gather an assortment of healthy, delicious foods begging to be dipped or drizzled in chocolaty goodness. Sliced apples? Yes! Pears? Yes! Bananas, orange segments, pineapple chunks, cherries, berries and figs? Oh, yeah.

The fruits will help fill you up and keep you from just tipping up the ganache and throwing it back. If you have a chocolate goatee, you’ve gone too far! But seriously, if portion control is an issue, just put a spoonful or two on your plate, or drizzle the chocolate on your fruit instead of dipping it. The flavor is so intense, you won’t need much quantity.

Now, look at you. You stunning inspiration! You beacon of hope! This is your year to get fit and take names.

I’M LOOKING AT YOU, COMIC-STRIP CATHY. ACK!!

Chocolate Orange Fondue

Adapted from John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg’s “Essence of Chocolate”

Makes about 1 cup; Serves 4

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (or half-and-half)
  • 3 strips orange peel
  • 7 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped*
  • 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur (optional)
  • For dipping: orange segments, apple slices, banana slices, cherries, berries, figs, marshmallows
  1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream and orange peel to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 30 minutes. Remove the orange peel.
  2. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl.
  3. Reheat the cream until simmering. Pour the cream over the chocolate, and let stand for 30 seconds, then whisk gently until the mixture is very smooth. Whisk in the Grand Marnier, if using.  Serve warm with a variety of magnificent dipping ingredients.

*Gluten-Free Tip: Make sure to use gluten-free chocolate.