Desserts, Other

Ninnie’s chocolate sauce

Easy homemade chocolate sauce is rich and glossy

My mom had an aunt who was just like a fairy Godmother. She spoiled her in ways that kids dream about and when I was growing up the memories mom shared about Ninnie seemed to come right out of a storybook. Ninnie’s generosity spilled over to my older siblings too and they have their own fun stories of the great aunt I never met.

Ninnie died two years before I was born but thanks to her recipe for chocolate sauce the spoiling continues. The recipe came from The Palms, a soda fountain and diner sort of place that used to be on Main Street in Fairville on the West Side of Saint John. Ninnie and Uncle Jim used to take my mom there for an afternoon treat…ice cream sundaes with chocolate sauce. They served the sundaes in tall, pressed glass dishes, with one of those long spoons to help you reach every last bit. 

One day I’ll buy a set of those old fashioned dishes and serve this chocolate sauce sundae-style. For now I serve it over a simple white cake with a scoop of ice cream on the side. And I let my kids serve it themselves, since that’s what Ninnie would have done.

Ninnie’s Chocolate Sauce

In a heavy, medium-sized saucepan combine:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup hot water

Boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat and add:

  • ½ cup butter
  • Pinch of salt

Cool to just warm and beat in:

  • 2 well-beaten eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat well and store in a jar in the fridge. (It can keep for a week…not that it’ll last that long though).

Old fashioned one-bowl cake

  • 1 ½ cups flour (whole wheat works well)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 21/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Generous 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons soft butter (that’s ¼ cup + 2 T)
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla

  1. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Add the butter, milk and vanilla and mix well. Add the eggs and mix 300 strokes (or the better part of two minutes with an electric mixer).
  2. Pour into an 8×8 or 9×9 pan (you decide) and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.


  1. It's interesting you have a relative called "Ninnie" – my maternal grandmother, Mildred, was called "Ninnie" by all of her grandchildren and subsequently by other family members and friends. It started with her oldest grandchild, my brother, when he was learning to talk, being told to call her "nanna" and he couldn't say it but he could say "Ninnie" and that name stuck. I'll have to post her recipes to my own blog soon – she had many. New England food, mostly – she was from "down Maine" and her recipes were redolent of seafood, root vegetables, butter, and wood stoves.

  2. Your grandmother is the only other Ninnie I have heard of. Her name was Lillian so I suppose it isn't a stretch to see how, as a child, she nicknamed her Ninnie.


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