Homemade Chocolate Sauce and Make the Bread, Buy the Butter Paperback

by autumn on December 5, 2012

Falling in love with the idea of D.I.Y is easy. It’s not hard to get behind making cheaper, healthier, and better-tasting food for yourself and your loved ones. The harder part of adopting a D.I.Y ethic is navigating the matrix of time, cost, and convenience in order to decide what to make and what to buy. With Make the Bread, Buy the Butter, Jennifer Reese provides a guide to figuring out your D.I.Y loyalties. (The book got all sorts of great press in 2011 when it came out and the super-affordable paperback version was released this fall.)

This book is a rare bird. Like Ruhlman’s Ratio, it’s a solid reference book with writing that’s smart and funny.  I found Reese’s re-telling of her family’s decision to keep chickens to be honest and quite moving. She’s very candid about the fact the endeavor was not ultimately cost-effective, but nevertheless argues that “However expensive—and keeping chickens can be expensive—I do believe that it is one of the most ecologically and morally important changes you can make in your eating habits.”

These little moments of exception are what I really liked about this book. It is most certainly a valuable and accurate resource on the cost-effectiveness of making your food from scratch, from hot sauce to duck prosciutto. However, it not only allows for, but encourages you to seek out the exceptions: the stuff you do yourself simply because you couldn’t imagine not doing it.

Strangely enough, the little recipe that I was most excited about was a simple chocolate sauce. I have a block of unsweetened chocolate in my pantry that I’ve been trying to use up for way too long and I was excited to find a basic chocolate sauce recipe that would help me make a dent in it. I had planned to post this review at the beginning of November to celebrate the paperback release, but after a hurricane-induced internet detox, I’m just sharing it now. Now is as good a time as any really because this would make a great, affordable gift for the aspiring or experienced D.I.Yer in your life. 

(Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book, but my opinions remain my own.)

Homemade Chocolate Sauce


  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup brewed coffee
  • 3/4 cup sugar (I used evaporated cane juice)
  • 4 T coconut oil (liquid)

Cooking Directions

  1. Combine the chocolate and coffee in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until combined.
  2. Add the sugar and heat until bubbling, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in coconut oil until fully combined.
  4. Allow to cool slightly and serve immediately or store in fridge and re-heat as needed.


Autumn Giles is the creator of Autumn Makes & Does and the co-host of the Alphabet Soup Podcast.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 kelly @ kellybakes December 5, 2012 at 3:26 pm

I’m a sucker for shots of chocolate sauce and caramel sauce. ::wistful sigh::

I’m glad you posted about this book! When I first moved into the city I was gung-ho urban homesteading and started a patio garden and wanted to make everything from scratch. I was drawn to this book originally because it wasn’t just recipes, but also had commentary and opinions on what’s worth making. I didn’t realize the paperback was out; I’ll need to snag a copy!


2 autumn December 5, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Thanks, Kelly! It’s about 10 bucks on amazon I think. A total steal for all the info that’s in it.


3 Casey@Good. Food. Stories. December 6, 2012 at 12:51 am

I can’t believe I didn’t know about this book – it’s right up my alley! And it’s a great point to make; sometimes we DIY not because it’s more cost-effective/natural/authentic but just because we want to and love to do it. I often find that making a homemade Sno-Ball or whatever gives me the same creative rush as sewing or drawing (or re-reading Anne of Green Gables). 🙂


4 Sara @ The Cozy Herbivore December 11, 2012 at 1:44 am

You had a BLOCK of chocolate in your cupboard and you couldn’t decide what to do with it? Okay, so it’s unsweetened… still. My goodness, bless you– you have far greater self control than I will ever, ever have.

And I own this book, you’re right– it’s absolutely lovely. Her voice is so witty and fun and yet completely informative. This chocolate sauce looks so decadent, it’s a recipe I haven’t tried yet. Well now I must… but of course I’ll have to go buy some chocolate, for I definitely don’t have any in the house right now. 🙂


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