Even though I rant and rave about cookies and cakes, my true sweet love lies with ice cream. Oh, I could write lines upon lines of poetry about ice cream. The countless flavors waiting to be tasted, the silky smooth texture, the way it hits your tongue and melts… You know that “if you were dying, what would your last meal be” question? My last meal would consist of the best comfort food around: homemade mac’n'cheese, roasted salmon with vegetables, and a big fat ice cream sundae.
Ice cream was the only dessert we had in my house growing up. My mom normally doesn’t eat sweets unless they are right in front of her, and I have never heard her say “Man, I am craving some chocolate right now!” I know, where did my sweet tooth come from? But every once and a while, especially during summer, she would come home with two cartons of ice cream, rocky road for her, and mint chocolate chip for me, and we’d dig in eagerly with spoons in front of our wall-air-conditioner.
Some of my fondest memories with ice cream revolve around my childhood, as I suspect is the case with most of us. Summers in Sacramento can be brutal, with temperatures reaching 100 degrees on a daily occassion so many long hours during those scorching August days were spent waiting for the daily afternoon snack of ice cream. After growing tired of playing in the sprinklers and tossing our dolls to the side, my friends and I would wait patiently for the ice cream man and his treat-laden truck. My frozen chocolate drumstick was the ultimate treat so it’s no wonder that when I am in dying need of comfort or feeling stressed out, the only thing I want to eat is ice cream.As I got older, celebrating with ice cream became a tradition. After a big dance or party, all the high school kids would frequent the local ice cream parlor where we’d devour a big dish of ice cream piled high with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and a cherry on top. Those were the days. Now, ice cream is a much less extravagant (and cheaper) indulgence.
Of course, I have my favorites when it comes to ice cream. I still love my childhood favorite Mint Chocolate Chip, but my tastebuds have changed through the years. I tried Ben & Jerry’s O Pistachio and fell in love with its sweet and salty flavor, but I also enjoy Cherry Garcia. For my everyday ice cream choice, I prefer Breyer’s All Natural Vanilla Bean or their Mint Chocolate Chip. Both of those flavors boast a deep and natural flavor, highlighting the ice cream’s artificial-free ingredients. I have yet to make my own ice cream, which I hear is damn delicious. That will be my next adventure, once I buy the appliance. Until then, I will continue to enjoy my Breyer’s Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and since I was feeling indulgent a couple of weeks ago, I decided to try out Dorie Greenspan’s Hot Fudge Sauce.
Heavy cream, butter, corn syrup, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate. That is all you need to make this sauce. I always thought hot fudge sauce was complicated, but I was totally wrong. Actually, it’s better that I didn’t make it on my own when I was younger because I would’ve downed a big bowl of ice cream topped with sauce every day after high school.
The key to a great chocolate sauce is to prevent the butter and chocolate from separating when you are melting the chocolate. Keep the heat low, and everything will work out. Also, when you are stirring the hot cream over the chocolate, stir in concentric circles, starting small and ending big. I can’t wait till those hot summer, sticky nights roll on by so I sit in my backyard, enjoying big scoops of ice cream with melting hot fudge sauce. Don’t you just love summer?
Hot Fudge Sauce
Origin: Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours
Yield: 1 1/4 cups
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 10 minutes
● 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut in to 8 pieces
● 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
● 3/4 cup heavy cream
● 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
● 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
● 1/4 tsp salt
Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water put the butter in the bowl, top with the chocolate and heat, stirring once or twice, until the ingredients are melted. Keep the heat very low- you don’t want to the mixture to get so hot that the butter and chocolate separate. Transfer the bowl to the counter when the mixture is smooth.
In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together the cream, corn syrup, sugar, and salt, then bring to a boil. Boil for one minute and remove the pan from the heat.
Pour about one quarter of the hot cream over the chocolate and, with a rubber spatula and starting in the center of the bowl stir the two mixtures together in ever-widening concentric circles. When it is smooth, pour over the remainder of the cream in two additions, stirring gently until the sauce is shiny and smooth again.
Allow the sauce to cool for about ten minutes before serving.
You can store the sauce in a tightly closed glass jar and keep in the fridge. Before serving, warm the sauce gently in a separate bowl either in the microwave or over a saucepan of simmering water.