SUNDAE SUNDAY: The ugly delicious hot fudge sundae, hold the cherry


The past seven days: 1.  Me: 0. I will spare you all the details (because really, you’re here for the ice cream), but know that I feel simultaneously proud of and exhausted by what I accomplished this past week.  Emphasis on the exhaustion part.

Because I taught back-to-back baking classes this week, Friday and Saturday morning came and went without me even thinking to my post Sundae Sunday flavor options to have you all vote on them.  I took that as a hint to postpone one of my more intricate ideas and stick with something delicious but simple. Without further ado: the hot fudge sundae, with cocoa nib ice cream instead of the traditional vanilla flavor, and with bourbon whipped cream.  Oh, and as the title suggests: cherry on top not needed.

The ugly delicious hot fudge sundae, hold the cherry


By: Kathleen Hayes; yields and adaptations listed below by component

As a reminder, my Sundae Sunday series of recipes are a one-shot, spur-of-the-moment creation, so they’re not as thoroughly tested as my other recipes.  For this sundae, I’d use all regular sugar instead of a mix of brown and white, and I’d sweeten the whipped cream slightly more to offset the bourbon.

Cocoa nib ice cream - adapted from the humphry slocombe ice cream book; yield = 1 quart


  • 480g heavy cream

  • 245g whole milk

  • 135g (organic) sugar

  • 50g (organic) brown sugar

  • 55g egg yolks

  • 2 pinches of kosher salt

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

  • ¼ cup cocoa nibs


  • Create an ice bath for your final mixture to cool down in a large mixing bowl.

  • In a medium saucepan, combine cream, milk, and salt.  Heat over medium or medium-high until it’s just at a soft boil, then remove from heat.

  • Whisk together your sugars and egg yolks until combined. This will form a thick paste.

  • Temper your egg mixture by ladling (or carefully pouring straight from the pan) ¼  - ⅓ cup of your hot cream mixture into the bowl with your eggs+sugar, whisking constantly to start melding the two mixtures together.  Repeat with a few more ladles worth of the cream mixture, and then transfer the tempered mixture back into your saucepan.

  • Over medium-high heat, heat your base and use a spatula to draw figure-8s shapes repeatedly through the mixture to keep everything moving so it doesn’t stick to the bottom.  Do this until it thickens slightly and reaches a temperature of 170 - 172 F, then remove from heat. (You’ve made creme anglaise!)

  • Pour your creme anglaise mixture through a chinoise/fine-meshed strainer into a container over an ice bath. Add vanilla paste to the strained base and stir.

  • Stir periodically and let mixture cool down to room temperature.  Then let mixture chill for at least an hour and up to 2 days in the refrigerator.

  • Before you spin your ice cream: place a baking dish and spatula in the freezer (I use an even smaller version of the smaller of these two dishes when making just a pint) so your finished ice cream will go into a chilled container and not melt.

  • Follow the instructions for your ice cream machine and spin your ice cream.  With a few minutes before you finish spinning the ice cream, add in half of the cocoa nibs and let them spin into the base.  As you’re ready to dismount your ice cream into the chilled container, sprinkle some of the remaining nibs along the bottom. Put ½ of your ice cream in the container, add another layer of cocoa nibs, add the remainder of your ice cream, and finish with another sprinkling of the rest of the cocoa nibs.  Place filled container back into the freezer to firm up and set for a few hours.

Fudge sauce - adapted from Epicurious - yield: 1 pint; this sauce has made appearances in my fudge ripple ice cream and s’more sundae, too


  • 200 grams (organic) sugar

  • 160 grams glucose syrup (use light corn syrup if you’re a regular person and don’t stock glucose at home)

  • 250 grams water (~1 cup)

  • 100 grams dutch-processed cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Combine all ingredients except for your vanilla extract into a medium saucepan, place it over medium heat, and start whisking.

  • Whisk mixture until all cocoa powder is incorporated, then switch to a heat-proof spatula. To keep mixture from burning on the bottom, move the spatula through the sauce constantly, making figure 8s and scraping the bottom of the pan to ensure nothing sticks.  Periodically scrape down the sides if any sauce has started sticking there, too. Keep mixing until sauce is boiling.

  • Once mixture is boiling, keep mixing for one minute, then remove from heat.

  • Continue mixing every minute or so until it cools down to the point where it’s not super-hot to the touch.

  • Transfer sauce into a sealable container and chill in the fridge.  This sauce is easiest to work with once chilled, but do warm it up before serving since this is a hot fudge sundae after all.

Bourbon whipped cream


  • 60g heavy whipping cream

  • 1 pinch salt

  • 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon bourbon


  • Using a hand mixer, whip together the cream, salt, and bourbon until it has reached ribboning stage (not as hard as canned whipped cream, but it has thickened enough to trace back the path of the mixer attachments as you swirl them through the bowl).

Special equipment - across all components



  • Warm up your hot fudge if it’s not already warm.

  • In a bowl or sundae dish, scoop 1-3 scoops of cocoa nib ice cream, top with hot fudge, sprinkle with more cocoa nibs, and top with a dollop of whipped cream.


  • Stick with vanilla ice cream if you don’t have cocoa nibs on hand.

  • Sprinkle roasted, slivered almonds on top for added crunch.

  • I have never eaten the cherry on my sundae and thus didn’t call for one here, but if that’s your thing, you do you.


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