Arsip Tag: fudge

hot fudge sauce – smitten kitchen

[Psst: There’s a newer and more beloved hot fudge sauce recipe on the site.]

Raise your hand if you’re surprised that my mother used to make us homemade hot fudge sauce for our ice cream? Right, I see you’re not new here! Welcome back. But really, the crazy didn’t start with my generation, despite the fact that I may or may not have crafted a really elaborate chicken dish this week when sick and not remotely interested in cooking or eating it. So I didn’t waste the ingredients. Also totally my mother’s daughter there.

hot fudge sauce, bubbling gurgly, thick and shiny

Is it me, or does something about hot fudge sauce on ice cream seem distinctively retro? I don’t hear much about fudge sauce and their accompanying sundaes these days. Maybe I’ve stepped too far into the Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream in a pool of cognac, drizzled in the world’s most expensive chocolate, covered with shaved white, black and clear truffles, topped with edible 25-karat gold leaf world… Let me fix that right now.

hot fudge sauce

Because really, everyone should have a recipe for hot fudge sauce. There are kids and birthdays and chocoholic family members and, uh, you and spoons and a hunch that it might be good straight from the fridge. You’d be correct. You should totally go for it.

hot fudge sauce

About that ice cream: Earlier in the week, intent upon making this sauce this week, I made a batch of David Lebovitz’s most excellent vanilla bean ice cream. (Which tastes remarkably like frozen creme brulee, evil thing that it is.) But then I got sick and lost my appetite for everything except, well, ice cream and come Friday, we had to go to the store to find something to pour the sauce over. That there is Ciao Bella’s hazelnut gelato, not bad at all. But not the same.

One year ago: Best Chocolate Pudding
Two years ago: Green Tea Cookies and Mom’s Chocolate Chip Meringues

Hot Fudge Sauce
Adapted from Silver Palate Cookbook [Anyone remember this?]

Psst: There’s a newer and more beloved hot fudge sauce recipe on the site.

Yields 2 1/2 cups

This is a deep, dark fudgy bittersweet sauce that firms up on ice cream.

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 tablespoons butter, unsalted
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons corn syrup
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon rum (or other flavoring, such as a flavored liquer or vanilla extract)

Melt the chocolate and butter very slowly in a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring frequently until combined. Meanwhile, heat the water to boiling in the small, heavy saucepan. When the butter and chocolate have melted, stir the mixture into the boiling water. Add the sugar, corn syrup and salt and mix until smooth. Turn the heat up and stir until mixture starts to boil; adjust heat so that sauce is just maintained at the boiling point, stirring occasionally. Allow sauce to boil for nine minutes.

Remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes. Stir in the rum and serve warm over ice cream.

Do ahead: Sauce can be easily and quickly reheated in the microwave for 15 to 30 seconds. Stir and it will be shiny and even again.

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espresso chiffon cake with fudge frosting – smitten kitchen

Of course, there was also cake. I mean, you didn’t think I’d let my better half’s 35th birthday go by without some homemade, stacked and butter-laden goodness, did you? Right, I didn’t think so.

egg whites, soft peaksfrothy cappucino-like batterespresso chiffon cakes, coolingbrushing the cake with more espresso

Now, no introduction to a birthday cake for Alex would be complete without a brief tour of the cakes from years past, when there has been an Icebox Cake, a Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake, a Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake and the cake that you all liked so much, it broke the server’s back for a harrowing day or two last year, the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake. Did you sense a theme or something? There Will Be Chocolate, Like You Even Needed To Ask.

instant fudge frosting

Alas, after throwing a self-catered party on Saturday night, my cake-baking ambition for Monday was just slightly diminished, not that this cake was any kind of cop-out, just perhaps not the Smith Island Cake riff (like this stunner, but with crushed peanut butter cups between the layers; yes for real) I’d been threatening for months. Besides, we’d already hit most of Alex’s favorite food groups in years past — Oreos, cheesecake and peanut butter — it was time to move onto another: coffee, and lots of it. But I didn’t want to make a mocha cake; in those, it always feels like something gets lost in them, like there’s never enough coffee or chocolate flavor. Instead, I wanted to separate the flavors out: an intensely coffee-soaked layer cake and a dark, fudgy frosting…

Did you hear me tell you that the cake was drenched in a boozy espresso syrup? How about the part with the deep chocolate frosting that comes together in ten seconds? No really, why are you still reading? If you had this in your fridge, you’d be halfway to the kitchen right now to get another slice. I know I am.

espresso-soaked chiffon cake with fudge frosting

Layer Cake Tips: New to celebration cakes? Daunted by all of those layers and steps? Check out my layer cake tips post for a round-up of all of the tricks I’ve picked up over the years.

Espresso Chiffon Cake
Adapted from (what else?) Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes

Despite picking one, I actually have all sorts of biases against chiffon cakes; mostly, that they’re lovely and fluffy but dry, namely because they have just smidgens of oil or butter in them. But this one called to me. I was hoping that the lightness of the chiffon cake layers would allow the strong espresso taste to come through, and that it did, though it didn’t hurt that it was brushed with a 1:1:1 ratio syrup of sugar, rum and straight espresso [or in other words, I think I briefly forgot that I was pregnant or something. Officially the most caffeine and booze I’ve had in 34 weeks and completely worth it.] that made the cake so ridiculously moist, I will never talk smack about chiffon cakes again.

Makes an 8- or 9-inch triple-layer cake

1/4 cup (60 ml) neutral vegetable oil, such as soybean, canola or vegetable blend
6 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons (90 ml) freshly brewed espresso, cooled to room temperature (Huntsman recommends freshly-brewed over hydrating espresso powder, which she feels can be too bitter)
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups (170 grams) cake flour
1 1/2 cups (300 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottoms of three 8- or 9-inch round cake pans with rounds of parchment or waxed paper, but do not grease.

In a medium bowl, combine the oil, egg yolks, espresso and vanilla; whisk lightly to blend. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, 1 cup of the sugar, the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set the dry ingredients aside.

In a large mixer bowl with an electric mixture, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar on medium-low speed until frothy. Raising the mixer speed to medium-high and gradually add the remaining half cup of sugar. Continue to beat until soft peaks form; do not whip until stiff or the cake will shirk excessively upon cooling.

Add the espresso-egg yolk mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together just enough to combine. Add one-fourth of the beaten egg whites and fold them in to lighten the batter. Fold in the remainder of the whites just until no streaks remain. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans.

Bake the cakes for about 18 minutes each, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the pans. When cooled, run a blunt knife around the edge of the pans to release the cakes. Invert onto wire racks and remove the paper liners.

To assemble the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Soak the cake with 1/3 cup of the Espresso Syrup (below). Spread about 1 1/3 cups of the Instant Fudge Frosting (below) evenly over the top of the layer. Repeat with the next layer, more syrup and more frosting. Finally, top with the third layer. Soak it with the remaining syrup and frost the tops and sides with the remaining frosting.

Espresso Syrup

Makes one cup

1/3 cup hot, freshly brewed espresso
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup dark rum, such as Meyer’s

In a bowl, stir together the espresso and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the rum and let cool to room temperature.

Don’t want to use rum? (I know someone will ask.) I’d swap it with water, perhaps flavored with some vanilla extract. Worried about the caffeine? Use decaf espresso.

Instant Fudge Frosting
Adapted, barely, from a Sky High recipe

Now, this is, to be honest, a fancy name for a quick buttercream but it’s got two things going for it that are worth mentioning: One, the frosting isn’t flavored with cocoa (too mild) or even good semisweet chocolate, but unsweetened chocolate. Brilliant, I tell you. I find most quick buttercreams way too sweet, and although this one still is quite sugary, the super-bitter chocolate goes a long way to mitigating it. The second thing worth mentioning is this: Did you know you can make quick buttercreams in the food processor? I had no idea, I hadn’t even considered it before. But there I was whirling everything together in ten seconds flat and I will make it no other way from now on.

Makes about 5 cups

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
4 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (no need to sift)
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons half-and-half or whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to incorporate, then process until the frosting is smooth.

Frosting tip: If your kitchen is as hot and sticky as mine is in the summer, you’ll want to watch a frosting like this carefully to make sure it doesn’t get too melty and soft. If it does, periodically put the bowl of frosting and your partially frosting cake back in the fridge to let it firm up and cool down again, then resume where you left off.

Planning to write on your cake? Whirl all of the frosting ingredients except the melted chocolate in the food processor until smooth. Set aside a half-cup of the white frosting for tinting and writing, then add the chocolate to finish making the frosting.

Cappuccino Chiffon Cake, a variation: Now, if you were with me on the espresso cake but lost interest when I got to the fudge frosting, good news! The original cake I recipe I borrowed from was actually a Cappucino Chiffon Cake — filled and frosted with whipped cream (3 cups heavy cream to 1 cup 1/3 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla, whipped until stiff peaks form) and dusted with cocoa and/or cinnamon, just like a frothy cappucino. Frankly, it sounds amazing as the light, almost foamy qualities of the chiffon cake would be matched by the almost weightless frosting and I imagine a bite on your fork would be like diving into a cappucino cloud and hey, do you think someone around here misses coffee or something?

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cappuccino fudge cheesecake – smitten kitchen

Given that it is but two days after one of the most indulgent meals of the year, I suspect the last thing you want to hear about is the most indulgent cake I have ever made, and yet, given the quality of the last two vegetable-focused, lighter dishes I have made — both of which I’d give a resounding “eh” — trust me, what I’ve got going on here is much more worthy of your attention, and your table at some distant dinner party. So pull up a chair.

adding butter to crumbs, chocolate
massive puddle of ganache

Because this cake is ridiculous, ridiculous bordering on obscene, so obscene that even a wee sliver of it takes an eating intermission mid-slice just to get through. Perhaps you’ll go get yourself a glass of water, do some stretches or deep yogic breathing, but I guarantee that you’ll do whatever it takes to psych you up enough to take on the second half.

espresso cheesecake

Because did I mention the part where this cake is ridiculous? Let’s start from the bottom. A standard cheesecake crumb crust consists of ground cookies and melted butter. This crumb crust takes those ground cookies and melted butter and raises it some brown sugar, fresh nutmeg and, oh, nearly half a pound of ground up bittersweet chocolate. For real.

cheesecake

From there, a normal cheesecake would delve into the, you know, cheesecake layer. Not this one. This one decides that you need an inch-thick cushion of fudgy Kahlúa-spiked ganache to soften the blow of the cappuccino cheesecake layer, which — as I am sure you’ve figured out by now — is also less than intuitive. You’d think that to make a coffee-flavored cheesecake, you’d simply dissolve some instant espresso in your batter. You probably wouldn’t think to also stir in rum, vanilla, and molasses (molasses, people!) but I did as the recipe instructed and landed on a coffee cheesecake that is neither sweet nor obvious, but laced with the faint bitter complexity you’d want from a good cup of coffee. You know, if that good cup of coffee had four bricks of cream cheese in it.

cappucino fudge cheesecake

I suspect by now you yourself need an intermission, and perhaps a run around the block to clear your head before you take on the rest of this description and yet the cheesecake marches on, slicking a sour cream-vanilla layer upon the cheesecake, and more Kahlúa ganache atop that and then, since we are obviously no longer pretending we care anything about subtlety, you might as well stud it with some chocolate-covered espresso beans. To make sure people get the idea.

cappuccino fudge cheesecake

And I am sure you are wondering how this landed on the Thanksgiving dessert table — what happened to the traditional potato pies and cranberry tarts and pumpkin cheesecakes and apple pie, Deb? Did you really put the baby in a sweater vest and insist that he help you peel apples? — but nobody else did. When you put out a cake like this, all of the questions — and conversations and clattering of dishes in the kitchen — just stop.

apple piethanksgiving

One year ago: All Butter, Really Flaky Pie Dough, Rolling and Crimping, Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting and Cabbage, Apple and Walnut Salad
Two years ago: Tiramisu Cake, Curried Lentils and Sweet Potatoes and Rugelach Pinwheels
Three years ago: Apple Pie, Infinitely Adaptable Blondies, Fettucine with Porcini and Potato Salad with Sherry Mustard Vinaigrette

Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake
Adapted from Bon Appetit, February 2002

If this cake were a turkey, it would, by Butterball’s portion calculator, serve 2 adults and 4 kids (My little guy, incidentally, would serve 11 adults and 4 children and yes, I do call dibs on the cheek meat.) Bon Appetit says it serves 12. But I’m going to put it’s portion size at 30 one-inch wedges. Yes, 30. Because if you know anyone who can eat more than a one-inch wedge of this cake, I might need to meet them. I might have to shake their hand.

The only major change I made to the recipe was I tweaked it to fit in the 9-inch springform I had, rather than the 10-inch springform the recipe calls for, by keeping the crust, ganache, and sour cream topping amounts the same while only making 3/4 of the cheesecake filling. It just made it. So your cake looks exactly as mine does, this is what I’ve shared with you below. Check out the original if you’d like a higher proportion of cheesecake to the crust and its cronies.

Crust
1 9-ounce box chocolate wafer cookies or 9 ounces of homemade chocolate wafers
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
7 tablespoons hot melted unsalted butter

Ganache
1 1/2 cups heavy or whipping cream
20 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup Kahlúa or other coffee-flavored liqueur

Filling
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder or coffee crystals
1 1/2 tablespoons ground whole espresso coffee beans (medium-coarse grind) (I skipped this, increased the espresso powder instead)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
3 large eggs

Topping
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

A handful of chocolate covered espresso beans (optional)

Make crust: Finely grind cookies, chopped chocolate, brown sugar, and nutmeg in processor. Add butter and process until crumbs begin to stick together, scraping down bowl occasionally, about 1 minute. Transfer crumbs to 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 3-inch-high sides. Wrap plastic wrap around fingers and press crumb mixture firmly up sides to within 1/2 inch of top edge, then over bottom of pan.

Make ganache: Bring cream to simmer in large saucepan. Remove from heat; add chocolate and Kahlúa. Whisk until chocolate is melted and ganache is smooth. Pour 2 cups ganache over bottom of crust. Freeze until ganache layer is firm, about 30 minutes. Reserve remaining ganache; cover and let stand at room temperature to use later for decorating.

Make filling: Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°F. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until blended. Scrape down bowl, making sure you get to the bottom, where little pockets of unmixed cream cheese love to hide. Beat in flour. Stir rum, espresso powder, ground coffee, vanilla, and molasses in small bowl until instant coffee dissolves; beat into cream cheese mixture. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition.

Pour filling over cold ganache in crust — it will go nearly all of the way to the top, don’t panic. Place cheesecake on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until top is brown, puffed and cracked at edges, and the center two inches moves only slightly when pan is gently shaken, about one hour. Transfer cheesecake to rack. Cool 15 minutes while preparing topping (top of cheesecake will fall slightly, making room for topping). Maintain oven temperature.

Make topping: Whisk sour cream, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl to blend. Pour topping over hot cheesecake, spreading to cover filling completely. Bake until topping is set, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer cheesecake to rack. Refrigerate hot cheesecake on rack until cool, about three hours.

Run a small sharp knife between crust and pan sides to loosen cake; release pan sides. Transfer cheesecake to platter. Spoon reserved ganache into pastry bag fitted with small star tip. If you’d like to make an approximation (perhaps less rushed?) of the above decoration, pipe 6 diagonal lines atop cheesecake, spacing 1 inch apart. Repeat in opposite direction, making lattice. Pipe rosettes (or, uh, stars if you realize you do not have the energy nor inclination to practice rosette piping at that hour) of ganache around top edge of cake. Otherwise, have fun decorating freely. Espress(o) — ow — yourself!

Garnish with chocolate-covered espresso beans, if desired. Chill until lattice is firm, at least 6 hours.

Do ahead: Cake is best made a day ahead, so the flavors have time to settle. The cake also takes enough time to make that it’s best not to rush through it the day you want to serve it. It can be made up to four days ahead. Wrap loosely in foil, forming dome over lattice; keep chilled.

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coconut milk fudge – smitten kitchen

I’ve got a mad case of wanderlust. You’d think that after taking in vistas like this two weekends ago and this just yesterday, I’d be happy just to be here. But even New York City on the stunning brink between a snow-blanketed February and a shiny, breezy March aren’t enough to keep me from dreaming about South America. Northern Italy. India. China. Austria. Rome. Cuba. St. Louis, if it promises me more spun sugar cake. And now: Brazil.

rolling in chocolate vermicelli
rolling in pistachios

There was an article in the New York Times last week about how sweetened condensed milk is having a “moment” — apparently eschewed by food snobs, home cooks from Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean couldn’t care less as they know it’s the manna, the building block of many awesome things from Key Lime Pie to Vietnamese Coffee to Dulce De Leche. It’s okay, I’m drooling too.

rolling in toasted coconut

Also, milk fudge. Or milk caramels, as I’ve been call them and brigadeiros, as they’re properly named. They’re a ridiculously simple confection of canned sweetened condensed milk and a pat of butter, cooked into soft candies that are apparently all the rage at kids birthday parties in Brazil, which I think was a subtle suggestion that maybe I should be too grown up for them? I ignored it. Nevertheless, as the kind of person who gleefully licks the sweetened condensed milk off the spoon when cooking with it, these had my name all over them.

the counter

Still, I’m pretty sure I messed up somewhere. My cooking time was nearly triple what the recipe suggested it should be, rendering my candies a light beige caramel color (versus the pure white ones Google Image searching tells me are proper) but if you think I’m at all bummed that my milk fudge verged into milk dulce de leche caramel territory, you probably don’t know me at all. If this is wrong, I’m not sure I want to be right.

milk fudge

One year ago: Pita Bread
Two years ago: Almond Biscotti

Coconut Milk Fudge [Coconut Brigadeiros]
Adapted quite a bit from The Brazilian Kitchen, via the New York Times

A.k.a. Coconut Milk Caramels or Coconut Brigadeiros. Nervous about the gooey/sweet factor, I played around a little, using unsweetened coconut milk (the recipe didn’t specify, so I used what I thought would work) and then salted butter (honestly, by accident, but that pinch of salt really helped keep the treat on this side of treacly).

These candies are infinitely tweakable. Personally, I think they’d be fantastic with a pinch of cinnamon, Mexican or otherwise. My mother wanted to try them with a drop or two of almond extract. I think vanilla could work well in there, too. And you can roll them in the suggested toppings — coconut, pistachios and sprinkles — or use your own. Crushed cookie crumbs, anyone?

For classic, coconut-free brigadeiros, chocolate and other versions, check out recipe leads here.

Yield: 24 to 30 candies

1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons salted or unsalted butter (salted will give the candy more contrast)
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/3 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut (I lightly toasted mine, for crunch)
1/3 cup ground pistachios (see Note below)
1/3 cup chocolate sprinkles or “vermicelli” (see Note below)

In a medium-size heavy saucepan, combine condensed milk, coconut milk, butter and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and whisk constantly until fudgy. The recipe notes that when mixture is ready, it will pull together into one soft piece, leaving browned residue on bottom of pan and that this should take 8 to 10 minutes. This took me 20 to 25 minutes, and the candy began taking on a beige, caramelized color.

Slide mixture into a bowl. (Don’t scrape the pan; leave any residue behind.) Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until very firm, at least 4 hours. Or, you could realize that the nanny has to leave in an hour, chill it for only 30 and discover that nothing bad will happen if you don’t wait the whole cooling time. You’ll have to be more careful if you use “real” i.e. meltable chocolate sprinkles but otherwise it will have no ill-effect to speed the process up.)

Scoop out teaspoonfuls of the mixture (I used my one teaspoon measure) and use your hands to roll into balls, about 3/4-inch in diameter. I found having just a drop or two of water in my palms — not wet, just a little moist — helped form them. Set aside on a baking sheet.

Place toppings in wide bowls and roll brigadeiros through them, covering the surface completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days, or refrigerate for up to 1 month. Serve at room temperature.

Chocolate “vermicelli”: I got a little freaked out when I saw the ingredient list on the chocolate sprinkles I had brought home from the store. Look, I don’t need to pretend that chocolate sprinkles are health food, but I like to imagine I’m eating something with at least a minute smidgen of chocolate in it. I ended up spending way too much on a bottle of “chocolate vermicelli” (they look like chocolate sprinkles but are almost 100% pure chocolate, and delightfully, taste that way too) but I’d buy them next time from Amazon or King Arthur Flour’s Baker’s Catalog for much less.

Pistachios: Since toasted nuts always, always taste better than raw ones, I toasted and ground a batch to coat the candy only to find the brown/green shade… um, a little unpretty. Looks won out and I used ground raw pistachios in the end. I actually ended up preferring the softness of the coating.

Those tiny cups: I know someone is going to ask me where I bought those colorful little candy cups and I’m sorry, as my answer could not be more inconvenient: Vienna. A grocery store. I’m kind of obsessed with going to grocery stores in foreign countries and always walk out with random stuff like this. Anyway, Amazon sells #4 size cups (1-inch base) in brown and white; however, mine are actually #3 size (3/4 to 7/8-inch base) which I found online at a smaller store.

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fudge popsicles – smitten kitchen

I have a tremendous crush on Matt Armendariz. It’s awkward, I know. I’m married, he’s married; I have a kid, he has dog children. It’s okay, my husband knows. He took a picture of Matt with his shirt half off a couple years ago, so I think we’re even. Fortunately for those who are now reading this uncomfortably at home, hoping this conversation ends quickly, my crush is more of a talent crush: Matt is a former graphic designer and art director and currently a food photographer, author and the man behind the Matt Bites blog. His photography is amazing, all natural light and unfussy, but what I find more addictive than anything else is his outlook, his energy for life. It’s hard to spend 5 minutes with him without getting hooked on his enthusiasm for family, good friends, great food and a life well lived with lots of travel to far-flung places. Seriously, he even went to Avery Island, Louisiana to learn how Tabasco is made. And didn’t take my husband with him. Alex is almost over it.

all set up
cooking the pops

And now he is a cookbook author too. [Amusingly, I think Matt and I signed our cookbook deals the same week except his book is in my hands right now and my book is … OH LOOK! Manhattanhenge! Did you catch it?] On A Stick! — yes, in which every recipe is speared or skewered or threaded on a handheld food device — is truly an exaltation of summer. It’s State Fairs and street fairs, frozen beach treats and the stuff picnics and backyard barbecues are made of: skewered salads, grilled marinated kebabs, melon with spices and fried pickles. Even unfathomable things get adorably impaled, like fried chicken and waffles, meatballs and spaghetti, potato chips (!) oh, and pizza too. It’s lighthearted, but there’s no skimping on the cooking: coconut shrimp, Chinese meatballs, pork belly and sweet and sour lollipops. Are you drooling yet?

almost like fudge pudding

pouring the pops

Back on the home front, Wee Jacob is spending a few days at Camp Grandparents — splashing in a backyard kiddie pool, getting over his City Boy fear of lawns and perfecting the art of tie-dying a t-shirt with watermelon juice — so I can get some sleep make great strides on my imminently due cookbook and I miss him terribly. It’s only three days but never has the apartment felt so dull when devoid of my curly-haired sidekick’s glockenspiel practice. It turns out that cooking is a lot less fun when there’s no risk of someone riding his trike over your toes in the kitchen. It turns out that once you get one decent night’s sleep, you’re all caught up and looking for excuses to go back to the playground again. And so I made him fudge popsicles from Matt’s book as a welcome-back treat.

fudge pops

I admit, I had my doubts. It felt like there was so little chocolate in them, how could they be fudgy? Fudge popsicles must be fudgy. And chewy. And chocolaty. There are rules and you just can’t go and change the way fudge popsicles are supposed to taste. And so I had to audition one. And then Alex too. And now I’m going to have to welcome my kid back with a lie, and tell him that the recipe only made two popsicles. I should have known better than to doubt Matt’s cooking instincts.

fudge pops

One year ago: Root Beer Float Cupcakes
Two years ago: Graham Crackers and Pesto Potato Salad with Green Beans
Three years ago: Smore Pie
Four years ago: Black Bottomed Cupcakes (Totally amused that almost without fail, I use the first week of June to make something chocolate and childish. I love June!)

Fudge Popsicles
Adapted, just a bit, from On A Stick!

Makes 4 standard-sized popsicles (3 ounces each) or 6 in my tiny* popsicle molds (which were 2 ounces each)

2 tablespoons (21 grams or 3/4 ounce) semisweet chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate
1/3 cup (67 grams or 2 1/3 ounce) sugar
1 tablespoon (7 grams or 1/4 ounce) cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons (8 grams or 1/4 ounce) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) whole milk
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon (3 ml) vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon (7 grams or 1/4 ounce) unsalted butter

In the bottom of a medium saucepan over very low heat, gently melt the chocolate chips, stirring constantly until smooth. Stir in sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, milk and salt and raise heat to medium. Cook mixture, stirring frequently until it thickens, anywhere between 5 minutes (for me) and 10 (suggested in the book). Remove from heat, add vanilla and butter and stir until combined.

Set aside to cool slightly then pour into popsicle molds. Freeze 30 minutes, then insert popsicle sticks. Freeze the rest of the way before serving.

* I’ll jump ahead of the question someone usually asks and tell you that I bought popsicle molds intended for feeding babies. I liked that they were tiny as I was pretty sure my one year-old doesn’t need to be eating an adult-sized popsicle this summer. Nor do I need to be washing it out of his clothes. 🙂 The popsicle maker works just fine, but because it’s in one piece, it’s best to unmold them all together (dipping the base in warm water). From there, you can spread them out on a tray in the freezer until they firm up again, then store them in a freezer bag for the long term. I didn’t use the sticks they provide; I remember from my own childhood that they get all chewed up and easily lost when you are sent outside with your drippy sticky treat. I instead bought disposable popsicle sticks, though I’m sure they’re even cheaper from a crafts store.

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peppermint hot fudge sauce – smitten kitchen

You have all of your holiday shopping done, don’t you? I bet everything is wrapped and in gift bags, and that you know how to tie ribbons into bows without cursing. I suspect everyone but me knows how to… fluff? Is that what they call it? I bet everyone knows how to arrange the tissue paper inside the gift bags so that it looks perfectly festive and even a tad enthusiastic. I have a hunch that your gifts are homemade and hand-lettered; that you made your own cards. Oh, you didn’t? Well, come sit down over here. You’re among friends.

peppermint hot fudge, in parts
ready to melt

I ran to Duane Reade this morning and bought a roll of brown shipping paper and decided at once that the gift wrap theme this year would be “rustic”. I also wiped out the gift bag supply; sorry about that. Then I went home and made my first homemade gift. Yes, I know it is both Hanukah and Christmas week but I don’t like to be rushed. Plus, if you only have time this week to warm hearts and minds with but a single homemade treat, I hardly think this would be an unwelcome choice.

a slow pour

I’ve made hot fudge sauce before; I shared the recipe my mother always made from her worn copy The Silver Palate Cookbook a few years ago. But as it turns out, I have room in my heart and ladled over my ice cream for two hot fudge sauces. This one hails from the late Gourmet (can anyone believe it’s been only two years?) and I decked it out for the holidays with some peppermint extract and some poor candy cane that had an unfortunate run-in with one of the most random but secretly delightful kitchen purchases I’ve made this year. The earlier hot fudge sauce was a bit on the bittersweet side and it could be a tiny bit tricky in that a small amount of overcooking can lead to grittiniess and the dreaded separation (of cocoa solids). This is a less bitter, harder to mess up and reheats wonderfully. Poured over a scoop of ice cream, it stops quickly its tracks and cools to the hallmark fudge sauce stage of slight chewiness. (This is kind of my favorite part.)

peppermint hot fudge sauce

Plus, it smells the way I imagine the Junior Mint factory must, i.e. like the heavens above. I will probably never fulfill my fantasy of sneaking into it unnoticed and falling asleep on a pile of soft blankets under a bubbling cauldron of chocolate and mint, with visions of peppermint patties and layered brownies dancing in my head. But now that I have this in the fridge, I don’t feel as bad about it.

a rare attempt at twee / packed up

Much more to come: I didn’t mean to disappear for a week, in fact, I have a ton of cooking to share — almost enough for daily updates until Friday. I really hope to make it happen; I think you should all have a talk with this guy if it doesn’t. I also hope to have some early cookbook news coming today soon, so watch this space. Whee!

One year ago: Broiled Mussels and Spicy Gingerbread Cookies
Two years ago: Creamed Mushrooms on Chive Butter Toast, Ridiculously Easy Butterscotch Sauce and Mushroom Marsala Pasta with Artichokes
Three years ago: Feta Salsa, Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting, Zuni Cafe’s Roasted Chicken and Bread Salad and Cranberry Vanilla Coffee Cake
Four years ago: Espresso Chocolate Shortbread Cookies, Peanut Butter Cookies and Austrian Raspberry Shortbread
Five years ago: Winter Panzanella, Orchiette with Cherry Tomatoes and Arugula, Chicken Skewers with Dukkah Crust and Pecan Squares

Peppermint Hot Fudge Sauce
Adapted, just a bit, from Gourmet

Now, not that one needs a reason to embrace hot fudge sauce, I mean, other than it’s Monday and there’s ice cream in the freezer, but one of the things that brought this on was that I found a product called golden syrup on the grocery store shelf when I hadn’t expected to, and this has kicked off a slew of cooking that was usually limited to corn syrup. Golden syrup is a pure cane syrup that can be used instead of corn syrup in most candy and caramel recipes and tastes infinitely better, as it has a slight caramel flavor to it. If you live outside the U.S., especially in the U.K. you’ve probably been using it your whole life but here it’s still a specialty item. I took the fact that Whole Foods on Houston was selling it in two different packages (canned and bottled) as a sign that this is probably slowly changing. (It’s also sold online over here and a bunch of other places Google can point you to, if needed.) If you cannot get golden syrup and don’t wish to use corn syrup, both honey and maple syrup will work as well, but of course impart different flavors.

Canning: Yes, I know I tempted you with tiny jars of ready-to-gift fudge, and I didn’t mean to be a tease, it’s just that products with dairy in them — and this has a ton — are not safe to can. But I see no reason why you cannot simply leave a note that it should be kept in the fridge and used within a week or two, right?

Makes about 2 cups

2/3 cup heavy or whipping cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup or golden syrup (see Note above)
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, ideally Dutch-processed
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or level 1/4 teaspoon table salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or, about 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips), divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract, or to taste
Crushed candy canes, for serving (optional)

In a 1 1/2 to 2-quart heavy saucepan, bring cream, syrup, sugar, cocoa, salt (if you’d like the salt to remain slightly textured, add it with the butter and extract at the end) and half the chocolate to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in remaining chocolate, butter and extract and stir until smooth. Cool the sauce to warm before serving it so that it can thicken up. While very hot, it will only slide off the ice cream and pool in the alleys of the bowl and that would be tragic, right?

Do ahead: Sauce keeps in fridge for a week (according to Gourmet), though we’ve kept it longer, closer to two weeks, and lived to tell about it. Reheat gently before serving, so that it is still thick but just loose enough to pour.

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hot fudge sundae cake – smitten kitchen

I realize that given the sheer number of two and three-layered, springform-bound and buttercream-shellacked celebration cakes I keep in the archives, you’d imagine that I had some pretty spectacular birthday cakes growing up. You’d be correct, but they were almost never homemade, not because I was suffering from cake-neglect, but because the only one I requested every year for my birthday was an ice cream cake, preferably from Carvel. Okay, insistently from Carvel, you know, the one in the strip mall at the end of the main road. The Carvel ice cream cake was, to me, as perfect as a June birthday cake could be — a layer each of chocolate and vanilla ice creams, separated by a smattering of Oreo-ish cookie rubble, coated with a suspiciously unbuttery buttercream and scattered with colored sprinkles. It was perfect. I loved it. I saw no reason anything should ever change.

cocoa + dark chocolate + cream = hoorayvanilla cream + chocolate creamegg whites, milk, vanilla cream, yolks, chocolate creammaking custard for both flavors at once

And it might not have, except nowadays I have this problem, which is that when I vocalize the daydreamy ideas that pass through my head, such as, “I wonder what it would be like to make an ice cream cake from scratch… no, a sundae cake … no! A hot fudge sundae cake, with hot fudge and whipped cream and those awful-but-I-love-them jarred cherries…” instead of my so-called loved ones saying, “That’s ridiculous. Why would you make that if we could buy it at a store?” they encourage me. No, they goad me. Then they applaud my efforts and say “Again!” (True story: We think “Again!” exclaimed with glee, was the kid’s first word.) And then things like this happen.

trying out the new ice cream bowl

chocolate ice cream
vanilla ice cream

Before we go any further, I need to get something off my chest. Unlike my so-called loved ones, I want you to know that I think making a hot fudge sundae cake with homemade chocolate and vanilla ice creams, homemade Oreo-like cookie crumbles, homemade hot fudge sauce, homemade whipped cream and then, I mean, of course storebought maraschino cherries (because come on), is absolute madness. There is no sane reason to do this. You could buy premium ice cream, Oreos, hot fudge, canned whipped cream and have my remaining jarred cherries and make an excellent hot fudge sundae cake. I will even explain how below. You could also make some of this stuff (the cookies or the ice creams or just the fudge) and not all of it and still be considered, for all intents and purposes, a well-adjusted person with well-fed friends. I repeat, there’s no rational reason to do what I did.

"You're making COOKIES? I help!!"chocolate sugar cookies (eh, oreos)it makes a lot; nobody will mindcookie crumbsthen we make hot fudgebrings all the boys to the kitchenhot fudge sauce. because you can.david lebovitz's unbearably good chocolate ice creamchocolate ice cream + crumb separatorvanilla ice cream, from machine to panchilled, smoothed, parchment liddedpre-fudging the cake makes it easier

But. If you wanted to, you know, be insane, I’d be happy to give you a guided tour. I could even whisper those nine magic words that always get us into these messes in your ears: “It’s really not as much work as it seems.” Or, you could just trust me that your local soft serve joint has nothing — I mean, nothing short of a whale pan — on the lunatic version. It’s The Summer Cake to End All Summer Cakes; you might as well just swan dive in.

hot fudge sundae cake, with sprinkles
hot fudge sundae cake

One year ago: Zucchini Bread Pancakes
Two years ago: Corn Buttermilk and Chive Popovers
Three years ago: Scalloped Tomatoes with Croutons
Four years ago: Arugula, Potato and Green Bean Salad
Five years ago: Salad Olivier
Six years ago: Double Chocolate Layer Cake

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

Here’s the recipe for sane people: 2 pints or 1 quart chocolate ice cream + 2 pints or 1 quart vanilla ice cream + about 14 ounces chocolate cookies, ground (such as Oreos or wafers) or 2 3/4 cups ground cookies + bottled hot fudge sauce + canned whipped cream + jarred marachino cherries. Below are the instructions to make each or any of these elements on your own. Then, choose your own adventure. What matters is that all roads lead to The Summer Cake To End All Summer Cakes, an air-conditioning unit of a celebration cake to soothe you until the heat wave passes.

Recipe changes from the photos you see: My only regrets in making this cake were to not have a cookie crumb base (it will be easier to remove slices from the cake pan), so I’ve included one here. I will definitely use it next time. I also wanted much more of the cookie crumb filling than I used (3/4 cup) and have increased it here. Finally, I was in a bit of a rush, but I encourage you to pre-fudge the hot fudge cake, i.e. put a little of the hot fudge on to cover the top, put it back in the freezer for 30 minutes, then — right as you’re about to serve it — put some warmer fudge over the top and sides. It will soften the frozen fudge but protect your top ice cream layer from wanting to melt off, as mine did. We found it charming, but you may not.

Sources: Chocolate and vanilla ice creams were fiddled with (just to reduce redundant steps when making them at the same time) from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop, which should come with every ice cream maker, because it’s amazing. The cookie crumbs are adapted from Wayne Brachman’s Retro Desserts; they’ve previously appeared on this site as Homemade Oreos but I’ve further simplified the recipe here. The hot fudge sauce, previously on this site with a peppermint riff, is adapted from the late print Gourmet magazine. The whipped cream was from scratch but I seriously urge you to consider using a can because the whole whipping cream + piping bag + star tip, all for 12 measly dollops, is a bit of a stretch in the effort vs. reward spectrum, even by my maddened standards. The cherries are from a jar, but, FTLOG, if you truly feel the need to make them from scratch, Melissa Clark has you covered. Whee!

Serves: 12 to 16

Part 1: Make Chocolate and Vanilla Ice Creams

Yield: 1 quart of each, instructions merged to cut down on repeated processes

4 cups heavy cream, divided
1 split vanilla bean (for vanilla batch)
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder and 5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (for chocolate batch)
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
10 egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided

Part 2: Make Chocolate Cookie Crumbs

Yield: About 48 2 1/2-inch cookies, weighing about 96 ounces, which will be about double what you need. However, they are so delicious and keep well, it seems worth it to make a full batch. Scooped balls of dough can be frozen to bake off later. Extra cookies can be ground into crumbs for future cakes/cheesecake crusts/dessert toppings, or kept in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Chocolate Cookies
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks), cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 large egg

For Crumb Crust
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Part 3: Make Hot Fudge Sauce

Yield: 2 cups, likely double what you need, but nobody worth knowing would turn down extra hot fudge sauce.

2/3 cup heavy or whipping cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup or golden syrup (honey should work as well, but I didn’t test it this time)
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, ideally Dutch-processed
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or level 1/4 teaspoon table salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or, about 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips), divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Part 4: Finish the Cake!

1 cup heavy or whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
Maraschino cherries
Colored sprinkles

Part 1 Instructions

Prepare chocolate cream: Warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining 1 cup cream.

Prepare vanilla cream: Heat 1 cup cream to a simmer. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the cream with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the cream. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour. After one hour, remove bean pod and stir in remaining 1 cup cream.

Make custard for both ice creams: Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a saucepan, then transfer to a spouted liquid measuring cup. Whisk together egg yolks, medium bowl. Slowly pour in warm milk/sugar/salt mixture, whisking constantly. Then mix yolk/milk mixture back into saucepan. Cook mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and …

For chocolate: Stir half of custard into chocolate cream until smooth, then stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

For vanilla: Stir the other half of the custard into vanilla cream, then stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Chill both mixtures in fridge overnight: You want them fully chilled before they go in an ice cream machine. You can hasten this along by stirring them over an ice bath but it should feel like ice water in coldness to the touch before you put it in your ice cream machine.

Meanwhile, make or prepare you chocolate cookie crumbs. You will want them ready to form a cake base before you churn your ice cream.

Part 2 Instructions

Make cookies: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Blend flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar in a food processor until combined. Add butter chunks and blend until the mixture is powdery. Add egg and run machine until dough starts to clump and ball, about 30 seconds. Scoop cookies out onto baking sheets, giving them space as they will spread a lot (not that merged cookies will matter once you grind them up). Bake for 9 to 10 minutes. Cookies will absolutely look underbaked, but don’t fret. Transfer baking sheets onto cooling racks and within two minutes, they will be firm enough to transfer to cooling racks. Let cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookie dough.

Grind about half of your cookies in a food processor or blender until they’re just crumbs. You will want a total of 2 3/4 cups of them.

Make chocolate cookie crust: Mix 1 1/3 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (from about 6 ounces whole cookies, or about 12 of the homemade cookies) and melted butter together in a bowl and press evenly into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with 2 3/4 to 3-inch sides. Freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.

Churn chocolate ice cream, i.e. first cake layer: According to manufacturers directions. In most cases, ice cream is churned for 30 minutes then transferred to a container to finish in freezer. Instead, once it has been churned to the point of soft-serve ice cream, spread it over the chocolate crumb crust in the freezer. Spread as evenly as possible, but don’t overly fret about a smooth top. This can be “perfected” after the ice cream has hardened.

Chill chocolate ice cream layer: In freezer for 1 to 2 hours, until firm. Once firm, you can use an offset spatula to make it as smooth and even as possible.

Add cookie crumb filling: Wipe off any ice cream smudges that have climbed the springoforms walls; this will keep the vanilla layer looking “clean.” Spread 1 1/4 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (from a little shy of 6 ounces whole cookies, or 11 to 12 of homemade cookies) evenly over the firm chocolate ice cream layer. You can press these in a bit with a round of parchment or waxed paper, so they merge a little bit with the ice cream below.

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best hot fudge sauce – smitten kitchen

Over the years, I’ve reduced the sugar a little, replaced the corn syrup with honey and/or golden syrup successfully, and then this last time, I accidentally put everything but the vanilla in the pot at the same time — instead of stirring in the chopped chocolate or chocolate chips at the end — and it was fine. I’m still nervous to give in my full support, however. It seems that it would be at risk to make the sauce grainy, if the chocolate cooks too long or burns slightly, but do know that if you’re making this as absentmindedly as I often do, it hasn’t failed me yet.

More ideas: You can add a little rum or bourbon at the end, or even a few flakes of sea salt, you could add some cinnamon or instant espresso during the cooking process, and this one time I stirred in a couple tablespoons of peanut butter at the end once the chocolate melted and I don’t want to say everyone liked me more that week, that would be weird, but it also might be true.

  • 2 tablespoon (30 grams) unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup (155 ml) heavy or whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup (170 grams) light corn syrup, golden syrup, or honey
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (20 grams) cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine or table sea salt
  • 6 ounces (170 grams) semi- or bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or 1 cup semi- or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the butter, cream, sweeteners, cocoa, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer on low, stirring, for 3 to 5 more minutes after everything has melted, then remove from heat and stir in chopped chocolate or chocolate chips. Stir in vanilla.

It’s now ready to ladle over ice cream, although it thickens more as it begins to cool, so you could also wait for 15 to 20 minutes before doing so, if it’s not too unbearable. Pour leftovers into a jar or jars and refrigerate. Hot fudge sauce keeps chilled in the fridge at least a month and often two, although it’s rare it lasts that long.

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