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10 Must-Try Toppings for Your Hot Fudge Sundae

10 Must-Try Toppings for Your Hot Fudge Sundae

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Take your sundaes to the next level

Shutterstock / Silatip

Take your sundaes to the next level.

Everyone loves to follow a savory dinner with one of summer’s favorite treats: ice cream. There is no better way to relish the season than with a creamy ice cream sundae — and it’s becoming more and more popular to change up this classic dish with surprising toppings.

10 Must-Try Toppings for Your Hot Fudge Sundae

Sundaes are no longer just a sweet sensation. Bacon is one of the most common unusual toppings, because, as we know, everything tastes better with bacon. Another favorite of many households is popcorn, especially when drizzled with salted caramel.

Whether you’re adventurous enough to try Pop Rocks as a topping or willing to splurge on some 14-karat gold leaf, we’re sharing a few of our favorites that will fit the bill.

14-Karat Gold Leaf

Add a luxurious topping to your sundae with gold flakes. It’s the perfect dessert for a decadent summer brunch.

Bacon on Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Everything tastes better with bacon — or so they say. Fry some super crisp bacon to add a salty and savory taste to your sundae.

Who Invented the Hot Fudge Sundae?

Thick and rich, hot fudge sauce turns ordinary vanilla ice cream into something magical. Cold vanilla ice cream gets slightly melted from the hot fudge and topped with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry. It’s a classic and easy dessert. But what’s the history of the hot fudge sundae and who invented it?

Before we get into the hot fudge sundae, we need to know where the ice cream sundae originates. There are a few possibilities.

One is the sundae is tied to Sunday Blue Laws that were passed in the late 1800s early 1900s. A restriction was selling soda on Sundays. At this time, ice cream soda was very popular which meant shops were prohibited from selling it on Sunday. To get around the law, they began selling ice cream sodas without the soda – that left a glass of ice cream and the syrup.

Another theory is back in 1881 in Wisconsin, soda shop owner Ed Berners had a customer that asked for a bowl of ice cream with the syrup used for soda on top. He liked it, charged a nickel, and decided to add it to his menu. George Giffy, a competing soda shop owner, felt he needed to serve the concoction too and decided to serve it for a nickel only on Sundays. His Ice Cream Sunday became very popular and he realized he was making the most money on Sunday. So, he decided to serve it every day… and change the name to ice cream sundae.

The third idea is it originated in Ithaca, New York where Chester Platt owned Platt & Colt’s drugstore. On a Sunday, he prepared a dish of vanilla ice cream for a local reverend in 1893. Platt added cherries and cherry syrup to the ice cream. They named it a Cherry Sunday since it was made on a Sunday.

There is no question, though, as to who invented the hot fudge sundae. We can thank Clarence Clifton Brown for this heavenly dessert.

In 1906, Clarence owned C.C. Brown’s Ice Cream Shop in Los Angeles, California. He had the idea to create a topping that would slowly melt the cold ice cream. He experimented for two months and finally found the right recipe. Served in fluted glasses that allowed the melted ice cream and hot fudge to drip down the sides, his sundae became a huge hit. It was served (and remained very popular) until the shop closed in 1996.

No longer do we need to go to an ice cream shop to enjoy a hot fudge sundae. Through the years, companies began to package hot fudge that can be quickly heated at home.

While store-bought hot fudge sauce is delicious it’s easy to make from scratch. If you want to try, here are two Blue Ribbon recipes you’re guaranteed to love. While they may not be 100% traditional, they will make your hot fudge sundae’s extra special.

Crunchy Toppings

Toppings with a little bit of texture provide an interesting texture for your ice cream. Contrasting textures are an important part of great food. Plus, all of these ideas are tasty and traditional for ice cream sundaes.

  • Candy Pieces: Give a rough chop to your favorite candy bars or put out bite-sized candy. Look for small versions of candy like M&Ms or gummy bears, especially if you are putting together an ice cream sundae bar for kids.
  • Crumbled Cookies: While Oreo cookies are the most common cookie to pair with ice cream, you can chop up any of your favorite cookie types to add to the sundae bar.
  • Chopped Nuts: Toast and roughly chop your favorite nuts. Walnuts are a popular choice for sundaes, but just about any kind of nuts will taste great. Cashews and almonds are two popular choices. You can even buy slivered almonds and save yourself the chopping.
  • Baking Chips: While chocolate chips are always a favorite choice, there are many other flavors of chips available. Try butterscotch or even mint chips (Ghirardelli makes a great one).

Best Hot Fudge Sauce

The Best Hot Fudge Sauce is easy to make and beats store bought options. It turns out thick, gooey, fudgy and delicious—perfect every time!

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The Best Hot Fudge Sauce is easy to make and beats store bought options. It turns out thick, gooey, fudgy and delicious—perfect every time!

If you have been frustrated trying to make your own hot fudge sauce in the past, let your mind be at ease. If you follow these simple instructions to the tee—you will be delighted with the sauce and yourself for mastering this simple recipe. This sauce is perfect as an ice cream topper, drizzled over a cake or pie, used to make chocolate milk, or even used as a fudge layer in other recipes. Once you learn how to make your own, you will never reach for store bought fudge sauce again!

You are going to love the delicious flavor and perfect texture of this recipe. Even though the ingredients are ones you probably already have on hand, the taste is like something you would find in a gourmet sweet shop! Although this recipe is quick and easy, the trick to achieving perfect, smooth texture is the cooking and the blending.

The cooking allows the sugar to bind with the other ingredients too hot, and the sugar burns, too cool or too short, and the sugar could end up grainy or crystallized. The blending has to do with working air into the sauce, or aerating it. The smooth, creamy texture is a result of this blending, so be sure to blend for the full two minutes, even if it seems pretty well blended before that. Also, an immersion blender doesn’t work great for this step. Both the temperature and the time are key here, so be ready with your ingredients and a timer—you will love the result!

  • Will the sugar crystallize? Crystallizing is pretty common when working with sugar, but by heating the sugar just right, you can avoid that crystallization. Be sure to follow the cooking and blending very closely.
  • Does hot fudge sauce need to be refrigerated? We recommend storing the fudge sauce in the refrigerator. There is probably enough sugar in it to keep fine at room temperature, but it is always safer in the fridge and will keep fresher. Reheat in the microwave in small, 20-30 second increments of time.
  • How long will hot fudge sauce keep in the fridge? This sauce can be used up to one month if kept in the refrigerator. If you bottle this to store it, using professional bottling techniques after you make it, it will last from 6-12 months, unopened, in the fridge.
  • Can I make this in the microwave? There are recipes out there for microwave hot fudge, but the best results for homemade hot fudge sauce are achieved through cooking on a traditional stovetop. The heat in microwaves just isn’t as reliable. This recipe is best made on the stove top—it is still simple and quick to make.

DID YOU KNOW? Hot fudge sauce is considered low level candy making. Candy making is comprised of anything that has a main ingredient of sugar. It is a finicky science and small missteps can be disastrous. Don’t fret though, if you can follow instructions then you can make candy.

A common mistake in candy making is cooking the sugar too fast. When a candy recipe says “bring to a boil” you should warm it at low-medium heat until everything is melted, then turn the heat up to medium high until boiling begins. Then, always reduce the heat to medium to sustain a simmering boil. If you just flip the heat up to high, you risk burning or otherwise ruining your sugar. Doubling a candy recipe can be difficult as it effects the cooking time, pot size, and more. Substitutions are unpredictable in candy making because each ingredient has a very specific purpose. This is cooking chemistry. Unless you are an experienced candy maker, just stick to the recipe.

If you like this yummy hot fudge recipe, you may also be interested in these other fudgy delights:

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

Hot Fudge Sauce Recipe

Who can resist a big fat scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with a warm, silky, chocolatey hot fudge sauce?! Not me! Simple, delicious and fudgy fantastic, you’ll want to spoon this warm chocolate sauce over just about everything.

How to make Hot Fudge Sauce

For this recipe you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • sweetened condensed milk
  • unsalted butter
  • light corn syrup
  • Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • good quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (not chocolate chips)
  • vanilla extract
  • salt
  • heavy cream, half-and-half or milk

To make this simple chocolate sauce:

  1. Combine the condensed milk, butter, syrup and cocoa powder in a heavy bottom medium saucepan. Cook on medium low until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot.
  2. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Stir occasionally until all chocolate is melted.
  3. Stir in the vanilla, salt and cream.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

What else can you create with Hot Fudge Sauce?

This versatile sauce is great on or in almost everything.

  • Drizzle over your favorite ice cream
  • Layer cooled hot fudge sauce between scoops of homemade vanilla ice cream then freeze. Instant Fudge Ripple ice cream!
  • Make a homemade banana split! You’ll need diced strawberries or strawberry jam, pineapple chunks, nuts, cherries, whipped cream and a banana.
  • A quick and simple ice cream sundae is a must-make!
  • Stir a few spoonfuls into hot milk for a mug of homemade hot chocolate.
  • Add to cold milk for a delicious glass of chocolate milk.
  • Pour hot fudge sauce into a blender with ice cream for a quick milkshake.
  • Use this deliciously warm concoction as a dipping sauce for fruit, cookies, pretzels and cubes of pound cake. Like a Chocolate Fondue!
  • Warm a small amount of sauce with a heaping spoonful of peanut butter. Drizzle over ice cream and enjoy.
  • Grab a spoon and enjoy!

What is the best way to rewarm this chocolate sauce?

To rewarm this hot fudge sauce, remove the lid from the jar and microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir and repeat as needed. The sauce should be pourable, not steaming or overly hot.

You can also place the sealed jar in a pan or bowl of very hot water. Leave the sauce in the hot water bath, swirling occasionally, until pourable. Easy peasy!

Does Hot Fudge Sauce need to be refrigerated?

Yes, you should always store your homemade hot fudge sauce in the refrigerator. Once cooked, pour the sauce into a glass jar and cool. Cover with a lid and refrigerate.

How long will this keep in the refrigerator?

Our Hot Fudge Sauce will keep for 10 days to 2 weeks if well sealed and refrigerated.

How to make a Hot Fudge Sundae

Scoop your favorite ice cream into a bowl. Top with our hot fudge sauce, whipped cream, nuts and a cherry. Salted peanuts are a personal favorite but walnuts and pecans work well too! It’s worth every calorie to dive into those pools of warm sauce.

Here are a few more ideas for serving a Hot Fudge Sundae:

Drizzle a little caramel sauce over the whipped cream if you’re looking for added sweetness.

Serve with a simple shortbread cookie on the side, or crumbled on top.

Replace the nuts with toffee bits.

What’s the best kind of chocolate to use in this recipe?

We prefer to use a good baking chocolate in this sauce. You’ll want something that melts beautifully and has great chocolate flavor. Our favorite is Scharffen Berger chocolate bars. We use these products often but especially when baking and in recipes like this where chocolate is the star.

Chocolate chips are not our first choice, but it that’s all you have on-hand, then give it a go. Bittersweet or semisweet should both be fine. Milk chocolate chips may be a little too sweet. Remember, even though this sauce is great eaten right off a spoon, it will most likely be drizzled over something sweet, like ice cream.

Chocolate chips melt differently than baking chocolate as they have added ingredients. Your hot fudge sauce may have a slightly different consistency than ours pictured here.

Have fun and enjoy!

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Sorry, you won't find our recipe here . . . but we've listed a few of our favorite ways to serve Sundaes Best.

Creamy Hot Chocolate
Place 2 spoonfuls of Sundaes Best in a mug of milk, microwave for two minutes, stir and enjoy . . . heavenly!

Straight From The Jar
Just grab a spoon and dig in!

Need a chocolate fix in the morning? Getting tired of latte or cappuccino? Grab your silver spoon, open jar, dip spoon and mix into your favorite java. Smile all the way to work.

Bethey Magoo's Decadent Hot Chocolate Egg Nog

1/2 quart of milk
1/2 quart of eggnog
1/2 cup of Original Sundaes Best Hot Fudge Sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Whipped cream, marshmallows, cinnamon, nutmeg, cancy cane as desired for garnish

Combine milk, eggnog, Sundaes Best Hot Fudge Sauce and nutmeg in a 2-quart saucepan.

Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until completely warmed.

Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.

Pour into mugs, garnish the way you like it best. Sip slowly to enjoy every decadent drop!

Raspberry Upside Down Cake

1/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1-1/2 cups fresh raspberries, divided
4 TB sliced almonds, divided
1-1/2 cups biscuit baking mix
1/2 cup milk
2 Tb oil
1/2 tsp each vanilla and almond flavor
1 beaten egg

Drizzle butter in a 9" round pan. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar. Sprinkle with 2 Tb of almonds. Arrange 3/4 cup of raspberries with open ends up.
Combine baking mix, 1/2 cup sugar, milk, oil, vanilla, almond flavor.
Beat with electric mixer for 4 minutes.
Pour into pan over raspberries and almonds.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
Immediately invert over a serving plate.
Allow to cool for several minutes and remove pan.
Garnish with remaining raspberries and almonds.
Drizzle with Sundaes Best Raspberry or Original Hot Fudge Sauce!

One Pan Brownie d’Light

1 box brownie mix
1 quart ice cream (vanilla, chocolate chip, chocolate …)
1 tub whipped topping
1 jar Sundaes Best Hot Fudge Sauce

Prepare brownie mix according to directions on box for size 9” by 9” pan.

Bake according to package directions. Cool slightly.

While still warm, stir the brownies, breaking them into pieces.

Spread the ice cream over the brownies. Pour Sundaes Best over the ice cream. Spread the whipped topping over the Sundaes Best. Sprinkle the nuts over the top. Cover and freeze until ready to serve.

To make the ice cream, simply put everything into a bowl and use an electric hand mixer to whisk all the ingredients together thoroughly.

Then pour the mixture into the polythene freezer box and place it in the coldest part of the freezer. After about 2 hours, or when the edges are starting to freeze, remove it and use the hand mixer to give it another good mix and break down any ice crystals. Return to the freezer, then repeat the whisking after 3 more hours.

Finally, return it to the freezer for a further 6 to 8 hours, by which time it should be at serving consistency. If you've made it a long time ahead and it's very hard, transfer it to the main body of the fridge for 30 minutes to soften enough to scoop.

To make the chocolate fudge sauce, all you do is pour the evaporated milk into a small heatproof bowl, then break up the chocolate into small squares and add them to the milk. Place the bowl on a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the bottom doesn't touch the water, and leave the chocolate to melt, stirring from time to time. It will take about 10 minutes to become a lovely fudgy mass.

To serve the sundaes, put three scoops of very firm, cold ice cream per person into tall glasses, followed by 3 dessertspoons of hot fudge sauce, followed by 1 dessertspoon whipped cream or crème fraîche. Finally sprinkle over some chopped nuts and serve absolutely immediately.

Note: Because of the sugar content in condensed milk, this recipe is not suitable for ice-cream makers.

Rica Beltran

First of all, it's important to pick a good base. Ice cream comes in many varieties so even depending on your guests and your budget you have a lot of options. If you want to get super DIY, you can make your own homemade ice cream using condensed milk or this vegan coconut milk version. If you want an easier vegan ice cream, try making frozen banana 'nice' cream by blending up a frozen banana with a 1/2 cup dairy free milk and adding in cocoa powder and peanut butter or other frozen fruits.

If you're hosting a larger group, you're going to want to stock up on ice cream. Try BlueBunny (or a similar brand) Vanilla or Chocolate since it comes in quarts! A normal serving is about 2 scoops per person, so try to plan accordingly (having a little extra is normally better than running out). A few tips on choosing your ice cream: try to pick more basic flavors like chocolate, vanilla, or coffee. Since the excitement is in the toppings, it's good to not go for the crazy complex flavors. You should also consider how sweet the base of the ice cream is, since the topping will add new flavors and textures.

If you want to get fancy, Ben and Jerry's is always a good bet (and I'm not just saying that because I'm from Vermont). They offer vegan options as well! Haagen Dazs also has a lot of great options (strawberry and dulce de leche are my favorites). If you want something on the low-calorie side, Enlightened and Halo Top are two solid choices. If you have someone in your party who's gluten-free, you might also want to check out ReThink: a company that makes gluten-free, keto-friendly ice cream with no sugar alcohol. Alden's Organic is another company with delicious dairy-free and dairy-based ice creams. Their company is small-batch and super delicious!

Amelia Hitchens

Next you need something to put your ice cream in! I love a good ice-cream cookie sandwich (fondly known as a chip-wich) and you can get pretty creative with the cookies as well. Chocolate chip cookies are a classic, but sugar cookies with sprinkles also work really well. If you're not a cookie person, brownies are a classic sundae choice. Feeling more traditional? Go with a bowl- maybe one that's edible?

Laura Subiaur

Finally the fun part: toppings! For fruit, chop up strawberries, bananas, and serve various berries alongside ice cream. You can also caramelize apples by slicing up a few and cooking them in a pot with water and cinnamon sugar for about 15 minutes.

For sauces, chocolate sauce and caramel are classics (although Butterscotch deserves an honorable mention). If you have access to a warmer, you can have a small crock-pot of hot fudge for your guests to pour on to their ice cream.

Other good toppings are nut butters, roasted or raw nuts like almonds, peanuts, pecans, chia seeds, and walnuts. Chocolate chips or various candies of your choice chopped into smaller pieces can add some extra sweetness and a perfect contrasting crunch. You can also go classic and have rainbow sprinkles and jimmies (chocolate sprinkles). Homemade (or store bought) whipped cream and cherries are a must.

Emma Fein

Remember to have reusable or compostable plates and utensils along with napkins for your guests. For those who don't want a cone or cookie (or when chip-wiches start to melt), have some bowls or cups available. Be sure to set out some hand sanitizer, get some music going, and have fun!

My personal favorite sundae is Halo Top's dairy free oatmeal cookie mixed with chocolate chips and peanut butter either sandwiched between oatmeal chocolate chip cookies or on top of peanut butter brownies with some sliced bananas and a dash of whipped cream. Yum! Tell us your favorite sundae creation below!

Hot Fudge Sauce

In a medium saucepan, gently whisk together the cocoa powder and sugar. Whisk in the cream, then turn the heat to medium and whisk it as it warms up. When the mixture starts to heat up, add the butter and stir it in to melt. Then when the mixture is nice and hot, add the vanilla and stir it to combine. Let the sauce cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer it to a mason jar. Store it in the fridge (it will become solid as it cools).

To serve, scoop out the amount you need and place it in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat it for 20 seconds, then stir and heat for another 10 or until the sauce is warm.

I have a problem with ice cream sauces, whether it&rsquos strawberry sauce, caramel sauce, or this hot fudge sauce I&rsquom sharing with you today: I pretty much love them so much that I don&rsquot really need to eat them with ice cream. I only need a spoon. Now, I guess you could call this a good thing because I&rsquom saving the ice cream calories, which would most assuredly wind up on my bottom. But you could also call it a bad thing because once I eat a spoonful, particularly of this silky, velvety chocolate goodness&mdashI&rsquom liable to eat the whole jar.

So see? I&rsquom better off going ahead with the ice cream!

There&rsquos nothing complicated about this stuff! In a medium saucepan, gently whisk together cocoa powder and sugar.

Gently whisk in some heavy cream, then turn the heat to medium and whisk it as it warms up.

When the (very thick) mixture starts to heat up, drop in some butter and stir it until it&rsquos totally melted.

When it&rsquos melted and smooth (sorry, the lighting makes it hard to see!), add vanilla and stir it to combine.

And that&rsquos seriously it! Ridonkulously easy.

Serve it right away if you have guests hanging around or you can pour it into a jar!

  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 chocolate bar biscuit croissant topping
  • 1 jelly cotton candy
  • ½ jelly gummies
  • 2 cups liquorice chocolate
  • 2 jelly beans bonbon
  • 2 caramels tart gummi bears
  • 6 butterscotch caramel lollipops
  • 12 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup sugar

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Kristine Mahan

Ah, last but not least we have fruit. When you get ice cream, you aren't exactly being healthy, but adding some fruit might make you think otherwise. If you add fresh strawberries or pineapple, those juices can mix with your ice cream to give you an exotic taste.

While anything on top of ice cream tastes good, I think these are the best ice cream toppings. From a classic topping like hot fudge, to a newbie like cookie dough, toppings make ice cream fun. If you can't decide on just one topping, you can always get them all.