Hot Fudge Sundae Conniosseur

Growing up in the Santa Monica – West Los Angeles area, my friends and I would go coffee-shop hopping. One particular friend and I would meet at Cafe Santa Monica at 20th and Santa Monica Blvd for breakfast on Saturday or Sunday. We were cool. We were the most sophisticated of all we knew at age 14. We met sort of in the middle. I got on the bus at Sepulveda and she got on, or rollerskated from 11th street.

The love of coffee shop food – fried eggs, crisp hashbrowns, black coffee. Or the best of the grill, patty melts, Reuben’s, tuna melts and fries. The soda fountain caught my attention from the start and many times I would only order a Hot Fudge Sundae, with extra hot fudge. I had a Hot Fudge Sundae at every coffee shop on the blue bus route from Santa Monica to Beverly Hills. One of the best was from Shapiro’s, the coffee shop in the Beverly Hilton Hotel. It was from their version that my perception of how a proper Hot Fudge Sundae should be constructed.

A good, solid, thick-glassed, compote needs to be used. A few tablespoons of hot fudge go in first and swirled around. After each scoop of vanilla ice cream, put about a tablespoon of hot fudge. Over the final scoop put about 1/4 of a cup of sauce. Whipped cream, traditionally from a can but fresh whipped is wonderful stuff. A heaping tablespoon of chopped, toasted almonds, scattered over the whipped cream and into any crevices going into the bowl. Top it off with a beautiful maraschino cherry that has plenty of juice to soak down into the whipped cream, to be eaten at the end.

Some of the worst so-called hot fudge sauces have a consistency of black caramel. The too sticky, caramel consistency is from low quality sauce and sitting in a warmer for days on end.

This recipe is the best homemade hot fudge sauce I have ever come across. I found it over 20 years ago in the Craig Claiborne’s New York Time’s cookbook. Simple and without compare.

Hot Fudge Sauce
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup or 1/2 cup Lyle’s golden syrup and 1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup evaporated milk or cream
1/4 t. salt
3 T. butter
1 t. vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients, except vanilla extract in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a full rolling boil. Boil briskly three minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the mixture from heat and add the vanilla. Serve warm. Obviously.
Store the sauce in a jar, kept in the frig. To heat, set the jar in a pan of simmering water until it thins to pouring consistency.
Come hell or high water, I’m making this in the next few days.


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