It’s almost Valentine’s Day! Let’s celebrate with ice cream sundaes!
We’re layering chocolatey hot fudge sauce, vanilla ice cream, extra coconutty coconut milk caramel, and pecans! Yasss! We’re doing German Chocolate Cake style sundaes! Plus whipped cream, sprinkles, and a cherry on top, because that’s how we roll.
Historically, German Chocolate Cake has been my favorite. As a kid, it was my chosen birthday cake each year. Less because of the chocolate cake part, and more because of the gooey, caramely coconut pecan frosting. About two years ago, I saw on instagram that someone had Talenti German Chocolate Cake flavored gelato, and I made it my mission in life to find it. Every store, every ice cream aisle. I checked. Every time. But alas, no luck. I was starting to think that maybe it didn’t actually exist, but then, a few weeks ago, EUREKA!
So, after all that hype (I literally did a succession of these moves in Whole Foods when I found it), it was… meh. I mean, it was good. But like, it wasn’t great. It wasn’t two years of searching good, ya know? I could do better. But instead of making my own version of the ice cream, I decided to go the sundae route. For love-day!
Whether you’re doing something naughty with the extra hot fudge with your sweetheart slash resurrecting the whipped cream bikini, setting up a Gal-entine’s ice cream sundae bar, or treating some little tiny loves to a special treat, these sundaes win. Here’s the drill: a layer of homemade hot fudge sauce in the bottom, a big scoop of vanilla ice cream (that hot meets cold part is my favorite!), some salty caramel that we make using coconut milk and then mix with shredded coconut, a sprinkle of crunchy toasted pecans, and then as many wacky, fun toppings as your pitter pattering hearts desire.
PS. These little dino lovers are from our wedding! We metallic spray painted a full zoo/jurassic park’s worth of dinosaurs and animals for place settings, as a reminder (to ourselves) to have fun, be playful, and not take ourselves, or the material aspects of the wedding, too seriously. Now these little guys remind me of what a fun love-filled day that was! Insert a thousand heart and confetti emojis here, plus the ice cream one. And the kissy face one.
German Chocolate Cake/ Coconut Pecan Ice Cream Sundaes
Both sauces make way more than you’ll need for two sundaes, but both store well in the fridge, and would be great for a sundae bar. Make both sauces ahead of time, so on Valentine’s Day (or whenever) you can just assemble everything.
Hot fudge sauce (recipe below)
Vanilla ice cream
Coconutty coconut caramel (recipe below)
Toasted pecan pieces
Sprinkles, cherries, etc
In serving bowl or glass, layer: hot fudge, vanilla ice cream, coconutty coconut milk caramel (and a drizzle of the coconut-less caramel if you’d like), pecans, whipped cream, and desired sundae toppings.
Hot Fudge Sauce
Adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
1 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup*
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate
Combine water, sugar, and corn syrup in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, whisk in cocoa powder until thoroughly combined, then stir in vanilla. Add chocolate, and let sit for about 3 minutes. Stir the sauce until the chocolate is fully melted and smoothly mixed in. Serve warm or cool. Can be refrigerated for up to 2 months, and reheated in a sauce pan as needed.
Coconutty Coconut Milk Caramel
Adapted from Epicurious
2 14 oz cans coconut milk
1.5 cups light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (plus a pinch more if you want it extra salty)
1 cup shredded coconut
In a large pot (go bigger than you’d think), whisk together coconut milk, light brown sugar, and salt. Heat over medium heat until brown sugar is dissolved, then bring to a boil over medium-high. Boil, stirring occasionally, until it’s reduced to about 2 cups and has thickened to coat a spoon. This usually takes me about 30 minutes. Depending on the heat of your burner, you can turn it down… On my gas stove, it boils over like crazy over medium heat, so I kept it on a steady medium-low boil for 30 minutes. Just keep an eye on it and adjust as necessary.
Let cool, then mix 1 cup of the sauce with the 1 cup of shredded coconut. Set the remainder aside. Both can be refrigerated.
* A note on corn syrup. Some of you may have read that ingredient and freaked out a little. Here’s the deal. In my opinion, a little bit of Karo corn syrup in a homemade dessert, when you’re indulging, isn’t the issue (if you eat ice cream sundaes on the daily, it might be an issue... but then... so will all that ice cream). Hidden high fructose corn syrup in every kind of prepackaged food where you least expect it… that’s where we run into problems. However, if you’re super anti, then you can try to replace the corn syrup with agave, but I haven’t tested that substitution. Or... you may want to rethink this whole dessert, it’s full of processed sugar…I mean... it's not a kale salad. It’s an ice cream sundae! If you want to know more, David Lebovitz has some really good thoughts about using corn syrup in cooking.