Monday, June 6, 2011

The cure for naked ice cream

Q:  What do you do with a bowl of naked ice cream?
A:  Dress it up fancy.

Note:  Definitions of fancy may vary.

My daughter:  Sprinkles and gummy bears.  LOTS of gummy bears*.
My son:  Naked ice cream!  Heh heh heh.  Mom said naked.  Hey, does it count if I put the naked ice cream on top of a warm brownie.  Still naked, but on top?   Get it?  Heh heh heh.  I'm a riot.
My husband:  Just strawberries.  I'm really very full.  And maybe a tiny bit of that whipped cream.  Oh, OK, pass the hot fudge, too.

My husband's actual plate, the night we took the ice cream sundae bar to a friend's house. Note bowl of gummy bears in foreground.  At end of evening, none will be left.  My daughter is the prime suspect, but she was definitely not working alone.

A Sundae Bar's Worth of Ice Cream Dress-Up Sauces
The nice thing about naked ice cream is that it just gives you so many options.  Like a blank canvas, really.  The even nicer thing about these ice cream dress-up sauces is that you don't actually need the ice cream to enjoy them. If you have a naked spoon, you're good.

Heh heh heh.

Betsy's Oh So Easy Hot Fudge Sauce
My friend Betsy made this one night while we were standing in her kitchen, just chatting away.  She was barely even paying attention while she did it.  Suddenly, she was pouring this perfectly smooth, thick, ribbon of warm fudge over our bowls of of ice cream (still talking), while the rest of us stood stock still in awe.   Then we lost all decorum, ceased listening to a word she said, and devoured every last bite.

8 oz. good quality unsweetened chocolate, broken into pieces/chopped
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter
1 12oz. can evaporated milk
1 box powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt

Set up a medium sized mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water, to form a double boiler.  Melt the chocolate and the butter together, whisking until combined.   Add the evaporated milk and the powdered sugar, alternating about 1/3 of each at a time, starting with the milk and ending with the sugar.  Whisk until completely smooth.   Add the salt, stir one more time, and serve.

Warm Salted Peanut Butter Sauce
Adapted from a recipe in the Clinton Street Bakery Cookbook.  The original recipe was far too salty for my taste**, so I cut the salt amount in half and upped the amount of sugar.  Taste and adjust as you like, as the saltiness of the peanut butter itself will vary widely from brand to brand.  As modified, this is spectacular with a warm naked brownie.  With or without the ice cream.

1 c. creamy peanut butter
1/3 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. heavy cream
3 Tbs. butter

Put all ingredients into a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on high until the peanut butter is hot and the butter has melted.  Whisk until smooth and slightly cooler.   Serve.

Brown Sugar Butterscotch Sauce
Straight out of the Fog City Diner Cookbook.  Oh baby.  This one is my favorite.

5 tbs. butter
3/4 c. light brown sugar, packed
3/4 c. dark brown sugar, packed
1 c. light corn syrup
1 c. heavy cream
salt to taste

Combine the butter, sugars, and corn syrup in a saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a rolling boil.  Stir only enough to blend the ingredients together as they melt, then let it go until boiling.  Remove from the heat, stir in the cream (it may bubble up, so be careful), and return to the heat until it boils again.   Cool slightly, taste, and add a pinch or a little bit more salt, depending on how you like your caramel sauce.  I generally add about 1/2 tsp or so.   Allow to cool slightly (sauce with thicken), and serve.

All three sauces keep for weeks in the fridge.  Just zap for a minute or so in the microwave, and you're ready to go. With these on hand (and some sprinkles and gummy bears), you can have an ice cream sundae bar anytime.  No more naked.  Ice cream, anyway.  Heh heh heh.

The ice cream dress-up line up. From left:  Salted peanut butter, brown sugar butterscotch, and hot fudge.

* Apparently a widely held definition, based on my unofficial observations of most people under 16 as they go through the topping section at the local Menchie's.

** Which is saying something, because I probably should probably just have a big old salt lick installed at my house.

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