The first job I ever held was at a Dairy Queen just down the street from my house. I spent my days slinging blizzards, milkshakes and ice cream sundaes topped with pre-chopped peanuts and gelatinous fudge from a giant aluminum can. People didn’t seem to mind it, but they were bothered by the fact that we didn’t serve our ice cream sundaes with those neon red maraschino cherries. So, like an overachieving high schooler at her first job, I talked my boss into ordering a giant tub of them and, from that point forward, sundaes went out the window with a cherry on top.
It’s too bad I didn’t know then what I know now, or else I probably wouldn’t have fought so hard to get those customers their cherries. A few years ago I found out that maraschino cherries are bleached with a food-grade chemical solution, then recolored and sweetened with high fructose corn syrup and even more chemicals, so from that point forward I decided I wouldn’t eat another maraschino cherry as long as I lived. That’s why the cherries are noticeably absent from my sundaes, but easily replaced with a real cherry, a couple of fresh raspberries, or a thick slice of strawberry (just as I did below).
This recipe makes a fairly small batch compared to other recipes (one pint instead of one quart), but the smaller recipe is necessary to make the ice cream maker-free version come together in a quicker manner. If you have an ice cream maker, feel free to double the recipe, but I recommend only increasing the sugar to 6 tablespoons or else your ice cream may be overly sweet.
Vanilla Bean Hot Fudge Sundaes
Makes 3 to 4 sundaes
Vanilla bean ice cream:
- 1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
- 1/4 cup cane sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 1 tablespoon potato starch (or corn starch)
- 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (soy or almond milk)
Hot fudge sauce:
- 3 ounces good quality dark chocolate
- 2 tablespoon brown rice syrup (or corn syrup)
- 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk (soy or almond milk)
- Crushed nuts
- Shredded coconut
- Coconut whipped cream
Remove the can of coconut milk from the fridge and scrape the white layer of cream into a medium sized saucepan set over medium heat. Cook coconut cream until liquid, then stir together the sugar, vanilla bean, and starch in a small bowl, and whisk it into the coconut cream. Cook for 15 to 20 seconds, then stir in the non-dairy milk and continue cooking mixture for 30 to 45 seconds. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
If you have an ice cream maker, prepare the ice cream according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If not, place a large glass bowl in the freezer. When the mixture has chilled, transfer it to the chilled bowl and freeze for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove from freezer and whip with a hand mixer for 15 to 20 seconds. Transfer back to freezer and repeat the freezing/whipping process until the mixture has thickened (roughly 3 to 4 hours). Once the mixture has thickened (about twice as thick as a milkshake), transfer it to a freezer-safe container and freeze until ready to use.
While the ice cream is freezing, prepare the hot fudge sauce by melting the chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat (microwaving would work, as well). Once the chocolate has melted, stir in the rice syrup and non-dairy milk, then remove from heat. Transfer to a small jar and refrigerate until you’re ready to assemble the sundaes.
Divide the ice cream between 3 to 4 small bowls, top with hot fudge sauce and any additional toppings you think are fitting for a hot fudge sundae. Enjoy!