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Sundae Season

Sure, a fresh, unadulterated scoop of homemade ice cream is delightful. But why not take it up an indulgent notch with warm sauce, crunchy bits, whipped cream, and crowning fruit? Check out our recipes + tips from the pros for all the fixings you’ll need to make an over-the-top, can’t-help- yourself sundae. Ready the spoons!

“Lots of customers go crazy with unique ice cream flavor combinations like chocolate mint cookie with blood orange raspberry and cinnamon bourbon.”
—Shira Tizer, general manager at oWowCow Creamery in Ottsville and Wrightstown, Penn., and Lambertville, N.J.

Bittersweet Hot Fudge

Leigh Belanger
Hot fudge makes everything better. Try this dark and barely bitter version over almost any flavor of ice cream.

Makes 1¼ cups


  • ¾ cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ¼ cup corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or a 6-ounce bar chopped into ½-inch-thick chunks ¼ teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste


  • In medium saucepan, bring ¾ cup cream, corn syrup, and vanilla to a low boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and add chocolate, stirring until it melts. If sauce looks grainy, slowly whisk in additional cream, until it turns thick and glossy.
  • Stir in salt, taste, and adjust as needed. Serve warm.

PRO SUNDAE TIP: Mix it up.
“Create layers of different textures and temperatures—smooth ice cream, crunchy topping, smooth whipped cream—and add a little bit more topping [over the whipped cream] for a beautiful finish.”
—Anna Carpenter, general manager at Bi-Rite Creamery in San Francisco

Almond Cacao Brittle

Leigh Belanger
Sweet, salty, nutty, fruity, and crunchy—this brittle is addictive, especially when sprinkled liberally over a dish or cone.

Makes 1¼ cups


  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter cubed
  • 2 cups almonds toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt divided
  • ⅓ cup cacao nibs


  • Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat and set aside. Heat sugar, water, and corn syrup in a large, wide saucepan over medium-high heat and stir until sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute.
  • Increase heat to high and cook without stirring until the mixture has turned caramel-brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter. When butter has melted, stir in nuts and half the salt.
  • Pour mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and use a silicone spatula to spread it to about ¼-inch thickness. When brittle has cooled a little, sprinkle cacao nibs and remaining salt over it, pressing to adhere.
  • Cool completely, about 60 minutes. Break into small chunks and sprinkle over sundaes. The remaining brittle will keep in an airtight container for about 2 weeks.

PRO SUNDAE TIP: Keep your cool.
For warm hot fudge that doesn’t melt your ice cream, “serve it at about 140 degrees.”
—Joe Prestejohn, co-owner of Cabot’s Ice Cream in Newton, Mass.

Gingered Strawberries

Leigh Belanger
To top your sundae, let fruit be fruit. Add a little sugar and ginger to bring out the best in these berries.

Makes enough for 2 sundaes


  • 5 fresh strawberries hulled and halved
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon fresh finely grated ginger
  • Pinch sea salt


  • Toss strawberries, sugar, ginger, and salt together. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before garnishing each sundae with 5 berry halves.

PRO SUNDAE TIP: Make room.
“A wide-mouth bowl is the perfect sundae vessel, because it gives each element room to breathe.”
—Anna Carpenter

photographed by Bruce Peterson, styled by Molly Shuster

Leigh Belanger

Leigh Belanger is culture's former food editor. She's been a food writer, editor, and project manager for over a decade— serving as program director for Chefs Collaborative and contributing to local newspapers and magazines. Her first book, The Boston Homegrown Cookbook, was published in 2012. She lives and cooks in Boston with her family.