Category Archives: sauces

Butterscotch Sauce

Butterscotch SauceIt seems like every time I think a recipe is going to be a snap, it’s a total nightmare. Butterscotch Sauce is a classic example of this—I went into testing thinking this would be a one-and-done situation, but instead I made sauces that:

  • separated in seconds.
  • required a candy thermometer.
  • burned.
  • crystallized.
  • hardened immediately upon hitting ice cream.Butterscotch Sauce

Testing was a bummer, to say the least. I mean, all I really wanted was a blog recipe that would also allow me to have ice cream with buttery brown sugar sauce for lunch and call it work. Is that too much to ask?!Butterscotch SauceTurns out it’s not. I “fixed” my first five test batches by slapping a metaphorical culinary bandaid on each one (less butter, less complication, less time, less movement, more liquid), and this all led me back to a method I knew worked: the way I make the caramel for my caramel corn, which is literally the easiest molten sugar recipe of all time. Just put it all in a pot and leave it alone.Butterscotch SauceButterscotch SauceHere’s the gist of my Butterscotch Sauce recipe:

  • put dark brown sugar, butter, salt and heavy cream in a pot and don’t stir it.
  • bring it to a boil and don’t stir it.
  • cook it for five minutes and don’t stir it. Just don’t do it.
  • remove it from the heat, add some vanilla and…okay, stir it now.

That’s it. Wait a few minutes before spooning it over a scoop of ice cream so you don’t burn the roof of your mouth. Safety first.Butterscotch SauceThis sauce is thick and golden and best served piping hot, so that it will set softly on whatever delicious thing over which it’s been poured. It’s rich, buttery and has good hits of salt and vanilla to complement its brown sugar flavor. And it’s easy to make.Butterscotch SauceYou might even say it’s a snap.Butterscotch Sauce

Butterscotch Sauce
makes about 1 1/4 cups

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Without stirring or jostling, combine dark brown sugar, butter, salt, and heavy cream in a 4-quart pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Let boil 5 minutes. Do not stir. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.

Let cool 10 minutes before serving hot over ice cream. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for at least a week.

The best way to reheat this sauce is by putting it in a pot over medium-low heat and stirring just until heated through. Butterscotch may also be warmed in 30 second intervals in the microwave, stirring between, until hot.

Butterscotch SauceButterscotch Sauce

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Hot Fudge

Hot FudgeAs far as I’m concerned, hot fudge is a perfect food. It’s the thing that takes sundaes, banana splits, ice cream cakes and, heck, any plain ol’ scoop of ice cream from good to outstanding. It’s like the fairy dust of frozen desserts—adding just a couple of spoonfuls can make anything magical, especially if whipped cream, nuts and a cherry are involved.Hot FudgeIt might surprise you to learn that hot fudge is incredibly easy to make. I grew up thinking of it as a shop-only item, along with caramel sauce and magic shell. Flash forward a few years and I have no fear making any of these classic ice cream toppings—they’re all crazy-easy to put together and much better from scratch!Hot FudgeHot fudge is a ten minute, one-pot operation, and requires just seven ingredients that you probably have on hand. I mean, how can you argue with smooth, sticky, shiny, sweet hot fudge where you know the amount and quality of every ingredient? It’ll take you less time, cash and energy to whip up a batch than it will to get to the store and back. I mean, that’s half the reason I do all this baking and cooking: because I can do it all from the comfort of my own kitchen in my most-mismatched pajamas.Hot FudgeAlso, because homemade almost always beats store-bought in terms of flavor, quality, and price. That goes double for this hot fudge, which gets its richness from both chopped dark chocolate and cocoa, has less sugar than anything you can purchase, and costs me a whopping $4 for 1 1/3 cups. And it’s delicious. And it doesn’t require putting on real pants or going outside. Yesssss.Hot FudgeMost hot fudge recipes I’ve seen are sweetened with sugar in addition to light corn syrup and chocolate, but I couldn’t determine a flavor-related or structural reason that it needed to be there, so I nixed it and nothing terrible happened. In fact, the resulting sauce is as rich and fudgy as any I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a lot), and I don’t find it to be lacking sweetness at all. If you’d like a sweeter hot fudge, or maybe know something I don’t,* feel free to add a couple of tablespoons of sugar when you whisk together the light corn syrup and cocoa.

*If you do, please tell me. I’d be interested to know.Hot FudgeThis hot fudge pours and puddles and takes nicely to the sundae treatment. And just in case you think it can’t get much better than that, you should know that it stays good for weeks in the refrigerator and reheats like a dream, so you can have hot fudge sundaes any day of the week all summer long.Hot FudgeI recommend you start with today.Hot Fudge

Hot Fudge
makes about 1 1/3 cups

1/3 cup light corn syrup (or mild honey or golden syrup)
1/3 cup cocoa powder (preferably dutch process)
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2/3 cup (5 fl oz) evaporated milk (or heavy cream)
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a small pot, whisk together light corn syrup, cocoa powder, and salt until combined. Whisk in evaporated milk. Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it has simmered for 2 minutes and has an even color and consistency. Whisk in dark chocolate, followed by butter and vanilla.

Serve over ice cream, or any other desired item. Store leftovers in a microwave-safe container in the refrigerator.

To reheat, microwave in 20 second increments, stirring in between, until pourable. Alternatively, heat in a pot on the stove over low heat, stirring very frequently, until pourable.Hot FudgeHot Fudge

Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce

Peanut Butter Caramel SauceHere’s some fair warning that I might have a lot of ice cream-related recipes coming your way over the next month or two. I’ve been dreaming them up since the third snowstorm we had this past March, and I’m psyched that it’s finally time to share them! Believe me when I tell you that the Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake I posted a couple of weeks ago is just the tip of the ice (cream) berg 🙂 Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce
Today is all about my new favorite ice cream topping: Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce. Yes, you read that right.Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce
Peanut. Butter. Caramel. Sauce. ❤ ❤ ❤ Peanut Butter Caramel SaucePeanut Butter Caramel Sauce
This stuff takes all of ten minutes to make and is out-of-this-world delicious! It’s literally as easy as melting some sugar, stirring in butter, heavy cream & creamy peanut butter, and then doctoring it up with some vanilla and salt. That’s literally it.Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce
Pour your hot Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce in a jar and then over some vanilla ice cream. Or chocolate ice cream. Or use it as a dip for apple slices. Or drizzle some over a Chocolate Puff Pancake.Peanut Butter Caramel SaucePeanut Butter Caramel SaucePeanut Butter Caramel Sauce
Or maybe whip some cream in a jar, chop some salted peanuts, and make yourself a quick peanut butter sundae on the hottest day of the year (so far). Don’t forget the maraschino cherry.Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce
It might get a little melty before you have a chance to snap a pic for your Instagram, but who cares? There’s Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce to be had.Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce

Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce
makes about 2 cups (1 pint)

1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup creamy-style peanut butter (not natural-style)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (depends on your preference)

Place sugar in a 2-3 quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk sugar until the sugar melts and turns a deep copper color. Whisk in butter until completely incorporated. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in heavy cream. Caramel will bubble violently, but will quickly relax into a smooth sauce. Whisk in peanut butter, vanilla, and salt. Transfer sauce to a jar.

Sauce is best served warm or room temperature. Leftovers should be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Reheat by microwaving in 15 second increments, stirring between intervals.Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteMother’s Day is this weekend and while I won’t be spending the holiday with my mom, I still have “mom food” on the brain. In the case of my mom, that means vanilla and/or fruit, and also things that are both easy and fancy. This Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote absolutely fits that bill.Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompotePanna cotta (Italian for “cooked cream”) is a soft-set cream-based pudding commonly served with fresh berries or a berry sauce. Most are made with a combination of heavy cream and whole milk, but the version I’m serving up today has a pleasant tang, thanks to the addition of buttermilk. It has the creaminess you expect in a custard, but where custards are set with eggs, panna cotta relies on gelatin.Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteI’ve considered panna cotta a “restaurant only” food for years, thinking it was too fancy or time consuming to make at home, or that it required a skill set I didn’t have…Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote…and it’s turned out to be exactly as difficult and time-consuming as making Jell-o. But softer and creamier and with a silky smooth texture.What I’m trying to say is that panna cotta is the ultimate high brow/low brow dessert.Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteMy Buttermilk Panna Cotta has five ingredients and takes all of five minutes of effort (seven, if you count the time for measuring). The time consuming part is waiting for it to set up—this can take anywhere from two to four hours, depending on whether you’re serving it in the mold or inverting it onto a plate. Gelatin gets stronger over time, so if you want to serve free-standing panna cottas, make sure to plan ahead. Otherwise, you can just serve them straight from their molds.Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteAnd speaking of molds, you can find all different kinds online, but I spent $10 on a dozen 4-ounce mason jars last week and, even if I break every last one tomorrow, I already feel like I have gotten my money’s worth. They’re a perfect combination of form and function, and I love the way they showcase these layers of Buttermilk Panna Cotta and Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote.Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteAfter all that talk about panna cotta, I bet this compote seems like an afterthought, but I assure you it. is. not. In fact, this sauce is what really makes this dessert sing!Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteThe sweet-tart combination of strawberries and rhubarb is a classic for a reason. Here, it’s amped up with just a touch of sugar and some lime zest before being tossed with olive oil and roasted until saucy. This takes minimal time and effort and makes much more than you’ll need for six panna cottas. I suggest spooning the leftovers over ice cream or plain yogurt, or just eating them directly from the jar…not that I’d know anything about that.Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteHappy Mother’s Day to everyone celebrating, especially my mom. Thanks for loving me so hard.Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Buttermilk Panna Cotta
makes six 4-ounce servings

1 cup heavy cream, divided
1 1/4-ounce packet unflavored gelatin (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups buttermilk (low fat is fine)

For Serving:
Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote (recipe below)

Gelatin is an animal byproduct. Buttermilk Panna Cotta is not a vegetarian dessert.

Pour 1/2 cup heavy cream into a small saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin granules over the top. Let sit 5-10 minutes, or until gelatin starts to become saturated and surface in wrinkled.

Lightly grease 6 4-ounce molds (I like mason jars) with oil. Set aside.

Pour remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream and sugar into the saucepan. Place pan over low heat. Whisk constantly for 3-5 minutes, or until sugar and gelatin have completely dissolved. Do not let boil. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and buttermilk and whisk for 1 minute, or until fully combined.

Divide mixture among greased molds. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill at least 4 hours (or overnight) if you wish to release the panna cottas from their molds. If being served directly from the molds, they only need a 2 hour chill.

Release the panna cottas from their molds. Fill a deep container with a couple of inches of hot water. Place an in-mold panna cotta in the water for 1 minute.

Swipe a damp paper towel over the plate you wish to use for serving the panna cotta. This will make it easy to move the panna cotta for more aesthetically-pleasing plating.

Remove in-mold panna cotta from the hot water. Run a thin, flexible knife around the edge to break the suction seal. Invert panna cotta onto prepared plate. Tap/jostle mold as necessary to release panna cotta. Repeat process with remaining panna cottas.

Top with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote. Serve immediately.

Panna cottas (still in their molds and without topping) will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. After that point, they may become rubbery.

Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
makes about 3 cups

1 pound fresh strawberries
1 pound fresh rhubarb, poisonous leaves removed
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt (optional)
2 teaspoons lime zest
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a rimmed sheet pan (or jelly roll pan) with parchment.

Trim, hull, and dice strawberries into 3/4-inch pieces. Cut rhubarb into 3/4-inch pieces. Place on prepared pan and top with sugar, optional salt, lime zest, and olive oil. Toss together with clean hands.

Bake mixture for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Compote is ready when strawberries and rhubarb are soft and juices have thickened slightly (they will still be on the thin side).

Let cool before using. Store compote in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteRoasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Blueberry Compote

 For all the things I love about baking, the time commitment is not one of them. It’s rare that I make anything that can be done and ready to serve in under 90 minutes. I pride myself on my patience, but sometimes the idea that a batch of cookies is going to take four hours is enough to make me insane. 

Enter this Blueberry Compote. It only has four ingredients, involves almost no actual work, and takes 20 minutes start-to-finish. And oh, is it good–burst blueberries in a not-too-sweet lemon-scented syrup. It’s just begging to be stirred into yogurt or poured over pancakes or ice cream. It’s a sauce that can be used on any breakfast or dessert item you can imagine. 

 This is my kind of mid-week recipe–the kind that goes from “just” ingredients to absolute magic in almost no time at all. Simmer a cup of water and a little sugar together until it thickens slightly and becomes a thin syrup. Fold in two pounds of fresh blueberries and simmer a few more minutes until they start to burst. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the juice and zest of a lemon. Ladle it into a jar, and you’re done. Seriously. That’s it. 

Blueberry Compote works almost anywhere you can think to use it. It would be divine with cheesecake or waffles, but it’s also healthy enough to eat with yogurt for a quick weekday breakfast. Oh, and it is absolutely amazing with angel food cake, pound cake, or the Vanilla Bean Ricotta Cake I’m posting later this week! Stay tuned… 

 Blueberry Compote
makes about one quart

1 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 lbs fresh blueberries
juice and zest of 1 lemon

In a large saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 7 minutes, until slightly thickened. Stir occasionally to keep crystals from forming.

Add blueberries and let simmer 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in lemon juice and zest. Cool completely. Transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.