For Chocolate Lovers only

Hot Fudge Sauce

In last month’s edition, I went on a rant against the use of high fructose corn syrup in food products. Ever stop to look at the ingredients in that commercial hot fudge sauce you’re using? It probably contains HFCS---and a lot of it. This hot fudge sauce contains just a small amount of regular light corn syrup, as it improves the texture, but you can omit it if you wish or if you’re allergic to corn products.

This is a modification of a recipe I found in the odd Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Cookbook. I liked the concept of making a fudge sauce that didn’t have to be watched quite as carefully as actual fudge, and I liked their ingredients. But I wasn’t so wild about having to cook the sauce for 80 minutes over hot water. By changing a step, I’ve cut that portion of the cooking time to 30 minutes. This sauce doesn’t get as chewy over cold ice cream as some, but it does harden somewhat. It also keeps very well, for at least three weeks in the fridge (tightly covered) or frozen for longer storage.

You must use best-quality unsweetened chocolate for this recipe. Supermarket unsweetened chocolate that isn’t perfectly smooth in bar form will result in a hot fudge sauce that isn’t perfectly smooth, either. It’s easy to buy superfine sugar, but it’s just as easy to make your own. Process regular granulated sugar in a food processor fitted with a steel blade for three to four “bursts” of about 10 seconds each, or until sugar crystals are very fine.

Yield: Generous 2 cups

  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. superfine granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 3 ounces best-quality unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into thin pats
  • Few grains of salt
  • 3 Tbsp. sifted unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp. light corn syrup, preferably at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Combine sugar and heavy cream in one-quart, heavy-bottomed, nonaluminum pot. Set over low heat, stirring frequently to dissolve sugar. Scrape down sides of pot occasionally with heat-resistant rubber spatula. When sugar is dissolved, increase heat just slightly to medium-low.

Meanwhile, combine unsweetened chocolate, butter pats, and salt in medium heatproof glass bowl set over barely-simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl). Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Add cocoa powder and whisk in until almost smooth.

If your cream-sugar mixture is not almost at a boil by now, remove the melted chocolate mixture from the heat and hot water and set it aside on a pot holder or thick kitchen towel near the stovetop. If the cream-sugar mixture is boiling or close to it, leave the chocolate mixture over the simmering water. When the cream-sugar mixture starts to boil, stop stirring it. Allow mixture to come to a rolling boil (it may rise up to almost the top of the pan—OK). Once it has achieved a rolling boil, remove it from the heat. Allow the boiling to stop.

Now, WORK CAREFULLY! Very gradually whisk the very hot cream-sugar mixture into the melted chocolate mixture. Occasionally scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl as you combine the two mixtures. Carefully return the bowl of sauce to position over the simmering water (the sauce will be hot). Gently stir or whisk in the corn syrup.

“Cook” the sauce for 30 minutes over the simmering water. Stir it every 5 minutes or so, and make sure you occasionally scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. After 30 minutes, the sauce will have thickened slightly, and it should be very smooth.

Remove from heat and hot water; carefully dry bottom and sides of bowl. Stir in vanilla. Pour into a heatproof container. Cool briefly, then chill, covering tightly when cold. Store in refrigerator. The sauce will become quite stiff when cold.

To use, reheat only the amount you’ll need (repeated reheating and re-chilling can make the sauce grainy). Scrape the required amount into a microwaveable container. Microwave at 50% (medium) power for very short intervals, stirring well after each, just until sauce is melted, smooth, and warm.

Note: If you like your sauce a trifle more on the bittersweet side, use only 1 cup sugar and 3/4 cup heavy cream. Make, store, and serve sauce as directed above. This yields a scant 2 cups.

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