Is there anything better than a hot fudge sundae? I think it has to be one of the finest American desserts when done well. It all has to do with the hot fudge sauce itself. Growing up back East we had Friendly's Ice Cream shops. I would have sworn forever that they had the best hot fudge on the planet. As a college student I remember walking 4-5 miles round trip just for a hot fudge or Reese's Pieces sundae when it was "that time of the month," and nothing short of something chocolate and gooey would squelch my cravings. Years later my mother would go shopping in Vermont where she discovered Mother Merrick's hot fudge and that was divine. I don't know if it still exists or not. Then for a long time I had a hot fudge void in my life (thank goodness there were always good brownies around to satisfy the gooey chocolate thing). I longed for a really fudgy hot fudge sauce, and yet all that I could find were the overly sweet, scarcely chocolate flavored brown concotions in jars at the supermarket. Then several years ago Martha Stewart came to my rescue with a recipe for the really best hot fudge. Luckily I clipped it because I have never been able to find it on her web-site. The only hot fudge sauces that show up now are more ganache in make-up, and I am sorry, but ganache as awesome as it is, is not hot fudge. This has that slightly sticky, slightly chewy characteristic that true hot fudge should have, and the flavor of good old-fashioned fudge, the kind you need to have a candy thermometer for. Luckily the hot fudge recipe is even easier than that....no thermometer necessary! I have tweaked it a bit over the years and now I consider it perfectly delicious with the addition of apple cider vinegar, vanilla and a pinch of instant espresso powder. It is equally good on ice cream as it is on my finger! I just made some tonight to the delight of my children who have been begging me to make it for a week. Best of all, it lasts in the refrigerator many weeks (assuming it isn't devoured sooner) because there is no cream in it! So grab your favorite flavor of ice cream and be a kid again! Nuts and a cherry are optional!
Dangerously Delicious Hot Fudge Sauce
10 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped ( I usually use 60%)
1/2 c. granulated sugar
4 oz. unsalted butter, cubed
pinch kosher salt
very small pinch instant espresso powder
1/2 c. water
1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 c. light corn syrup
3/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1. In a heavy bottom saucepan, combine chopped chocolate, butter, sugar, water, salt, vinegar and espresso powder.
2. Place pan on medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until butter is melted and mixture is smooth.
3. Stir in corn syrup and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
4. Reduce heat to low and simmer mixture for 8-10 minutes or until slightly thickened and very glossy.
5. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
6. pour into a heat-proof container and cool slightly before using.
7. Keep leftovers refrigerated, covered, re-heating gently in microwave for future use.