Homemade Ice Cream Toppings Basket

by Heather McNay
(Westminster, Colorado)

Last year I decided to do a basket of homemade ice-cream sauces. I decided on four different kinds: Hot fudge, Chocolate mint sauce, Butterscotch sauce, and Caramel sauce. I found all the recipes online and decided to make the sauces over two days. I bought 1.5oz jars on the internet and small baskets to put them in. I bought fabric and printable labels at Walmart. I made each sauce and poured them into the jars and then let them cool. I stored my sauces in the fridge and then assembled them the day I hand delivered them. I also added crushed Oreo cookies (crushed myself and put into snack size Ziploc bags), gummy worms, and sprinkles to each basket. Everyone loved them! They actually complained about how small the jars were and they would need another batch.
Overall, I think I spent around $65 to do 12 baskets, not including ingredients I already had on hand. This year I’m looking into a Bailey’s chocolate sauce and Rum caramel sauce, something special for the adults. And I’ll probably tweak the Chocolate mint sauce, I was thinking maybe Andy’s mints… Yumm!

Hot Fudge Sauce

1 cup butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups white sugar
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1.5 oz unsweetened Baker's chocolate
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine butter, cocoa, sugar and evaporated milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and boil for 7 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.
Carefully pour hot mixture into a blender and blend for 2 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately. Store in refrigerator.
****Can use hand blender while cooking

Chocolate Mint

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon mint extract

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cocoa, sugar and water. Bring to a boil and let boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and mint.

Butterscotch Sauce
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup of tightly packed dark brown sugar
¾ cup heavy whipping cream (not ultra-pasteurized)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Butterscotch takes about a half an hour to make, from start to finish.
1 First, before you begin, make sure you have everything ready to go - the cream and the brown sugar next to the pan, measured and waiting. Making butterscotch is a fast process that cannot wait for hunting around for ingredients.
2 In a heavy bottomed stainless steel 2 quart saucepan, melt butter over low to medium heat. Just before butter is melted, add all dark brown sugar at once and stir with wooden spoon until sugar is uniformly wet.
3 Stir infrequently until mixture goes from looking grainy to molten lava. Make sure to get into the corners of your pot, and watch closely to notice how the mixture changes. It will take about 3 to 5 minutes.
4 Right before you add the cream, the caramelizing brown sugar will begin to look and feel more like liquid and less like thick wet sand.
5 At this point add all the cream at once and replace your spoon with a whisk. Lower heat a little and whisk cream into mixture. When liquid is uniform, turn heat back to medium and whisk every few minutes for a total of 10 minutes.
6 After liquid has been boiling on the stove for its 10 minutes, turn heat off and let rest for a minute or two before transferring into a heatproof storage vessel. (I prefer a stainless steel or glass bowl.) Cool to room temperature.
7 When butterscotch liquid is room temperature, take a small taste. It's important to know what cooked brown sugar and butter tastes like, and what happens when transforming that flat sweetness into real butterscotch flavor. Whisk in half the salt and vanilla extract. Taste again. Add more salt and vanilla extract until the marvelous taste of real butterscotch is achieved.
Chill butterscotch sauce in a non-reactive container with a tightly fitting lid only after sauce has chilled completely. It will keep for one month refrigerated.

Caramel Sauce

Making your own caramel sauce from scratch is a lot easier than you might think, and it takes practically no time at all. This recipe comes from my friend Suzanne who is a baking genius. I've watched her make caramel sauce many times and finally got around to doing it myself. My one note of caution is to be extra careful while you are cooking the sugar, as with any candy making process. Once the sugar has melted it has a much higher temperature than boiling water. Also, when you add the cream, the mixture will foam up, so use a pan with high sides.
1 cup of sugar
6 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 First, before you begin, make sure you have everything ready to go - the cream and the butter next to the pan, ready to put in. Making caramel is a fast process that cannot wait for hunting around for ingredients. If you don't work fast, the sugar will burn. Safety first - make sure there are no children under foot and you may want to wear oven mitts; the caramelized sugar will be much hotter than boiling water.
2 Heat sugar on moderately high heat in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart or 3-quart saucepan. As the sugar begins to melt, stir vigorously with a whisk or wooden spoon. As soon as the sugar comes to a boil, stop stirring. You can swirl the pan a bit if you want, from this point on. Note that this recipe works best if you are using a thick-bottomed pan. If you find that you end up burning some of the sugar before the rest of it is melted, the next time you attempt it, add a half cup of water to the sugar at the beginning of the process, this will help the sugar to cook more evenly, though it will take longer as the water will need to evaporate before the sugar will caramelize.
3 As soon as all of the sugar crystals have melted (the liquid sugar should be dark amber in color), immediately add the butter to the pan. Whisk until the butter has melted.
4 Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat. Count to three, then slowly add the cream to the pan and continue to whisk to incorporate. Note than when you add the butter and the cream, the mixture will foam up considerably. This is why you must use a pan that is at least 2-quarts (preferably 3-quarts) big.
5 Whisk until caramel sauce is smooth. Let cool in the pan for a couple minutes, then pour into a glass mason jar and let sit to cool to room temperature. (Remember to use pot holders when handling the jar filled with hot caramel sauce.) Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Warm before serving.
Makes a little over one cup of sauce.

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