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Ice Cream Sundaes

Ice Cream Sundaes
These chocolaty sundaes are fun to make and delicious to eat. If you are using almonds, remember that it is easy to burn nuts when you are toasting them. And burnt nuts taste terrible! Keep a close eye on the nuts when they are in the oven. Slide them off the hot pan as soon as they are browned and fragrant.

Ingredients:

For the fudge sauce:

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut
     into pieces
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup whole almonds (optional)

For the whipped cream:

  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pint of your favorite ice cream

Directions:

Before you start
Be sure an adult is nearby to help.If you are using almonds, position an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325ºF.

Make the fudge sauce
In a small saucepan, combine the chocolate chips, butter, milk, confectioners sugar and vanilla. Place on the stovetop over low heat. Stir constantly with a whisk until the chips are melted and the mixture is smooth. Let the fudge sauce cool for 15 minutes.

Trim the berries
Put the strawberries on a cutting board. Using a paring knife, cut a thick slice from the top of each berry to remove the stem.

Chop the berries
Using the paring knife, cut the berries into small pieces and put the pieces in the bowl. Sprinkle with the 1 to 2 teaspoons granulated sugar (the amount depends on how sweet the berries are) and let stand for at least 10 minutes before using.

Toast the almonds
If you are using almonds, spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in the oven and toast the almonds, gently shaking the baking sheet occasionally (wear oven mitts!), until they are fragrant and lightly browned, about 12 minutes.

Ask an adult to help you remove the pan from the oven and pour the almonds onto a plate. Let cool completely. Using a cutting board and sharp knife, chop the cooled almonds into small pieces. Set aside.

Whip the cream
Put the cream, granulated sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, begin beating on low speed. When the cream begins to thicken and no longer splatters (this will take about 2 minutes), increase the mixer speed to medium-high. Continue to beat until the cream forms soft peaks that fall to one side when the beaters are lifted (turn off the mixer first!), which takes about 3 minutes.

Build one sundae
In the bottom of a sundae glass or a serving dish, spoon some of the still-warm fudge sauce.

Dip an ice cream scoop into hot water and warm briefly. Pull the scoop across the ice cream to form a ball. Release the ball into the dish. Repeat to add a second scoop of ice cream and drizzle with more fudge sauce.

Decorate the sundae
Add a spoonful of chopped strawberries to the top of the sundae. Top with a swirl of whipped cream, then some chopped toasted almonds.

Make more sundaes
Make more sundaes in the same way. Serve them right away! Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Sweet Treats, by Carolyn Beth Weil (Simon & Schuster, 2006).