Sunday Sundae Treat

March 18, 2012

As part of my New Year’s resolution, I have been eating up not only healthy foods like dried beans and frozen chicken, but also – woe is me – treats from my stockpile of baking supplies. You know, dark chocolate, organic sweeteners and fair-trade nuts.
It’s been tough.

The siren call of the nuts and chocolate led directly to a revival of my favourite childhood treat: DQ’s Peanut Buster Parfait, also known as vanilla ice cream nestled between layers of warm chocolate fudge sauce and salty roasted peanuts. Foodgasm, right there.

Even more of a foodgasm, naturally, is when the ice cream is Haagen Dazs’s Vanilla Bean, the chocolate fudge sauce is homemade from scratch, and the peanuts are freshly roasted and organic. Yeah, I roast my own peanuts because that’s just how I roll. Not because I have raw peanuts sitting in my pantry from a years-ago bulk order of nuts. No way.

(Notice that I use the words “bulk order” frequently in these posts? Someone please intervene!)

So we’ve been having these inhumanly addictive chocolate-peanut sundaes off and on for the last three months.  I can’t decide what I like best about them:  is it the bittersweet chocolate sauce that turns into chewy ribbons of fudge as it hits the cold vanilla ice cream? or is it the crunchy, nutty, salty roasted peanuts perfectly setting off the sweetness of the vanilla and chocolate?

Anyway, you should make these, too.

Vanilla-Chocolate-Peanut Sundaes (Homemade Peanut Buster Parfaits)
Serves 6
Watch out! This brilliant combination of cold and warm, crunchy and smooth, sugar and salt, chocolate and nuts, is highly addictive. Feel free to adjust the amount of sauce and/or peanuts to suit your taste.

1 pint high-quality vanilla ice cream (i.e. Haagen Dazs, Mario’s Gelati, Udder Guys, etc)
1-1/4 cups roasted, salted peanuts, or other nut of your choice*
1-1/4 cups Bittersweet Chocolate Fudge Sauce (recipe below)
6 small dessert bowls

Place the dessert bowls in the freezer for a minimum of ten minutes to chill them thoroughly. This helps to keep the ice cream cold even after you pour warm fudge sauce over it.

Heat the fudge sauce in a small pot over low heat, stirring frequently, until just melted. Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes before using. The sauce should be warm, but not too hot, or it won’t stay in thick ribbons over the ice cream scoops, but just slide off the tops to pool in the bottom of the bowl.

Get out the bowls from the freezer. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop two nice round scoops into each bowl. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of chocolate sauce evenly over the ice cream scoops; sprinkle each serving with 2 tablespoons of roasted peanuts. Drizzle one more tablespoon of chocolate sauce and one more tablespoon of roasted peanuts per bowl (making a total of 3 Tb EACH of chocolate and nuts per serving).

Feel free to adjust the amount of sauce and/or peanuts to suit your taste.

*To roast and skin raw red-skinned peanuts: spread them on a baking sheet and place in a 350 degree oven for 8 to 12 minutes, stirring once or twice during their cooking time. They will smell roasted, but not change colour much. Remove from oven. Use clean tea towels to rub the warm nuts against themselves to help loosen the skins. Then, pray for wind. Take the tray outside on a windy evening and let the wind blow away all the skins, leaving all your lovely roasted nuts behind.
*To salt the home-roasted peanuts: place the roasted and skinned nuts in a pot with a very small amount of mild oil (like 1/2 teaspoon or less). Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the nuts start to glisten. Sprinkle in 1/4 tsp or more of fine sea salt and stir to coat all the nuts evenly. Remove from heat and dump into a bowl to cool.

Bittersweet Chocolate Fudge Sauce
makes about 2 cups
This chocolate fudge sauce can be kept in the fridge for up to three weeks and gently reheated as needed.
NOTE: For the syrup, I have used golden syrup, maple syrup, and agave nectar (crazy, I know) to wonderful effect. The traditional ingredient is corn syrup, but that’s one thing I don’t have stocked in the pantry.

8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (do not use semi-sweet)
1/3 cup cocoa powder (I use Dutch-process)
2/3 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar (I used organic blond sugar)
1/2 cup syrup (see NOTE, above)
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tb butter
1 tsp vanilla

Place the chopped chocolate in the top of a double-boiler or in a bowl set over a pot of simmering (not boiling) water. Heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat, whisk in the cocoa powder until the mixture is smooth, and set aside.

In a medium pot with a heavy bottom, combine the whipping cream, water, sugar, syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil and let boil vigorously for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove mixture from heat and let cool for about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and butter and stir to blend well. Scrape in the melted chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth.

To die for.

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