One of my best friends always wishes everyone a “Happy Half-Off Chocolate” day on February 15th.  So, in keeping with the spirit of those wishes, I decided that I’d contribute by posting the recipe for the hot fudge sauce I made for the banana splits which finished our Valentine’s Day dinner.

The nice thing about this recipe is that it keeps amazingly well in the fridge – if you want to make it for a big birthday bash or other celebration, it’s a great make-ahead treat that you can prepare a day or two before-time then reheat when it’s time to serve.  And you can fiddle with the recipe to add a little extra flavor – a little cinnamon, a dash of espresso or rum, even a pinch of red pepper flakes to add some spice – the basic recipe is the perfect jumping-off point.

And, of course, if you’re talking about making a banana split or anything else which calls for whipped cream, chantilly cream is a more flavorful alternative that doesn’t take any longer to make but makes SUCH a difference in the finish.  Velvety, only slightly sweet and scented with vanilla, chantilly cream makes even a store-bought dessert will make you feel like you’re dining at the Ritz!

Hot Fudge Sauce (courtesy of the divine Miss Martha Stewart)

  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 oz unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup (or golden syrup in the UK)
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • pinch salt
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate (72% cocoa)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Pour cream and butter into a medium saucepan and heat over medium to melt the butter.  Add sugars and corn syrup, stirring until dissolved.  Whisk in the cocoa, salt, chocolate and vanilla, mixing thoroughly.  Try not to eat it right out of the pot.  As mentioned above, you can put it in a container and keep it in the fridge, then reheat it in a double-boiler to serve.

Chantilly Cream

  • Whipping cream (about a cup to a cup and a half)
  • 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp powdered sugar, sifted

Pour the lot into a medium-sized mixing bowl and have at it with a hand-mixer until thick.