Ice Cream Shop Style Sundaes You Can Make at Home

Making dessert can be a tricky business. A lot of pastries are super finicky, and they take forever to bake. It also seems pretty silly to make an entire cake for days when you’re just serving yourself. On the other hand, it’s nice to have a few go-tos for entertaining that require a little more effort than purchasing some packaged cookies. The solution to all of your sweet-treat woes is nothing more complicated than an ice cream sundae. These chilly desserts are easy to throw together, don’t require any advanced techniques, and always bring a smile to your face. Make one of these five recipes your signature sundae, and you’ll soon be known as the dessert master.

1. Coffee Sundaes with Salted Peanut Butter Caramel

coffee ice cream

Coffee sundae | iStock.com

This decadent ice cream sundae from Sunset might be the ultimate dessert for java lovers. Made with coffee ice cream, a gooey peanut butter and caramel sauce, fluffy whipped cream, plus the crunch of crushed coffee beans, it’s a phenomenal combination of tastes and textures. Coffee ice cream can be tricky to find, so you can jazz up some vanilla by mixing in a little bit of instant coffee powder.

Ingredients:

  • ⅔ cup store-bought, good-quality caramel sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ⅓ cup crunchy, old-fashioned peanut butter
  • 1 pint coffee ice cream
  • 1 cup sweetened whipped cream
  • ¼ cup chopped, roasted, salted peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon whole roasted coffee beans, crushed

Directions: Combine caramel sauce and salt in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Cook until sauce is warm and salt dissolves, without letting mixture boil, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in peanut butter until combined.

Scoop ½ cup ice cream into each of four bowls. Top each with ¼ cup of sauce, ¼ cup whipped cream, 1 tablespoon peanuts, and a sprinkle of coffee beans. Serve.

2. Strawberry S’mores Sundaes

toasted marshmallows

Toasting marshmallows | iStock.com

Because a campfire is one of the most important ingredients in s’mores, they’re definitely a summer dessert. When it’s super hot and muggy, though, a warm treat just isn’t all that appealing. Enjoy the flavors of the outdoor favorite without breaking a sweat by whipping up this delicious strawberry sundae from Chowhound.

While this recipe includes homemade chocolate sauce and whipped cream, store-bought versions of each will work just as well. As for toasting marshmallows, you have a number of options. You can use a kitchen torch, roast them over a gas stove, take them outside to cook over the grill, or broil them on a greased, foil-lined baking sheet. Just don’t use the microwave, because they won’t get the same brown exterior.

Ingredients:

  • 8 graham cracker squares
  • 1 quart strawberry ice cream
  • ½ cup Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce
  • ¼ cup marshmallow topping
  • 1 cup Easy Whipped Cream
  • 4 jumbo marshmallows
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • ¼ cup fresh strawberries, sliced

Directions: To build one sundae, break a graham cracker square into rough pieces, and scatter into a bowl. Add a scoop of ice cream. Drizzle with chocolate sauce and marshmallow topping. Repeat process for one more layer, then top with a dollop of whipped cream.

Using a kitchen torch, toast a marshmallow until golden on the outside and melted on the inside. Add to top of sundae. Garnish with almonds and strawberries. Repeat to make remaining sundaes. Serve.

3.  Caramel Corn Sundae

caramel corn ice cream sundae

Caramel corn sundae | iStock.com

If movie night usually involves a bag of microwave popcorn and a handful of chocolate candies, it’s time to upgrade your treat. This crunchy, creamy dessert from Foodie with Family is one of the simplest dessert recipes you’ll ever make, and it’ll also be one of the most memorable. It starts as a basic sundae with purchased hot fudge and caramel, but a handful of caramel corn transforms it into something completely new. We like to use caramel corn with nuts for extra crunch.

Ingredients:

  • 3 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 1½ tablespoons hot fudge
  • 1½ tablespoons caramel sauce
  • 1 large dollop of sweetened whipped cream
  • 1 handful caramel corn
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup

Directions: Scoop ice cream into a large dish. Drizzle with hot fudge and caramel sauce. Add whipped cream and caramel corn. Drizzle with chocolate sauce to garnish, and serve.

4. Ice Cream Sundaes with Maple Butter Rum Sauce and Walnuts

maple syrups

Assortment of maple syrup | iStock.com

Entertaining some sophisticated palates is a lot less complicated than you might think. Even if your pals have dined at high-end places around the world, they’ll be completely impressed with this adult ice cream dessert from The New York Times. A boozy, buttery maple sauce goes great with just about any type of ice cream, and opting for crème fraîche instead of whipped cream gives a hint of tartness.

While this recipe calls for grade B syrup, don’t be surprised if you can’t find it at your local store. Earlier this year, the USDA revised the grading system to help clarify confusion about what many perceived as a difference in quality. For this recipe, just go with the darkest one you can find.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup, grade B or grade A very dark
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup toasted walnuts
  • 1 pint maple, ginger, vanilla chocolate chip, or other ice cream
  • Dark chocolate
  • Crème fraîche, lightly whipped

Directions: In a small, heavy pot, stir together ½ cup syrup, brown sugar, cream, butter, rum, and salt over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly and scraping bottom and sides of pan, until sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Pour into a heatproof container. Let cool.

In a small bowl, combine remaining syrup with nuts. Scoop ice cream into dishes. Top with warm sauce and nut mixture. Grate chocolate over the top and add a dollop of crème fraîche. Serve.

5. Mint Hot Fudge Sundaes

mint chocolate chip ice cream

Sundae with mint chocolate chip ice cream | iStock.com

Mint and chocolate are made to go together, and they’re an even better pair when combined in a frozen dessert. Epicurious’ Mint Hot Fudge Sundaes are made with two kinds of ice cream, a homemade chocolate sauce, some crushed sandwich cookies, and a bit of mint-flecked sugar. That might sound like a lot, but this dessert is super easy. The only part that requires a bit of work is the sauce. Just a few minutes of simmering will yield a chocolate and mint concoction that might be better than your favorite hot fudge.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 tablespoons sliced mint leaves, plus whole sprigs
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • 1 pint mint chocolate chip ice cream
  • 10 chocolate-mint sandwich cookies, broken into pieces
  • Sweetened whipped cream

Directions: Stir first four ingredients and 1 tablespoon sugar in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until melted and smooth. Bring to a boil, then immediately remove from heat. Add unsweetened chocolate and peppermint extract. Stir until combined. Set aside.

Toss remaining sugar with sliced mint. Set aside.

Scoop vanilla ice cream into each dish. Top with cookies, a scoop of mint ice cream, and more cookies. Drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons of sauce over each. Top with whipped cream. Garnish with mint sugar and mint sprigs. Serve.

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