Some dessert sauces, like chocolate sauce, are easy enough to make on the stovetop. Some, such as fruit sauces, are far more convenient to make in the crockpot than on the stove. Others — we’re looking at you, dulce de leche — are not worth the effort of making from scratch in a pot on the stove, even with the advent of modern conveniences. Seriously, have you ever tried to stand at the stove stirring sugary milk until it caramelizes? If not, then don’t. When you need a dessert sauce, this handy guide will help save you time and trouble. All you need is a crockpot. Sounds to us like it’s time for an ice cream sundae party!
1. Basic Chocolate Sauce
Though surely easy enough on the stovetop, why not make it in a crockpot? The lovely thing here is that it can be kept hot for fondue or hot fudge sundaes. This recipe from The Frugal Girls is your basic ganache, but it’s totally hands off in the slow cooker. Serve as a dipping sauce with cut fruit and cake squares or as a fudgy topping for ice cream. This recipe is best made in a mini crockpot.
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
Directions: Add chocolate chips and heavy whipping cream crockpot and stir. Cover with lid and cook for 1 hour.
Remove lid and stir contents very well until combined and creamy.
2. Raspberry Sauce
Made with frozen raspberries and orange juice, this delicious sauce from Once A Month Meals can be made in any season. It’s as perfect on ice cream as it is on cheesecake, though we won’t tell anyone if you go at it with a spoon. For real decadence, drizzle it over a flourless chocolate cake. If you want a truly smooth sauce more like a coulis than a compote, give it a whirl in the blender and pass it through either a sieve or a food mill. As with the chocolate sauce, this is best done in a mini crockpot, though you could scale up the recipe and freeze the sauce you don’t use.
- 1½ pounds frozen strawberries
- ½ cup orange juice
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Directions: Dump all ingredients into the crockpot. Cook on low for 3 hours. Turn off slow cooker, remove lid, and let sit for 30 minutes. Mix and break up raspberries. Chill.
3. Homemade Dulce de Leche
If you didn’t gather from the diatribe in the beginning, we’ve had some experiences with stovetop dulce de leche. Before the milk totally reduced into a delicious, creamy, thick, sweet sauce, hours had gone by. It’s enough to put anyone off making the stuff. Sure, you could boil a can of sweetened, condensed milk, but you still need to watch the pot to make sure it’s not out of water and the can hasn’t exploded, and plenty of people are a little nervous about eating something that has been boiling in a metal can for hours. The solution to this? Crazy for Crust’s recipe, which calls for sweetened condensed milk divided amongst squat, heatproof mason jars and tossed into the crockpot. You get to walk away and when you come back, you’ll have dulce de leche. That is a relief.
- 2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
- 3 (8-ounce) jars with rings and lids (alternatively, 4 jars that are 6 ounces each)
Directions: First, check to make sure the jars you choose will fit in your crockpot with 1 to 2 inches of water covering them. Divide the sweetened condensed milk among jars. Seal the jars with clean rings and lids. Place in your slow cooker, making sure they do not touch.
Fill the crockpot with water to cover 1 to 2 inches above the tops of the jars. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 10 hours.
When they’re finished cooking, remove the jars carefully with tongs and place them on your kitchen counter to cool to room temperature. Once cool, refrigerate until using.
4. Spirited Butterscotch Sauce
This recipe from Chow was designed to be served with sticky steamed pumpkin pudding, it is right at home over ice cream, gingerbread, pumpkin pie, or even a slice of steamed chocolate pudding. You could leave out the scotch (or rum or brandy, whichever you choose) and replace it with vanilla extract, but where’s the fun in that?
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon Scotch, brandy, or dark rum or 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Directions: Combine the butter, brown sugar, cream, and salt in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 1 hour.
Add the Scotch, whisking until well blended and heated through. Serve warm. You may keep the sauce warm on low for up to 1 hour before serving. If made in advance, store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
5. Hot Pecan Praline Sauce
Throw this sauce from CrockPot Recipe Exchange on ice cream, apple pie, pumpkin pie, cinnamon rolls, cheesecake, fudge, or anything else you can possibly think of. It’s dead easy and absolutely delicious. If you’re a northerner with more maple syrup in your cabinet than corn syrup, you can exchange one for another for a twist on the southern classic.
- 1 stick unsalted butter, divided
- 1 to 1½ cups of chopped pecans
- 1¾ cups dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup of flour
- 1 cup of light corn syrup
- 1 (5-ounce) can of evaporated milk
Directions: Turn 2 quart crockpot to high.
Place ¼ cup of butter in bottom to melt. Once melted, add pecans and toss to coat. Cook for 30 to 45 minutes, just enough to toast, stirring twice. Remove pecans with slotted spoon and place on plate until ready to use.
Add remaining butter and let melt. Add brown sugar, flour, and corn syrup. Whisk to incorporate well.
Cook on high until sugar is completely dissolved, about 45 minutes to an hour. If sugar does not completely dissolve it will cause the sauce to be grainy in texture.
Turn to warm setting and add evaporated milk. Stir to incorporate. You should have a beautiful golden color of sauce. Stir in toasted pecans and keep on warm, stirring when needed.
6. Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce
This tangy-sweet combination should not be relegated to pie! It makes a wonderful topping to ice cream, angel food cake, and cheesecake alike. In this recipe from CrockPot Ladies, the sauce is spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and orange zest. Be sure to avoid the white pith of the orange, which can make this sauce unpalatably bitter. It can be made with frozen fruit, but it’s a divine way to process and save loads of fresh, in season fruit.
- 6 cups diced rhubarb
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 cups strawberries, quartered
- 1 cinnamon stick
Directions: Add ingredients to crockpot and stir well. Cook on low for 5 hours. Before serving, remove cinnamon stick.