Ice cream sauce fans, get ready to wow your family, your guests, and even yourself with this old fashioned hot fudge sauce recipe in all the land.
This deeply flavorful dessert sauce is the same sauce I made in huge quantities at both fine dining restaurants I worked in. It’s the kind of hot fudge sauce that solidifies into chewy goodness in the fridge and melts to pourable perfection when warmed.
Hands down my favorite and (subjectively) the best hot fudge sauce recipe for pretty much any of my ice cream recipes, but might I suggest chocolate caramel ice cream or caramel vanilla ice cream?
It is seriously the best I’ve ever had–not kidding! Plus you can vary the flavor to suit your taste, too. Enjoy!
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What Makes This the Best Hot Fudge Sauce?
This ice cream sauce is not the best because it has the fewest ingredients. No, that prize goes to good old ganache which makes a fine ice cream topping, clocking in at 2 or maybe 3 ingredients.
If you’re looking for good, old-fashioned hot fudge sauce, though, you need look no further.
Here are the things that make this fudge sauce the best:
- It gets a thick and a bit chewy when cold.
- You have to heat up in order to pour it.
- It has deep, rich flavor that is exactly what is needed to set off a perfect vanilla ice cream. Or coffee ice cream.
- There is enough salt in it to round out the flavors, counteract any bitterness that might be present if you use a really dark chocolate and to make the sauce sparkle on your tongue.
- You can vary the flavor based on your preferences.
It is truly an old fashioned hot fudge sauce with deep, rich chocolate flavor.
How Can I Vary This Hot Fudge Recipe?
This sauce can be flavored in many ways. Here are some ideas to try:
- Add a bit of orange zest and/or cinnamon to the boil
- Switch out the rum for orange liqueur.
- Use your favorite alcohol–a liquor or liqueur.
- Add some peppermint extract.
- Whisk in powdered freeze-dried raspberries or other freeze-dried fruits.
- Add some heat in the form of chipotle pepper or smoked hot paprika
Play with this sauce and make it your own.
When you want to relive your visits to the soda fountain where the hot fudge sauce was thick and rich and tasted of fudge and not “brown,” then please make it according to the original recipe which calls for light rum and vanilla.
Ingredients You’ll Need
The ingredient list is actually relatively long, but the process is pretty straightforward. Here’s what you’ll need:
- corn syrup
- heavy cream
- cocoa powder
- water (or coffee)
- light rum
- semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
Why Is There Alcohol in This Ice Cream Sauce?
Even just a bit of alcohol, whether it be rum or Kahlua or Godiva chocolate or whatever, brings out the alcohol soluble flavors that would otherwise remain locked away.
The entire recipe, and it makes just over a quart, uses only 2 Tablespoons of alcohol. You can’t taste it, but you would miss it were it not there.
What Can I Substitute for the Alcohol?
Since you add the boiled mixture to the alcohol mixture off the heat, none of the alcohol boils away. And even if you do boil it, while most will boil off, not all will.
If for any reason you cannot have alcohol, you can substitute 2 Tablespoons of very strong coffee.
Tools and Equipment You Might Need
I always advocate for weighing your ingredients. It allows for consistent results. I love my Escali Primo and after 17 years, it is still going strong.
How to Make This Hot Fudge Sauce
The process for making this sauce is pretty straightforward:
- Bring butter, sugar, corn syrup, heavy cream, salt, and milk to a boil.
- Whisk cocoa powder, rum, water (coffee) and vanilla into a paste.
- Add the chopped chocolate/chocolate chips to a bowl along with the cocoa paste.
- Let the sugar/milk mixture boil until a light caramel color, stirring frequently.
- Pour the caramelized sugar/milk mixture into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Whisk until smooth.
- Strain and store.
Do I Have To Caramelize the Dairy Mixture?
No, you don’t. But if you don’t take the 20-30 minutes to cook the dairy until it has caramelized, you will not have made the best hot fudge sauce in the world.
You will have made a very good hot fudge sauce, but it won’t be the best.
Caramelizing the sugar/dairy does a couple of things:
- It evaporates out some of the water, concentrating the flavor and allowing for a thicker sauce and that old-fashioned chewy texture that is so incredibly addictive.
- The caramelized sugar and milk solids lend a deep, complex base flavor that you would not get if you don’t take this step.
Is There Any Good Commercial Hot Fudge Sauce Out There?
Yes, there is. And I’m sure you can find one you really like.
I encourage you to make your own though. If you don’t have time to boil a big old pot of ingredients on the stove for a long time, you can just make some ganache.
I also recommend trying my Quick Hot Fudge Sauce Recipe that takes a couple of shortcuts to get to long-cooked flavor in way less time.
You could also try this great quickie version from my friend Chris. It’s an excellent blender hot fudge sauce, so it comes together super fast.
The Best Old Fashioned Fudge Sauce Recipe in the World
Enough talk! Please go and make some of this sauce. And then come back and tell me that it really is the best hot fudge sauce in the world. Make a sundae, and don’t forget to put the cherry on top. I promise you will feel just like a kid again.
I really hope you love this fudge sauce, you guys! If you make it, please share a photo with me, either in the PCO Facebook Group or on instagram by tagging @onlinepastrychef and using hashtag #pcorecipe. Thanks, and enjoy!
A Note About Measurements
NOTE: Most of my recipes are written by weight and not volume, even the liquids. Even though I try to provide you with volume measurements as well, I encourage you to buy a kitchen scale for ease of measuring, accuracy, and consistency.
This is the scale I use, love, and recommend:
- 4 oz unsalted butter, (1 stick)
- 8 oz granulated sugar, (1 slightly generous cup)
- 11.75 oz light or dark corn syrup, (1 cup)
- 16 oz heavy cream, (1 pint or 2 cups)
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 5.3 oz whole milk, (about 2/3 cup)
- .67 oz cocoa powder, (1/4 cup)
- 1.3 oz water, (2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon water)
- 1 oz light rum, (2 Tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
- 8 oz excellent quality semi-sweet chocolate, , chopped (I used Ghirardelli 60%)
- Place the butter, sugar, corn syrup, heavy cream, salt and milk in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat over medium heat until it comes to a boil.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the cocoa powder, water, rum and vanilla into a thin paste.
- Place the cocoa paste in a large bowl.
- Chop the chocolate into small pieces (or use excellent quality chocolate chips or paillettes) and add to the bowl.
- When the dairy comes to a boil, regulate the heat so it maintains a slow boil but doesn't boil up in the pan.
- Stir the dairy frequently and boil until it reaches a light caramel color, about 20-30 minutes (less time if you half the recipe). You don't want the color to be as dark as a Sugar Daddy, but it should be significantly darker than sweetened condensed milk. You can see what color it should be above in the post.
- Once the dairy is a lovely shade of deep tan, pour it into the bowl with the chopped chocolate and cocoa paste. Allow it to sit for a minute or two and then whisk until smooth.
- Strain it just to make sure it is completely smooth.
- Store in jars in the fridge.
- If you used fresh dairy, the hot fudge sauce will keep for a good 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator. If your dairy was close to the expiration date, use the sauce up within 5-7 days.
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Nutrition InformationYield 32 Serving Size about 2 Tablespoons
Amount Per Serving Calories 175 Total Fat 10.6g Saturated Fat 6.8g Cholesterol 29mg Sodium 88mg Carbohydrates 20.1g Fiber 0.7g Sugar 13.6g Protein 1.3g
Thank you for spending some time with me today. Enjoy the fudge sauce, and have a lovely day.