Off the Menu with Dara can be heard every Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon on News Radio 830 WCCO! See all of Mpls. St.Paul Magazine’s Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl’s Top 5 lists here!

I’ve been checking out a lot of ice-cream parlors lately, getting ready for a summer ice-cream story for the magazine. While I’ve been doing it I’ve been really remembering some things about life, like: Ice-cream sundaes are amazing! And very easy. Of course they are, you knew that. But did you know that you can buy some fancy store ice-cream, add a little something special you made at home, and have fancy sundaes such as they serve in fancy restaurants? True! This is both true and good. And here are some terrific ones to get you going on your sundae journey.


2-Ingredient Hot Fudge

Hot fudge is absurdly, ridiculously easy to make, and the easiest way of all is to take some good chocolate and microwave it with condensed milk, as the Pioneer Woman does. Of course, I don’t see why you should stop at the 2 ingredients—maybe put in some vanilla, some mint-extract, some cinnamon and cayenne—imagine! Imagine a third ingredient that will blow your friends’ minds. Soup! No don’t put put soup in your hot fudge are you nuts?

(credit: John Kernick/

Caramel Apple Sundaes

If you don’t have time to make apple pie you can make a caramel and apple pie-like creation, and pour that over ice-cream, and that’s a very good dinner party dessert. You could put it on vanilla ice-cream of course, but also it works with peanut-butter ice-cream, butter-brickle, coconut or green apple sorbet—all kinds of things. Julienne fresh apple pieces in there too, for super fancy restaurant style.


Honeycomb Crunch

I’ve seen this honeycomb crunch at a few fancy restaurants. It’s basically a simple brittle recipe that you add baking soda to at the end, which makes it balloon up like Styrofoam. That sounds terrible, but the texture is really fascinating, and it creates this salty, puckery sense when you eat it that’s strange and wonderful and goes so well with ice-cream. I like this with chocolate ice-cream, any caramel flavor, or any coffee flavor, even coffee sorbet.

(credit: Danny Kim/

Spicy Orange Hazelnut Chocolate Bark

Chocolate bark is little more than chocolate, melted, and then you add something to it and let it cool again. When you break it up after it cools you get pretty sails and shards and planks, and then you can stick them in a scoop of ice-cream and look at you, Picasso! You’re a genius artist who also gets ice-cream. That’s called winning!

(credit: Romulo Yanes/

Strawberry Pistachio Ice Cream Sundaes

But Dara, what about something really fancy that requires actual cooking? Well in that case I present to you a very fancy and wonderful strawberry sauce—you’re going to blend together some strawberries, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, lemon zest, and a bit of agave nectar or simple syrup, and then you’re going to take the lovely pink creation you made and pour it on ice-cream, and then finish with a sprinkle of salty pistachios. Start practicing now and you will have this absolutely in hand for Mother’s Day. It’s so fancy your mom will flip!


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