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Hot Fudge Sauce (like you had as a kid).

Hot Fudge SauceAs a kid, I loved hot fudge sundaes. The only problem was that you had to go to the ice cream parlor to get one. Oh sure, people would try to make them at home using a can of Hershey’s syrup, but the syrup was runny, especially when it was heated. Then, as the ice cream melted, the syrup would dissolve to make very rich (thanks to the ice cream) chocolate milk. This isn’t hot fudge—hot fudge sauce needs to stick to your spoon and refuse to pour at room temperature or colder. Where do you get such a sauce?

The selection of hot fudge sauces you can buy at specialty and gourmet stores has increased only slightly since I was a kid. Meanwhile, your average supermarket generally carries magic shell, Hershey’s syrup, and other national brand sauces. Occasionally you can find an interesting local chocolate sauce in a specialty/gourmet store. I’ve tried a wine-infused cabernet chocolate sauce that was quite good, especially after an afternoon of wine tasting in Napa and Sonoma Valley here in California. Nevertheless, I would generally consider these kinds of hot fudge sauces as experimental; they are only meant to be tried occasionally.

Stick to the basics.
So of course, a couple years ago I tried to dress this recipe up with a more exotic cocoa powder. I had a huge bag of Valrhona cocoa powder (which has a gorgeous reddish hue) left over from making mocha truffles, so it should make a better, more gourmet sauce, right? Well, it wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t what people were expecting. If you tell someone you are giving them hot fudge sauce, it had better taste like hot fudge sauce—no tricks. To accomplish that, you have to stick to basics and that means using good old fashioned Hershey’s cocoa. Don’t even think of using the newer Hershey’s dark cocoa, either. We’re talking childhood memories, remember?

The ingredients in this sauce aren’t ones I think of when making most of my recipes; real chocolate and cream come to mind. But this is nostalgia, so when I recall the large one gallon cans of syrup on the shelves in the back of the ice cream parlor, evaporated milk and corn syrup sound about right. With this recipe, adapted from an old, out of print Hershey’s Cookbook, I think you will find the taste is right, too.

Ingredients for making Hot Fudge Sauce.

Add evaporated milk and corn syrup to saucepan.

Add cocoa and sugar to evaporated milk and corn syrup.

Bring to a boil and stir for 5 minutes over medium high heat.

Turn off heat and blend in butter and vanilla.

Mix well and let sauce cool and thicken 5 – 10 minutes before pouring over ice cream.

The recipe pictured above, with detailed instructions and complete photo gallery, can be found on the Hot Fudge Sauce recipe page.

  • It looks so silky, Brian – delicious!

  • I’m actually speechless here. That and I am trying to wipe the drool off of my desk. Hot fudge sauce from scratch, I bow down to you.

  • Amy

    Wow. Thanks for posting this. I love ice cream also. My favorite is that of Bobtail’s Signature Sunset.

  • Patricia: yes, it is pretty smooth.

    Cheryl: I have to confess that this recipe is super easy. I actually made another batch this week since my wife was swiping bits from the fridge all week and I needed enough for the drizzle photo. Given the shelf life of evaporated milk (about a year) and cocoa, you could easily whip this up anytime. When you buy evaporated milk, get an extra can. You’ll be glad you did!

    Amy: I’ll have to check them out next time I am in Chicago area.

  • This looks amazing. Sometimes its not all about the decadent ingredients and this fudge goes to show that sticking to the simple stuff doesn’t mean you compromise the final result.

  • Yummy! This totally reminds me of the hot fudge we used to eat when we lived in Michigan. There was an ice cream parlor called Sanders and they have the best hot fudge ever. Whenever I go back to MI I bring jars back with me.

  • jenjen: that’s so true, yet so easy to forget these days. I think you have to treat hot fudge sauce like a staple food. Who wants a fancy, gourmet ketchup/catsup, after all?

    Hilary: Indeed, this recipe is all about memories for me. I occasionally get the peanut buster parfait at our local Dairy Queen. Lots of hot fudge sauce, vanilla ice cream, and salty nuts.

  • Yum! Hot fudge sauce will always do me in! The series of photos is a brilliant way to show how to make it!

  • Great recipe for Hot Fudge Sauce. My dad used to make a sauce very similar.

  • Ruth

    This looks delicious. I’ve always wanted to do things such as cookies and ice cream from scratch but I have never been successful at all. I don’t think I really have the patience to cook or create yummy things but I do have the patience to eat. 🙂

    If you’re interested, Dove milk and dark chocolates will be given away free on Aug. 2-5. Now, this is something I like–eating chocolates without spending anything. I think they also have recipes on their web site at http://www.dovechocolate.com
    These are the locations: Baltimore/Washington DC, Boston MA, Chicago IL, Houston TX, Los Angeles CA, Miami FL, New York NY, Philadelphia PA, San Diego CA and San Francisco CA.

  • Richard

    I am looking for a receipe for wine infused hot fudge. Do you know of one?

  • Hi Richard, you are not alone. I’ll be sure to let you know once I find one.

  • Amy C.

    I too have such fond memories of the hot fudge sauce that used to stick to your spoon. Our local ice cream parlor was called Grunnings in Plainfield, NJ. I went there when I was in high school…..a long time ago. I am not even sure that most people have ever tasted real good hot fudge sauce. I got a sundae a couple of months ago and asked the gentleman if it was real hot fudge sauce. He said yes and “it was real good”. I should have know better as he was still wet behind the ears. lol

    Grunnings used to sell their sauce by the bottle. I buy a nice sauce at Williams-Sonoma but it still isn’t as good as the one I remember. Maybe the corn syrup and evalorated milk make the difference. I can’t wait to try this. I am VERY hopeful about this recipe and I think I know the Hershey’s Cookbook you are talking about. Thanks a lot.

  • Hi Amy, thanks for sharing your experience and let me know if this recipe holds up!

  • Dianne

    I’ve done a lot of investigating, trying to replicate the kind of hot fudge sauce I had in ice cream parlors as a kid in the 1950s. Sure, other sauces are good, but I wanted the exact old fashioned one, even if it wasn’t gourmet. You did it!! Thanks so much.