OK people. IF YOU TRY ONE RECIPE THIS MONTH let this be it. For the love of chocolate. I taste tested each and every recipe with Jade as she prepared her delicious chocolatey treats during our shoot… and these sensational mini ice cream sundaes with salted caramel sauce and cacao nib cookie crumb were HANDS DOWN my absolute FAVE. Originally devised as a quick treat for her staff on a hot day in the kitchen, and served simply in latte glasses, these delicious cups of sweet, salty, crunchy goodness are simply outstanding. The cacao nib crumb provides the perfect bitter chocolate crunch and, well, the appeal of homemade salted caramel sauce really needs no explanation. – Lucy
I have a confession to make. When I was very young and before chocolate truly took over my heart and soul, my career aspiration was that I would end up working at my local Dairy Bell ice cream shop. Amazed by what joy a novelty ice cream sundae could bring, and how in awe I was of the girls in charge of the ice cream scoop, I thought that making people happy with the power of ice cream was indeed my future. Though unfortunately I was never hired to scoop serves behind the counter, every time I make up these sundaes for people it brings those wonderful memories of flooding back.
These sundaes came about last summer when the café staff were hot and bothered and needed a quick delicious pick me up that I was only too happy to provide. This recipe combines two of my favourites, salted caramel – which seems to be a flavour that has taken the world by storm of late – and delicious bittersweet cacao nibs.
Cacao nibs are a natural stimulant, full of antioxidants, and give you a terrific energy boost when you consume them. Working in a chocolate factory means that I always have a constant supply of nibs on hand. Often as soon as we put them out in the shop they are snapped up by lovers of their wonderful texture and flavour. If you use them in this sundae at least you can feel good that one small component is healthy! They have since become a staff favourite, and a delicious sneaky treat served in short black cups or whatever small glasses are available, so that they can be consumed as quickly as possible!
For a quick dinner party idea, buy a good tub of ice-cream, make your crumb and caramel in advance then serve and let your guests run wild – you should never underestimate how much people love making their own DIY sundaes!
Cook the sugar in a heavy bottomed tall saucepan until it has all dissolved and become a golden brown colour. Whilst cooking the sugar, heat the cream in the microwave until it is quite warm. When the sugar is ready take off the heat, very slowly add the cream to the pot of sugar. Do not stir!
The cream and sugar will bubble and rise but will go down. At this point you can start to whisk in your butter a little at a time and the salt also.
When you have finished pour into a bowl and let cool. The sauce will thicken up as it cools and soon you will have a pourable caramel to enjoy. If the caramel gets too cool and firm, just refresh it in the microwave for a short burst to rewarm slightly.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Place butter, sugar and salt in a saucepan on low heat and melt thoroughly. Remove from the heat and add the flour, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and the egg, mixing thoroughly. Add the cocoa nibs and allow the dough to cool for five minutes.
Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread out the mixture evenly over the whole tray. Place in the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Pull the tray out and toss the crumb piece before placing it back in the oven for a further 8 minutes. Once done let cool, the pieces will firm up and become quite crunchy when they have cooled down.
Once both of these have cooled you can assemble your sundaes with as much or as little topping as you like! If you don’t eat it all (which is impossible!) you can put the caramel in a container with cling wrap directly on top and then sealed in the fridge and the crumb in a an airtight container. Both should last this way for a week or so.
Huge thanks to Jade the Chocolate Maker for sharing this incredible treat with us today! You can check out Jade’s work on the Monsieur Truffe website – their entire range of chocolate is handmade by Jade and her team in Brunswick. You can also follow Jade’s daily chocolate making adventures on Instagram!