Mmm vanilla ice cream and hot caramel sauce

A hot sauce poured over freezing cold ice cream so that it thickens on impact is a glorious thing. A good vanilla ice cream goes with almost any sauce or topping, it is the classic dessert.

You can easily make an ice-cream sundae with any of the sauces featured here, just add some toppings such as roasted nuts — and don’t forget the cherry on top.

This classic American treat has been served since the late 19th century, but it was 1950s America that made ice-cream parlours the height of glamour, with towering ice-cream sundaes served across colourful Formica countertops.

Caramel sauce

recipe by:Michelle Darmody

Caramel sauce is surprisingly easy to make and keeps well in the fridge. Keep a stock in the fridge at all times to facilitate desserts in a hurry


  • 250ml of cream

  • 80g  muscovado sugar

  • 90g soft butter, cubed

  • ½ tbsp of golden syrup

  • ½ tbsp of treacle


  1. Gently heat the cream in a saucepan. Add the sugar and butter and whisk until melted. Whisk in the syrup and treacle.

  2. Serve warm over very cold ice-cream. Store any extra in a sealed jar in the fridge.

Closer to home we have had a resurgence of great ice-cream makers in Ireland in recent years. Ballyhubbock Farm in Wicklow makes a very delicious line of sheep’s milk ice cream, their flavours include lemon curd and raspberry crumble. Murphy’s, who started out in Dingle, now have other locations and sell the tubs for home use. If you do not eat dairy Nobó produce a selection of tasty ice-creams that use coconut milk and other plant-based ingredients.

Cherry sauce

recipe by:Michelle Darmody

Sweet and slightly tart, a cherry sauce turns a bowl of ice-cream into a luxury dessert in a few minutes

Cherry sauce


  1. Put the cherries into a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat and add the water. Bring to the boil then allow to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring now and again until the fruit is beginning to soften.

  2. Add the sugar and stir until it dissolves, add the orange juice and brandy, then bring back to the boil.

  3. Simmer for 15 minutess until the fruit has burst and softened and the sauce is smooth and dark purple.

A banana split is another dessert option. If you have not had one in years you might be surprised by how tasty they are. Cut a banana in half lengthwise and lay it in a dish, preferably a boat-shaped glass dish, top it with vanilla, chocolate shavings, chopped nuts and any of the sauces featured here. Placing a cherry on top is also the classic way to serve it.

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