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FROZEN ASSETS HOMEMADE TOPPINGS TURN ICE CREAM INTO ICE DREAMS.

Byline: Natalie Haughton Food Editor

A gooey caramel or warm hot fudge sauce drizzled over golden vanilla ice cream. Mmmmmm. You can almost taste it.

Now imagine a bright red raspberry sauce or a gorgeous yellow peach sauce spooned over the same golden vanilla (or flavor of your choice).

What better way to celebrate the last holiday of the summer? Instead of dressing up frosty ice cream finales with store-bought toppings - which are often pricey and not-so-great-tasting - make your own.

We're talking about fast, easy homemade renditions that require minimal time and effort. All can go together either in advance or just before serving - and many take advantage of the microwave oven. If making ahead, store in the fridge and reheat (if necessary in a microwave oven) just prior to serving.

All in this collection of favorites are designed for drizzling, blanketing or spooning (or just sneaking and eating ``as is'' on a spoon) over an array of ice cream desserts. Take your pick - sundaes, pies and cakes, baked Alaskas, bombes and more. Select sauces to complement ice cream flavors. Don't forget the whipped cream, nuts, cherries and other assorted goodies (like sprinkles, candy pieces, cookie crumbles), where applicable. Indulge in your ice cream cravings - and enjoy.

Natalie Haughton, (818) 713-3692

natalie.haughton(at)dailynews.com

MICROWAVE CHOCOLATE SAUCE

This is an all-time favorite because it can be made and served almost instantly to embellish any ice cream or other dessert when chocolate sauce is imperative.

2 cups (a 12-ounce package) semisweet chocolate chips

2/3 cup heavy whipping cream OR milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In 1-quart glass measure, combine chocolate chips and cream. Heat in microwave oven on high power 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, stirring once, until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Serve warm over scoops of ice cream, banana splits and other ice cream desserts. Makes about 1 3/4 cups sauce.

HOT FUDGE SAUCE: Stir in 2 tablespoons corn syrup along with vanilla.

OTHER VARIATIONS: For a coffee-flavored chocolate sauce, add 1 teaspoon OR more instant espresso powder with cream. For an orange-flavored sauce, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons grated orange peel with vanilla. For a raspberry-chocolate sauce, just before serving stir 1 cup fresh raspberries into warm sauce.

RASPBERRY SAUCE

2 (12-ounce) bags individually frozen unsweetened raspberries, partially thawed

1/3 cup (OR more to taste) powdered sugar

1 pint basket fresh raspberries

In a food processor, blend frozen raspberries and powdered sugar until pureed and as smooth as possible. Press through a fine sieve to remove seeds. Stir in fresh raspberries. Serve cold over ice cream. Makes about 3 to 4 cups.

PEACH SAUCE: In a food processor, blend 1 1/2 (16-ounce) bags unsweetened frozen peach slices, thawed, and 1/2 cup powdered sugar until pureed and as smooth as possible (add 2 to 3 tablespoons water, if necessary to puree). Transfer to a large glass bowl or container. Add remaining 1/2 bag of peach slices, chopped. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and microwave on high power 7 to 8 minutes, stirring twice, until hot and bubbly. Stir in 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice. Cool until still warm. Serve warm over ice cream or ice cream desserts. Makes about 3 1/2 cups.

FOOLPROOF CARAMEL SAUCE

1/3 cup water

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon corn syrup

1 cup whipping cream, heated to boiling in microwave oven (about 1 1/2 minutes)

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan, combine water, sugar, lemon juice and corn syrup. Cook over medium high heat, whisking constantly, until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a boil.

Boil over medium to medium-high heat, without stirring, 6 to 7 minutes until a golden amber color. Remove from heat (take pot to sink). Slowly and carefully whisk in hot cream (mixture will bubble vigorously) until blended. Return pot to medium heat and whisk sauce a minute or two until smooth. Whisk in butter and vanilla. Cool to room temperature. Store in covered container in refrigerator until serving (reheat in microwave oven, if desired, to warm). Serve over ice cream sundaes, pies, cakes, etc. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

DARK CHOCOLATE FUDGE SAUCE

This yummy, dark, not overly sweet sauce made with cocoa can be kept refrigerated for two weeks. Serve warm or hot, over ice cream, cake, pie, fruit or whatever strikes your fancy.

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed)

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

3 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

Dash salt

In a 1-quart or larger glass bowl or measuring cup, combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, cocoa and cream. Mix well (mixture will be very thick but will liquefy upon heating). Add butter. Heat in microwave oven on high power 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, stirring once, until well blended. Heat 1 to 1 1/2 minutes longer or until bubbly and sugars are dissolved. Stir in vanilla and salt. Serve hot over ice cream desserts. Or cool and store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Reheat in microwave oven on low power 1 to 2 minutes, stirring twice, until of good pouring consistency. Makes 1 3/4 cups.

From ``365 Great Chocolate Desserts,'' by Natalie Haughton.

IN A ``JAM'' SAUCE

1 (12-ounce) jar best-quality preserves OR marmalade

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 to 4 tablespoons water, fruit juice OR liqueur OR as needed

Bring preserves and lemon juice to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat (or heat in a glass bowl or measure in microwave oven). Thin sauce to desired consistency with water.

Use immediately or let cool to room temperature; transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate, tightly covered, up to 2 months. Gently reheat before serving. Makes about 1 cup.

From ``The Scoop: How to Change Store-Bought Ice Cream Into Fabulous Desserts,'' by Lori Longbotham.

PEANUT BUTTER SAUCE

1/2 cup chunky OR smooth peanut butter

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium glass bowl, combine peanut butter, cream and corn syrup. Microwave on high power 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until thoroughly blended and melted when stirred. Stir in vanilla until well blended. Serve warm or hot over ice cream. Refrigerate any leftover sauce. Makes about 1 cup sauce.

From ``The 5 In 10 Dessert Cookbook,'' by Natalie Haughton.

JIFFY PINEAPPLE-ORANGE SAUCE

1 (20-ounce) can pineapple chunks packed in unsweetened juice

1 tablespoon cornstarch

3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate

Drain pineapple, reserving juice. In a 1-quart glass bowl or measure, mix cornstarch with pineapple juice until dissolved. Add orange juice concentrate. Microwave on high power 2 minutes; stir well. Microwave 1 minute longer, until thickened. Stir in pineapple chunks and microwave 1 to 1 1/2 minutes longer. Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftovers. Makes about 2 1/2 cups sauce.

From ``The 5 In 10 Dessert Cookbook,'' by Natalie Haughton.

A dozen ways to drizzle it

--Drizzle sauce atop slices of your favorite ice cream pie - like mud pie - or on fruit kabobs (grilled a bit if desired) or sliced bananas served with a scoop of ice cream on the side. Hot fudge or caramel sauces would be yummy.

--Pour hot fudge sauce over ice-cream-filled cream puffs (one large or several minis stacked on plate). Mint or peppermint or coffee ice creams are dynamite.

--Fill cooked crepes (buy them prepared in the produce section of selected markets) with scoops of ice cream and quickly make rolls or envelopes, then top with desired sauce - ranging from peach, pineapple or raspberry to hot fudge or chocolate, zipped up with a little grated orange peel or a splash of liqueur.

--Brownie squares, your favorite cookie or a cake slice topped with a scoop of ice cream begs for a rich, delicious topping. Try hot fudge, peanut butter or the like along with a sprinkling of chopped toffee, peanut brittle or Heath Bar candies.

--Slices of ice cream cakes or bombes scream for sauces. Match flavors to complement the ice cream/sherbet or sorbet flavors in the desserts.

--Belgian waffles, store-bought or homemade, topped with ice cream and assorted sauces make delicious snacks or desserts.

--Make an ice cream s'more by sandwiching a favorite ice cream flavor between graham crackers and topping with hot fudge or caramel sauce.

--Top sweet cinnamon nachos (make by cutting flour tortillas in triangles, sprinkling with cinnamon-sugar and baking until crisp and golden) with mini scoops of ice cream and desired sauces. Top with whipped cream, cherries and nuts. Be sure to consume immediately.

--Put out a sundae bar - and let guests make their own concoctions and help themselves to assorted homemade sauces, ice creams and sprinkles such as chopped nuts, chopped dried fruits, shredded coconut, colored sprinkles, chopped assorted candies (or individual ones like M&M's or yogurt covered nuts) and such. Have plenty of whipped cream and maraschino cherries with stems.

--Fill orange halves (with flesh removed) or small melon halves with a scoop of ice cream, sorbet or yogurt and toss in the freezer until serving time. Then serve with sauce of choice. Or simply peel and slice a peach, leaving bottom intact. Fan out and top with a scoop of ice cream and raspberry sauce.

--Roll scoops of ice cream into chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate pieces. Freeze until serving time, then present in a pool of raspberry, caramel, peach or chocolate sauce.

--Whip up parfaits in dozens of flavor combinations by layering different ice creams and sauces in tall stemmed glasses. Sprinkle cookie or cake crumbs, nuts or candies among the layers as desired.

- N. H.

CAPTION(S):

4 photos, box

Photo:

(1 -- cover -- color) Sweet 'n' Saucy

7 sensational ice cream toppings

(2 -- color) no caption (ice cream with peaches and sauce)

(3 -- color) no caption (cream pie drizzled with two sauces)

(4 -- color) no caption (hot fudge sundae)

Box:

A dozen ways to drizzle it (see text)
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Recipe
Date:Aug 27, 2003
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