50 Ice Cream Toppings

Food Network Magazine came up with dozens of ways to make ice cream even better.

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Salted Dark Chocolate Hot Fudge (No. 1)

Salted Dark Chocolate Hot Fudge (No. 1)

1. Salted Dark Chocolate Hot Fudge Combine 3/4 cup each heavy cream and sugar with 4 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; simmer, whisking, until the sugar is dissolved. Whisk in 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips until smooth. Remove from the heat and whisk in 1 1/2 teaspoons flaky salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Sprinkle with more salt if desired.

2. Raspberry Dark Chocolate Hot Fudge Make Salted Dark Chocolate Hot Fudge (No. 1), omitting the salt; whisk in 2 tablespoons raspberry jam and 1 teaspoon raspberry extract.

3. Classic Hot Fudge Combine 1 cup each heavy cream and sugar with 4 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat; simmer, whisking occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Whisk in 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder and 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips until smooth. Whisk in 2 teaspoons vanilla and a pinch of salt.

4. Orange-Chocolate Hot Fudge Make Classic Hot Fudge (No. 3); whisk in 1 teaspoon each orange extract and grated orange zest with the vanilla.

5. Olive Oil Hot Fudge Combine 4 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate, 1/4 cup each extra-virgin olive oil and heavy cream, 2 tablespoons light corn syrup and a pinch of salt in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, whisking, until smooth, 2 minutes.

6. Chocolate Shell Combine 2 1/2 cups chocolate chips and 1/4 cup coconut oil in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, whisking, until melted, 4 to 5 minutes; let cool slightly to thicken.

7. Birthday Cake Shell Make Chocolate Shell (No. 6), replacing the chocolate chips with 8 ounces chopped white chocolate; use only 3 tablespoons coconut oil. Once melted, stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/8 teaspoon butter extract, then 1 tablespoon finely chopped rainbow sprinkles.

Peanut Butter Shell (No. 8)

Peanut Butter Shell (No. 8)

8. Peanut Butter Shell Make Chocolate Shell (No. 6), replacing the chocolate chips with 1 cup each peanut butter chips and peanut butter and 1 tablespoon sugar.

Peanut Pretzel Brittle (No. 9)

Peanut Pretzel Brittle (No. 9)

9. Peanut Pretzel Brittle Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/3 cup water, 1/4 cup light corn syrup and 6 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer registers 300 degrees F. Stir in 3/4 cup mini pretzels and 1/3 cup salted peanuts. Spread onto a nonstick foil–lined baking sheet; let cool, then chop into pieces.

10. Sesame Brittle Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook, swirling occasionally, until amber, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds and a pinch of salt, then 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Spread in a thin layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet; let cool, then break into pieces.

11. Maple Nuts Combine 1/2 cup each light corn syrup and maple syrup and 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, whisking, then remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup each chopped pecans and walnuts and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

12. Coffee-Coconut Crunch Combine 1/4 cup each chopped coconut flakes, white chocolate chips, chocolate-covered espresso beans and toasted hazelnuts.

13. Tropical Crunch Combine 1/4 cup each chopped cashews, macadamia nuts, dried pineapple and coconut flakes.

14. Banana-Peanut Crunch Toss 1/3 cup each raisins, chopped dried bananas and honey-roasted peanuts and 1/4 teaspoon flaky salt.

15. Rose-Sugared Pistachios Whisk 1 egg white with 2 teaspoons rosewater and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt until frothy. Stir in 1 1/2 cups roasted pistachios, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/3 cup crushed dried rose petals. Spread on a baking sheet. Bake at 250 degrees F, stirring every 15 minutes, until dry, 45 minutes.

16. Pie Chips Brush 1 round refrigerated pie dough with beaten egg; sprinkle with turbinado sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Cut into 1-by-1/2-inch strips with a fluted cutter. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 425 degrees F until golden, 10 to 12 minutes.

17. Apple Pie Topping Combine 3 Golden Delicious apples (peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes), 1/2 cup apple juice, 1/3 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 pinches of salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat; simmer until tender and syrupy, 8 to 10 minutes.

18. Blueberry Pie Topping Combine 2 cups blueberries, 1/3 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat; simmer until thickened, 12 to 15 minutes.

19. Ancho Blackberry Sauce Combine 2 cups blackberries, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon lime juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chile powder in a medium saucepan over medium heat; simmer, mashing the berries occasionally, until thickened, 12 to 15 minutes.

20. Passion Fruit Sauce Bring one 14-ounce packet thawed frozen passion fruit pulp, the pulp and seeds from 2 fresh passion fruits and 1 1/4 cups sugar to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk 2 tablespoons each cornstarch and water, then whisk into the passion fruit mixture and cook until thickened, 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; whisk in 1 tablespoon butter.

21. Basil-Peach Compote Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup each water and fresh basil in a saucepan over medium heat; simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool; strain. Return the syrup to the saucepan and add 5 peaches (peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges); simmer until the peaches start to break down, 15 minutes.

Spiced Pineapple Compote (No. 22)

Spiced Pineapple Compote (No. 22)

22. Spiced Pineapple Compote Combine 2 cups chopped pineapple, 2 tablespoons each granulated sugar, light brown sugar and lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon and grated nutmeg in a saucepan over medium heat; simmer until softened and syrupy, 7 to 10 minutes.

Raspberry-Vanilla Sauce (No. 23)

Raspberry-Vanilla Sauce (No. 23)

23. Raspberry-Vanilla Sauce Combine 2 pints raspberries, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon water and 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste in a saucepan over medium heat; simmer until the berries break down and thicken slightly, 15 to 20 minutes. Strain.

24. Cardamom Strawberries Toss 2 cups sliced strawberries, 2 tablespoons each sugar and lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom. Let sit until juicy, about 30 minutes.

25. Sour Cherry–Red Wine Sauce Combine one 35-ounce jar sour cherries (undrained), 1/4 cup each sugar and dry red wine and 2 wide strips lemon zest in a saucepan over medium-high heat; simmer, mashing the cherries, until the liquid reduces by three-quarters, 15 to 20 minutes.

26. Balsamic Cherries Toss 2 cups halved pitted cherries with 2 tablespoons each sugar and white balsamic vinegar and a pinch of coarsely ground pepper. Let sit until juicy, about 30 minutes.

27. Ginger Plums Toss 1 pound chopped plums with 1 tablespoon each sugar, lemon juice and honey and 1 teaspoon grated ginger. Let sit until juicy, about 30 minutes.

28. Cognac Prunes Combine 2 cups pitted prunes, 2/3 cup cognac and 1/2 cup each sugar and water in a saucepan; bring to a simmer and cook until syrupy, 5 to 7 minutes.

29. Butterscotch Sauce Cook 1 stick butter and 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, whisking, until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat to medium low. Add 1 cup heavy cream and cook, whisking, until amber and thickened, 8 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and add 1 tablespoon each vanilla and scotch (optional) and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.

30. Hot Buttered Rum Sauce Cook one 14-ounce can condensed milk, 1/4 cup heavy cream and 1 cup dark brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, whisking, until the sugar is dissolved, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in 4 tablespoons each butter and dark rum, 1 teaspoon vanilla and a pinch of salt.

31. Salted Caramel Sauce Combine 1 cup sugar with 1/4 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat; simmer, swirling the pan, until dark amber, 10 to 12 minutes. Slowly whisk in 3/4 cup heavy cream, 2 tablespoons butter and 1 teaspoon flaky salt.

32. Coffee Caramel Sauce Whisk 2 tablespoons hot water with 2 teaspoons instant coffee. Make Salted Caramel Sauce (No. 31), whisking in the coffee mixture with the cream; omit the salt.

33. Smoked Almond–Bourbon Caramel Sauce Make Salted Caramel Sauce (No. 31); off the heat, whisk in 1/4 cup bourbon with the cream; omit the salt. Continue to cook 1 minute; add 3/4 cup smoked almonds.

Coconut-Lime Caramel Sauce (No. 34)

Coconut-Lime Caramel Sauce (No. 34)

34. Coconut-Lime Caramel Sauce Make Salted Caramel Sauce (No. 31), using 1/4 cup heavy cream along with one 5-ounce can unsweetened coconut cream; stir in 1 teaspoon lime juice and use a pinch of salt.

35. Whipped Coconut Cream Refrigerate two 5-ounce cans unsweetened coconut cream 2 hours. Scoop out the solid cream, leaving behind any liquid; beat with a mixer on medium speed until creamy, 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar; beat on medium-high speed until medium peaks form.

36. Key Lime Pie Whipped Cream Whisk one 14-ounce can condensed milk with 3 tablespoons Key lime juice and the zest of 2 limes. Beat 1 cup cold heavy cream with 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar until medium peaks form. Add the condensed milk mixture and beat until combined. Fold in 3 chopped graham crackers.

37. Maple-Walnut Whipped Cream Beat 1 cup cold heavy cream with 3 tablespoons each confectioners’ sugar and maple syrup until medium peaks form. Add 1 teaspoon each vanilla and maple extracts and beat until combined. Top with chopped candied walnuts.

38. Brown Sugar–Molasses Whipped Cream Beat 1 cup cold heavy cream with 1/4 cup light brown sugar until soft peaks form. Add 2 tablespoons molasses and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and continue to beat until medium peaks form.

39. S’mores Whipped Cream Broil 2 cups mini marshmallows on a nonstick foil–lined baking sheet until toasted, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Let cool slightly. Beat 1 cup cold heavy cream with the toasted marshmallows and 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar until medium peaks form. Top with finely chopped milk chocolate and finely crushed graham crackers.

40. Mexican Hot Cocoa Whipped Cream Whisk together 2 tablespoons each sweetened cocoa powder and boiling water until the cocoa is dissolved; let cool. Beat 1 cup cold heavy cream with the cocoa mixture, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, a pinch of cayenne and a few drops of almond extract until medium peaks form.

41. Cookies-and-Cream Whipped Cream Beat 1 cup cold heavy cream with 5 finely crushed chocolate sandwich cookies and 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar until medium peaks form. Top with more finely crushed chocolate sandwich cookies.

42. Tiramisu Whipped Cream Beat 1 cup cold heavy cream with 1/2 cup each confectioners’ sugar and mascarpone, 1 tablespoon Marsala wine and 1 teaspoon each instant coffee and vanilla and coffee extracts until medium peaks form. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped chocolate-covered espresso beans and dust with cocoa powder.

Raspberry Whipped Cream (No. 43)

Raspberry Whipped Cream (No. 43)

43. Raspberry Whipped Cream Pulse 1/2 cup freeze-dried raspberries in a food processor with 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar until finely ground. Beat 1 cup cold heavy cream with the raspberry powder until medium peaks form.

44. Cereal Brittle Bring 3 tablespoons light corn syrup and 1/2 cup light brown sugar to a boil in a saucepan. Slowly stir in 4 tablespoons cold butter (cut into pieces). Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Drizzle over 2 cups crisp rice cereal and toss to coat. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool. Break into pieces.

45. Rocky Road Brittle Make Cereal Brittle (No. 44), using chocolate crisp rice cereal; stir in 1/2 cup chopped roasted almonds before baking. After baking, top with 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows while still warm.

46. Sesame Sprinkle Mix Combine 1 cup crumbled halvah, 3 tablespoons each cocoa nibs and nonpareils and 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds.

47. Strawberry-Coconut Clusters Toss 1 cup unsweetened coconut chips with 2 tablespoons each sugar and vegetable oil. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Toss with 2 tablespoons finely crushed freeze-dried strawberries while still warm.

Sugar Cone Crunch (No. 48)

Sugar Cone Crunch (No. 48)

48. Sugar Cone Crunch Toss 8 coarsely broken sugar cones with 3 tablespoons each melted butter and sugar and 1 tablespoon chocolate malt powder. Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F, stirring every 5 minutes, until dry, 10 to 15 minutes.

Brownie-Batter Bites (No. 49)

Brownie-Batter Bites (No. 49)

49. Brownie-Batter Bites Pulse 1 cup almond flour in a food processor with 1/2 cup light brown sugar, 4 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons each Dutch-process cocoa powder and chocolate syrup and 1 tablespoon milk until smooth and creamy. Spread into a 6-by-9-inch rectangle on a foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips. Freeze until firm, 1 hour. Cut into small squares.

50. Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumbs Beat 4 tablespoons softened butter, 1/2 cup superfine sugar and 2 tablespoons each dark brown sugar and vegetable oil with a mixer on medium-high speed until creamy, 2 to 4 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon each water and vanilla and beat until smooth. Beat in 1 egg. Add 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt and beat on low speed. Stir in 3/4 cup chocolate chips. Spread 1/4 inch thick on a buttered baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F until deep golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool. Break into small pieces.

Photographs by Ralph Smith

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