Hot Fudge and Butterscotch Sundaes: #5 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Who doesn’t love ice cream sundaes as an occasional treat? At our house we have the hot fudge lovers and the butterscotch/caramel enthusiasts, so I thought we’d put them side by side today.  If you’re limiting sugar or dairy, you could try experimenting with using xylitol, soy milk, and coconut butter for the sauces, alongside your favorite non-dairy ice cream. 

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($7.84 total)

2 1/2 cups of ice cream (1/2 cup per person) – $2.50

Hot fudge sauce:
1 cup whipping cream – $1.49
2 tbsp butter – $0.31
1⁄4 cup brown sugar – $0.26
1/3 cup sugar – $0.29
1/4 cup chocolate chips – $0.25
1/2 cup cocoa – $0.55
1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract – $0.10

Butterscotch sauce:
4 tbsp butter – $0.62
1/2 cup packed brown sugar – $0.51
1/2 cup whipping cream – $0.75
1 tsp vanilla extract – $0.21


1. For the hot fudge sauce: in a medium pot, combine cream, butter, brown and white sugar. Over medium heat, bring to a simmer and let it go for 45 seconds. Add chocolate chips, and stir to dissolve. Remove from heat, add cocoa, and whisk until there are no more lumps, then return the pot to low heat. Simmer the sauce until it’s glossy, whisking constantly for 20 seconds. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Serve warm. 

2. For the butterscotch sauce: in a medium pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and heavy cream, stir the mixture until well blended. Bring to a boil, scraping down the sides occasionally, and boil it for 4 to 5 minutes. Do not overboil or it will get too sticky. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Serve warm.

3. Scoop the ice cream into a bowl and top with whichever sauce you like (or both!) Bonus points for sprinkles, bananas, slivered almonds, or other improvised toppings too. 

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

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