There's no denying that ice cream is delicious in itself. But sometimes you just want to "gild the lily" by adding a terrific topping or folding some additional ingredients into either a homemade or high-quality commercial product.
With all the fresh summer fruits in markets, sauces are as easy to prepare as placing berries or fruit chunks into the blender and whirling. A little lemon juice will keep apricots, peaches and nectarines from turning dark.
A few more ingredients and a little bit of effort can result in such toppings as Spirited Berry Sauce, Cantaloupe-Peach Sundae Sauce, or Strawberry Sauce. And then there are always such favorites as Hot Fudge and Bananas Au Rum.
Vanilla ice cream can be transformed into Rum Raisin Nut by first softening it, then folding in marinated raisins and nuts. Or prepare Praline candy and stir into vanilla or coffee ice cream to make Praline Crunch.
Cajun Coffee is still another quick and easy way to enhance basic vanilla ice cream. Perhaps these ideas will spark some additional treats you'll want to try.
SPIRITED BERRY SAUCE
1 1/2 cups berries
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup kirsch
Slightly mash berries with sugar. Stir in kirsch. Let stand at least 1 hour to blend flavors. Makes 1 3/4 cups.
CANTALOUPE-PEACH SUNDAE SAUCE
1 cup diced cantaloupe
1 cup diced peaches
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
Combine cantaloupe, peaches, sugar and water. Bring to boil. Add lemon juice and blend well.
Add cornstarch mixed with water and continue to cook and stir until liquid is slightly thickened and clear. Chill. Makes 2 cups.
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup crushed strawberries
1 cup sliced strawberries
Blend sugar, cornstarch and salt in saucepan. Stir in water and crushed berries.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened and clear. Remove from heat and cool, stirring several times.
Stir in sliced berries. Makes 1 1/2 cups.
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup milk
1 (7-ounce) jar marshmallow cream
1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine sweetened condensed milk, milk, marshmallow cream and chocolate in saucepan. Heat, stirring often, until chocolate melts. Add vanilla. Serve hot or cold. Makes about 3 1/2 cups.
BANANAS AU RUM
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup rum
2 bananas, sliced
Combine sugar, butter and cinnamon over medium heat. Cook and stir until smooth. Add rum and bananas and cook 2 minutes. Serve warm over ice cream. Makes 1 1/2 cups.
RUM-RAISIN NUT ICE CREAM
3/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 cup toasted pecans
1 quart vanilla ice cream
Marinate raisins in rum 1/2 hour or longer. Fold with nuts into slightly softened ice cream. Refreeze.
Spoon additional dark rum over ice cream before serving, if desired. Makes 1 quart.
PRALINE CRUNCH ICE CREAM
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons brandy
1 quart vanilla or coffee ice cream
Spread nuts onto greased baking sheet. Combine sugar and water in saucepan and cook over medium-high heat without stirring until caramel-colored, 310 degrees on candy thermometer or until syrup, when dropped into very cold water, separates into threads which are hard and brittle (hard-crack stage).
Remove from heat, add brandy and pour quickly over nuts. Let cool completely.
Crack candy and stir into slightly softened ice cream, reserving some for garnish. Refreeze.
Spoon additional brandy over ice cream and candy topping before serving, if desired. Makes 1 quart.
CAJUN COFFEE ICE CREAM
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon coffee liqueur, about
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 quart vanilla ice cream
Stir espresso powder, coffee liqueur and lemon peel into slightly softened ice cream. Refreeze. Spoon additional coffee liqueur over ice cream before serving, if desired. Makes 1 quart.