I was a little grumpy this past weekend after viewing tons of picturesque images of snow and sledding and snowmen posted by my Facebook friends around the south.
We got rain – again. Nasty, cold rain. Even without any redeeming qualities, this kind of weather still makes me hungry for an indulgence. Unfortunately, it also makes me want to curl up by the fire and read – instead of getting tons of exercise by sliding down hills or tramping the streets.
So, how to best to balance the indulgence with the lack of activity? Lightening up a cake recipe was out of the question, because then the indulgence would go on for days. I wouldn’t have anyone to share it with because my friends were holed up in their cozy nests too, and probably would not have ventured out for a “lightened recipe” of anything.
And yes, in the past, I’ve tried making brownies with applesauce or pureed zucchini and the results were either terrifying or blandly OK. Besides, I like to eat seasonally, and we usually don’t have zucchini around in the winter.
We did have peppermint ice cream, put on sale after the holidays. By accident, we had picked up the lower calorie and sugar version. We have tried this kind of stuff before, and the guar gum and other items they substitute as thickeners in the absense of cream and sugar tend to be offputting. But the strong flavor of the peppermint, not to mention the bits of candy in it, actually cancelled out the usual taste problems.
However, eating ice cream in the winter without hot fudge sauce is like wearing fantastic sandals in the summer without toe nail polish – something’s missing.
We don’t keep jars of the stuff on hand – too tempting. So I dug up a recipe, reduced the sugar by half and used fat-free evaporated milk. I don’t know what I was expecting, but certainly not the velvety, dark sauce that turned our Saturday night – and our moods – completely around.
It’s worth the effort to find the brown cane sugars – such as demerara or turbinado (Sugar in the Raw) because they add a rich, caramel note to the sauce.
Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce
Makes six servings
1 5-ounce can of fat-free evaporated milk
1 6-ounce package of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup of turbinado or demerara sugar (don’t use brown sugar)
1 Tbsp. salted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Remove about 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips and set aside for another use. Add the remaining chips, the milk and sugar to a saucepan and set over low heat. Stir gently but constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the chips have melted. Turn the heat to medium-low and continue to stir just until the mixture boils. Remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla and stir until butter has melted into the sauce. Let cool about five minutes before serving.