Thursday, March 8, 2012

Irish Coffee Sundaes with Caramel Whiskey Sauce: Decadence on St. Patrick's Day

With St. Patrick’s Day fast approaching, I thought it was perfect time to pass along the recipe for Irish Coffee Sundaes with Caramel Whiskey Sauce (click for the recipe).
   I made this dessert for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and it was incredibly delicious. Homemade caramel sauce flavored with whiskey is poured on store-bought coffee ice cream (buy the good stuff) and sprinkled with walnuts.
   However, my husband, although he agreed the warm sauce tasted very good, didn’t like the fact it practically turned into taffy a few minutes after it was poured onto the cold ice cream.
   I had no problem at all with its taffy-like consistency, and I wasn’t trying to be contrary about the matter, either.
   Because of a confusing direction in the recipe, it’s possible I cooked the caramel sauce just a wee bit too long, causing it to become taffy-like on the cold ice cream faster than it might have.
   After the initial cooking of the sugar and water, the saucepan is removed from the heat and whiskey, cream and salt are added. The mixture bubbles up.
   The recipe says to return the pan to heat and simmer, stirring, until caramel is dissolved and the sauce is smooth.
   This direction doesn’t make sense because it makes you wonder what caramel there is to dissolve. There is no hard caramel, just a caramel sauce. Here is where I likely made a misstep, cooking it too long to see if the sauce would become smoother. It didn’t.
   Borrowing from my experience of making caramel sauce successfully in another recipe, my advice is to add the whiskey, cream and salt, and cook for only about 30 more seconds. Even if the mixture is still bubbling up, don’t worry about it and take it off the heat – the bubbling will subside soon.
   Know too, that the copy of the recipe I made was from a Gourmet magazine special publication that didn’t include the coffee-nut crisp included in the recipe I’ve linked to on The recipe I used simply suggested sprinkling chopped walnuts on the caramel-topped ice cream.
   So I can’t tell you how the crisp turns out, but I bet it’s mighty delicious.

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