One of my favorite times of the year is the beginning of May. Not only is the weather looking brighter and flowers are blooming, but my favorite day of sports happens … The Kentucky Derby, the annual run for the roses! And these Derby Sundaes with Chocolate-Bourbon Sauce are the perfect way to celebrate!
In 2016 I had the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of mine. I got to go to Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby, in Louisville, Kentucky! It was a beautiful day with crystal clear skies and I had so much fun with my cousins, nephew, and his then fiancé, now wife.
As we toured the grounds listening to our guide, I kept thinking of my parents and how they would have loved being there too. They grew up nearby in southern Indiana and watched the race every year. I come by my love of the races honestly.
Next door to Churchill Downs, The Derby Museum has an incredible array of memorabilia and you should visit if you have the chance. You enter through the same gates the horses are loaded into before each race. They are incredibly tall and gave me a whole new perspective of how small the jockeys and I are compared to the thoroughbreds.
The highlight of the museum was an immersive film about the Derby from inside the world of high stakes racing. You sit on swiveling stools in the center of an oval room with screens all around you. The film follows the horses and jockeys through race day activities, culminating in the actual race footage where you feel like you are surrounded by the thundering horses as they race around the track. It was breathtaking!
There is no better way to celebrate Derby Day than putting a fun and different spin on the traditional Mint Julep cocktail. Instead of sipping on an icy bourbon and mint cocktail, we will be enjoying these minty ice cream sundaes with a bourbon-chocolate sauce. Oh yeah!
Today I am sharing a homemade chocolate-bourbon sauce that can be made ahead and so good it will have you eating it by the spoonful. But if you need a shortcut, you can use a store-bought jarred fudge sauce mixed with a little bourbon. Spoon this over the ice cream and you have a dessert in minutes! If you want a non-alcoholic dessert, just use a plain chocolate fudge sauce.
I rarely use corn syrup in my baking, but one exception is for candies like today’s chocolate-bourbon sauce. Corn syrup has a remarkable ability to reduce the occurrence of crystallization, the chemical reaction that causes sugar syrups to become grainy. When I make fudge, sauces, and caramels, etc. a little corn syrup helps them turn out perfectly every time.
So this Saturday, on the first Saturday in May, I hope you will make these fun and delicious Derby Sundaes with Chocolate-Bourbon Sauce, dress up in your finest outfits and top them with the most outlandish hats you can find. Enjoy the pageantry of the day and I’ll be cheering along with you!
Did you enjoy this recipe? Let me know in the comments, I love hearing from you!
Key Ingredients for Derby Sundaes with Chocolate-Bourbon Sauce:
- Sugar, light corn syrup, cocoa powder, water, dark chocolate
- Bourbon, salt, chocolate chip mint ice cream, fresh mint
If you want to make your own ice cream, try this wonderful recipe from my friend Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. You will be amazed at his blog and recipes, always so beautiful and delicious. And pick up a copy of his cookbook, Marbled, Swirled and Layered from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It is remarkable!
How to make Derby Sundaes with Chocolate-Bourbon Sauce:
- Combine the sugar, corn syrup, cocoa, and water in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar
- Once at a full boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until it thickens, about 10 to 12 minutes
- Take the pan off the heat and add the chopped chocolate, bourbon, and salt; whisking constantly, bring back to a simmer and cook until thick and smooth, about 5 more minutes
- Remove from the heat at let cool slightly before serving, the sauce will thicken as it cools
- Scoop ice cream into bowl, top with some of the sauce, garnish with a sprig of mint and serve immediately
Corn syrup has a remarkable ability to reduce the occurrence of crystallization, the chemical reaction that causes sugar syrups to become grainy. When I make fudge, sauces, and caramels, etc. a little corn syrup helps them turn out perfectly every time.
Recommended Tools (affiliate links; no extra cost to you):
- Dry measuring cups and liquid measuring cups
- Medium saucepan
- Small ladle/sauce spoon
- Ice cream scoop
- Serving bowls
The major gluten-free organizations state that distilled alcohols are gluten free. But for some very sensitive people they may cause issues. Some distillers may use caramel coloring or flavorings which sometimes contains gluten. If you are making this cake for a very reactive person, especially if they have Celiac, you can use potato vodka plus a little brown sugar in place of the bourbon. Or you can buy or make a plain chocolate sauce if you prefer.
Chocolate Bourbon Sauce
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup or golden syrup
- 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup water
- 6 oz 70% dark chocolate, chopped finely
- 1/4 cup bourbon (see *Note below)
- 1/2 tsp kosher or fine sea salt
- 1 gallon chocolate chip mint ice cream, store-bought or homemade
- Fresh mint sprigs, for garnishing
- Make the Chocolate-Bourbon Sauce: In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, cocoa, and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When it is at a full boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until it thickens, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- With the pan off the heat, add the chopped chocolate, bourbon and salt. Whisking constantly, return to the heat and bring back up to a simmer, and cook until thick and smooth, about 5 more minutes.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before serving. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
- The sauce can be made up to a week in advance. Once thoroughly cooled, transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. Rewarm before serving.
- Assemble the Sundaes: Scoop mint ice cream into bowls, pour some of the sauce over each serving, and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint. Serve immediately.
Recipe found at www.theheritagecook.com
* The major gluten-free organizations agree that distilled alcohols are gluten free. But some distillers may use caramel coloring or
flavorings which sometimes contain gluten. For some very sensitive people they may cause issues. If you are making this
cake for a very reactive person, especially if they have Celiac, you can use potato vodka plus a little brown sugar in place of the bourbon. Or you can buy or make a plain chocolate sauce if you prefer.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 697Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 94mgSodium: 421mgCarbohydrates: 86gFiber: 4gSugar: 73gProtein: 10g
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