This is going to be a multi-national, multicultural week at The Heritage Cook. Today we are kicking things off with a dessert to get you ready for next Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. Tomorrow we travel to France with a progressive dinner with 12 French courses and recipes. And we end the week shouting Olé with a Mexican chicken dish to get you in the mood for Cinco de Mayo. Hold on to your hats folks, it is going to be a crazy week!
There is no better way to honor the most exciting day in horse racing than putting a fun spin on the traditional Mint Julep. This time instead of a sipping on a bourbon and mint cocktail, we are going to have the mint in ice cream and the bourbon in the chocolate sauce — oh baby!
I dream of meandering along the Bourbon Trail, sipping bourbons throughout Kentucky and debating which is our top pick. Seeing the beauty of the rolling bluegrass-covered hills and lush pastoral vistas with grazing thoroughbreds. In my mind there is nothing more beautiful or peaceful and I swear I can smell the honeysuckle in the air.
In the past I have shared traditional Juleps, Southern Biscuits, Chicken Burgoo, Hot Brown Sandwiches, and a Mint Julep Cake. Or you can try my Chocolate Brownie Bourbon Gelato for a dessert your friends will be asking for again and again. And if you want an incredible ham to fill those biscuits with, try my Baked Ham with Bourbon-Chili Glaze.
Can you tell I love to cook with bourbon? I promise, there are plenty of recipes incorporating bourbon on my blog! And before you start yelling about it not being safe for people avoiding gluten, I know. Celiacs and anyone with severe sensitivities should avoid it entirely. Not because it was made from grain (gluten is destroyed in the distillation process) but because in many cases the distiller adds caramel coloring to enhance the appearance and that is often the culprit. But if you are low on the sensitivity scale like I am, you can enjoy it on occasion – especially if it is blended with other ingredients rather than sipped straight.
Alert! Short Cut: In addition to using store-bought ice cream (hint below), you can also use a jarred chocolate fudge ice cream sauce. I personally like Fran’s brand, but any sauce you like and that doesn’t have gluten ingredients works fine. A “hot fudge” sauce has the best consistency for this trick. Put a few heaping spoons of the chocolate into a bowl. Pour a splash of the bourbon into the bowl and mix until it is smooth and creamy. Spoon this over the ice cream and you have a dessert in minutes!
But if you want to make your own chocolate-bourbon sauce from scratch, I’ve included a recipe below. Both the homemade and modified store-bought desserts are delicious and for me it all depends on how much I have going on and whether I have the time to make the sauce myself. The good news is that the sauce can be made ahead and if you make your own ice cream, it will last in the freezer for at least a week. The dessert components can be made well in advance – another time saver!
If you are hosting a huge party where you have a lot of dishes to make and get on the table, take the short cut on dessert. Use a good store-bought ice cream, like Three Twins and your guests will be happy campers!
I rarely use corn syrup, but when you are making a cooked sugar confection such as caramel or this chocolate sauce, it will give you beautiful creamy sauces every time. Corn syrup has a remarkable ability to reduce the occurrence of crystallization, the chemical reaction that causes sugar syrups to be grainy. When I make fudge, sauces, and caramels, corn syrup helps it turn out every time.
So, as you get ready for this coming weekend’s race, make this sauce, pull out a beautiful dish, scoop in some mint ice cream, pour on the sauce and tuck in a sprig of fresh mint. Get fancied up in your finery, put on your most elegant or outlandish bonnet, and sit down to enjoy the race while eating these sundaes. I promise that your Derby celebrations will never be the same! 🙂
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
For ease I used store-bought ice cream, but if you want to make your own, 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 keep an eye out for his upcoming book, Marbled, Swirled and Layered from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and due in stores in the Fall of 2016!
If you are making this for someone who is celiac or highly reactive, you can replace the bourbon with an equal amount of potato vodka plus 1 tbsp brown sugar. It will be a fairly close flavor without the risk of getting anyone sick.
- Chocolate-Bourbon Sauce
- 1/3 cup granulated cane sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup or golden syrup
- 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Hershey’s or Droste
- 1 cup water
- 6 oz 70% dark chocolate, chopped finely
- 1/4 cup Kentucky bourbon (see Gluten-Free Tips above for GF option)
- 1/2 tsp kosher or fine sea salt
- 1 gallon store bought chocolate chip-mint ice cream or homemade ice cream, such as this recipe from Irvin Lin
- 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.
- Add the chopped chocolate, bourbon and salt. Whisking constantly, 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 can be made up to a week in advance. Once thoroughly cooled, transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
- Assemble Sundaes: Scoop mint ice cream into bowls, pour a little of the sauce over each serving, and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint. Serve immediately with a little extra bourbon on the side in case people want to add a touch more to their bowls or they love to sip it. 😉
Create a New Tradition Today!
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