6 Amazing Ice Cream Sundaes & Tips on Building the Perfect Concoction (PHOTOS)

Adriana Velez | Jul 30, 2014 Food & Party

ice cream sundae

Lately I've got ice cream on my mind. Not just ice cream, but ice cream concoctions -- sundaes, sandwiches, you name it. I've been craving decadent ice cream desserts like crazy lately. So I've been looking around the web for sundae inspiration. AND! I just tapped Jeni Britton Bauer, founder and chef of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, for her sundae-building tips. Bauer is also the author of the insanely yummy cookbook Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts. And all I can say is: We are about to change our ice cream sundae game in a major way.

hot fudge sundae

More from The Stir: Make Your Own Ice Cream Cake in 6 Easy, Delicious Steps!

What's your favorite ice cream sundae?

Images © iStock/og-vision; © 2/Maren Caruso/Ocean/Corbis

  • Jeni's Key Lime Pie Parfait


    For the graham cracker ice cream:

    2 2/3 cups whole milk

    1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch

    2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened

    1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

    1 1/2 cups heavy cream

    3/4 cup sugar

    1/4 cup light corn syrup

    1/2 cup roughly chopped (1/4-inch pieces) graham crackers, preferably Annie’s Honey Bunny

    PREP: Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

    COOK: Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

    CHILL: Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the crackers and allow the mixture to steep until the crackers dissolve, about 3 minutes. Force the mixture through a sieve, then pour it into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

    FREEZE: Remove the frozen canister from the freezer, assemble your ice cream machine, and turn it on. Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy. Pack the ice cream into a storage container. Press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

    Combine with lime curd and "chocolate gravel" -- crushed chocolate cookies. See Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts cookbook for recipes for both. Top with whipped cream, more chocolate gravel, and a cherry.

    Excerpted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts by Jeni Britton Bauer (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014

  • Fruity Pebble Strawberry Ice Cream Sundaes


    Here's another take on Bauer's idea of topping berry ice cream with fruity cereal: Fruity Pebble strawberry ice cream sundaes.

    Here are Jeni Britton Bauer's tips:

    1. Garnish with breakfast cereal. Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream shop makes a dessert with wildberry lavender frozen yogurt topped with Fruity Pebbles. It works because the frozen yogurt kind of tastes like the cereal.

  • Green Apple Caramel Sundaes


    We love apples and caramel, yes? This green apple caramel sundae is a snap. Just combine French vanilla ice cream with apple slices and gooey caramel sauce.

    Sundae tip 2. Don't use hot sauce. "You want it to be just warm enough to pour," Bauer says, because otherwise it will melt your ice cream too quickly. It'll melt anyway, of course, but at a faster rate than you want.

    Sundae tip 3. Pour your sauce on the bottom, not on top of your ice cream. We love the classic photo of sauce poured over ice cream. But if you reverse that, the ice cream on top will actually cool the sauce below rather than the sauce melting the ice cream prematurely.

  • Pie Crust Ice Cream Bowls


    Imagine if you could eat the bowl, too! You can if you make these pie crust ice cream bowls. It's pretty easy, too -- you just mold rounds of pie crust around the bottoms of a muffin tin. Brilliant idea.

    Sundae Tip 4. Use anything salty and crunchy for your topping. Seriously, anything. Bauer likes to use Fritos corn chips, for example. She'll mix them with chocolate sauce and freeze the mixture on cookie sheets to make a bark she breaks up and crumbles over sundaes (with chocolate ice cream and cajeta sauce -- drool!).

  • Deep Dish Peanut Butter Cookie Ice Cream Sundaes


    If you love the edible bowl idea, here's another: deep dish peanut butter cookie ice cream sundaes, made with peanut butter ice cream and chocolate sauce. I think I'd sprinkle some peanut brittle over this one.

    Sundae Tip 5. Keep it simple. Too many flavors and textures can get muddy. Bauer suggests using one sauce, one ice cream flavor, and one crunchy and salty topping. "Otherwise, at some point your brain just can't keep up and it's all just goo."

    But what about banana splits? Okay, these are the exception. Banana splits are more like three mini sundaes, Bauer says. And parfaits are more like two sundaes, stacked. Mmm, parfait ... where was I? Oh yes, sundae tips!

    Sundae Tip 6. Top your whipped cream with cinnamon sugar. But not just any cinnamon sugar -- use turbinado or other chunky-grained sugar for extra crunch. Also? "You have to have whipped cream," Bauer says.

  • Brownie Oreo Ice Cream Bars


    Okay, technically this isn't a sundae, but it looks so yummy we had to include it: brownie Oreo ice cream bars. Is there such thing as too much chocolate? Nah, I don't think so, either.

    Sundae Tip 7. Make frozen sundae mini-cups for a big party. If you're entertaining, try this fun recipe: Create mini-sundaes in Weck or other little jars or cups and then freeze them. For the party, take them out, top with whipped cream, and pass around. Or leave covered and hand them out as a little goodbye goodie.