I’m a sucker for any type of chocolate milkshake. I remember ordering my first hot fudge shake at Dairy Queen as a kid and thinking that hot fudge beats chocolate syrup hands down! Sometimes it’s hard to improve upon something that has sentimental value, but using homemade hot fudge and good quality vanilla ice cream for these shakes accomplishes just that. The hot fudge recipe is a favorite from Gourmet; I've tried many different recipes from various sources, and this one is hands down my favorite. I’ve adapted it slightly to cut back on the sweetness and to substitute golden syrup (Lyle’s brand is great) for corn syrup. The hot fudge firms up as it hits the cold ice cream, kind of like a sublime version of Magic Shell, another childhood favorite of mine.
Topped with a cherry and freshly whipped cream, these shakes would be really good on a hot summer evening with burgers on the grill. I’ve suggested proportions of ice cream, milk, and hot fudge below, but you can adjust them to your liking. The hot fudge recipe makes more than you'll need for the shakes, but leftover hot fudge is never a bad thing. - EmilyC —EmilyC
Test Kitchen Notes
I mean, there's no way this was not going to be good. The hot fudge is glossy, rich, and not overly sweet. It firms up when it hits the vanilla ice cream (quality of ingredients really matters here), and becomes delightfully chewy. The resulting shake is incredibly delicious—I've always preferred vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce to chocolate ice cream, so this is perfect for me. My one qualm is that it didn't really fit through a straw. I'd say use an extra-thick one or resort to a spoon (not that that's really a problem). —Catherine Lamb
For hot fudge:
¼ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (unsweetened)
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
½ cup golden syrup
2/3 cup heavy cream
6 oz good quality semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 T butter (unsalted), cut into small pieces
2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
To assemble hot fudge shakes:
½ cup to ¾ cup whole milk
2 ½ cups good quality vanilla ice cream
¼ cup hot fudge, cooled if freshly made
Maraschino cherries and freshly whipped cream (optional)
Combine cocoa powder, brown sugar, golden syrup, cream, and half of chocolate in a heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until chocolate is melted. Continue to cook at a low simmer for 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times.
Remove pan from heat, add the rest of chocolate, butter, vanilla, and pinch of sea salt. Stir until smooth. The cooled sauce will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
To assemble hot fudge shakes:
Place 2 large glasses in freezer to chill.
Put ½ cup milk, ice cream, and hot fudge in blender and blend until thick and creamy, stopping to push down the ice cream if necessary. Add more ice cream or milk to thicken / loosen, as necessary.
Pour into frosted glasses and top each with cherry and whipped cream (if using). Serve with long-handled spoon and straw.