At its most basic, a hot fudge sundae has three components: ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream. This version makes those three components—like, from scratch—from three ingredients. Add a cherry on top if you pretty, pretty please. —Emma Laperruque
Make the ice cream. Add the sweetened condensed milk and salt to a large bowl. In another bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. (You could also do this in a standing mixer.) Add a blob of whipped cream to the sweetened condensed milk and stir to loosen it up. Add some more whipped cream and gently fold to incorporate. Keep doing this until you’ve added all the whipped cream—erring on the side of under- versus over-mixing, which would lead to dense ice cream. Pour into a loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap, and stick in the freezer. Freeze for at least 6 hours or up to several weeks.
When it’s sundae time (yay!), make the hot fudge. Combine the sweetened condensed milk, water, and salt in a small saucepan. Set over low heat. Add the chocolate and stir to incorporate. Continue to cook, stirring slowly but constantly, until the chocolate has completely melted and the mixture is shiny and homogenous. (Psst: You can do this in advance. Store in the fridge. It’ll solidify—just gently rewarm, maybe with a small splash of water to help loosen up.)
Make the whipped cream: Whisk in a bowl until soft peaks form. (Or use a standing mixer.)
Assemble the sundaes in this order: scoop of ice cream, big pour of hot fudge, dollop of whipped cream. (Plus a cherry on top, if you please!)
Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.