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It has been so unusually hot and humid for an equally unusually long time that I just don’t feel like cooking.  Instead, I’m looking at some great cooking websites with lots of beautiful pictures that fill you up without turning on the hot oven.

Right now, I’m having a food fantasy.  You know the kind—-something that is just too difficult to make or just too caloric.

Is this a chocolate river around butterscotch cookies or scopes of ice cream?

Here is my too hot, too lazy summer food fantasy.

Ice cold, delicious and totaly inventive—ice cream sundaes.

Come join me.

(Throughout this posting, there are several opportunities to go to the original article.  They are marked in red.  Put your cursor on the area. If a line appears under the text, click and open in a new tab.)

Who invented the ice cream sundae?

The Internet is a great source of trivia especially conflicting answers to trivia questions.  Food site delish.com clarified the confusing information about who invented the ice cream sundae.

Claim 1: 1881. Two Rivers, WI, Ed Berners’ soda fountain. George Hallauer orders a cup of ice cream, notices a container of chocolate sauce used in ice cream sodas, and asks Berner to pour some on his ice cream giving birth to the ice cream sundae.

Chocolate Sundae

Claim 2: 1892. Ithaca, NY. Platt & Colt Pharmacy. After Sunday morning services, the Reverend John M. Scott meets with the church’s treasurer Chester C. Platt. Platt presents bowls of vanilla ice cream and, as something special, adds cherry syrup and tops with the now obligatory candied cherry giving birth to the “Cherry Sunday”.

Cherry Sundae

Claim 3: 1890, Evanston, IL. Blue laws forbid selling ice cream sodas. To obey the law, the locals serve ice cream with the syrups used with the soda but without the soda. Sodaless ice cream is called the “Sunday soda”. However, as it was also sold on other days, local leaders object to naming it after the Sabbath so the spelling was changed to Sundae.

What is the most expensive ice cream sundae?

Stephen Bruce of the restaurant Serendipity 3, Upper East Side of Manhattan has the honor of creating  the most expensive ice cream sundae.  For $1,000, you can have the  Golden Opulence Sundae

 If you want to make the screen larger on a video, put your cursor over the image at the extreme right.  It will say—full screen.  Click.  You can always return to regular size by using the ESC key on your computer. (on the very top row, extreme left.)

If you want to skip or go back to see again, put your cursor on the small white and red ball on the left and move it to the position you want.

This same restaurant also makes the world most expensive dessert Frrrozen Haute Chocolate, $25,000 ( £15,730 ).

Let’s Get Practical

Martha Stewart.com has 24 ice cream sundaes in her summer living section. How about number 22, a Strawberry Pink Split.

Also take a look at her 38 not-just-for-kids Ice Pop recipes.

Fruit Salad Ice Pops

My Fantasy Hot Fudge Sundae

Here is how I would make my own fantasy hot fudge sundae.  Start with the best vanilla ice cream you can buy.  Or you could make the often cited  recipe by David Lebovitzor you could pretend that you are making it.

Hot Fudge Sauce.  My very favorite recipe blog, which is soon also to  be a cookbook,  is Smitten Kitchen.  It is amazing what this young mother creates in her small New York City apartment kitchen.  I’m addicted to her hot fudge sauce that is bittersweet and fudgy and becomes firmer on the cold ice cream.  Don’t fantasize, make it.

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 tablespoons butter, unsalted
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons corn syrup
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon rum (or other flavoring, such as a flavored liquer or vanilla extract)

Melt the chocolate and butter very slowly in a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring frequently until combined. Meanwhile, heat the water to boiling in the small, heavy saucepan. When the butter and chocolate have melted, stir the mixture into the boiling water. Add the sugar, corn syrup and salt and mix until smooth. Turn the heat up and stir until mixture starts to boil; adjust heat so that sauce is just maintained at the boiling point, stirring occasionally. Allow sauce to boil for nine minutes.

Remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes. Stir in the rum and serve warm over ice cream.

Do ahead: Sauce can be easily and quickly reheated in the microwave for 15 to 30 seconds. Stir and it will be shiny and even again.

Yields 2 1/2 cups

Top with Crisp Salt-Roasted Peanuts.

Great on anything or one after another.

David Lebovitz also is responsible for the greatest combination of sweet, crispy and salty peanuts.

Sprinkle generously over the hot fudge-sauced vanilla ice creams.  I don’t add whip cream or the classic cherry because I think it ruins the combination of vanilla, bittersweet chocolate and salt.

2 cups (300 g) raw peanuts
1/4 cup (80 g) light corn syrup, agave nectar, or rice syrup
2 tablespoons (30 g) light brown sugar or cassonade
1 1/2 teaspoons fleur de sel or any light-tasting coarse sea salt crystals

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 C).

Lightly oil a baking sheet or line it with a silicone baking mat.

In a bowl, mix together the peanuts, corn syrup, and light brown sugar, until the peanuts are well-coated.

Sprinkle the salt over the peanuts and stir just a few times, but not enough to dissolve the salt.

Spread the peanuts evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring three times during baking, until the nuts are deep-golden brown and glazed.

Cool completely, then store in an airtight container immediately, to preserve their crispness.

Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Makes 2 cups.

The “I-Don’t-Like-Chocolate” Sundaes

My favorite website is by the magazine Food&Wine foodandwine.com  Although this site seems to be designed for real “foodies” I actually often find their recipes to be practical and easy.  I’ve noticed that it is often copied and cited on other websites.   Take a look at its slideshow with recipes of 18 ice cream sundaes.

Here is a selection of their featured non-chocolate fantasy delights. If you don’t want to make your own ice cream, you can always use store-bought vanilla or any other flavor that you might want.

To view the recipes, put your cursor on the red caption below the picture.Click and open in a new tab.

Here you have my low calorie, low cholesterol non-sugar  ice cream sundae fantasy.  Have fun and keep cool.