Caramel Sauce

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Put the cream in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Set aside.

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
Use a brush dipped in cold water and brush the inside of the saucepan, brushing just about the level of the simmering sauce.

Cook over high heat until the mixture is golden brown.

Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the reserved cream.

Return to the boil and cook over low heat for two to three minutes.

Stir in the vanilla.

Passion Fruit Fool

12 passion fruit
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons Passoa or Cointreau

Chill 6 small wineglasses. Cut passion fruit in half, and scoop out pulp with a teaspoon into a bowl. Mash lightly, cover and refrigerate. Using an electric mixer or by hand, whisk cream until lightly thickened. Refrigerate cream until needed, up to 4 hours.

When ready to serve, remove cream from refrigerator, and add sugar, lemon juice and liqueur. Whisk mixture until thickened but still slightly floppy. Fold in passion fruit. Spoon into glasses, and serve.

Strawberries with Swedish Cream

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
Sugar or honey to taste
1 tablespoon any liqueur, like Cointreau or amaretto (optional)
1 quart strawberries, washed, hulled, and halved or quartered, if necessary

Whip the sweet cream until it holds soft peaks, then fold it into the sour cream; add sugar to taste and liqueur if you like.

Put the berries in four to six bowls or stemmed glasses and top with the cream. If desired, garnish with a leaf of fresh mint.

Chocolate Ganache

14 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
3 tablespoons espresso, strong coffee or water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar (confectioners’, granulated or light brown)
3/4 cup heavy cream, preferably not ultrapasteurized
1 pinch coarse salt, more to taste

In a heavy saucepan, combine all ingredients and melt together over very low heat, stirring. (Alternatively, combine in a bowl and microwave at low heat for 2 minutes. Stir. Continue cooking in 30-second blasts, stirring in-between.)

Just before all the chocolate is melted, remove from heat and stir until chocolate melts and mixture comes together. It may appear curdled, but keep stirring or whisk vigorously; it will smooth out. If too thick to pour, whisk in hot water a tablespoon at a time. Taste for salt and adjust the seasoning.

When ganache is hot and pourable, it’s a classic companion to ice cream.

Warm, you can pour or pipe it over a cake, cupcakes or cookies; it will set to a soft, rich glaze.

Let it cool to room temperature and whip it in a mixer to make a fluffy frosting.

Or chill it, then roll into balls and dust with cocoa powder to make truffles.

This sauce has a slightly more adult flavor than the ice-cream-parlor standard; coffee will do that to a dessert. Leave it out if you prefer. Also note that bittersweet chocolate will deliver a stronger, sharper chocolate taste than semi-sweet.

Refrigerate leftovers in a jar; it will keep indefinitely. To rewarm, place the jar in a saucepan half-filled with simmering water, or uncover and heat in microwave at low heat.

Chocolate Cherry Mousse

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
2 tablespoons cherry brandy or kirsch
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 or 3 tablespoons sugar, as needed
2 large eggs

In a heavy-based saucepan, combine chocolate, cherry brandy or kirsch, butter and corn syrup. Add 2 tablespoons sugar if using cherry brandy, 3 tablespoons sugar if using kirsch. Melt over very low heat, then scrape into a bowl and allow to cool a little.

Separate eggs, and whisk whites until soft peaks form. Beat yolks into cooled chocolate mixture, then gently mix in a dollop of egg whites to lighten mixture. Carefully fold remaining whites into chocolate mixture, taking care to keep mousse airy.

Spoon mousse into two wine glasses. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours before serving.

Spiced Brandied Cherries

1 cup sugar
2 whole cloves
1 2-inch piece cinnamon stick
4 cardamom pods
1 quart sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted
1/2 cup Cognac or other aged brandy

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and spices with a cup of water. Bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves. Let simmer for 5 minutes.

Turn off heat and add cherries and brandy to pot. Let cool, then store mixture in a jar in refrigerator for at least 2 days before eating, and up to several months. These are great over ice cream.

Magic Shell

7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil

Melt the chocolate in a small metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water.

Stir in the coconut oil and heat until dissolved, about 1 minute.

Keep the liquid lukewarm until ready to pour over the ice cream.

Chocolate will harden into a shell within a few seconds when spooned over ice cream.