Perfect Classic Hot Fudge

There are times when cutting corners is necessary.

Economic circumstances sometimes dictate our clothes come from JC Penny instead of J Crew for example.

Pancetta is substituted for bacon in order to avoid setting off the smoke detector, placed near the kitchen, that just happens to be directly connected to the local fire department and ADT.  Please don’t ask. Just take my word for it, it’s necessary.

There are times when cutting corners is absolutely, completely, without question prohibited.

Never, ever, ever cut your own hair even if you know how. Trust me on this one. And if you don’t know how, don’t cut anyone else’s hair either.

Letting your Great Aunt Bertha, who likes to spend her time with aging hippies at naked poetry readings, watch your children is never an option. Don’t have a babysitter, stay home.

Sometimes cutting corners is optional,

Using canned tomatoes in lieu of fresh.

Buying a that bright shiny blue sports car used instead of one right off the showroom floor where you know you’re going to have to haggle your life away only to end up paying the dealer an “acquisition fee” to take it off their hands.

Optional if often just smarter.

Then there are those times where cutting corners CAN be optional but under no circumstances should even be considered.

Never; boxed food over fresh; sugar substitutes for sugar (except for diabetics – fee pass here); cheese “product” for real cheese and anything but genuine hot fudge. Yes hot fudge.

You can buy something “like” it in cans and jars and bottles and there are recipes all over the web about how to make “the greatest hot fudge you’ll ever have in your life and only two ingredients” and the like. Yes I’ve tried them and yes they are “ok”. The stuff in the stores is not optional for me. I like to dip into warm melting hot fudge and feel like I’ve just stepped back in time to a classic soda fountain near the turn of the century; (or at least 1906 when it was invented, hot fudge that it). I simply can’t bring myself to compromise. I love my hot fudge too much to fake it.

Like the brownies I made last year, I have spent months and months trying, testing, inventing, searching and experimenting with dozens of hot fudge recipes and I have finally made the classic, hop in your time machine, perfect hot fudge.

Yes it takes a little longer (all of maybe 10 minutes) and yes it may be a little more costly than a bag of chocolate chips and a can of sweetened condensed milk, but I promise it’s worth it.

The key is the chocolate; buy the best you can afford or find. A great compromise is Lindt or Ghirardelli 60% cocao of higher & milk. Have something better available? Willing to splurge – go for it! I encourage indulgence. Do not – I repeat – do not buy Hershey’s or store brand chocolate. It’s bitter, doesn’t melt as well and just doesn’t taste as good. You will notice a difference. It’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

Cutting corners and compromise are can be good things. The key is knowing where and when not to. Remember you don’t have to share either.



Perfect Classic Hot Fudge
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The hot fudge recipe that will take on a trip back in time. Adapted from Guilt.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: International
  • ⅔ cup Heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup Light corn syrup
  • ⅓ cup Light brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup High quality cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces Milk chocolate, Ghirardelli or better
  • 4 ounces Dark chocolate, 60% cocoa or higher, Ghirardelli or better
  • 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
  1. Add cream, corn syrup, brown sugar, cocoa powder & salt to a sauce pan and cook on medium low heat until smooth.
  2. Add butter chocolate and vanilla. Melt on low until completely melted, smooth and glossy. 5-8 minutes.
  3. Set aside and cool.
  4. Store in refrigerator for up to 2-3 weeks.
Use the best chocolate you can find. It makes a difference.

  • becca.looney

    Great Aunt Bertha sounds like an interesting woman… o.O

    I haven’t had hot fudge in so long! Now I’m just trying to remember the taste and the warmth and I’m succeeding and it’s 7:30 am and I haven’t had breakfast and now all I can think about having is vanilla bean ice cream and hot fudge… neither of which I have :( Sad… oh well. Your hot fudge look absolutely positively amazing and I will definitely be making it some day! :)

  • Heather

    I can just tell by the texture and color of the fudge that it would truly taste delicious!! Never have been a fan of the Magic Shell stuff (which has a chemical taste). It pays off to make things from scratch! Especially with ice cream…yummm!

  • Oui, Chef

    Love this post, Tara, and I’m with you, a good hot fudge is too important to fake!

    • Tara @ TheButterDish

      Amen Steve! But everything is better when time, care and good ingredients are put into it when you think about it. I just don’t like to cut corners with food. :)