Posted by: Catherine | April 24, 2009

Coffiesta Sundae (RR*)


(*Reader Recipe)


When my friend Gail Monaghan, cook and cookbook author extraordinaire, told me about this sundae, I nearly fell off my chair (drooling!). I called her immediately and asked her to guest blog and reveal absolutely everything, directly to you. After all, this is what unconfidential cooks do. I give you Gail….

As far back as I can remember, coffee was my favorite ice cream flavor, and coffee ice cream my favorite dessert. There was not even a close second…until I was ten and my grandmother came to town and took me to Blum’s in Beverly Hills, very near where I lived. I ordered their Coffiesta Sundae. I had never tasted anything like it. A divine combination of the best coffee ice cream, the best fudge sauce, whipped cream, and coffee crunch, the ingredient—new to me then but a pantry staple now—that made the dessert extra special. Its magic is hard to describe unless you remember that 1960s specialty of upscale candy shops called “foam’ or “honeycomb.” Cadbury’s in Britain makes an addictive chocolate-dipped candy bar called the Crunchie that is similar in a mass-market kind of way.

I have taught this frequently in my cooking classes and many people say it is their favorite dessert of all time—definitely a case of the whole being much better than the sum of its parts, though, admittedly, the parts are pretty good. You will have extra crunch, which keeps virtually forever in an airtight container, and possibly extra fudge sauce, which also keeps a long time in the fridge, or frozen. With them on hand, you can dazzle guests (and yourself) by throwing together Coffiesta Sundaes at the drop of a hat—and effortlessly. Have fun!!!


Serves 8

Hot fudge sauce (recipe below)
Coffee crunch (recipe below)
2 pints best-quality coffee ice cream
1 1/2 cups very cold heavy cream, whipped with 2 T sugar

Hot Fudge Sauce
(Makes about 2 1/2 cups, enough for approximately 8 to 12 sundaes)
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup best-quality unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 t. vanilla extract
1/8 t. salt
1/4 teaspoon malt or cider vinegar

In a large heavy saucepan, stir together the cocoa powder, sugar and cream until smooth. Stir in corn syrup and chopped chocolate. Insert a candy thermometer. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook without stirring until the temperature reaches 236 degrees.

Off the heat, stir in the vanilla extract, salt and vinegar. Serve the sauce lukewarm.

Note: If you make ahead of time, store the sauce in the refrigerator in a covered jar. To reheat, remove the lid and microwave briefly or heat the jar in a saucepan filled with enough boiling water to come halfway up its sides.

Coffee Crunch
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup strong coffee
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 generous T baking soda, sifted

Stir the first three ingredients together in a saucepan at least 5 inches deep. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Then stop stirring and place a candy thermometer into the pan. Cook until the thermometer registers 295 degrees. Toward the end of cooking, around 275 degrees, stir occasionally to prevent mixture from scorching and becoming too frothy.

crunching-crunch1At 295 degrees, immediately remove from heat and stir in the sifted soda. Stir well and vigorously until completely combined, but QUICKLY. Immediately pour onto a baking sheet in a lump. Do not spread or fuss with it at all. The point is to do this quickly enough that the mixture rises in the cooling pan, NOT in the pot in which it was made. DO NOT MOVE UNTIL COOL. When completely cool, unmold by inverting the cookie sheet onto a piece of foil placed on the counter. Scrape off baking sheet with a pancake turner and break up the crunch with a rolling pin.

Other Recipes from Gail

dsc_34 Chocolate Torrone Loaf

angelslice1 Chocolate Angel Pie

melon31 Melon Surprise


dsc_0084Frozen Lemon Meringue Bombe

img_1577 Jeremiah Tower’s Black Bean Gazpacho



  1. Just amazing…wow, I love this idea, especially the coffee crunch.

  2. This sounds incredible and tantalizing. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  3. Fabulous! Coffee ice cream and coffee crunch – yum!

  4. Great guest post!

    I love the coffee crunch topping, I bet that’s the best part!

  5. That coffee crunch is like the icing on the cake-fabulous!

  6. You’re right, looks so good. I have to try that sauce. YUM!

  7. I adore coffe ice cream – Caribou makes an especially creamy one. This is a “must do!”

  8. Wow, coffee crunch sounds so good. Of course the hot fudge sauce is delicious too.

  9. i suspected this was gonna be a terrific recipe, and i was right. that coffee crunch would add something to make this a sundae beyond comparison!

  10. off topic, i’m hosting a community virtual book sale & giveaway on my site may 4 – 15! i’d love for you to join in!

    we both participated in the bookroom reviews giveaway!

    Here’s the info. Please pass it on to other book lovers!

  11. sounds right up my alley! love the shot of coffee jolt in there!

  12. This is a winner of a recipe. I like that way your friend cooks!! I have to let you know that on your recommendation I purchased that Tiny Treats book for my girlfriend’s brithday. She has 2 girls and they love special treats like that. I cannot wait to see what she makes. Thanks!!

  13. My word, this looks heavenly! I love to make honeycomb (even though I live in England and have ready access to Crunchies should I so desire). We often make it on Guy Fawkes Night or Hallowe’en, as they way it fizzes up in the pan seems suitably dramatic and magical.

  14. Um, that coffee crunch sounds so bomb! Mmmm, addictive really. It would be hard to not eat that huge bowl.

  15. I am really just about unbearably jealous that i was not at the UC Dinner. I assume this takes place in LA so next time I expect enough warning to buy a plane ticket, book a hotel, and lose enough weight beforehand that I can eat with impunity once I’m there. And find a worthy recipe/dish to contribute, of course.

  16. My grandmother also took me to Blum’s in Beverly Hills in the 50’s……this sundae was a staple then as was the Coffee Crunch Cake that Blum’s made . The recipe for the cake is at the Martha Stuart website and is equally yummy, although I am partial to the sundae….such fond memories!!

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