If there’s any dessert you should be eating on Independence Day, it’s ice cream.

Washington ate ice cream in the White House. Madison and Lincoln each had it served at their inaugural banquets. Jefferson’s recipe for vanilla ice cream is in the Library of Congress.

I know it sounds simple, especially with magazines and TV cooking segments showing nothing but American flag cakes, star-shaped mini pies and cookies decorated to look like the Founding Fathers. But those were created by dessert terrorists to make the rest of us insane.

Don’t let them win.

Make some Hot Fudge Sundaes instead!

Sundaes are simple – a few scoops of ice cream with hot fudge sauce, nuts, whipped cream and a maraschino cherry – but there’s just something about that hot-and-cold thing. Watching the ice cream melt as the hot fudge cascades over it and pools at the bottom of the bowl.

Holy goodness.

There are plenty of recipes for hot fudge sauce out there, but I always come back to Hershey’s. It comes together in just a few minutes, but it gets thicker and better every time you reheat it.

A sundae looks pretty spectacular as-is, but if your Martha Gene kicks in, you can always jazz it up with some red-white-and-blue sprinkles, a paper flag or a sparkler.

Benjamin Franklin totally would.

Have a Happy Fourth!

Hot Fudge Sundaes

Makes 4 to 6

  • 1 recipe Hot Fudge Sauce (see below)
    Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 quart (2 pints, 4 cups) ice cream, any flavor
  • Chopped nuts (your choice)
  • Maraschino cherries, one for each sundae, drained on a paper towel
  1. If you haven’t already, make the hot fudge sauce. Chill it, and reheat it for best flavor and texture.
  2. To Make the Whipped Cream: Whip the cream, sugar and vanilla with a mixer, food processor or by hand, until soft peaks form. Chill until ready to use.
  3. Divide the ice cream into bowls. Top with hot fudge sauce, whipped cream and chopped nuts. Garnish each one with a cherry.

Hot Fudge Sauce

Slightly adapted from Hershey’s Kitchens

Makes about 1 3/4 cups sauce

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Hershey’s Cocoa
  • 1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar and cocoa.
  2. Add evaporated milk and corn syrup to the saucepan. Stir to combine.
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils; boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  4. Add the butter and vanilla, stirring until the butter is melted. Serve warm.