Rebecca Rather, chef and owner of Rather Sweet Bakery & Café in Fredericksburg, Texas and author of The Pastry Queen, shares one of her all-time favorite childhood desserts. For a faster treat, you can prepare ice cream balls without the mousse.
Servings: Makes 14 servings
Dark chocolate-peanut butter mousse:
  • 8 ounces premium-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate , coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
  • 1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
  • 1 container (56 to 64 ounces) premium-quality vanilla ice cream
  • 1 1/2 cups nuts of your choice, toasted and chopped
Hot fudge sauce:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup packed golden brown sugar
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate , coarsely chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Jack Daniel's whiskey (optional)
Caramel sauce:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum (optional)
To make mousse: In a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally. Remove bowl from saucepan; set aside to cool. In another metal bowl set over the same saucepan of simmering water, beat egg yolks, 1/4 cup water, and sugar with a wire whisk until smooth and thick; whisk constantly to prevent yolks from curdling. (Temperature of egg mixture should be 160°F on an instant-read thermometer.) Stir in vanilla. Combine egg yolk mixture with melted butter and chocolate. Fully incorporate peanut butter into chocolate mixture.

In a medium bowl, whip cream at medium speed using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until stiff peaks start to form. Do not over-beat cream, because mousse will get lumpy. With a rubber spatula, gently fold whipped cream, 1/3 at a time, into chocolate mixture. Refrigerate until mousse is firm, about 1 hour.

Scoop mousse by 2 tablespoons and shape into balls, making 14 balls total. Set on parchment-lined cookie sheets, and freeze at least 2 hours. Spoon any remaining mousse into ramekins; cover and refrigerate to serve another day.

Fill a 2-inch ice cream scoop about 1/3 full with ice cream, and set a mousse ball in the center. Continue scooping until ice cream completely covers mousse. Finish forming ice cream into a ball as best you can with your hands. Set each ice cream ball on parchment paper in the freezer as soon as it's scooped. Freeze at least 1 hour.

Put chopped nuts in a pie pan; roll each ice cream ball in nuts. Return to freezer until ready to serve.

To make fudge sauce: In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, heat cream and brown sugar. Once sugar has dissolved, add chocolate chips and bittersweet chocolate; combine over medium-low heat until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in salt. Remove fudge sauce from heat and add Jack Daniel's, if desired. Keep warm until ready to serve, or cover and refrigerate up to 1 month.

To make caramel sauce: In a heavy saucepan or cast-iron skillet over medium heat, stir sugar until completely melted and amber in color, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add butter all at once, and stir to combine (mixture will bubble up). Add cream, 2 tablespoons at a time, stirring to combine between each addition. Continue until caramel sauce is melted and smooth; stir in salt. Remove from heat and add rum, if desired. Store in a covered glass container up to 3 weeks.

Place each ice cream ball on a dessert plate and pass pitchers of hot fudge and caramel sauce.


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