With a bit of prep I can think of no reason why vegan sundaes can't be just as delicious and varied as their omnivorous counterparts (minus the pus of course).
The basic formula consists of ice-cream with 2 or more of the following: hot chocolate sauce, fruit, mousse, cream, syrup, sorbet, cookies, cake, brownie, sprinkles and nuts - in combinations and ratios to suit. The picture above is of last night's Black Cherry Chocolate Kirsh sundae.
Vegan chocolate sauces are simple to make, requiring only a couple of minutes. You can make them in a microwave on half power, but using a pan over a low heat allows you taste as you go. The core ingredients are dark chocolate, soya cream and syrup, with anything else added for flavour. Before freah soya cream came available in the UK I used a small amount of margarine, but as well as being not as good this seriously isn't advisable on health grounds!
You can use white chocolate if you want, but I find you just end up with an over sweet, off white, vanilla sauce that you could have made for half the price without. White chocolate is IMHO much better melted and drizzled on top.
Ingredients (for 2 people):
- 75 - 100g Dark Chocolate
- Fresh Single Soya Cream
- Syrup: Simple / Agave / Golden
- Peanut Butter: Melt a spoon of smooth or chunky PB with the chocolate.
- Coffee: Kahlua or Tia Maria will give a standard sauce a good coffee kick. Both are quite sweet so you'll need less syrup. Add them after the pan has been taken off the heat so you can control the amount of liquid and ensure the alcohol isn't evaporated off. Garnish with chocolate covered coffee beans if available.
- Cherry: Use kirsh (Luxardo was vegan when last checked) to inject cherry flavour into the sauce.
- Orange: Using Cointreau (confirmed vegan). I've seen vegans using Grand Marnier, but personally avoid as I've not seen an email from the maker confirming its vegan status.
- Coconut: Add coconut cream in place of soya cream.
I know some people would disagree, but as far as I'm concerned tinned fruit cocktail holds no place in modern society. Tinned fruit can be good for some fruits if no fresh alternative is available (or you're lazy).
Personally I prefer fresh berries, either whole, crushed or made into sauce / compote.
Tinned lychee, pineapple, vanilla ice-cream, coconut cream and crystallised palm sugar however make an excellent sundae.
Think about which flavours work together in cocktails when coming up with new ideas.
Soya whipping cream (soya too or granovita) added to melted chocolate works best. You can use silken tofu if you prefer, but soya cream leaves no tofuey aftertaste. A dash of liqueur is a welcome addition (Kahlua & Cointreau are obvious choices), but you need to be really sparing with it and add in small amounts, so as not to make the consistency too thin. You can add a small amount of icing sugar if needed for sweetness or to thicken the mixture. Chilling or freezing (for an hour or so) will help to firm it up.
Cake / Brownie / Cookies
If you've got any of the above to hand then add chunks to the mix. Heating brownie / chocolate cake slightly may help with moisture/gooeyness. Warmed icing is always good.
If making cookie dough for the purpose of eating raw then use your favourite cookie recipe without raising agent (bicarb, baking powder etc) and with plain in place of self raising flour. This will get rid of the nasty aftertaste. Chilling it will help make it easier to work with when serving, however freezing may make any bits (chocolate, nuts etc) a bit too cold and unpleasant when eating.
Commercial coffee / cocktail syrups (such as Sweetbird and Routin) are available in flavours you may not otherwise think be available to vegans. Butterscotch is my favourite, poured over vanilla icecream, whipping cream and garnished with mixed chopped nuts.
See my previous post here for info on making your own syrups.
Squirty soya cream works well, topped with nuts, sprinkles and/or fruit.
If lazy use chopped mixed nuts as they come from the supermarket. If feeling energetic you can make your own praline: toasting chopped nuts under a grill on a metal baking, with brown sugar or simple syrup.
Crystalised palm sugar (Waitrose) can be used as a garnish - it won't dissolve into the ice-cream and has a good crunch (without cracking your teeth).
Mitsu has an excellent post on vegan sprinkles available in the UK on her blog. Most sprinkles sold have either gelatine, insects or their secretions in them, so take care!
Any sturdy glass will do, but sundae glasses can normally be found for £1-£3 each. If making a giant portion to share then consider investing in a glass serving bowl (the one I have I think is meant to be a fruit bowl!).
Long handled spoons (sold as either icecream or latte spoons) are important if using long stemmed glasses. I previously had a set of cheap spoons made by Stallar, but have recently acquired a gorgeous set of Alessi Big Love spoons, which are well worth the money (the bowls however look IHMO utter shite).
Layer the flavours together, being sure not to let the icecream heat too much in direct contact with a warm sauce. If serving to others then consider having the ingredients set out and let your guests make their own.