I have some sad news: this is my last summer dessert of the year.
Now I have some happy news: because for me, unlike the calendar,  Autumn starts September 1st, next week will begin the celebration of fall’s arrival. That’s right. Get ready for pumpkins and pecans!

But first a few moments of reflection on Summer’s recipe highlights. As a brand new blog (4 months old) I have been very excited about some of the recipes that have emerged from this project. It all started with the Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Creamsicle. Remember that one? It had a little trip around the vegan corner of the blogosphere. After that I went a little ice cream crazy. There was the Peanut Butter Ice Cream Bars, the Healthy Neapolitan Ice Cream Pops, and the Tropical Ice Cream Banana Split. Shear ice cream madness over here. So a DIY ice cream sundae bar seemed fitting for my last summer dessert. All the components (and yes, the ice cream) are made from scratch because that’s the only way to Do It Yourself.

DIY Ice Cream Sundae Bar:

The components:
Caramel Sauce
Chocolate Ganache
Chocolate Whipped Cream
Candied Pecans
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Caramel Sauce
makes about 1 cup

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp corn syrup
1/2 cup soy creamer or coconut milk

Have all your ingredients measured out and within reach before you begin.

Place sugar, water, and corn syrup in a very clean medium sized (at least 2 quarts) pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Do not stir. Agitating the sugar will cause crystallization. Continue boiling for about 10 minutes until the sugar has melted and begins to turn a rich golden brown (aim for it to be the color in the above picture). Immediately remove from heat and slowly add soy creamer while whiskingThe caramel will bubble up quite a bit so use caution while adding creamer.

Whisk until combined. Pour caramel through a sieve into a jar and allow to cool to room temperature. The caramel will thicken as it cools.

Store at room temperature for up to five days or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Chocolate Ganache
makes about 1 cup

6 ounces chocolate chips
1/2 cup soy creamer or coconut milk

In a small pan heat the creamer to a scald (just before boiling point). Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl. Once creamer is ready, pour over the chocolate chips and cover for 3-5 minutes. Remove cover and stir together with a spatula until the chocolate and cream come together to create a homogeneous thick sauce. Be careful not to over mix.

Chocolate Whipped Cream
makes about 1 cup

1 can of full fat coconut milk, chilled overnight
1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp cocoa powder

Skim off the solid (coconut meat) top half of chilled coconut milk. Add powdered sugar and cocoa powder and with a whisk or hand mixer, bring together until it resembles the texture of whipped cream.

*For some reason my coconut milk did not separate overnight. Because I needed the whipped cream for a birthday party, I mixed the ingredients together and froze the cream for several hours. By the time I needed it, the coconut cream was close to the correct consistency.

Candied Pecans

1 cup pecans
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add butter and brown sugar and stir together. Add pecans. Stirring constantly, cook until butter and sugar are completely melted and fully coating the pecans. Remove from heat and allow pecans to cool on wax paper or a silicon mat.

Vanilla Ice Cream

2 cups soy milk
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
2 vanilla beans

*This is how I make ice cream without an ice cream maker. If you have an ice cream maker, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Line a baking sheet with wax paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.

Whisk together milk, cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a large pot over medium-high heat. With a knife split open the vanilla beans and completely scrape into the pot. Stirring constantly bring all ingredients to a boil. Let boil for one minute, still stirring. Remove from heat. Scrape ice cream onto baking sheet and freeze until frozen all the way through.

Break or cut into small quarter-sized pieces and place in food processor or blender. Blend until ice cream becomes smooth and creamy. This may take up to 10 minutes. Scrape into a plastic container and let refreeze (about another hour).

Slice a banana, top with a cherry and enjoy!

Savor each bite because summer is ending and things around here are going to be changing.

What Fall foods do you especially love?

I love pumpkin everything. Pumpkin curry. Pumpkin scones. Pumpkin Chai. Pumpkin Cheesecake. Just wait. You will see.