sundae sunday

this past weekend, i got to have some quality time with some of my best girlfriends. time like that is precious these days—time to chat and catch up, to sit around the table for as long as we need to and hear each other out, to remind ourselves and each other that this support system is here, always.

i used to throw elaborate dinner parties every month to get my friends together, with three-course menus and a specially-crafted party playlist and plenty of candles and twinkly lights. and i do miss those days. but life comes in seasons, and happiness comes from accepting that: anticipating the next season while riding out the current one with as much grace as we can. so in this season of us—tapped out, stressed, distracted, and protectively introverted as we are—what works best is what is simplest. a quiet sunday evening before the work week hits, a couple favorite ice cream flavors picked up on sale at the drugstore, toppings improvised from what’s on the pantry shelves, and just one special touch: homemade hot fudge sauce.

this one is dark and deeply chocolatey, drops silkily from the drizzling spoon, and gets just the loveliest bit of chewiness once it hits the cold ice cream. delicious.

i’ll try to remember the lesson of sunday as i prepare to enter my next season, starting up grad school courses again and stepping back into the classroom to begin my teacher training. when nurturing the life of your friendships seems like the last thing you have energy to do, that’s when it’s the most important. but forget the epic girls’ night out or the themed parties or even leaving the house. sometimes all you need is hot fudge sauce.

Hot Fudge Sauce
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

⅔ cup heavy or whipping cream
½ cup golden syrup (or light corn syrup)
⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon table salt
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped, divided
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a 1 ½ to 2-quart heavy saucepan, bring cream, syrup, sugar, cocoa, salt and half the chocolate to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in remaining chocolate, butter and extract and stir until smooth. Cool the sauce to warm before serving it so that it can thicken up. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.