What Makes a Premium Dessert Topping? A Dessert Sauce and Ice Cream Topping Buying Guide

premium dessert topping over ice cream

Have you ever wondered if those expensive dessert toppings were worth the money? Find out if and when it is worth the money to buy a premium dessert topping.

There you are in your favorite gourmet food market, eyeing up the sweet dessert sauces and gourmet ice cream toppings that are ever so carefully stacked on a display in front of you. You pick up some of the jars and turn them over to see the prices. $7.00 to $10.00!!

So you pick another brand and see the prices are much in the same range. Are they crazy, you think to yourself? How could this little jar of ice cream topping cost so much?

Is it really that much better than the well-known brands available at the grocery store? What on earth is the difference? Is this really a premium product? Isn’t chocolate sauce just chocolate sauce?

Premium dessert sauces and ice cream toppings actually are premium and differ quite a bit from the widely available commercial varieties.

What Makes A Premium Ice Cream And Dessert Topping?

Some of the bigger differences to note:

Most premium sauces have very few to no preservatives. You can clearly understand what the ingredients are that are written on the label.

Top quality fresh ingredients are used such as real cream, butter and sugar in the sauces. Also, the type of chocolate used is of the highest quality, resulting in a much richer, smoother consistency. The caramels are buttery, fine and incredibly smooth, and by no means grainy.

Smaller family owned companies make many of the toppings available. Most are manufactured in the USA, and not imported. Many have won awards in fine food competitions for the quality of their products. They are made in smaller batches and tastes like you made them yourself.

Dessert sauces are looked upon as fine gourmet items that make a wonderful gift for just about anyone. You probably would not consider going to your local grocery store and buying a bottle of cheaper chocolate sauce from the store shelves to be used as a gift.

One of the biggest differences is in the variety of flavors available. In your supermarket, you have only a small handful of basic flavors to choose from, but gourmet dessert sauces come in flavors ranging from bittersweet, dark, milk and white chocolates to raspberry, cinnamon pear, and cream caramels.

Also of note are the sauces that blend fruit and chocolate together, sometimes also with a liqueur to make new flavors that stand out from the crowds. Companies are continually developing new flavors and using exotic fruits that give dimension to desserts and ice creams.

Dessert sauces can be used as a topping for a much wider range of desserts than just pouring on ice cream. They area a great complement to cakes, brownies, crepes, pancakes, waffles, muffins, puddings, cream puffs, tarts, and so much more. Many are good enough to eat spooned right from the jar.

So, are they worth the higher price? Well, as the saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” If fresh ingredients, a lot of variety and full flavor are important to you, then yes, they are worth the higher price.

Add a little pizzazz to the next dessert you make and see what a difference a premium dessert topping does for your taste buds and those of your family and guests.


How To Dress Up A Dessert

Need some help with dressing up a dessert? Get creative with a dessert topping!

Here are 17+ ways to dress up a dessert with ice cream sundae toppings and dessert sauces:

  • Dessert sauces make a wonderful complement to crepes, tarts, pudding, hot cereal and parfaits.
  • Accent cakes, cheesecakes, pies, trifles, créme brulee, and meringues.
  • You can also swirl the sauce into a cheesecake before baking for a spectacular effect.
  • All taste great when spooned and drizzled over pancakes, waffles, French toast, and crepes.
  • Dessert sauces add wow to your baked good when drizzled over turnovers, croissants and muffins.
  • How about as a topping for pudding?
  • Or place a spoonful of caramel sauce into the bottom of a parfait dish and then add the pudding. What a wonderful surprise! The kids will love it!
  • Try stirring a dessert sauce into cream cheese and place in the center of a fruit tray to use as a dip.
  • Another dessert sauce serving idea is to spread thinly and use as a glaze for many types of cakes.
  • You can also use fruit flavored dessert sauces as a filling for cakes along with whipped cream.
  • Chocolate dessert sauces work great as a dip or fondue for strawberries, cherries, grapes or just about any other kind of fresh fruit.
  • Caramel and raspberry dessert sauces just melt-in-your-mouth when drizzled over a coffeecake for outstanding flavor.
  • It is also a great topping for pound cakes, dessert breads and fruit breads.
  • Jams and preserves can be used as a breakfast spread on pancakes, waffles, French toast and crepes.
  • Fruit and berry dessert sauces also work well as a pie filling and in a parfait dish topped with fresh fruit.
  • Try swirling in a fruit Jam or preserve of contrasting color for a great taste and nice effect.
  • Try Lemon Curd on Ice Cream-it is fantastic!!

How To Heat And Warm Dessert Sauces And Ice Cream Toppings

Need to know the best methods for heating and warming dessert sauces? Read on.

Okay, so you have your dessert sauces in hand and are ready to enjoy your bowl of ice cream or apple cobbler. You most likely want to have a pour-able sauce that you can drizzle over your dessert.
There are two basic methods to heating and warming dessert sauces:

Stove/Cook Top/Range: Remove lid from the jar of dessert sauce and place the opened jar in a small saucepan. Fill the saucepan with water 1/2 way to the height of the jar. Place on stove top with low heat and warm until desired consistency is obtained. Stir occasionally. Do not leave unattended. Do not overheat.

Microwave: Remove lid from jar of dessert sauce. Place in microwave on a low power level for an initial 30 seconds and then check and stir in between until desired consistency is reached. Put back in microwave for additional time, depending on how warm and spoonable you want it. It should not take longer than 1-2 minutes total. Microwave oven times vary considerably, so please do not leave unattended. Do not overheat!

For either method, it is very important not to overheat the sauce. The slower it warms, the better luck you will have with it.

Overheating the sauce can change the texture and consistency. It will still be very edible and tasty, but may become slightly grainy, especially after repeated warmings. The goal is just to warm the sauce, not cook the sauce. A sauce that is too hot will melt your ice cream and mush out your dessert.

A small ladle or spoon for serving will work fine for spooning and drizzling any delicious chocolate, hot fudge or caramel onto your desserts and ice cream. Enjoy!

To Store: Once sauce has been used and the leftovers are cool, place lid on jar and place the unused sauce in the refrigerator once it has been opened. Will keep for a few months after it has been opened.

Want to make your own dessert topping? Check out some of my recipes here.

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About the author

Laura Warnke

Laura Warnke is a mom, wife, and Midwest cook that enjoys sharing many of her family's favorite comfort food recipes. She grew up on a farm in Wisconsin and loves to bring that farm-style home cooking to your table.

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