Sundae Boards Are the Next Big Dessert Trend—Here's What to Know About Preparing One
They're easier to whip up than an over-the-top milkshake and they don't even require the use of an oven (unless you want to), which is exactly why a sundae board is one dessert trend that doesn't take much convincing to try. You can make them as fancy or as simple as you'd like, they're entirely customizable, and they're impossible to mess up. The idea for a sundae board first hit Jeni Britton Bauer, founder of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, years ago. At the time, she had an ice cream shop in a farmers' market in Columbus, Ohio, surrounded by vendors selling everything from fruit to cookies to savory snacks. Being around so many great ingredients prompted her to think about how she could integrate all those flavors with her ice creams. "It was easy to be creative in a place where I was surrounded by so many flavors," she says.
Bauer also recalled how her dad loved to spread cheese on a cracker as a snack, and that's when she realized that ice cream need not be bound by the cup or cone. In fact, she found that creating a delicious bite of ice cream was a lot like assembling a delicious bite of cheese: combine it with the right elements (whether a cracker, some honey, a walnut, or a slice of apple) and it can be pretty fantastic.
From there, Bauer took the idea and ran with it, making sundae boards on large pieces of plywood, supplying them for fundraising events and parties—and the trend was born. Assembling a sundae board is a snap to do at home, she says. Start with the board itself: a platter or a large wooden cutting board work well. Gather some spoons and small bowls or appetizer/dessert plates, as well as something to serve the ice cream with (Bauer likes cheese spreaders, which make it easier to portion). Her advice is to choose three flavors of ice cream; they stagger nicely on the board and offer just enough variety. Use cheese as a guide and go with something lighter (e.g., vanilla), something heavier (e.g., chocolate), and something different (e.g., a seasonal flavor, or something fruity).
Then, fill the rest of the board with accompaniments, cramming everything in as closely as possible; empty spaces aren't as lovely to look at as a platters spread with tons of goodies, and seeing all the options can help you devise some fun and unexpectedly delicious combinations. And what those options should be? Just as you would with a charcuterie board, look for a range of flavors, textures and colors. Something crunchy and salty (nuts, popcorn, pretzels, or corn chips), something sweet (candies, mini marshmallows, croutons made from croissants, or cookies), something fruity (berries or dried fruits), and a sauce or two. One of Bauer's go-tos is a three-ingredient hot fudge sauce she makes with sugar, cocoa powder, and chopped chocolate; she makes it in a little pan and brings it right to the board.
On that note, though, Bauer points out that the beauty of a sundae board is its melding of high and low. Make the hot fudge sauce, buy the ice cream and then raid your pantry for snacks. Best of all, Bauer notes, is that "there is no right or wrong. Each bite can be unique!" We're sold.