Gold Brick Sundae Topping
A thoroughly decadent topping, my version of a classic milk chocolate sauce that hardens on ice cream, this Gold Brick Sundae Topping is still one of my favorite desserts.
When I was a young teenager, I would travel by bus on Saturday to have lunch with my mother who managed a designer boutique inside a department store called Stix, Baer & Fuller in St. Louis, Missouri. Whatever else happened during those events, there is no doubt that a sundae with Gold Brick Sundae Topping was a big draw for me.
This was no regular ice cream topping, nope, this stuff firmed up upon contact with the cold ice cream. Not really hard though, not like the chocolate on an ice cream bar. It was sort of like a soft chocolate candy; really hard to explain!
When I think of that time and how adventurous I was…always quick to catch a bus or ride my bike for miles and miles I sort of surprise myself in retrospect. Maybe it was the result of being the oldest of five kids (OK my brother was 11 months older but come on…no way was he more mature!) or maybe a gentler time, but no one ever worried or questioned the wisdom of my doing so and I loved the feeling of independence it gave me.
It was standard practice then for major department stores to have fabulous restaurants included in their space and I looked forward to those trips. To be honest, my mother and I had a difficult relationship and those trips were special for me because they let me feel like I was special to her.
I’m sure it was a combination of things, maybe my attempt to connect with her without the burden of all of those siblings in the middle of our relationship but I think it was way more than that.
Sadly, my mom started drinking when I was 10 years old, in 5th grade. Even sadder, it resulted in what I might label, ‘The Original Dysfunctional Family.’ In retrospect I wonder if my trips on that bus, a 1 hour travel from a suburb of St. Louis to a downtown department store, were more to have a moment with her without the alcohol and the ensuing scenes it always brought to bear on our household.
Where she could be my Mom and I could for one moment be treated like the girl I was, not the responsible teenager everyone expected me to be. Where for one brief moment, we could have lunch in a beautiful place and I was the center of her attention and where I could see her as the creative, intelligent woman we all knew her to be but which too often got lost in a haze of bourbon and Pall Mall cigarettes.
My mother actually initiated the trend of ‘Designer’ boutiques during her tenure as the manager of woman’s fashion for a major St. Louis retain chain and it was good for me to see how respected and talented she was in that environment.
So…I looked anxiously forward to those monthly Saturday visits but it’s funny, I honestly can not recall a sandwich or salad or soup that I ever had during those lunches but have never forgotten what I ALWAYS had for dessert.
Dessert for me was their trademark Gold Brick Hot Fudge Sauce; a rich milk chocolate sauce with pecans that when served over ice cream sees the topping harden to a rich chocolate coating with nuts in the topping.
It’s that crunchy hard chocolate and pecan part that I simply loved…and still love today. It wasn’t a product we tried to replicate at home so it was only on that journey that I had one. Is it like Magic Shell? Nope, so much better. What goes into it:
- Evaporated Milk
- Milk Chocolate Chips
- Semi Sweet Chocolate
- Toasted Pecans
After pouring the delicious Gold Brick Sundae Topping on the sundae, it is topped with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry. Gold Brick used to be available in some grocery stores but now it’s limited to a couple of southern states and available online where it’s pricey to have it shipped so I’ve used this homemade version for years; it’s rich and so delicious and brings back all of those warm memories.
This sundae is not about the ice cream; it’s all about this fabulous topping. Still make sure to buy some good vanilla bean ice cream, it needs to be worthy of the sauce! Over the years the only modification I’ve made is to revise the ingredients list from using all semi-sweet to a combination of milk and semi-sweet chocolate; that brought the end result much closer to the original that I remember.
I think one important note is that when chopping the nuts, make sure you do not chop them too finely. I used to use my Cuisinart to chop nuts for dishes but no more. Too much and the nuts become, for lack of a better word, nut dust!
I like larger, meaty chunks so recommend you get out your cutting board and a chef’s knife and make quick work of them without resorting to a machine; the results will be worth it! Toast those morsels too…taking them from raw to toasted is key! It only takes about 2 minutes in my toaster oven but the end result is worth those two little minutes.
Honestly what I made is almost gone and I don’t believe we should ever be without this Gold Brick Sundae Topping..try it, you’ll see!
PIN IT! ‘Gold Brick Sundae Topping’
Gold Brick Hot Fudge Sauce
- ½ cup butter
- 1 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
- ⅓ cup evaporated milk
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Whipped cream
- Maraschino Cherries
- Combine butter, chocolate chips and evaporated milk in the top of a double boiler over simmering water.
- Cook and stir until melted and smooth.
- Remove from heat and fold in nuts.
- Scoop ice cream into bowl with split bananas; add strawberries.
- Dollop chocolate sauce over ice cream and top with whipped cream and cherries.
I too grew up in a suburb of St. Louis and still live here. You brought back wonderful memories of Famous Barr and and Stix Baer and Fuller Restaurants. Thanks for the recipes! You did, however forget dining at Woolworth’s. I had a wonderful aunt who lived in Richmond Heights and would take me to these wonderful places. She had a great job and worked downtown for Southwestern Bell. I think she used to know your mother as she shopped at the “boutique” and would take me there. I was in love with fashion(still am). And she was too. She talked about the classy gal who ran the “boutique” at Stix, and took tips from her. It was a great time for me as my parents had very little money. Thanks for writing about this. It is indeed a small world.
Jan…I know lots of folks have those Woolworth’s memories but for some reason they aren’t mine. I recall my Grandma taking me there for a chocolate soda but nothing really food related. Still they are all the stuff of legend.
My mom was so talented and creative; shame she loved alcohol more than anything; it was eventually her undoing. Still I have a few good memories of those times and they are centered upon those dates we had at her job. I can see her and the table and everything when I think of it…a very special memory indeed.
I’ve been gone for a lifetime; I moved at 28 to North Carolina and then to Denver 28 years ago but I still have family there and my dad is still alive in an assisted living home; he’s 92! I don’t get back much; that whole alcohol thing affected our family dynamic too much so best for me to have my memories and not deal with family crap!
Barb, I came here looking to learn how to make Gold Brick Sundae Sauce. I’m write because of your childhood story. Born in 1951 oldest of 5 kids, I grew up in mostly north county area, (Wellston, Pine Lawn, Normandy) for quick shopping it was Wellston Dist., but Northland Famous Barr was our go to dept. store. Another reason we’d go there, they gave you Eagle Stamps. It had two restaurants, one casual and the other fine dining. Every year, I’d go tell Santa what I wanted, oppose to what I was getting. My list ran from St. Louis to LA. Those stamps ( S&H, Top Value, Eagle) were another Christmas tradition. Saving them up all year and sitting around the kitchen table gluing them in the books. Running to redeem them for what became Christmas presents. Every Thanksgiving after the turkey, going downtown to look at the dept. store windows. If you recall, there were three big ones back then, Famous, Stix and Vandervoort’s. and no arch yet! The Cardinal’s still played ball on N. Grand Ave. On a occasion’s we went downtown to shop. It always seemed special for some reason. I guess it was because, mother made that way. Making sure us kids were cleaner, better dressed and had our hair comb. Threading death if we didn’t behave. Not an easy task with four boys and my sister on the way. I don’t remember a lot about shopping. My big highlights were wandering off with my younger brother of 14 moths, getting his hand caught under the handrail of the escalator and having to shut it down to free him. Then there was another time, him and I jumped on riding the elevator up and down, forgetting what floor our mother was on. That ended nicely, after paging her through out the store and she picking us up, sitting waiting in the office. I don’t remember what the lady in the office name was, but both of us really liked her! My poor mother. I’ve often said, if I had to raise me, I would of killed me. The less eventful times were eating in the stores fine dining room. I’m guessing, it was probability a way for my mother to treat herself to something nice and quite. The white tablecloths, napkins and the heavy salt pepper shakers. Real china plates and the long drapes that when from the ceiling to the floor. Wondering if they the same drapes from the Wizard of Oz? My mom said no, but I wasn’t convinced. I was going to check next time it came on TV.
Your bus story, reminded me of mine. My mother took me up to the bus stop so I could go to my aunts house. I was about 11 at the time. The bus came and mom told the driver where I was going, asking him to watch out for me. He pointed across from him and said, sit there to me and I did making it to my aunts just fine. I too, found a new freedom on buses. Could you image doing that today with an 11 year old? They’d lock up the parents in a heartbeat and rightfully so.
The drunk in my family was my dad. Never holding a job for long. When he did work, his bar tab at some saloon got paid first. After Friday night there wasn’t much left when he made it home. I can’t tell you how many times my mother sent me looking for him in some bar. Going from bar to bar. Then finding him and trying to convince him to come home. Sitting at a table for hours waiting for him to get off that barstool. Walking him home, so my mother could go to bed with a drunken pig. If it weren’t for my maternal grandparents, I don’t know where we would been. My grandfather was more my father and to this day he is remains my idiot. He looked just like James Arness! Tall, broad shoulders, weathered face and that ball on the end of his nose. I guess it’s something when you can say Matt Dillon is like your grandfather. My grandmother was just, Fun!!! She never forgot how to laugh and play, but boy don’t cross her. I’ll leave with this, my grandfather taught me how to have character and my grandmother taught me how to be one. Thanks. All this for a RECIPE!
Wow…so many similarities we share! Thanks for taking the time to take me for a stroll down memory lane too Jim. I used to get all of the S&H Stamps from our weekly grocery shopping; I always went and helped my dad shop and that was my reward!
Honestly, such a fun read; thanks SO much!
This looks so yummy! I’m looking into creating a wonderful sundae for the kids and this is good enough to try.
I love it…takes me back to being a kid!
I love Elmer’s and order it from Elmer’s, but, thanks to you, I will try to make it myself. I also love their candy bar. Growing up in Kansas City, they were Five cents each! I also have fond memories of FB’s French onion soup and have made it several times. It is a work of love! FYI, I did find a fairly good FO soup recipe that is far less time consuming. It was from Rachel Ray, I believe. And, like I said, it runs a close second and is a much shorter recipe,time wise.
Thankmyou for sharing. Can’t wait to make Gold Brick sauce. BTW, does it harden when it hits the ice cream likemthemoriginal does?
I agree on all points and yes, it gets hard like the ‘real’ stuff. I think I used semi sweet chocolate though in that photo and I do like milk chocolate better…but then I like it better in most cases.
This soup takes a bit of time but on the right day…ie snow falling and stuck inside kind of day…I don’t mind the time element; the memories alone are worth it!
Wow- Gold Brick Sundaes, Stix, Baer, and Fuller, and a mom who smoked Paul Malls and drank bourbon. I, too, spent my childhood in St.Louis. We had parallel lives in some respects. Only I was the adult and my mom the alcoholic child. I truly believe my childhood experiences made me stronger, not harder. Thanks for the great recipe. I remember what a treat it was to have a jar of Gold Brick in the house. Magic Shell is a poor substitute.
It’s one of those treats that I can not believe the entire world doesn’t demand and I’m so with you. Magic Shell? What…that’s like shortening and artificial chocolate I think. In my best big girl voice…YUCK!
I think whenever a parent is an alcoholic, and maybe even more so when it’s the one that is supposed to be the primary nurturer, children grow up too fast. As the oldest daughter? Well, let’s just say I’ve been raising children since I was ten…you know what I’m talking about. Take care.
Barbara, your post touched a part of my own experience that I don’t tell and because it is a deeply personal incident I still can’t tell it publicly. Its hard how things in our younger life effect us to this day.
On another note your photo is GORGEOUS as always!
I’ve never had Gold Brick. Sounds like I’ve been missing out. It’s nice that you have the wonderful memory of your lunches with your mom. I would of course remember the dessert too.
Your story reminds me of when I was a kid after shopping for clothes my mom would take me to a restaurant called Schraffts for an ice cream sundae. Yes the hot fudge was good but the caramel sauce was to die for. A few years ago I bought an old cookbook that had “traditional” recipes from the NYC area…and it had the caramel sauce from Schraffts. I’ve made it several times and it is delicious. I also love fudge sauce too…and have been know to just open the jar and eat it (please don’t tell anyone:) I’ve got all of the ingredients for the homemade version of Elmer’s Gold Brick Sundae and may just have to make some…oh, I guess I should buy some ice cream to go with it!
You have to share that caramel sauce with me…I love this sauce but my heart is more in love with caramel!
Holy yum! That looks divine Barb! I would love nothing more than to tuck in with a bowl of your sundae right now.
That was then and this is now…posting in the morning my revision of this which is even better…I added some espresso and toasted walnuts; it deserved to be posted as a new treat!
Thanks Barb, this is a work of art 🙂 I have featured it today on Copycat Crafts! http://www.copycatcrafts.com/the-banana-split-sundae-inspired-by-gold-brick-chocolate/
Thanks Amanda…it’s one of my very favorite things.
I’m a bit late in reading this post but I had to say that it has really moved me. I have an in-law who has succumbed to alcoholism so I can attest to the difficulty of connecting with someone who is ruled by it. It’s a sad situation for all parties involved. I applaud you for coming out of that part of your life a stronger, better person. 🙂
Gosh that looks simply great!
Hi Barb-What a moving post. I know this was very difficult to put out there. I hope it is a little healing for you to write it. I’m so sorry for your mom. She sounds like had amazing qualities. So sad she passed at that young age. You’re a stronger woman for that possibly. You are amazing and I’m so happy to call you my friend. Love you bunches.
It took courage for you to write this and I am so glad that you did. I am sorry for both you and your mother – she missed out on the joy of having such an amazing daughter and you did not have the mother you deserved. You are a very special woman Barb and despite such a difficult childhood, you emerged with your heart intact – a true testament to your spirit. Your story brought back memories of the few lunches I had with my mom in the fancy department store restaurants. I have many happy memories of my parents and this is one I hadn’t thought of in a long time and I am so glad to have remembered it – thank you!!!
That sundae looks “food porn” worthy to me and I can only imagine how decadently good it is. Will have to make this sauce for the family soon!!
Thank you for sharing with us. Oh my I am ready for dessert actually finishing my dinner, I want your sundae, it looks amazing.
And I thank everyone for letting me participate; wonderful way to meet new bloggers! I wish you were here; I now have a whole jar I need help with!
Yes, that looks just about perfect! What a great story, too!
Barb, so glad you decided to join the Party and shared with us a bit about your past and this nostalgic sundae. It looks fabulous and so are you from what I can tell by your blog!
Your description of your relationship with your mom hit pretty close to home. Thank you for being so open; it took me decades and two marriages to figure out how much growing up like that impacted everything. I am looking forward to treating myself to a Gold Brick Chocolate Sundae and counting my blessings. Wishing you all the best. Again, thank you for the silver lining.
Barb, you’ve said it many times, and it is so very true—we are soul sisters. Thank you for always encouraging me and being there. It truly means the world. And thank you for sharing a little bit of here too. I understand just how hard that is to do. I hope one day we get to share one of these sundaes and a big hug too. xo
You know I would love that…even coffee would be fine!
Barb, thanks for sharing a personal story with us, your devoted readers. I’m sorry you had to be the adult for so much of your child-life. But I’m glad that those trips gave you the chance to see your mother for who she really was and also to savor that awesome looking sundae. If it weren’t for the nuts (allergy), I’d be all over that topping.
Barb, thanks for trusting us with such a personal story, and I feel so badly for you and your mother. On a happier note, I WANT THAT SUNDAE. Great photo as always.
Thank you for sharing such a personal story. I know it’s your love of cooking that drives your blog, but in truth food and cooking are completely connected to our lives and our memories, both bitter and sweet. Loved this post.
My heart went out to you in reading this post. There truly is no *perfect* family and I’ve always said that my family puts the *fun* in Dysfunctional. I did however, always have a good relationship with my mother and was very grateful for that. As children and even as adult children we are always striving for the approval and acceptance from our parents. To have been the oldest in your family and to have had to taken on the role of a parent was a burden no child should have had to bear. It was good that you wrote this and shared this piece of your past. I’m sure it was not easy to do but I’m sure it was cathartic for you just the same. Your sundae is wonderful and I’m glad that it recalls a time for you when you and your mother shared a time together as just that, mother and daughter.
Thanks Paula; maybe cathartic but also hard to do; keeping those feelings buried is sometimes safer for me but it did help me recall something good about her tortured soul.
A little inkling into why you are so cool. My takeaway is not so much rooted in the details of the story but how you’ve obviously chosen to take the higher, braver road as a result.
Thank you Linda not just for the kind comment but the recognition of my reality; making a conscious effort to live a life without the same demons controlling it.
I must echo the sentiment of others and thank you for sharing this story with us. I hope you have gotten as much out of writing it down as we have from reading it.
Beautiful recipe too, I can understand why it’s such a favourite 🙂
Thanks Conor…a nice memory was good! And a sundae to boot; it had been awhile.
Thank you for sharing your bittersweet memory with us… a big hug!!
To the sundae… I must admit I’m not very exposed to pecans over here… it’s definitely an american ‘thang 🙂
This is such a timeless treat – I used to share banana splits with my little brother, I’d all but forgotten about them until I read your post. It’s lovely of you to share this with everyone, it really gives a soul to your dessert 🙂
Thank you; I’ve heard that a lot. I’ve never been crazy about a standard banana split. With pineapple? But love chocolate with bananas and ice cream; maybe because of this dish even. Maybe that’s why.
It is a bittersweet tale you have so closely intertwined with this special dessert of your childhood. It sounds like those trips were special moments. It certainly was simpler times, as my brother and I used to ride miles and miles all over our city too and be gone from morning until dark and nobody gave it a moment’s thought. There were no mobile phones in those days either. It was great fun and a great way to learn so many life lessons. Back to your sundae – it looks lovely and it’s a great photo too. Thank you so much for sharing. I think it is good when food blogs share some personal information otherwise it’s just an electronic cooking magazine!
My heart is broken for the teenage version of you seeking out her mom:(
My heart can break for her too but I was lucky to know I needed something and sought out those relationships my entire life. The woman I babysat for and called Aunt Ruthie, the wonderful neighbor who became not just like a mom to me but a grandmother to my children. I’ve had some of those wonderful moments and I’m blessed to know I needed that and not seek solace in a bottle as well.
Sundaes are so much fun. I haven’t had one in a long time. It’s time to indulge in one again!!
Very classic but a sundae that I do remember very much as I can’t never have it. Thanks for sharing a little of your past. Big hugs and very happy that you joined us this month.
What a gift of courage for you to share your childhood experience Barb and the bittersweet association with this wonderful dessert (which by the way, where has the place for Banana Splits gone in our current culinary day and age?). I was immediately drawn to the details of the dessert and wanting to scuttle off to make one and then struck by your bravery in sharing your difficulties. I hope you remember what a special and gifted person you are.
Thank you Toni…actually hard to write but seemed had to as well; it is the story intertwined in this dessert that I love. You are so amazing; I am truly blessed that we’ve met and connected!
Thanks for sharing a little part of you Barb 🙂 I love the inspiration behind this sundae and I also remember when department stores had posh restos inside them and how special I felt when I was allowed to eat there with my mum. Such a simple dish but I bet SO tasty.
It has been a long time favorite of mine and glad to share it with others.