Back when my husband and I used to go out for dinner a lot more often than we do now, one of our standby places, particularly for dessert, was a great spot called Hot Chocolate. Mindy Segal, the proprietor, is a pastry chef extraordinare, so the desserts are to die for (though they also have a full, and very tasty, savory menu.) Our favorite dessert was one of the signature dishes, called "Chocolate #1," which featured a rich chocolate mousse cake, a salted caramel ice cream, and a homemade pretzel on top:
Man, that was some good dessert.
We had some friends over for dinner recently and I thought hey, why not try to recreate that at home? I made a batch of Smitten Kitchen's favorite brownies, a batch of Jeni's salty caramel ice cream, and crushed up some Trader Joe's pretzel slims. I cut the brownies into small cubes and put them in a bowl, set the ice cream and a scoop alongside it, and let people assemble their own sundaes.
Was it as transcendent as the real deal? No. But it was pretty darn good, and a big hit with our guests. If you're not in the mood to make the ice cream, I bet Haagen Dazs dulce de leche would be a nice choice here, too. It's just hard to beat the combination of chocolate, caramel, and salt.