Chocolate Coconut Sundaes with Black Sesame Seed and Macadamia Nut Caramel

Chocolate coconut sundaes with black sesame seed and macadamia nut caramel. Ice cream sundaes just got elevated!

Easy Chocolate Coconut Sundaes topped with homemade black sesame seed and macadamia nut caramel.

Ok, so remember how I was telling you the other day that I’m forgetful and old?  Well…these chocolate coconut parfaits have pretty much confirmed that for me.

The original version was supposed to have coffee ice cream.  Not chocolate.  I even made a grocery list and everything–and somehow, within ten feet of walking out of the store, realized that I had neglected to even glance at the list and had forgotten half of the items on it.

Does that happen to anyone else?

Easy Chocolate Coconut Sundaes topped with homemade black sesame seed and macadamia nut caramel.

So I went back into the store, stood in front of the freezer section for the next ten minutes trying to find coffee ice cream (apparently no one makes it anymore), finally found one, got back in line, and headed out.

All proud of myself for catching my mistake and remembering at the last minute.

Then I got home, unpacked everything, glanced at the carton and realized I had bought chocolate ice cream.  Apparently, I’m blind too.

Easy Chocolate Coconut Sundaes topped with homemade black sesame seed and macadamia nut caramel.

I was all annoyed with myself for about 15 seconds, before I realized that it was the best mistake ever.  This dessert was inspired by a coffee coconut parfait recipe from the February 1994 issue of Bon Appetit magazine.  I say inspired because well…I sort of took the idea and ran with it.  Basically sprinted.  But isn’t that what this whole thing is about?

I realized along the way that parfaits and ice cream don’t mix.  The layer process gave me anxiety–and well, who has the time to fill a cup with softened ice cream, top it with caramel sauce, create layers, and then sit around while it freezes again.

Instant gratification is so much better.

Easy Chocolate Coconut Sundaes topped with homemade black sesame seed and macadamia nut caramel.

So I made an executive decision and decided to make it into a sundae.  As is the case with any sundae, this one is all about the toppings.  Specifically, the black sesame seed and macadamia nut caramel.

Obviously, you can substitute these with regular, white sesame seeds…but I went for a bag of black sesame seeds that I picked up at my local Asian supermarket months ago.  And oh my goodness…aren’t the black ones so much prettier?!  The contrast!  I’m totally obsessed.

Easy Chocolate Coconut Sundaes topped with homemade black sesame seed and macadamia nut caramel.

The macadamia nuts and sesame seeds are toasted together in the oven, and then stirred into homemade caramel sauce at the last minute.  It gives the caramel the best texture–you’ll want to eat it with a spoon…sans ice cream.  But don’t.

Instead, swirl it generously on top of chocolate ice cream and top it off with toasted coconut flakes.  The big, unsweetened fat ones.

Easy Chocolate Coconut Sundaes with black sesame seed and macadamia nut caramel.

This recipe prepares just enough for two servings.

Eat it all by yourself, or be nice and share one with your special person for Valentine’s Day next week.  You know, if you’re feeling extra generous.  But why would you want to go and do that?

Chocolate Coconut Sundaes with Black Sesame Seed and Macadamia Nut Caramel

Yield: 2 Servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

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Black Sesame Seed & Macadamia Nut Caramel:

  • 1/4 cup (~2 ounces) roughly chopped macadamia nuts
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds (or substitute with white)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt


  • chocolate ice cream, store-bought or homemade
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted


Prepare Caramel:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place the macadamia nuts and sesame seeds on a sheet pan and toast for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until golden brown.  Cool on a rack.
  2. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan.  Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.  Increase heat to medium and cook until sugar reaches a medium to deep amber color (use a pastry brush to brush the sides of the pan with water to prevent crystallization).  Remove from heat.
  3. Carefully pour in the heavy cream and whisk vigorously to combine.  Whisk in the butter and pinch of salt.
  4. Add the toasted macadamia nuts and sesame seeds (reserving some for garnish) to the caramel and stir to coat evenly.
  5. Allow caramel to cool slightly, then spoon it on top of bowls of chocolate ice cream.  Garnish with toasted coconut flakes as desired.

Inspired by the February 1994 issue of Bon Appetit magazine.

39 Responses to “Chocolate Coconut Sundaes with Black Sesame Seed and Macadamia Nut Caramel”

  1. #
    ashley - baker by nature — February 6, 2014 @ 7:10 am

    These are so seductive and unique! Pinned!!! And again – gorg photos, lady :)

    • Laura replied: — February 6th, 2014 @ 11:02 pm

      OOOh. Seductive. Love that word when it comes to food! Thank you!! :)

  2. #
    Sues — February 6, 2014 @ 7:19 am

    This is fantastic! I love when happy mistakes happen. Also, I totally noticed a good coffee ice cream is tough to find these days!

    • Laura replied: — February 6th, 2014 @ 11:02 pm

      Why is that?! It’s so weird!

  3. #
    Mimi — February 6, 2014 @ 8:23 am

    What a lovely mistake!

  4. #
    Mimi — February 6, 2014 @ 8:24 am

    Haagen Daz always has coffee ice cream btw. I’ve been buying it for 40 years. Don’t ask…

    • Laura replied: — February 6th, 2014 @ 8:29 am

      Hahaha! They have the best one too–but for some reason I was at Whole Foods and they didn’t carry it.

  5. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — February 6, 2014 @ 8:34 am

    That chocolate looks so SMOOTH! And the caramel. I want it! And with teh coconut, so good! pinned

    • Laura replied: — February 6th, 2014 @ 10:44 pm

      Oh my goodness, Averie. I used the softened ice cream and layered it and then refroze it. And then I had to use like 15 paper towels to get rid of all the smudges and drip marks. It was absurd :)

      Which is why I changed it into a sundae! HA!

  6. #
    Tieghan — February 6, 2014 @ 9:21 am

    I do this all the time. Make a list and then do not even look at, get home and realize I for half the things I really needed! Ugh.

    But hey, you never, ever go wrong with chocolate and that caramel sounds incredible!! Oh anI have been looking for black sesame seeds forever. I just cannot find them were I live. I think I just need to order them on Amazon already! These are awesome!

    • Laura replied: — February 6th, 2014 @ 10:55 pm

      So glad I’m not the only one who does this. Why is it so hard for me to LOOK at the damn list?! I should send you a bag of them! :)

  7. #
    pippa@popovertopippas — February 6, 2014 @ 9:22 am

    Looks delish, sorry about all of your shopping woes. It looks like your ice cream melted a bit:)

    • Laura replied: — February 6th, 2014 @ 10:45 pm

      How rude! :) It’s not melted–I actually layered it (when the ice cream was softened slightly) and refroze it–so in the pictures, it is actually frozen believe it or not.

  8. #
    Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen — February 6, 2014 @ 9:49 am

    Can we just skip breakfast today and move straight to dessert! I’m dying over these sundaes!! Also, grocery shopping without a list = total disaster.

    • Laura replied: — February 6th, 2014 @ 10:53 pm

      This has nuts and seeds. So, it’s totally healthy. < —- See what I did there? :)

  9. #
    Liz @ Virtually Homemade — February 6, 2014 @ 11:00 am

    I always forget to buy the most important ingredient and can’t bear to go back to the store – so frustrating! These sundaes are beautiful – I love taking older recipes and revamping them :)

    • Laura replied: — February 6th, 2014 @ 10:52 pm

      I know–it’s totally the worst. Ugh!

  10. #
    Natalie @ Tastes Lovely — February 6, 2014 @ 11:47 am

    Ummm, on Tuesday I went to the store to buy ingredients for homemade pizza and I forgot yeast and cheese. CHEESE! That’s like the single most important part of pizza. Definitely feeling you on having my brain be somewhere else while I’m grocery shopping. These photo’s are ridiculously gorgeous Laura, as are the parfaits. I’ll take 2 please, one for each hand : )

    • Laura replied: — February 6th, 2014 @ 10:50 pm

      HAHAHA. This made me laugh out loud. Seriously. Totally sounds like something I would do.

  11. #
    thelittleloaf — February 6, 2014 @ 11:54 am

    These look absolutely divine! I love the combination of coconut and chocolate…the sesame macadamia caramel goodness just takes it to another level.

    • Laura replied: — February 6th, 2014 @ 10:51 pm

      Thank you so much!!

  12. #
    Nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps — February 6, 2014 @ 1:27 pm

    Ummm do that all the time, and then I get home realize my mistake, freak out, cry, throw a temper tantrum and Kevin inevitably hops in the car to pick up my missed item out of pure fear I’ll redirect my anger at myself to him. Ha! Love these! That black sesame and macadamia caramel is making me drool.

    • Laura replied: — February 6th, 2014 @ 10:47 pm

      I’m pretty sure we might be long lost sisters or something 😉

  13. #
    Meg — February 6, 2014 @ 2:32 pm

    This dessert is gorgeous — and I’m sure it tastes even better than it looks! So original and interesting. I bet I could impress my foodie friends by whipping this one up. :)

    • Laura replied: — February 6th, 2014 @ 10:47 pm

      Oh yes! You could even say a white lie and pretend you made the ice cream. DO IT!

  14. #
    Sarah | The Sugar Hit — February 6, 2014 @ 7:37 pm

    Yes, I’ll take both of them please.

    • Laura replied: — February 6th, 2014 @ 10:49 pm

      Coming right up!

  15. #
    Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe — February 6, 2014 @ 11:32 pm

    I am so glad that I don’t have a significant other to share these with right now. If it’s got macadamia nuts in it, I’m sold. Making ’em, and eating ’em both!

  16. #
    Pink — February 7, 2014 @ 12:34 am

    This desert looks so Amazing. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I will try to make this and try to share it with my friends tomorrow. :)

  17. #
    Sarah — February 7, 2014 @ 8:39 pm

    YUM! the macadamias are what makes it look soooo good to me. What a genius combo!

  18. #
    Mariana ¦ The Candid Kitchen — February 8, 2014 @ 1:31 am

    Will definitely give this a try. Chocolate and coconut are one of my fave combinations!

  19. #
    Lindsay — February 8, 2014 @ 7:29 am

    Gorgeous! This recipe reminds me of the desserts I had in Hawaii which makes me so happy! Definitely a must-make for when I’m feeling nostalgic :)

    Ohh and your story about the grocery trip? Story of my life, girl. When I go grocery shopping I go to at least 2 or 3 stores because I’m so forgetful!

  20. #
    Joanne — February 8, 2014 @ 12:53 pm

    All too often I’ll go to the grocery store for a SPECIFIC INGREDIENT. And come back without it. It makes no sense. Sigh.

    I want to lick those parfait cups clean.

  21. #
    Shea @ Dixie Chik Cooks — February 9, 2014 @ 4:55 am

    Beautiful parfaits! Love this flavor combination.

  22. #
    ATasteOfMadness — February 10, 2014 @ 2:56 am

    Hahaha, I do that all the time. One time, I was making pancakes, and realized I didn’t have any eggs. So I set off to the super market SPECIFICALLY to buy eggs, but walked out with a whole bunch of other stuff and no eggs! I only realized my mistake when I went back home and saw my pancake batter sans eggs :(
    Your mistake turned out to be one of the most fabulous recipes I have seen today. I want this!!

  23. #
    Shannon — February 16, 2014 @ 8:16 pm

    These sound so dreamy! I have never put sesame seeds in caramel, but I have to give it a try!


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