To make a hard sauce for warm desserts, bring 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water, 2 tablespoons of flour, 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg and a dash of allspice to a boil in a small saucepan; cook the mixture for two minutes while stirring occasionally; remove it from the heat; and stir in 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon of rum extract. This makes a warm, spoonable hard sauce.
To make a no-cook hard sauce, beat together 1/2 cup of butter, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon of brandy and 1 dash of almond extract. This is a spreadable hard sauce. For a smoother sauce, use confectioners' sugar instead of regular white sugar. For a softer sauce, add 1 or 2 extra tablespoons of brandy or cream.
Serve hard sauces with warm spice cake, bread pudding, fruitcakes, gingerbread or steamed pudding desserts. Create flavor variations by changing the spices or liqueurs used in the recipe. Cognac, whiskey and sherry are good options. Try replacing the almond extract with vanilla.
Store extra hard sauce covered in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature before serving. To serve, scoop or spread the sauce onto the warm dessert so it melts onto the top and down the sides.