Just the sound of this dessert makes me smile. The thought of slurping up a large spoonful of rich, creamy chocolate—thick and rich as Willy Wonka’s magical chocolate waterfall—will make children and adults equally happy. The velvety pound-cake croutons are brushed with melted butter, sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar, and broiled until they are sweet and crispy. I like to use my favorite cream-cheese pound cake recipe, but you can use your own recipe, or purchased pound cake, with equal success. Feel free to use a heart- or star-shaped cookie cutter to give your croutons a fanciful shape.
Combine the Sugar and Water in a Large Saucepan Over Medium Heat. Cook, gently swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and starts to change color. Increase the heat to high and boil until the syrup turns a deep amber color, 4 to 5 minutes. Watch carefully, as it can burn quickly. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and add the salt and half-and-half. Use a long-handled wooden spoon to carefully stir in the half-and-half, as the caramel has a tendency to hiss and splash as the cold cream hits it. Bring the mixture just to a gentle boil, stirring to dissolve the caramel into the half-and-half, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the espresso powder and chopped chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Divide the soup among 8 shallow soup bowls. Carefully place a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the center of each bowl and float
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