I’ve got nothing but love for “Magic Shell,” the chocolate ice cream topping that starts out a liquid, but freezes instantly over ice cream into a thin, crackly shell that you whack with the back of a spoon before you take a bite. It’s equal parts food science from the wizards at Smucker’s and, as is clearly stated on the label, magic.
If it has one problem, it’s that Magic Shell’s delicious flavor isn’t exactly its most prominent feature. It’s too sweet, too waxy, and not very chocolatey. We wanted to take Magic Shell’s magical ingredient, coconut oil, and try combining it with some other flavors to make a dessert topping that would be beloved by both kids and parents alike.
Coconut oil is pretty amazing stuff. Though high in saturated fat, it’s made a bit of a splash recently on the health food circuit, credited with everything from increased metabolism to lowered cholesterol to decreased diabetes risk to enhanced liver function. To me though, its most remarkable property is the very slight change in temperature needed to turn it from a liquid to a solid. Refined coconut oil liquefies at 74 degrees, and returns to a solid at just 70 degrees. A drop of those four little degrees turns a mixture of chocolate and coconut oil into a solid, the “Magic Shell” that we remember so fondly from our childhood.
We started with a white chocolate version flavored with peppermint; it’s amazing over chocolate ice cream. Of course, for the purists, we’re also including the instructions for the traditional chocolate flavor Magic Shell-inspired topping. The finished product will keep at room temperature in a sealed container for about a month. If it solidifies on the shelf, just zap it for a few seconds in the microwave to return it to liquid form.
Experiment with different flavored extracts as you see fit; chocolate coconut topping would be excellent over pistachio ice cream, or white chocolate and raspberry topping over strawberry ice cream. The possibilities are endless!