Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Homemade Magic Shell

Magic. Shell.

Come on, children of the '80s, was this not the pinnacle of dessert toppings, the treat of all treats, the magic food of all magic foods?

We had this only rarely on our ice cream and I have the fondest of memories regarding it. Kip is the same way. I haven't seen it around much in recent years. And I haven't gone looking for it. The last thing I figured my children needed on their ice cream was some type of super processed, chemically-filled, crap-tube of fake chocolate, right? Right. Because that is what most store-bought chocolate sauces are. I certainly never tried to re-create it. I was sure that the chemical cocktail that must be Magic Shell could never be reproduced by the simple staples in my very own humble pantry. In fact, Kip and I would occasionally make a ganache-y type ice cream topping and say to each other, "Wouldn't it be cool if it would harden like Magic Shell?" And then laugh sadly because we knew such things could never be in the realm of the home made.

But then I saw a display of Magic Shell at Aldi and it was all of $1.89, so--blaming this winsome purchase on my husband (no, he wasn't there buying it, but that doesn't mean I couldn't blame him for it), I bought it. Naturally everyone was thrilled about it and that old magic was introduced into my children's lives as their chocolate hardened on their ice cream.

And then I looked at the ingredient list. And then I laughed. And then my brain exploded. Because it was the shortest ingredient list I'd ever seen on a store-bought ice cream topping: chocolate, coconut oil, sunflower oil, and maybe one or two other things. And then I had an epiphany--the secret of magic shell: Coconut oil. That magical oil that hardens when cold and is liquid at about 72 degrees (hello, summer household temps). Of course, in the '80s coconut oil was considered Satan's oil, so no one was talking about it, much less owning it. In the '80s you might as well feed your children motor oil as you would have a container of coconut oil sitting on your pantry shelf (because, you know, we were too busy eating nutritious foods like margarine--or better yet--fat-free margarine; yum). But now, now coconut oil is practically the coating for the pearly gates themselves. Now you can go on out and buy you some at Walmart. And, because of this, now you can make your very own magic shell topping.

And it is so easy. So so easy that you might cry for joy. It is so easy that when I tried it I was absolutely positively sure it would not work. But it did. Oh, yes it did.

Check this shell-like magic:

Are you ready for the rocket science that was the envy of all '80s ice cream toppings. Prepare to have your brain explode.

Homemade Magic Shell (ice cream topping)
Prep time: 30 seconds
Cost: $1.00 for about 6 oz.

1 C chocolate chips
1 Tbsp coconut oil

Melt (I did this in the micowave). Stir. Store. Challenging I know. Thirty years of believing in the impenetrable mystique that Magic Shell was and now...

Now you should eat in on your ice cream people. Give it 30-60 seconds to harden up and you're sitting there in retro ice cream heaven.

And, yes, just like store-bought Magic Shell, it stores at room temperature and stays in a liquid state (at least in the summer; if your house is cool in the winter, I don't know that I can guarantee that, but then you'll be wanting warm toppings for your ice cream anyway, right? Yeah, right.)

One important note: If you use high quality coconut oil (as I did--this is the healthiest and I wouldn't want the things I combine with chocolate chips and ice cream to be unhealthy), it will have a very very mild coconut-y overtone. I loved this. However, if you (like my oldest son) do not, you can use a cheaper variety of coconut oil--something that is not extra-virgin, expeller pressed. It still is solid when cold and liquid when at warm-ish room temperature (and it is still better than partially-hydrogenated).

Another note: If you house is cold, you can just warm this a tiny bit in the microwave before serving to get it to its liquid state.

One more note: This lasts for several days, but it does not have the nearly indefinite life its commercial brother does. After a while it will harden and get kind of weird. This only happened once to us with about a Tbsp we'd managed not to consume. It took a week for it to go funky and maybe a short stint in the microwave would have rescued it. I don't know; one of my kids scraped it out with a spoon and ate it.


  1. Just a note about storing coconut oil. I use the cheap stuff from Wal-Mart and in the summer, I store it in a low cabinet near the AC vent. In the winter, I store it away from the vent. Maybe that would make a difference in where to store the magic shell stuff. Thanks for sharing this. I saw some at Aldi the other day, but by-passed it. Maybe we'll try it.

    1. In the summer you'd probably want to keep the Magic Shell away from the AC vent because you want it to remain in a liquid state and visa versa in the winter:), so that it would be a little warmer. Last night our house got cool enough for the Magic Shell to harden up and we just microwaved it for a few seconds and it was fine.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...