Homemade Chocolate Shell Ice Cream Topping

By Cook's Illustrated Published September 2012

Chocolate sauce that instantly hardens into a shell when poured over ice cream is a classic treat, but could we engineer a better-tasting, homemade version?

When we sampled Smucker’s Magic Shell over ice cream, we were impressed by the way it hardened upon contact but were less bowled over by its cloyingly sweet, mild chocolate taste. We set out to engineer a better-tasting homemade version that would please children and adults alike.

A quick review of the Magic Shell ingredients revealed that the “magic” was the third ingredient listed: coconut oil. Coconut oil is extremely high in saturated fat, which makes it solid at room temperature and brittle at cooler temperatures. Combining melted coconut oil in a 2:3 ratio with melted chocolate produced a satiny mixture that solidified into a perfect, shatteringly thin shell over ice cream. To make your own: Microwave 4 tablespoons of refined coconut oil, 3 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate, and a pinch of salt at 50 percent power until smooth (two to four minutes), stirring occasionally. Cool to room temperature and spoon or pour over ice cream.

“MAGICALLY” BRITTLE: Coconut oil is the key to a shatteringly thin chocolate coating.