This easy recipe for homemade magic shell turns an ordinary ice cream bowl into a fun dessert experience! Drizzle on top of ice cream, and it turns into a delightfully crisp, chocolatey shell.
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You only need two simple ingredients to turn an ordinary chocolate sauce into a mesmerizingly crisp shell to drizzle on ice cream. Learn to make this magic shell recipe using chocolate and coconut oil. It’s a nostalgic treat that kids and adults will love!
You’ll be surprised how easy and fun it is to make the chocolate shell topping. The melted chocolate combined with the coconut oil completely changes texture in seconds when added to cool scoops of ice cream. Make your next dessert an exciting experience that’s easy to customize with extra toppings!
Chocolate: Use chocolate chips for the quickest option. Chopped chocolate bars can also be used; they have slightly more fat for a thinner coating. Dark chocolate ranging from semi-sweet to bittersweet, will give the best cocoa flavor. Select between 35 to 72% cacao; the higher the amount, the less sweet it will taste, but the chocolate flavor will be more intense.
Coconut Oil: Use refined coconut oil for a clean taste. Virgin unrefined coconut oil can be used but will have a more coconut flavor, which tastes nice with the chocolate. This oil should be solid when added to the chocolate.
How to make chocolate magic shell
Make sure to use a dry microwave-safe bowl when melting the chocolate. Any moisture could seize the consistency, making it crumbly and hard. The quickest method is to microwave the chocolate chips and coconut oil. Cook in 15-second increments, stirring vigorously in between. This will gently melt the chips and the solid coconut oil.
Coconut oils melting point is around 78ºF (23ºC). The stirring helps them dissolve without overheating them too much. Heating the chocolate beyond 120ºF (49ºC) will burn it, causing the fat and cacao to separate. Don’t heat the chocolate beyond 100ºF (38ºC)! The process should only take 60 to 75 seconds. If preferred, you can melt chocolate on the stovetop.
Cool the chocolate
You’ll want to use the hot chocolate ice cream topping immediately, but let it cool down first. This prevents the frozen scoops from melting when the magic shell is added on top. The perfect serving temperature is 73 to 80ºF (23 to 27ºC), just above room temperature.
Serving the magic shell
Once the chocolate topping has cooled to room temperature, it’s ready to use! The sauce will have a pourable consistency, making it easy to drizzle on top evenly. Try to get a thin layer of coating for the best crisp shell.
Adding more chocolate on top is okay, but it will be thicker and harder to break through. The chocolate sauce will take 30 to 60 seconds to turn from glossy to matte and hardened. Dig in and enjoy!
Storing the magic shell topping
What’s great about this recipe is that you can store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month. I typically use an 8-ounce glass mason jar or 16-ounce for a double batch.
Make the chocolate topping ahead of time for a party. Just reheat it in 10-second increments until pourable, and mix before using. Do not refrigerate! The coconut oil will become solid at room temperature, making it hard.
- Add sea salt to the sauce to give a hint of saltiness.
- Add extracts like vanilla, peppermint, almond, or banana.
- Instead of semi-sweet chocolate, use other types of chocolate, like dark bittersweet chocolate between 60 to 72% cacao for a more intense chocolate flavor and less sweet taste. Milk chocolate can be used but will be much sweeter. White chocolate can be used but will be very sweet.
- A peanut butter magic shell can be made but will contain no chocolate. Mix ½ cup smooth peanut butter, ¼ cup coconut oil, and ¼ cup powdered sugar. Melt the peanut butter and fat first, then stir in the sugar.
Once you learn how to make homemade magic shell, the ways to use it are endless! Here are some exciting ways to add the chocolate topping for dessert:
- Serve with homemade no-churn ice cream to make sundaes
- Pair with whipped cream and caramel sauce
- Make your own drumstick ice cream cone by dipping it into the magic shell and rolling in chopped nuts like peanuts or almonds
- Dip with rice krispie treats
- Make chocolate-covered bananas with nuts or sprinkles
- Use as a quick-to-dry coating for chocolate-covered strawberries
- Make chocolate-dipped ice cream, yogurt pops, or popsicles
- Add a chocolate twist to a homemade dole whip
Frequently asked questions
Using the proper ratio of chocolate to coconut oil. Too much cocoa and the consistency will be too thick when hardened, making it difficult to crack through the shell. Too much fat and the chocolatey flavor and sweetness will be lost. My recipe uses 1 cup of chocolate chips or bar to ¼ cup coconut oil.
Adding fats high in saturated fat, like coconut oil, makes the chocolate topping harden into a shell. These fats harden at room temperature, so when they come in contact with ice cream, it firms up.
Yes, dairy-free chocolate chips can be used to make the magic shell.
An additional fat must be added to the melted chocolate to prevent the shell from becoming too thick and hard. Butter, margarine, or palm oil, which are solid at room temperature, can be substituted. However, any leftover topping needs to be refrigerated if using butter or margarine.
The science behind the shell
Smucker’s Magic Shell uses coconut and sunflower oil to make it runnier. When mixed with chocolate chips or bars and heated to a liquid consistency, it creates a pourable topping for desserts. Melted chocolate alone will have too much cocoa solids, making it very hard and thick when cold. The extra fat from the oils thins it out, making it softer yet crisp when added to ice cream. When it touches cold ice cream around 5 to 10ºF (-15 to -22ºC), it will quickly harden. This is because coconut oil is high in saturated fatty acids, turning from liquid to solid around 74 to 76ºF (23 to 24ºC).
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How to Make Magic Shell
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ¼ cup refined coconut oil
- Melt the Chocolate – In a medium microwave-safe bowl, add the chocolate chips and coconut oil. Microwave on high setting in 15-second intervals, stirring well in between to help melt the chocolate. The process takes about 60 to 75 seconds. Do not allow the mixture to go above 100ºF (38ºC).
- Cool – Allow the chocolate sauce to cool to room temperature, between 73 to 80ºF (23 to 27ºC), about 20 minutes.
- To Serve – Drizzle over ice cream, creating a thin coating layer. The shell will harden between 30 to 60 seconds, depending on its temperature.
- Recipe Yield: About ¾ cup
- Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
- Chocolate Selection: Use semi-sweet to bittersweet chocolate, between 35 to 72% cacao. Chopped chocolate bars can be used; they will have a thinner consistency.
- Storing: Add room-temperature magic shell topping to a glass jar or airtight container. Store at room temperature for up to 1 month.
- Reheating: If needed, reheat the sauce in 10 seconds intervals until thin and pourable.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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