Chocolate magic shell does seem like something of a miracle. A saturated fat (usually coconut oil) and chocolate are melted and stirred together, and the shiny sauce is poured over something cold (usually ice cream) to make a hard candy coating that you crack with your spoon. It’s fun, interactive, and delicious.
How does magic shell work?
The magic of magic shell is actually science, as are all things we think of as magical. One of the two ingredients in the dessert topping is coconut oil, a saturated fat. Saturated fats don’t have the healthiest reputation, but all it means is that three of the four bonds available on any given carbon atom in the fat molecule are “saturated” with hydrogen atoms, meaning they can’t form any double or triple bonds with their fellow carbon atoms. These fats have long chains of carbon connected by single bonds. These long chains can nestle together, unlike unsaturated fats, which have all sorts of twists and turns in their chain, thanks to double and triple bonds.
When the molecules nestle together, they solidify, liquifying only when you introduce energy (heat). Twisted, kinky unsaturated fat molecules can’t nestle, so they stay liquid, even at room temperature.
By combining chocolate (which is also solid at room temperature) with a saturated fat like coconut oil, you get a substance that flows beautifully when heated, but will quickly solidify at cooler temperatures. This is why magic shell “magically” forms a hard, shiny shell the moment it hits your ice cream.
How to make magic shell
All you have to do to make magic shell is combine roughly one part coconut oil with two parts chocolate, usually by volume. For a small amount of magic shell, I’ve used a ratio of 1 tablespoon chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon solid coconut oil, but that’s not useful if you’re chopping up a nice bar of the dark stuff. When in doubt, start with 2 tablespoons of fat and 7 ounces of chocolate. Nuke it in the microwave in 15-second blasts, stirring between each one, until it’s completely smooth.
Easy Chocolate Magic Shell
Ingredients:2 tablespoons coconut oil7 ounces chocolate (dark or milk is fine)A pinch of salt
Add all three ingredients to a microwave-safe bowl and nuke for 15 seconds. Stir, and repeat as many times as needed until you have a smooth, flowing sauce. Pour on ice cream, make a quick peanut butter cup, or spoon it over your morning yogurt. (Then try the pervert’s magic shell, which is made with my favorite saturated fat—duck fat.)