kitchen magic

I have great childhood memories of going to friends’ houses for slumber parties. Those nights away from my own ‘natural earth mama’ house usually entailed eating junk food at night and sugary cereal the next morning. Ice cream with Smucker’s Magic Shell topping for dessert and Apple Jacks for breakfast, thank you very much. That combo  would never have made it through the threshold of my parents’ house. 

Two days ago a strong wave of food nostalgia left me with a craving for Smucker’s Magic Shell. Maybe it’s the 80+ degree Bay Area weather that had me dreaming of ice cream doused with waxy, chocolaty Magic Shell.  I wasn’t even sure the Smucker’s variety was still on the market. A quick grocery store investigative trip down the ice cream aisle answered my question. Magic Shell still exists! I looked at the ingredient list, which to no surprise includes things like yellow 6 lake, yellow 5 lake and blue 2 lake. I have no idea what those ingredients are or mean. But what I do know is I’m a junk food purist, I don’t want ingredients I can’t identify in my junky treats. Unless it’s Nutella, in which case I’ll gladly ingest all the yellow 5 lake they’re packing in those jars.

I easily found a recipe to help guide me in recreating and improving upon Smucker’s Magic Shell. And without the unidentifiable ingredients. Enter America’s Test Kitchen. Christopher Kimball and his crew make a living testing recipes. So, as the name suggests, anything from their website or TV show is going to be well tested. I’ve never made a bad recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s vast index of work.


My kitchen notes: 

This is a fun one to make with kids. It’s super quick, easy and fun.

Coconut oil is key.  Smucker’s Magic Shell’s main ingredient is coconut oil. This oil is high in saturated fat, which makes it liquid at 74 degrees and solid at 70 degrees.

Once the sauce is cooled,  pour it over your favorite ice cream and watch the magic happen. The best way to bring it back to the right consistency is to scoop out the amount you need and reheat it until it’s thin and saucy.

Chocolate sauce can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for at least 2 months.

Chocolate Magic Shell – adapted from America’s Test Kitchen 

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional if you don’t have it on hand)

Pinch salt

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (I use Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips)

1/3 cup coconut oil

1 teaspoon cocoa

Stir vanilla, espresso powder and salt together in a small bowl until espresso dissolves. Heat chocolate and coconut oil in a small saucepan on low, stirring occasionally, until melted, 2 to 4 minutes. Whisk in vanilla mixture and cocoa until combined. Let cool to room temperature before using.


2 thoughts on “kitchen magic”

  1. Yum. Super fun with kids, minus the espresso powder. Unless you like kids who stay up until midnight. 😉

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