There’s nothing quite as nostalgic as a trip to the ice-cream parlor.
When I was a kid, of course we went for ice cream when we were at home (or really, frozen custard, thank you very much), but it felt most like a treat were when we went on vacation.
We started spending two weeks on Cape Cod the summer I turned 8, and we waited all year to get soft ice cream from the clam shacks that litter Route 6, the main drag that runs from one end of the sandy peninsula to the other. They had the most outrageous flavors — strawberry! banana! strawberry-banana twist! — flavors we never knew existed. The most exotic we ever got at home was a chocolate-vanilla twist.
And, you could get a dip.
No, not the same kind of dip that you get at Jarling’s Custard Cup. This is the kind of dip you get at Dairy Queen. That thin, chocolate syrup that magically hardened into a candy-like coating. Oh, how I yearned for dip all year long!
Then, all of a sudden, you could get dip at the grocery store, in the form of Magic Shell. But it was never quite the same, squeezing that out of a bottle. It took some of the shine off, you know?
Fast-forward 30 years, to a weekend night when we invited some friends for an impromptu meal and I was stuck without time to make a proper dessert. Lucky for me, I’d spent an inordinate amount of time on Pinterest over the last month and had tucked away some ideas for last-minute sweets — among them, homemade Magic Shell.
This is so easy that it’s criminal. I’m not even going to use the recipe format because really, it’s two ingredients: coconut oil and chocolate chips.
Coconut oil can be found with the other oils at most grocery stores (I found mine at Meijer), and buying the jar is totally worth it. You can also use this low-fat, neutral, plant-based oil for cooking and baking. It is a solid in the jar, but melts to an odorless clear liquid. Rumor has it that you can also use it to condition your hair and your skin.
So, for homemade Magic Shell, or as I call it, dip, combine:
- 1/2 cup of coconut oil
- 1 1/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used half semi-sweet and half milk chocolate, because that’s what I had)
Put the ingredients in a glass bowl and microwave for one minute. Stir, and continue to heat at 15-second intervals until you have a smooth, thin sauce.
Place in a jar and, when you’re ready, pour over ice cream. You won’t believe your eyes, but your taste buds don’t lie. This is the real deal, and you can control the kind of chips you use. Use a high-quality chocolate and you’re basically creating a treat with no additional sugar or chemicals.
Since Jarling’s is open now (hurrah!) I suggest you buzz through the drive-thru to get a few pints of custard for a fantastic, weeknight dessert.