As much as I love and desire all things ice cream, I wouldn’t necessarily categorize myself as an ice cream purist. That is, I like a little crunch in my ice cream…a little texture. This can be achieved through the addition of nuts, chocolate chunks, or other so-called “mix-ins” to the ice cream base, resulting in a complex and satisfying experience that combines sweet with salty, creamy with crunchy, and ooey with gooey.
Despite my fondness for ice cream that contains mountains of cookie crumbles or candy pieces, many find this practice controversial. Let me explain.
You see, there are two conflicting schools of thought within the ice cream community concerning the addition of candy, cookies, or other treats to the ice cream base. While one camp believes that ice cream should be enjoyed in its purest form, free from candy/cookie distraction, the other proudly champions the use of chunks, swirls, and and other delights to enhance the overall ice cream consumption process.
I just made that whole thing up.
Are there schools of thought about ice cream? Would anyone even care if there were? I dont know about you, but I’m not really thinking about anything when i eat ice cream - I’m feeling.
In all seriousness though, “plain” ice cream (which, according to the ice cream dictionary in my head, can be defined as “one that is free from candy/cookie/cake distraction and maintains the overall integrity of the ice cream”), just doesn’t seem to hold my attention the way that ice cream with stuff in it does. Peanut butter swirls, cookie dough pieces, brownie chunks…I don’t discriminate. The more, the better!
There are of course, some exceptions to the rule (Jeni’s Dark Chocolate!), but for the most part, I generally like a little something extra to put a pep in my step and happy thoughts in my belly.
With frozen treats, I prefer to have the best of both worlds – the creaminess of the ice cream with the added crunch of candy or cookies. Accordingly, I have always adored the chocolate coating that local ice cream stands pour atop soft serve, transforming a plain old cone into a textural heaven. The *snap* of the chocolate followed by the softness of the ice cream has always made my heart sing.
Like so many others who have attempted to recreate this experience at home, I have frequently turned to store-bought brands of candy shell, only to find that the results were, well…underwhelming.
Let’s face it – the store bought stuff just isn’t that good. It’s waxy, watered-down, and tastes more chemical-y than it does chocolate-y. Bleh.
This homemade version, however, is pretty darn perfect – rich and decadent and chocolate-y to boot! Plus, its super simple to make!
The trick? Good ol’ coconut oil!
Apparently, coconut oil remains in a solid state up to about 76 degrees (thanks Wikipedia!), which explains why chocolate shell quickly hardens when drizzled on top of ice cream and frozen pops, creating that “magic” effect that we all know and love.
If you’ve never seen coconut oil before, don’t be surprised that it doesn’t look, well, oily. In fact, it looks more like wax:
Weird, right? Well, fear not dear reader. Simply mix the oil with some chocolate chips and it turns into this:
With homemade chocolate shell, plain vanilla becomes a chocolatey paradise!
Homemade chocolate shell is perfect for so many culinary projects – dipping strawberries or bananas, lining the insides of homemade cones, or just drizzling all over ice cream. You can experiment with different flavors of chips (like butterscotch), or even make a peanut butter version using creamy pb.
Hope you like it!
And in case you were wondering why there is a finger-sized indentation in the top of my sundae…
Homemade Chocolate Shell
1/2 cup semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
1/4 cup coconut oil
1. Melt the the chocolate chips and the coconut oil together. If you’re ambitious, you can use the double boiler method. Or, if you’re like me and hate waiting for water to boil, you could save yourself some time by simply microwaving the coconut oil and chocolate in small increments. If you do use your microwave, Just keep an eye on your mixture, stirring every 20 seconds or so, until the chips are completely melted and your chocolate mixture is glossy and smooth.
2. Let the mixture cool to room temperature so that it doesn’t melt your frozen treats, then go to town! If the mixture is too thick for your liking, add a little more coconut oil.
Store leftovers in the fridge for up to a week, but remember that the mixture will solidify when cold, so you will have re-melt when you are ready to use it again.