Ice Cream/Frozen Desserts

Remember Magic Shell? Here Are 3 Pocky-Inspired Flavors

August  6, 2018
Photo by Bobbi Lin

My older brother would beg my mom for Magic Shell, that waxy chocolate coating you throw on top of ice cream and watch immediately turn crisp-cold and totally fun. (I mean, you throw a chocolatey coating on just about anything, and it’s immediately a party.) Every so often she’d give in and buy a bottle that cost a small fortune—and between six kids, you’d better believe that I was there policing every squeeze, making sure there was enough for everyone to completely cover their ice cream, but still enough for the next kid in line.

Fast forward to my adult life: A need for kitschy sweets and revisiting all the little things that made my life magical as a child. You know, things like powdered drink mixes, microwave dinners, and, of course, Magic Shell. It was the '80s and '90s, nothing could kill you yet, and convenience was the American way. Most of the food in my house these days is “whole,” meaning you won’t find much junk food like when I was growing up; we cook as much as possible from scratch, but once in a while, we like to have fun with dessert.

A couple of years ago, I wanted to introduce my then five-year-old son to the world of Magic Shell. I hit the store and looked at the bottle. I’m not sure there was even chocolate in the ingredient list! I thought, “Okay, let’s make this from scratch.” I got to researching recipes online and found tons of variations on oil-to-chocolate ratios. I made one. Flavorless! I mean, it delivered on snap and appeal, and my boy was tickled at my wizard abilities, but I knew there was a way to make this taste better.

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I started thinking about the basics: salt and vanilla extract. Okay, a little better, but I wanted a bunch of chocolate that still melted in my mouth. I tried to lower the oil content. Nope! The chocolate didn’t have that fast melting point that’s really desirable in Magic Shell; it was just melted chocolate that set up quickly, but had a weird mouthfeel.

Then, it hit me: cocoa powder. When I added unsweetened cocoa powder, a star was born. It delivered in all the right ways: signature snap, excellent melting point, and that ultra-chocolatey flavor I was after. Goodbye, oily meager recipes with zero flavor; hello, lingering salt and childhood memories!

I found that this method worked for all kinds of combinations. I have for you here three versions, my favorites: chocolate, strawberry, and matcha (white chocolate and matcha powder may be running for president in 2020—they’re that good). This trio of Magic Shells is reminiscent of Pocky sticks, and they’re just as addictive to eat.

My homemade shells store nicely for about a week (it’s perfectly fine for them to sit on the counter for that time). When ready to pour over ice cream, just pop them into the microwave for a few seconds to remelt into that perfect pourable consistency.

Did you grow up eating Magic Shell? Please share your own childhood memories in the comments below.

1 Comment

Eric K. August 6, 2018
My cousins and I used to drive up to Wrightsville Beach, NC every summer—sans parents. Naturally, the grocery list of a bunch of 14- to 25-year-olds consisted of things like: ice cream, cookies, s'mores, potato chips, and Magic Shell. We always got both the the Turtles one and the regular chocolate for me, b/c I hated nuts growing up. Anyway, I can't wait to make these at home, especially the matcha and strawberry (my favorite Pocky flavors!). Thanks for sharing.