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Peppermint white chocolate magic shell

All Photos: Lisa Lotts

Peppermint white chocolate magic shell on ice cream


Here's the best ice cream topping you're not making

What do you get when you combine white chocolate, peppermint and coconut oil? One of the best — and easiest — ice cream toppings you can make.

Celebrating the holidays in South Florida, where I live, is more about a date circled on the calendar than about a frosty indicator from Mother Nature that winter is coming. Since daytime temperatures here hover around 80 degrees and nighttime lows rarely dip below 60, we do our best to create an atmosphere of holiday cheer. We make dishes and decor that “feel” holiday-ish without making us sweat — things like Christmas lights wrapped around palm trees and peppermint white chocolate magic shell.

Magic shell, for the uninitiated, is that sauce that magically transforms from a liquid to a solid when poured over ice cream. When I was a kid, I was transfixed by the conversion from chocolate sauce to crackly shell. But as it turns out, it's not that complicated: Coconut oil is what makes the transmogrification possible. It melts at 76 degrees and takes a solid form at temperatures below; ice cream is far colder, so causes the sauce to turn brittle, crisp and delicious.

Unlike the magic shell of my youth, which hardens in about five seconds, this one takes about thirty seconds to achieve a shell-like quality, but that’s fine — especially if you want to make it extra festive by sprinkling some crushed candy canes over the top.  The candies will settle into the sauce before it hardens to a crust.

With only five minutes and four ingredients, my recipe is particularly appropriate for the frenzied holiday season. Even better: You can make this minty treat in your microwave. It's truly a holiday treat without the fuss.

This creamy, minty shellac is a delicious festive topper for a bowl of chocolate or vanilla and is a fun, whimsical end to any meal. So while everyone else is sipping hot cocoa with marshmallows and pulling on their ugly Christmas Sweaters, we’ll be wearing shorts and flip flops, relaxing on the patio and tapping our spoons into these peppermint white chocolate sweets. Maybe it’s not so bad in the tropics, after all.

Peppermint White Chocolate Magic Shell
Makes: About 1 cup
Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Total time: 5 minutes

8 ounces good-quality white chocolate, such as Ghirardelli, Lindt or Scharffenberger
5 tablespoons refined coconut oil
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
2 drops red or green food coloring (optional)
Crushed peppermint candies, for serving (optional)

Finely chop the white chocolate and transfer to a microwavable bowl. Microwave the chocolate in 15 second increments, stirring between each interval until the chocolate has melted, 45 to 60 seconds total. Stir in the coconut oil, corn syrup and peppermint extract.  Microwave for an additional 10 seconds, then stir again to ensure the mixture is well combined. Stir in the food coloring, if desired. Let cool to room temperature.

Serve once cooled or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Microwave in similar 15 second bursts to loosen up, but not heat, the sauce before use. Serve over ice cream, topped with the peppermint candies, if desired.

Author image

Lisa Lotts is a freelance writer, food photographer, recipe developer and owner of the blog, Garlic & Zest. Her work has been featured in a multitude of online outlets including Honest Cooking, Men’s Fitness, Today, Better Homes & Gardens, BuzzFeed and Shape, to name a few. Her food photography stretches beyond her blog and she styles and shoots dishes for restaurant menus and websites, and she aspires to photograph a cookbook. Having grown up in Southeastern Virginia, she has a natural affinity for well-seasoned cast iron skillets, Smithfield ham, soft-shell crabs and old fashioned oyster roasts. Lisa's approachable fare tastes like home.