At home I avoid gimmicks when it comes to food. I am a cook, not a chef or a scientist. If I want theatrics with my meal, I leave it to the culinary professionals to concoct edible wonder and delight. Neither my appetite nor my wallet can handle too much molecular gastronomy, but every now and then it is entertaining to go to a restaurant and wonder, “how did they do that?” after every course.
My first encounter with food wizardry was bottled chocolate sauce with a lengthy ingredient list that hardened on contact with the chill of ice cream. Unlike the store-bought version, I whipped up homemade magic shell with only bittersweet chocolate and coconut oil. I used it to top a bowl of vanilla bean and finished it with a sprinkling of Maldon sea salt for a little extra crunch.
Makes about 1 cup
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons coconut oil
Ice cream for serving
Maldon sea salt for serving
In a medium saucepan, bring 1 inch of water to a low simmer. Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a heatproof bowl over the saucepan without the water touching the bottom of the bowl. Stir frequently until the mixture is fully melted. (Alternatively, melt the chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave in 30-second blasts stirring to distribute the heat.) Let the mixture cool slightly before pouring over ice cream and topping with Maldon sea salt.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Once the magic shell is cool and has hardened, scoop out the desired amount into a microwave safe container. Before serving, microwave until melted, about 30-45 seconds.