Creating Homemade “Magic Shell” Ice Cream Topping

My family and I LOVE “Magic Shell” (Really, who wouldn’t), but it’s always ridiculously expensive. The 7.25 oz bottles at the store are generally $3+. Even on Amazon a Smucker’s Magic Shell Ice Cream Topping, Chocolate Fudge, 7.25-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 12) works out to $1.85 each, not a bad price, but still expensive for .9 cups for product.

For a while I have wanted to make my own, primarily due to the price, but also so I could experiment with different flavors. I did some searches and I found a recipe on the Brownie Points blog.

Poe’s basic recipe is to simply melt together coconut oil (1 cup) and eating chocolate (1 – 2 cups), adding more chocolate than coconut oil.
At home, I found the following weights to work well for measuring out the ingredients for the Magic Shell recipe:

* 150 g finely chopped eating chocolate
* 100 g of refined coconut oil*
* pinch of salt

* I feel that using a touch of unrefined virgin coconut oil helps aid in the elusive “fake” flavor that store bought Magic Shell imparts.
If you really want to go the nostalgia route, try out 80 g refined coconut oil + 20 g unrefined virgin coconut oil.

There was only one problem. There wasn’t any reasonably priced coconut oil (refined or virgin) available at any local stores. That was until yesterday.

During a shopping trip to the local King Soopers I spotted a 31.5 oz (3.9 cups) jar of pure Coconut Oil for $6.49. This was purchased along with a package of 62% Cacao chunks (about 2 cups) for $2.99. Combining these ingredients, it looks like “Magic Shell” can be made for $2.84 per cup. Hmm… well at least I can still experiment.

So, last night, after all these wacky purchases, I whipped up a batch and poured it into a left over squeeze bottle. We’ll try it tonight during the Brocons vs. Chargers Monday Night Football game and see how it goes.

Dr. Pepper Recipe – FOUND

While poking around in an Oklahoma Antique store, a man named Bill Waters found a journal that may contain the Original Dr. Pepper recipe from 1885.

The writing on the journal is hard to decipher, so Mr. Waters hasn’t tried the recipe, but the book is from the original Waco TX drugstore that ‘invented’ Dr. Pepper. Dr. Pepper execs have confirmed that the recipe in the book is not anything like what they currently use – of course that recipe is TOP SECRET.

The book is going to be sold on Ebay. I home someone shares the recipe, it would be amazing to make this and see how it compares with today’s soft drink.

Bacon Vodka

This one is for my sister, who thinks Bacon might be the perfect food…

Bacon Vodka

Fry up three strips of bacon.
Add cooked bacon to a clean pint sized mason jar. Trim the ends of the bacon if they are too tall to fit in the jar. Or you could go hog wild and just pile in a bunch of fried up bacon scraps. Optional: add crushed black peppercorns.
Fill the jar up with vodka. Cap and place in a dark cupboard for at least three weeks. That’s right- I didn’t refrigerate it.
At the end of the three week resting period, place the bacon vodka in the freezer to solidify the fats. Strain out the fats through a coffee filter to yield a clear filtered pale yellow bacon vodka.

Decant into decorative bottles and enjoy.

Peeling a Pineapple

Recently I was at my sister’s house and we had a pineapple. Somehow it was decided that I should be the one to cut it up and serve it.

My pineapple experience has been limited to those handy canned rings Dole so conveniently provides us with, so I attempted to emulate the job the machine at the Dole factory does. It was somewhat disasterous, but tasty anyway.

Fortunately, thanks to this nice blog posting on serving pineapple, I can now impress my friends with my pineapple carving skills.

Cranberry Liqueur

Inspired by a recent posting on the health benefits of Cranberries, I’ve decided to share my secret recipe for Cranberry Liqueur.

Actually, this isn’t my recipe. It was given to me several years ago by a friend who got it from another friend’s Russian grandmother.

Regardless of where it came from, it is an excellent recipe, if kind of messy.

NOTE: These instructions are verbatim as they were sent to me. If you are under 21, or if alcohol offends you, please stop reading now.

1. Take one (1) liter of Everclear Grain Alcohol 😉 and 2 kilograms of cranberries (fresh, I’m guessing).

2. Put all of the cranberries through a meat-grinder and put into a large container (3 litter glass jar).

3. Pour all of the grain alcohol over it.

4. Let it sit for 3-5 days.

5. Then strain what’s in the jar through a gauze (the medical kind). You gotta squeeze what’s left in the gauze to get all the liquid
out of it. Collect all the liquid in any big container and discard the cranberry leftovers.

6. Then separately make sugar syrap: boil 4 cups of water (1 litter) with 2.5 cups of sugar. You’ll want to boil it on low/medium heat, stirring continuously until the sugar completely dissolves in the water. Make sure to watch it so that the sugar does not burn and stick to the pan. It’s easier to start by pouring hot (boiling water) over the sugar.

7. Let the sugar syrup stand and cool down.

8. Pour the syrup into the ‘cranberried’ alcohol stirring well. Chilling is good.

9. Taste it. If all went well – invite a bunch of friends over and get hammered.

That is the original recipe, here are some notes that were included for your reference.

Okay, so I use a 750 of Everclear since you can’t buy a liter anywhere that
I’ve found. That means you need 3/4 of all the other ingredients: 1500g
cranberries, 3 cups of water, 2 cups sugar.

Most people don’t have a meat grinder in their kitchen, so I use a blender.
The trick to using the blender is to rinse the cranberries down into the
blades. You don’t want to water down the drink, so I recommend rinsing it down
with Everclear. Also, I only did about a cup of cranberries at a time so that
I didn’t overwhelm my blender; yours may be more powerful than mine, though.

Most people also don’t have medical gauze laying around their house, so use
cheesecloth. You may have to get creative on just how to strain the cranberry
solids out, but last time I lined a sieve with the cheesecloth and then poured
portions of the liquid through.

Lastly, cranberry juice stains everything including counter tops, floors,
clothes and especially your hands when you’re ringing that stuff out. If you
spill some, I wouldn’t wait to wipe it up… I also usually use a glass bowl
instead of plastic, unless you want pink bowls.

I can’t emphasize how good this recipe is… if you like cranberry.

Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes

While there are hundreds (maybe thousands) of recipe sites on the Internet, most of them don't have much for commentary or reviews. I'm going to start a new category of this blog dedicated to my recipe creations and reactions to the recipes themselves. This particular post is going to be dedicated to Thanksgiving themed recipes – if you made anything new for Thanksgiving, let me know how it went and I'll add it.

Here is my 2006 Thanksgiving Recipe

Chocolate Truffle Loaf with Raspberry Sauce

2 cups heavy cream, divided
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 (8 ounce) packages Baker's Semi Sweet Chocolate
1/2 cup Karo Light or Dark corn Syrup
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Raspberry Sauce

Line an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap. Mix 1/2 cup of the cream with egg yolks.

In a 3-quart saucepan stir chocolate, corn syrup, and butter over medium heat until melted. Add egg mixture. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Cool to room temperature.

Beat remaining cream, sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Fold into chocolate until no streaks remain. Pour into pan. Refrigerate overnight or chill in freezer 3 hours. Serve with sauce.

Raspberry Sauce
1 (10 ounce) package frozen raspberries, thawed and strained
1/3 cup Karo Corn syrup

In blender puree raspberries. Stir in corn syrup.

Now, just as a bit of background, I have a somewhat philisophical approach to cooking. One of my culinary philosophies is that a dish is only as good as it's ingredients. My mother has a fantastic Pecan Pie recipe, best I've EVER had, and it is made with Karo syrup and (of course) pecans. One year a relative wanted the recipe and at the next family function she brought a pie. She was dissappointed when it wasn't as well recieved as Mom's generally is. Later she confessed that instead of Karo she used maple syrup and instead of pecans she used walnuts. While substitution is a perfectly valid, and often creative, technique when cooking, one should never be surprised when use of substandard or incorrect ingredients results in a less than desired outcome.

In keeping with this philosphy I visited the local grocery store that I felt had the best selection for Gourmet type ingredients. I was in search of an excellent chocolate for my creation. Unfortunately, the story I chose didn't have any significant selection. The only chocolates in the baking supplies aisle were Bakers and Ghirardelli. Now there is nothing wrong with Ghirardelli, but it is a mainstream brand which I could have purchased in any local store. Dissappointed I continued to scour the store for the other ingredients (including a loaf pan which I strangely didn't own). During my search I also found a selection of Nestle baking chocolate. On a whim I decided to purchase semisweet Ghiradelli and a package of dark Nestle baking chocolate, which I later combined to give the loaf a bit more flavor.

Once all the ingredients were purchased I headed home to make the dessert. Unfortunately I didn't get this done as expidiciously as I would have liked and a prior commitment forced me to put the dessert making off until Thanksgiving morning.

I got up early yesterday morning and began my dessert construction. Everything went smoothly until I reached the raspberry sauce part. I didn't realize I needed light Karo syrup, and of course didn't have any in the house. I completed the loaf per instructions, stuck it in the freezer and headed off to the store, again. Thanksgiving morning grocery shopping was amusing. The store was full of men, most of whom were obviously not bachelors like me. Most of these guys were wandering around the store looking completely lost. I'm fairly confident that the only time these guys even see the inside of the supermarket is on holidays when they are ushered off to get last minute items and (more importantly) get themselves and the children out of Mom's way so she can finish getting ready. Finally, armed with my Karo and a strainer (which I also didn't have) I headed home.

The final step was to make the raspberry sauce. Blending the raspberries wasn't a problem, but straining them was largely unsuccessful. I don't know if there's a strategy to this, maybe cheesecloth would have worked better, but I didn't have that kind of time. Eventually I just called it good enough and headed out to celebrate Thanksgiving.


The Chocolate Truffle Loaf with Raspberry Sauce was generally well received. The sauce still had a few seeds in it, not sure what to do about this. The loaf itself had great flavor, but didn't ever seem to setup. It was almost runny. I'm not sure if I didn't beat the whipping cream long enough, or if the recipe just makes a kind of gooey desert. Perhaps if it had been in the freezer overnight there would have been an improvement.

Overall, I would recommend this recipe, but definitely don't wait until the last minute, beat the whipping cream untill it's pretty stiff and use a cheescloth if you want a nice smoothe raspberry sauce.