What Makes Magic Shell So Magic?

Matt Soniak
ThinkStock / ThinkStock

Reader (and writer) Stacy asks, “What makes Magic Shell so magic?”

Those flavored toppings that harden when they hit ice cream depend on certain “magic” ingredients, which vary among brands, that are soft at room temperature but harden when cold. One option (which isn’t used very often anymore) is food-grade paraffin wax, which stays melty at room temperature and hardens quickly with just a dip of an ice cream cone.

The other option is a fatty oil like coconut oil (one of the first ingredients in Magic Shell). Oils like this have a lot of saturated fats, the chemical makeup and formation of which allows them to stay melty or semi-solid around room temperature. Like paraffin, they harden quickly with just a little exposure to freezing temperatures.