[Photograph: Alexandra Penfold]

Chocolate covered ice cream is a treat that takes me straight back to my childhood and the dipped cones we used to get at our local soft serve joint. It didn't feel like summer had truly arrived until I had my first dipped cone. As an adult, I recognize that the dipped cones weren't particularly high quality chocolate, or ice cream for that matter, but there was something special about crunchy chocolate coating + ice cream that equaled pure summertime magic, Fortunately, it's actually fairly simple to recapture at home.

In high school I'll admit that I dabbled with "Magic Shell", that bottled chocolate coating. But here's the thing: the store bought stuff might do in a pinch, but I've found it to be overly oily and for serious chocolate lovers it's not going to scratch that itch. Last summer while writing our cookbook, New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks, I learned from Chef Meredith Kurtzman of Otto that the secret to a stellar at-home chocolate coating for ice cream is a touch of coconut oil.

Since then I'll admit that I've been indulging in frozen chocolate covered treats—her recipe for a caramelized white chocolate shell appears in the book along with the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck's recipe for a dark chocolate shell. Then there were those Arrested Development inspired frozen bananas. Surprisingly it was only recently that I realized that I could make bite-sized poppable treats as well by using my melon baller to make mini scoops then dipping them in truly magical chocolate shell. Pair this with your favorite ice cream flavor, be it homemade or store bought, I promise you won't be sorry.

About the author: Alexandra Penfold is mild-mannered literary agent by day, food ninja by night. Never one to skip dessert she's the Brownie half of Blondie & Brownie, a Midtown Lunch contributor, and co-author of New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks. You can follow her on Twitter at @blondiebrownie.


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