Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Easy Microwave Magic Shell Chocolate from Cleo Coyle for National #BananaSplitDay

From Cleo Coyle: Because today is (no kidding) National Banana Split Day, I'm celebrating by happily sharing my "Coffeehouse" take on this classic American dessert. This is a fast, fun way to fancy up ye olde soda fountain sundae for the adult dinner table, and my recipe includes tips for making your own magic shell chocolate using your microwave. 

Now let's have some foodie fun...

Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.

☕ A Note from Cleo

The history of the banana split dates back to 1904 Latrobe, Pennsylvania, where a 23-year-old apprentice pharmacist (who enjoyed inventing ice cream treats at the pharmacy soda fountain) first came up with the banana-based, triple scoop sundae. 

While in my youth I had no problem polishing off a banana split, these days that three-scoop boat is way too large for me to sink in one sitting, especially after a full meal. If you think so, too, then voila

Below is my grown-up "Coffeehouse" version of the classic banana split. Scroll down for my tips and tricks on putting it all together, including how to make your own magic shell chocolate using a few ingredients and your microwave. 


To download a free PDF of
this recipe that you can print,
save, or share, click here, or on
the image below...

Easy Microwave Magic Shell Chocolate

Although many versions of this basic recipe are posted all over the Inter-web, the original source appears to be award-winning Chef Thomas Keller. Years ago, I adapted his version, using a microwave and chocolate chips. 

The secret to this recipe is the extra virgin, cold pressed coconut oil, which liquefies around a modest 76 degrees F. yet firms up fast when taken below that temperature. That's why you'll see a chocolate shell form quickly if you drizzle it over scoops of ice cream. 

Likewise, for my "Coffeehouse" Banana Split recipe, once the fruit is chilled and dipped, you can place it in the fridge and watch a shell form very quickly.

Makes 1 cup


14 ounces (2-1/4 cups + 2 Tablespoons) chocolate chips*

1/4 cup extra virgin, cold pressed coconut oil**

*Chocolate chips can be milk chocolate, semi-sweet, or dark (bittersweet). In my photos, you see milk chocolate chips.

**For the best quality coconut oil look for "extra virgin, cold pressed" on the label. 

Directions:  In a microwave-safe container, stir together chocolate chips and coconut oil. Microwave for 15 to 20 seconds and then stop and stir the chips. Chocolate burns very easily so be sure to heat the mixture in short intervals. Return the container to the microwave for another 15 to 20 seconds. Stir again until chocolate is melted and smooth. 

This mixture is now ready to use in the above recipe or you can drizzle it over very cold ice cream or well-chilled fruit and the "magic" shell will quickly form. The chocolate should stay in its liquid form unless chilled. If the mixture begins to solidify, return it to the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds and stir until melted and smooth once again.

Keep reading for tips and tricks in making my "Coffeehouse" Banana Split.

Tips for Making Cleo Coyle's 

Coffeehouse Banana Split

(1) Splash your favorite ice cream syrup (chocolate, caramel, or strawberry) into an empty espresso cup. For a fun, grown-up version, add a bit of Kahlúa or try Baileys Irish Cream or a chocolate liqueur

(2) Next comes a modest little scoop of gelato (or ice cream). In my photos, you see vanilla bean gelato. 

(3) Finally comes a whole strawberry and piece of banana, skewered by a Popsicle stick, chilled and covered in magic shell chocolate and dipped in nuts. Below are my directions and troubleshooting tips for putting it all together.

Cleo Coyle's 
Coffeehouse Banana Split


13 ripe strawberries (try to select uniform sizes close to 1-inch)

3 medium bananas (ripe but still firm)

1 cup magic shell chocolate (recipe follows this one)

1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, or peanuts, your choice)

13 wooden Popsicle sticks

(Makes 13 little fruit skewers, which can be stored in the freezer for two to three weeks.)


Step 1 - Prep and chill fruit: Remove the green stems from the strawberries and gently hull them. (For a quick lesson on how to hull strawberries, click here.Cut bananas into 1-inch pieces with flat ends. (Do not use pointy banana tips.) Place all of your prepared fruit pieces into the freezer for at least 30 minutes, but no more than an hour. This will help prevent the fruit pieces from splitting in the next step.

Step 2 - Make your fruit skewers: With a paring knife, cut a shallow slit on the bottom (pointy) end of a chilled strawberry. With a firm grip on the berry, gently push the end of one Popsicle stick through it and into (but not completely through) a piece of banana. The little fruit skewer should now be able to stand upright on your plate (as in my photos). 

Troubleshooting tip: If you can't get it to stand up, you probably have too much of the Popsicle stick pushing through the banana. Adjust the fruit along the stick so the flat of the banana is on the plate and not the end of the Popsicle stick.

Step 3 - Re-chill: Once all the fruit skewers are finished, return them to the freezer for another 15 - 20 minutes to chill them up again. For instructions on making magic chocolate, scroll back up to the top of this post or click here to download the recipe in PDF form.

Step 4 - Prep plate: Cover a plate with plastic or aluminum foil. If you don't, the chocolate may stick to the plate. 

Step 5 - Dip, sprinkle, and chill: Gently dip the fruit skewers into the warm magic chocolate. As you pull it out, allow the excess chocolate to drip off. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and stand it on the foil- or plastic-covered plate. 

When all of the skewers are finished, place them in the refrigerator or freezer for 10 minutes to set. 

STORE: You can keep the finished skewers in the fridge for many hours before dinner or even the day before. Or you can wrap them gently in plastic or foil and keep in the freezer for two to three weeks.

Stay cool, everyone!

New York Times bestselling author
The Coffeehouse Mysteries &
Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

This is us >> Alice and Marc.
Together we write as Cleo Coyle

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  1. I love your books and find your recipes timely and delicious. For me a hard chocolate shell has always been a Dairy Queen/county fair treat. With the fairs cancelled here in California, and my local Dairy Queen boarded up, this recipe could not come at a better time. Thanks, Cleo.

    1. Sally - Thanks for dropping by today. Glad to know you're enjoying the Coffeehouse Mysteries and happy to know the chocolate shell recipe will come in handy during lockdown closures. As our beloved Madame would surely say, "Do all you can to keep your spirits up." xoxo

      ~ Cleo

  2. Looks great. I can almost feel the crunch and taste the chocolate.

    1. If that's true, then my work is done. ;)

      Cheers, Sandy, and thanks for dropping by the Kitchen!

      ~ Cleo
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  3. Bite size delights! Perfection.