Friday, April 9, 2010

Cupcake Flavor

Cupcake Flavor Magic Shell
Just curious.  Does anyone have the foggiest idea what Smucker’s Magic Shell is?  I came across it while innocently searching for malted milk powder.
The Quest for Malted Milk Powder
The malted milk powder quest started after our drive back from Laytonville a few weeks back. We got sidetracked in Crescent City, in search of Haagen Dazs bars, and found ourselves winding into Oregon on HWY 199 much later than planned.  We passed the time with some of Matthew Amster-Burton and Molly Wizenberg’s Spilled Milk podcasts.  Pavel and I were a little giddy from the late night driving, and their humor matched ours perfectly.

Episode 3, milkshakes, especially resonated.  When we got home, inspired by the podcast and a fresh delivery of milk from Noris Dairy (non-homogenized, with a nice plug of cream on top), I pulled down my jar of malted milk powder, planning a tall glass of frothy malted milk.  Instead, I found out what happens when moisture gets in the jar: you get a solid brick of powder.

Malted Milk Powder
Ever since, I’ve been on a quest for a new jar.  I checked Whole Foods, knowing they wouldn’t have it.  Strike one.  I looked at New Seasons, assuming their mix of local, natural, and mainstream foods would include it.  Strike two.  I gave in and stopped at Safeway, not even imagining they wouldn’t have any. Strike three.  Today I stopped at Fred Meyers, hoping to get lucky.  Who knew you could get a strike four call?

But I did find cupcake flavored magic shell.

I am seriously out of step with modern life.  Magic Shell is apparently a magic substance that hardens when you put it on ice cream, only to be shattered with a spoon and stirred into your ice cream (and here I’ve been perfectly happy with some toasted nuts for added crunch).

But what the heck is ‘cupcake flavor’?  Last I checked, there were vanilla cupcakes, Red Velvet cupcakes, German chocolate cupcakes (I’ve been meaning to try those!), Black-Bottom cupcakes, lemon get the picture.  Perhaps the flavor is a cupcake fusion, a veritable cupcake explosion in your mouth.  Yum yum.

And another grocery store find from this cranky shopper: Sippah Milk Flavoring Straws.  This is apparently a straw fashioned from cookies (Oreos, Chips Ahoy…).  After sipping your milk through them, you eat them.  Apparently they’re filled with “special Unibeads that…dissolve and turn boring white milk into a healthy snack…”  I certainly wouldn’t have guessed that!

I wonder about a world where the grocery store offers oddly flavored concoctions for science experiments in your ice cream bowl and milk glass, but no malted milk powder for a good old-fashioned ice cream malt.

What about it?  Does anyone know who in Portland sells Carnation or Horlicks malted milk powder?  Or do I just have to order it online?


Thérèse said...

Did you look in the bulk section for (barley) malt powder? Not exactly the same as Horlick's or Carnation (I think they have dry milk as well as barley), but you get the same flavor - that's what we used to use at the bakery for malts. Bread bakers use it. Home brewers, too, so someplace that supplies them would have it (they call it "dry malt extract").

No clue about the Magic Shell. Very mysterious name - if it's supposed to conjure up some cupcake-relevant thought, it fails with me!

Anonymous said...

This is an American product used on ice cream. It comes out of the bottle as a liquid - think fudge sauce consistency - and then hardens once it hits the cold ice cream. You then crack it with your spoon and eat the chocolate (or I guess cupcake, in this instance) pieced with your ice cream. I loved it as a kid. Now I know better. :-)

Jessica said...

I'm sorry but I loved Magic Shell as a kid. Growing up on the east coast we always got ice cream at Carvel with a "chocolate bonnet." I think DQ has the same kind of thing. It's sick and wrong, I know, but the heart wants what it wants.

Karen@Mignardise said...

My kids love Magic Shell, especially the Reese's flavor. I am an occasional enabler of this. But Cupcake flavor? No thanks.
The kids also like Cake Batter flavor ice cream, which I find horrifying. So sweet, and not on a good way.
Malt flovor in ice cream? Yes, please!

Maureen said...

Found your blog today, read it all the way back to the beginning, I enjoyed it that much!! I'm in awe of the foodie life that you have lived, you're a lucky girl.
Can't wait to try some of the recipes that you've included, especially, nutmeg muffins.
Now that I have you bookmarked, I'll be sure to check back on a regular basis for a dose of your wit, recipes and general information.

Anonymous said...

Hi, just came to this via David Lebovitz' post on FB. You can usually buy Horlicks at Indian or Asian grocery stores. Being Indian myself, my mom gave us a warm glass of milk with a few spoons of Horlicks mixed in...mmmmm, instant cozy! Hope you find it. Another substitute, also at Indian grocery stores could be Complan. Bournvita and Milo would work too, but they are chocolate malt powder.

joanna said...

Magic Shell = bad news. It is like a synthetic, chocolate-flavored nylon helmet for your ice cream. Do not be seduced.

I have bought Carnation malt powder at New Seasons in the past - interesting that it is now so elusive. I will keep my eyes open and report back if I find it. Which I will now be obsessed with doing because now you've planted the seed for malt, leaving me with my own hankering.

Maria said...

Indian grocery stores all carry good old Horlick's malted milk powder, in both chocolate and Elaichi (cardamom) flavours. It must have been a British invention, that caught on with Indians, since they now manufacture it there. I can't tell you how happy it made me discover Horlick's once again...I had also searched for it fruitlessly for a long time in regular stores. It was a favorite treat of mine when I was a child, home sick. My mother used to buy it at the local pharmacy in the old days...

Giovanna said...

I pretty much figured out what 'magic shell' was--the frozen bananas we ate at the county fair were coated in something similar, right? I never tried 'magic shell' when I was a kid. But I did melt brown sugar with butter, and pour it over ice cream. It hardened right away, into a chewy mess that I thought was delicious. I'm sure I would love it today.

I still don't understand 'cupcake' flavor. Is it different from 'cake' flavor? Is there 'cupcake batter' ice cream? So many mysteries in this world.

Joanna: I hope you'll let me know if you find malted milk powder here in Portland. I think I got my last jar at New Seasons, too.

Thérèse and Maria: Thanks for the leads--I'm definitely going to follow up on both of them. Malt and cardamom--two of my favorite things, together in one glass? Perfect.

Maureen: Thanks for the super-nice comment. I'm glad you enjoyed reading back, and look forward to you stopping by in the future. And good call--those nutmeg muffins really are delicious.

Diane in Oregon said...

There's a small chain in Eugene, with a couple of Pdx locations - West Linn and SW Portland - called Market of Choice. They are our go-to store for lots of stuff, and they have a brilliant bulk food section - I bet they might have malt powder.

Good luck with your quest! (Now I'm off to see if our jar of Carnation is now a brick!)

Giovanna said...

Thanks, Diane--another good idea. And I should probably check Zupan's as well. It's so nice to have a project, don't you think?

Nancy Singleton Hachisu said...

Ok, Magic Shell and "cupcake flavor" takes gross to a whole new level. While I did like the Fosters Freeze soft ice cream cones with chocolate dip as a child, I knew the real deal when I had it at my father's friend's house one day. A culinary explosion that day at Desmond Johnson's house in the Los Altos Hills with armadillos and peacock's wandering the garden. Mrs. Johnson served vanilla ice cream with melted chocolate on top. It hardened to a satisfying crisp cover as it hit the cold cream. So much more tasty than Fosters Freeze (or Magic Shell, I'm sure)...especially if made from artisanal chocolate.

Jenn Hill said...

I found this blog post while looking for malt powder in Portland, OR. I recently found a recipe for Magic Shell. It's one part coconut oil to 4 parts chocolate melted together. I was skeptical at first, but it is amazing! It has that crunch we all remember from magic shell, but instead of weird artificial hydrogenated oil flavor, it tastes like the delicious callebaut chocolate I use. Yum! I was delighted to find that my childhood favorite was so ridiculously easy to make.

Giovanna said...

Did you find your malt powder, chetanddot? I hope so--I just had a glass the other night. Very comforting.

I never had Magic Shell, so I don't have the taste memory (texture memory?) of that crunch. But I'll have to try this...I do like crunch and cream...

Anonymous said...

Carnation malted milk powder! Sheridan's, on SE MLK near Stark has it, and a wide selection of bulk foods and spices.... full butcher counter, all kinds of fun stuff.

I just rediscovered that store- it's been there forever.

Giovanna said...

Sheridan's would have it--such a fun place to visit. Thanks for the tip!

And anyone who's been missing Magic Shell, here's a recipe for a homemade Magic Shell. You're on your own for figuring out how to make it cupcake flavored!

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