Here's the key to a little extra pizazz in all your chocolate-covered desserts.
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Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Credit: Micah A. Leal

If there is one thing in this life that we know to be true, it's that chocolate makes everything better. From holidays to heartbreaks, chocolate has always been there for us. It's one flavor that we adored as children and, over the years, have only grown to love more.

If we're short on time but still want to make a special dessert, chocolate is the answer to our prayers. No, we're not talking about a store-bought box of truffles (though we'll admit, Russell Stover holds a special place in our hearts). When it comes to whipping up a quick dessert, we have a fool-proof strategy for you: coat something you already have in your fridge in chocolate.

Everything is better with a chocolate coating. Strawberries? Cover them in chocolate. Marshmallows? Add chocolate. A scoop of ice cream? Sounds like it could use a chocolate shell. You know where this is going…

Coating fruits, homemade truffles, or other sweets in chocolate is a dessert shortcut that requires no baking at all and results in a supremely special last course. Whether you're dipping strawberries in chocolate or preparing a silky ganache to top your holiday cheesecake, we have a trick to make your chocolate really shine: mix the melted chocolate with coconut oil.

Coconut oil is the secret to achieving a super-shiny chocolate coating. It brings a little extra luster to melted chocolate, which, on its own, can become matte when dry. Not only does coconut oil make your chocolate coating shine, but it also helps the chocolate harden. Have you ever noticed that, if the temperature outside is particularly warm, your coconut oil liquifies right in its jar? Then, if it's cold out, the coconut oil will solidify. That's because coconut oil is very sensitive to temperature changes. When it comes into contact with something cold, coconut oil drops in temperature and hardens very quickly.

Since coconut oil can solidify so quickly, it's great to use in a coating that you want to harden, such as when making chocolate-covered strawberries. Coconut oil is also the secret ingredient in Magic Shell, the chocolate coating that firms up as soon as it makes contact with freezing-cold ice cream.

The next time you're dipping treats in chocolate, add a dollop of coconut oil to the melting chocolate. The more coconut oil you use, the more liquid and smooth the chocolate coating will be. As a baseline, we recommend adding one tablespoon of coconut oil per one cup of chocolate. To make your own chocolate shell for ice cream, add an additional tablespoon of coconut oil.