As a little kid, I loved the idea of school. So much so that, even before I entered Kindergarten, I made my parents create fake homework assignments for me. And once I got older and started to get real homework, I still loved school. Mostly because of the colored pens I got to buy every August in prep for the year ahead. And Choco Tacos.
While my parents kept a pretty healthy household — no sodas, no sugary cereals, no candy, although I’m sure they had their own private stash — when it was finals week, all bets were off. And our awesome mom fueled our studying habits by filling the freezer with the junk food of our dreams like Bagel Bites and yes, Choco Tacos.
i.e. brain food.
For those of you who don’t know what a Choco Taco is, it is a stroke of genius. A dessert, crepe-like taco shell gets filled with ice cream and coated in a hard chocolate shell with crushed nuts on top. And one original Klondike version will land you around 100mg of sodium. Not bad.
But if you wish to indulge in a slightly less processed version, it turns out that making Choco Tacos from scratch is just slightly trickier than multiplying by ten and way easier than doing long division.
Inspired by Molly Yeh’s homemade version on Food52.com, I got to work making my crepe-taco-shells, using coconut milk in place of cows milk; adding brown sugar and cinnamon for a slightly more churro-esque flavor; filling those chocolate shells with low-sodium coconut-based ice cream.
Then, to get started, I dusted off a bunch of books and covered them with parchment, so my taco shells had a place to stiffen. And I’ll confess, make these crepe-like taco shells is definitely the most time consuming and focus-needing part of the process. And your first taco shell will totally suck. But once you get into the rhythm, you’ll burst with pride as those crepes come out perfectly. You’ll dance in the cinnamon smells of the kitchen. And you’ll feel like you could open a bakery in Paris. One that only serves choco tacos, obviously.
The next part gets a little messy. And by messy I mean it requires you to eat the ice cream that eventually end up on your fingers and tabletop. So you’ve been fairly warned.
Basically, as you let your ice cream slightly melt (so it is “moldable”), you’ll make your chocolate shell. You can do this in a double boiler, but using a microwave is way easier and no one will know the difference. When the chocolate is melted, pack those taco shells with ice cream, place them on a high-sided baking sheet, and then cover them in the quick-hardening chocolate shell. If you’re using chopped nuts, toasted coconut, or other toppings, this is when you sprinkle.
The place everything in the freezer to harden and then wrap individual choco tacos in plastic wrap. And kept them there until you’re ready to eat.
LOW-SODIUM COCONUT CHOCO TACOS
adapted from Molly Yeh’s Choco Taco Recipe
- 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/8 cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil + extra for greasing the pan
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup culinary coconut milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large egg whites
- 8 hard-cover books with 1-inch spine
Fillings and Toppings
- 10 ounces dark chocolate chips
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 4 to 6 cups coconut-based ice cream (any flavor)
- 1/2 cup crushed salt-free nuts or white chocolate chips or toasted coconut or chocolate shaving
To get set up, line your books upside down, so the spine is facing up. Then cover them with parchment paper. This is your taco shell mold.
Then, in a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a separate small, heat-safe bowl, melt the coconut oil and then whisk in 1/4 cup of the coconut milk, vanilla and egg whites. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until you have a smooth batter, adding more coconut milk as needed.
Heat a medium skillet over medium heat, and grease it with a little bit of coconut oil (about 1 tablespoon). Then add about 2 1/2 tablespoons of the batter and use offset spatula to smooth it into an even circle. Cook until the edges begin to get golden brown and crispy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Then flip and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes on the other side. Remove it from the pan and transfer it to one of the books, gently letting it fold over the spine, making a taco-like shape. Then return to the pan and continue this process until all the batter is used up.
While your taco shells cool and stiffen, take your ice cream out of the fridge and set it on the counter. Then set aside a high sided baking sheet that will fit in your freezer and set aside — this is for assembling your taco shells. And finally, make the chocolate topping by placing the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl. Cook for 30 seconds, stir, and cook again for 30 seconds. Repeating until the chocolate is smooth and totally melted. Set the chocolate aside.
Now it’s time to fill those shells — you’re going to move fast, so get ready. One at a time, scoop and stuff the ice cream into a taco shell. Set it up against the side of the baking pan and then spoon chocolate all over the top and sides. Sprinkle with our desired toppings and then repeat with the next taco, stuffing it with ice cream, leaning it against an empty side of the baking pan, covering with chocolate, and sprinkling on toppings.
Continue until all your choco tacos are complete. Then place the pan into the freezer and when the ice cream and chocolate has hardened, wrap each choco taco in plastic wrap. Keep them frozen until you’re ready to chow down.