Having survived the Great Mid-Atlantic Derecho of 2012 and discovered my stash of home bound ice cream to have turned into soup once the power came back on, you might say I’ve been in a cautious mood when buying ice cream over the last week.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have a great appreciation for the richest and most indulgent dairy I can get to blow my savings on, but seeing mold in the viscous brown goo that used to be your Belgian Milk Chocolate Gelato will make you think twice before spending the big bucks again. Thankfully, that’s why places like McDonald’s exist.
McDonald’s has been selling soft serve since pretty much forever (heck even Wikipedia didn’t have a start date) but so far as I can tell, they’ve only recently launched the Chocolate-y Dipped Cones to the nationwide audience. Nope, that’s not a typo. It’s “Chocolate-y” as in does not contain actual chocolate (read: cocoa butter not included) but instead is made from a mixture of sugar, coconut oil, hydrogenated coconut oil, and cocoa.
Man, talk about a step down.
Still, with temperatures approaching a billion degrees in the Mid-Atlantic, I felt inclined to try it out. Also, I figured McDonald’s had invented some proprietary magic shell chocolate dispenser to coat the “reduced fat soft serve” in, but watching the girl behind the counter dunk the cone into a bucket of liquidity chocolate goo pretty much debunked that theory. Nevertheless, the coating clung to the soft serve tighter than a lid on a pickle jar, creating a hard reflexive sheen that could probably fry an ant if angled correctly toward the summer sun.
It was into that sun which I cautiously stepped, hoping my cone would last for a few worthwhile licks before the heat and humidity extracted its revenge on my summer bliss.
One, of course, faces an eating dilemma with soft ice cream encapsulated in hard ice cream form, but I found it worthwhile to approach the chocolate shell as if I was trying to get to the center of a tootsie pop. The chocolate flavor is sweet, a tad cool, and surprisingly smooth for being so artificial, reminding me of a chocolate ice cream bar with an especially thick chocolate shell. Not as pronounced and richly indulgent as a Magnum Bar, mind you, but this is McDonald’s and it’s 1,000 degrees out, so I’m willing to overlook that.
In any case I eventually ventured to splinter the shell and take a whack at the soft serve. Like Han Solo released from carbonite, the vanilla soft serve is not completely melted, and still retains its sweet and cool shape. Neither bursting with vanilla bean flavor nor having the lickable richness and smooth mouthfeel of egg based soft custard, it’s serviceable on its own, but delicious when combined with the shell.
It’s a treat worth savoring for a good five minutes, and the only real downside of the whole experiences come once the integrity of the binding site between the shell and cone is broken. At this stage you might as well stuff the rest of the cone into your face as quickly as possible, or else you risk an afternoon of sticky fingers, much like I did.
McDonald’s Dipped Cone is a surprising find in a fast food dessert market saturated with oversized milkshakes and coffee drinks disguised as milkshakes. It’s also an affordable option should you be looking to cool down without having your cool down treat immediately melt all over you.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 cone – 270 calories, 110 calories from fat, 12 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat*, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 27 grams of sugar, 1 gram of fiber, 5 grams of protein, 15% calcium.)
*Contains Hydrogenated Oils
Item: McDonald’s Dipped Cone
Purchased Price: $1.49
Size: 4.5 ounces
Purchased at: McDonald’s
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Chocolate-y shell has smooth sheen and lickable, bittersweet cocoa flavor. Tastes like a really thick chocolate bar. Soft serve ice plays well with with hard coating. Doesn’t melt even under intense heat. Affordable dessert that won’t break the calorie bank.
Cons: Soft serve is run-of-the-mill. No actual chocolate involved. Contains hydrogenated oil. “Volcano effect” of melting ice cream once shell is compromised.