Americans are buzzing over the end of the Choco Taco. But diners can still enjoy an elevated version of the beloved treat at CAMP in Columbia.
“The Choco Taco was always one of my go-to’s as a kid when the ice cream truck came around,” says pastry chef Lindsay Beck of CAMP Modern Eatery in Columbia, South Carolina. “I knew I wanted to put it on the menu for that sense of elevated nostalgia that reminds people of their childhood. The campfire theme of the dessert was brought in as a nod to the name and branding of the restaurant, but also, who doesn’t love a good s’mores? It also adds that sense of comfort and familiarity while still being playful and unique.”
Chef’s tip: If you don’t have a waffle cone machine for this campfire Choco Taco recipe, you can spread a heaping tablespoon of batter into a thin, even circle on a parchment-lined sheet pan sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake at 350 until batter begins to brown, then remove and immediately mold as directed while still hot.
Makes about 10 Choco Tacos
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream, divided
¼ teaspoons salt
12 ounces marshmallows, store-bought or homemade
5 egg yolks
6 tablespoons sugar
12 ounces good quality dark chocolate, smoked
3 cups heavy cream
2 egg whites
⅓ cup and 1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
¾ cup flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
7 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1½ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped hazelnuts, lightly toasted
1 stick butter, melted melted
For the Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream:
For the Smoked Chocolate Mousse:
For the Choco Taco Shells:
For the Hazelnut-Graham Streusel:
Store-bought Marshmallow Fluff
- Make the toasted marshmallow ice cream: In a medium saucepan, bring milk, 1 cup of heavy cream, and salt to just under a boil in a medium saucepan. The mixture should be steaming but not boiling.
- While the milk mixture warms, arrange marshmallows in a single layer on a sheet pan. Place under a broiler or use a torch to toast the tops of the marshmallows. Use a fork or spatula to flip and repeat on the other side. Scrape the marshmallows into the hot milk mixture, and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, whisking to break down the marshmallows. This will take a couple of minutes.
- In a separate bowl, slowly pour a bit of hot liquid into the whisked egg yolks, whisking constantly to avoid overheating the eggs. Repeat using about half of the hot liquid. Once the egg yolk mixture is warmed through, return mixture the saucepan and cook over medium heat. Stir constantly with a spatula or wooden spoon until mixture thickens and registers 180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Stir in remaining 1 cup of cream. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve and freeze until solid, about 4 hours to overnight.
- Make the smoked chocolate mousse: Bring a small pot of water to almost, but not quite, simmering. Set a bowl over the pot, add egg yolks and sugar, whisking constantly until the sugar dissolves. Transfer mixture to a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat at high speed until the mixture is pale and thick, about 10 minutes.
- In a medium bowl over the same pot of barely simmering water, add chocolate and stir frequently until melted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream on low to medium speed until soft peaks form, about 8 to 10 minutes. Gently fold ⅓ of the cream into the egg mixture until a few streaks remain.
- Stirring constantly, slowly drizzle the melted chocolate into the egg mixture. Then, gently fold in remaining whipped cream, mixing until no streaks of cream remain. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Make the Choco Taco shells: In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, and vanilla extract. Add in half the flour and salt and whisk just until combined.
- Whisk in the melted butter followed by the remaining flour and mix just until combined.
- Meanwhile, preheat a waffle cone iron.
- Find something in your kitchen to use to mold the taco shape with about a 1¼-inch width flat bottom (some taco holders, a whisk handle, pieces of cardboard glued together and covered with aluminum foil, etc.) Gently spray both sides of the iron with nonstick spray. Place a heaping tablespoon of batter onto the center.
- Cook for about 2 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Immediately after removing from the machine, carefully use your mold of choice and tongs or a kitchen towel to form it into the taco shape. Hold in place until set and starting to cool, about 30 to 45 seconds. Repeat with remaining batter.
- Make the hazelnut-graham streusel: In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, flour, cornstarch, both sugars, salt, and hazelnuts. Add melted butter and mix just until combined.
- Toast at 300 degrees until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about ten to fourteen minutes.
- Assembly: Spoon an even layer of the toasted marshmallow ice cream into the bottom of a taco shell. Spread a layer of chocolate mousse evenly over the marshmallow ice cream, saving enough room for the marshmallow fluff on top.
- Put the marshmallow fluff in a piping bag and cut the tip at an angle about ½ inch long. Pipe the fluff in a zigzag motion completely covering the top of the Choco Taco.
- Use a kitchen torch to carefully toast the top layer of fluff. Set the Choco Taco on a bed of the hazelnut-graham streusel and serve these Choco Tacos!