When I was a kid, I learned to make my own hot chocolate by combining cocoa powder, sugar, and hot water to form a paste in the bottom of a mug, then stirring in hot milk (the recipe was on the back of the Droste’s cocoa container). Only problem: I didn’t understand the proportion. Why would you use a mere 1 teaspoon of cocoa in a whole cup of milk? I opted to use 1 tablespoon, triple the amount. And so, the recipe for chocolate syrup that follows originates from my dissatisfaction as a hot cocoa-drinking chocoholic child.
(I originally shared this recipe and story on Food52 but wanted to make sure you didn’t miss it.)
I also made another change to the recipe on the back of the box. I would add a small handful of chocolate chips to my cocoa paste–for even more richness and body. Then, I would pour a bit of boiling water over the cocoa and sugar and stir this into a paste. Once I had the paste, I either made hot chocolate or chocolate milk, depending on the milk’s temperature.
Chocolate syrup is just one step more refined than that paste I used to stir into milk. Instead of dissolving an individual portion of the chocolate paste immediately in milk, I simmer more of it in water until the mixture reduces into a silky sauce. I like to make the syrup in batches and stir a few spoonfuls into milk (or banana peanut butter smoothies) whenever I please.
Even better, the syrup itself is dairy-free, unlike hot fudge, which means that I can mix it with whole milk while dairy-avoiding Alex can mix it into almond milk (right on trend with what’s going on in my eCookbook!).
In the end, chocolate syrup is incredibly simple — it requires just one more step and one more pan than that cocoa paste — but there are a few important tricks. First, always use at least some brown sugar — the molasses flavor brings out the chocolate. Second, keep the chocolate-to-sugar proportion in a ration of 3:2. Third, melt in a tiny bit of chocolate (not cocoa) at the end, for richness and body. And finally, no chocolate-friendly flavor is ever unwelcome in chocolate syrup: I like to add a dash of mint extract, espresso powder, or cherry liqueur.
Homemade Chocolate Syrup
Makes about 1/2 cup of syrup
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons evaporated cane or granulated sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon finely minced bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Tiniest pinch of salt
Milk (whole or or dairy-free), for serving
Combine the water, sugars, and cocoa powder in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the cocoa and sugars. When it reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring frequently, until syrupy. Turn off the heat and add the minced chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute, then add the vanilla and salt and stir until even.
Let cool to room temperature, then stir into milk in your preferred proportion. (I recommend a lot of syrup to a little bit of milk, but that’s just me!)
This post is part of Food Network’s Sensational Sides Blogger Round-Up. This week’s theme is kid-friendly. See what other bloggers made below:
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan Crust
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Weelicious: Italian Asparagus Sticks
Devour: 5 Kid-Friendly Cupcakes
Cooking With Elise: 6 Kid-Friendly Sensational Sides
Dishin & Dishes: Mini Carrot Cake Cookie Cups
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Cream of Mushroom Soup (for Zola)
Red or Green: Busy Mom’s Chicken Tacos
Domesticate Me: Cheesy Baked Penne with Chicken and Broccoli
The Sensitive Epicure: PB&J and Apples Rice Paper Roll-Up (Gluten-Free)
FN Dish: Side Dishes Your Kids Will Love