Saturday, March 3, 2012

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

There are a lot of things that I didn't know I could make at home until I tried. Bread, hummus, and macarons, for example. Each time I try making something I thought I had to buy at the store, I'm surprised how simple it is. How rewarding. And, of course, how much better it tastes!

Now, I don't claim that I invented this recipe or method. If you search for chocolate syrup recipes, you will find many variations. Some of them use as little as 1/2 cup cocoa powder to 2 cups sugar, which I imagine more closely approximates the Hershey's syrup that we're used to. This version, however, is more chocolatey than the store-bought stuff, and consequently tastes much better. Don't get me wrong, it's still really sweet (I can't even imagine how sweet some of these other recipes are!), but the chocolate flavor shines through. I also don't skimp on the vanilla, because vanilla is actually a crucial flavor component in what many of us (myself included) identify as "chocolate". 

A word on ingredients: the two main flavors here are your cocoa powder and vanilla extract, so it's important that they are good quality. Use real vanilla, please! I use Trade Joe's cocoa powder, but you can use whatever kind you like best. 

If you want to get really foodie with this stuff, you could make a cinnamon version, or a version with chili powder (ancho if you want it mild, some cayenne if you want it spicy! Think Aztec chocolate here), or a mocha version (using instant coffee, or maybe brewed coffee in place of the water).  I have not tried any of those yet, but I think a chili version is up next for us.

You can use this chocolate syrup the same way you would use the storebought stuff.  A few ideas:

Ice cream sundaes:

A topping for single ingredient "ice cream":

To make chocolate milk (I use 2-3 tbsp per 12 oz glass)

To make hot chocolate (make this the same way as chocolate milk, but then microwave it for a minute or two, and top with some whipped cream and a drizzle of syrup):

And the best part is that it is so very, very simple to make.

Chocolate Syrup
Yield: about 2 cups syrup

1 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. In a medium sauce pan, combine sugar and cocoa powder. Stir together, breaking up any clumps of cocoa. Add the water and salt, and stir.
2. Place pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and boil for a minute until the mixture thickens slightly. At this point, it will coat the back of your spoon and look like you expect chocolate syrup to look.
3. Remove the pan from the heat. Let it cool about 5 minutes, then stir in the vanilla extract. (If you add the vanilla before it cools, it will evaporate and not flavor your syrup!)
4. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. I use a mason jar, but if you have some kind of squeeze bottle that would probably be ideal.

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