Have you ever realized you have everything (perhaps in your food pantry) to make what you really want (to eat), but the ready-made version isn’t available so you forego the craving/meal because you don’t want to mess with making something from scratch?
Yes? Well, stop doing that!
I’m starting a new category of posts that I’m passionate about: Homemade … and BETTER!
Recently my toddler has developed a love for chocolate milk. Who can blame her. It is chocolate, after all. After a carton of already made chocolate milk (that I must have purchased at some bargain price as having it in my fridge is quite rare) had disappeared, I was still being asked at snack time for “chocatat mil”. After an attempt to combine cold milk with a hot cocoa package created quite a sludgy, unmixed mess in the bottom of a sippy cup, I was getting worn down by this thirty-something inch-tall person. Plus, she was saying please. I mean, c’mon.
I’m also not one to just have chocolate syrup in my pantry. It’s just not a product we would use often, as well, the ingredients in most available ready-made syrups have a banned (from our house) substance: High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).
And before I go on, no, I’m not getting into a discussion about how HFCS is bad, but sugar isn’t better. I’m just opting for the less of the unprocessed and unnatural evils, okay?
How hard could could chocolate syrup be to make? I would indeed find out that not only was it NOT hard to make, but it also tastes significantly better than the syrup you’d buy in the grocery store. Not to mention, the ingredients are relatively common for having on hand in the average kitchen.
Here’s how to go from frustrated mom to hero and saver of the day! And be sure to get your kids involved. They are the best chefs and you’ll both love this learning time!
Tools: Heavy medium-sized saucepan, whisk, measuring cups and spoons, rubber spatula (just for scraping every gooey drop out), and sieve (optional).
Ingredients: Unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar, water, and vanilla extract.
1. Add 1 cup cocoa powder to saucepan. Run through a sieve if there are clumps that need breaking up.
2. Add 1 cup granulated sugar to saucepan. Stir sugar and cocoa together to remove lumps.
3. Add 1 cup water and 1/4 tsp. salt to cocoa mixture in saucepan. (FYI-This makes the recipe easily recalled with the one-to-one-to-one ratio of cocoa, sugar, and water. Just think of the 1/4 tsp. of salt as a generous dash, as the salt just enhances the depth of the chocolate and cuts the sweetness of the sugar.)
*Steps 1-3 are perfect for little hands to help stir and work on those counting skills. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup and have them count to four on all the ingredients!
4. Stir the mixture and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring with the whisk and keeping the mixture from scalding. Allow to thicken.
5. Once thickened to a syrup consistency, remove from heat. Do not over stir. Just a gentle stir every 30 seconds or so for a few minutes to add cooler room temperature air to mixture, but won’t create air bubbles. Add 1 tablespoon vanilla extract and stir gently.
Use slightly warm or allow to cool completely.
Store it in the fridge in a squeeze bottle with a cap. About 1 tablespoon should make an 8 oz. cup of “chocatat mil.” This is where the hero mom action gets good!
I recommend looking straight up at the ceiling and squeezing it straight in the ol’ kisser, but that’s just me. 😉
For further proof that this wins the heart of a child, check out my daughter’s cheers to chocolate milk expression.