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Repost: A Favorite From 2012

May 28, 2015

Stupid Easy Chocolate Syrup
Originally posted: April 1, 2012

It’s hard to untangle all the different kinds of crazy that are wrapped up in this project, but I’ll try.

I don’t know why, but for some reason chocolate syrup is a staple ingredient in the Fussy household. My guess is that it has something to do with ice cream. In general we stock the chocolate syrup of my people, Fox’s U-Bet. So, we were running low and Mrs. Fussy wanted me to pick up a new bottle.

That wasn’t going to happen. Primarily because I’m sitting on a megasized container of cocoa powder (which was regifted to me from my mother) and I had read about how easy it was to make chocolate syrup from scratch. That’s not so crazy. But also I’m trying to eliminate plastic containers from our lives.

Crazy.

Naturally, it has something to do with chemicals. I’ll spare you the details. But I’ll tell you this, if I have to choose between two similar products, I’m inclined to buy the one that is packaged in glass over the one in plastic. Sriracha is one rare exception. I can’t turn my back on that angry rooster.

However, I can turn my back on the children who were likely exploited or enslaved in the service of this cocoa’s production. It’s easy since I didn’t buy the cocoa powder, and letting it go to waste seems even worse than using it. Still, there is guilt. And that’s probably crazy too.

But let’s put that aside for a moment, and go back to a happy place of how easy it is to make delicious chocolate syrup that you can make with fair-trade chocolate & organic sugar and keep at home in glass jars.

This came from Epicurious.com and you can see the recipe here. All you need to make 1.5 cups of syrup is:

1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

All you do is bring the water and a sugar to a boil. Then whisk in the cocoa and salt, and reduce to a simmer, while whisking. And continue whisking for three minutes. Off heat add in the vanilla.

The recipe didn’t call for straining, but I put it through a fine mesh strainer and pulled out a few chunks of cocoa that didn’t quite dissolve. Then I poured my lustrous, sweet and chocolaty syrup into a glass bottle and threw it into the fridge.

Little Miss Fussy helped me make this. Really she helped me lick the pot, the whisk, the strainer, and the glass measuring cup (that I strained the syrup into before bottling). That little girl was in heaven, and a great big chocolaty mess.

The syrup thickens as it cools, and now it pours out of the bottle almost like ketchup. The stuff is so good that it turned Albany Jane, who prefers white chocolate over dark, into a chocolate sauce convert. I sent her home with some bonus cocoa powder.

It’s so much better than what you get at the store, it’s not even funny.

Hershey’s syrup lists high fructose corn syrup as its first ingredient and also includes potassium sorbate (preservative), mono- and diglycerides, xanthan gum, polysorbate 60, and vanillin (artificial flavor).

Nesquik eschews HFCS, but it’s far from dreck-free. For some mysterious reason the manufacturer feels compelled to add artificial flavor, potassium sorbate (preservative), xanthan gum, caramel color, red 40, blue 1, and yellow 6.

Young Master Fussy holds the minority opinion. He’s not crazy about what he maintains is a dark chocolate flavor profile to this syrup.  I don’t know what’s wrong with that boy: ketchup on hot dogs, peanut butter for breakfast, and his distaste for intense chocolate flavors?

Let’s hope he grows out of it. Or maybe he’ll just get used to the darker chocolate syrup, because I still have a ton of cocoa powder left, and my dislike of flexible plastic packaging (both clear and colored) continues to make me think twice about the U-Bet. Especially considering that even this classic syrup is saddled with food gum, artificial flavor, and preservative.

What a pity. It’s a good thing that great chocolate syrup is so easy to make at home.

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