Hot and Cold

I’ve had it on my mind in the past few weeks to try making a healthier syrup for chocolate milk, in an effort to encourage my little guy to drink more raw milk than has been his wont of late. I figured it wouldn’t hurt the rest of us either, especially my dad, who likes to drizzle it over his frequent bowls of ice cream. So when I heard my dad squeezing out the last drops of his personal bottle of Hershey’s syrup yesterday, I set out to make a very simple honey-sweetened chocolate syrup. Next time I will try to get my hands on some really high quality cocoa powder, but this time I used the regular stuff from the grocery store and my syrup still came out rich and chocolatey, with just the right consistency for stirring into warm or cold milk. Best part is that, unlike previous attempts with cane sugar, this syrup did not solidify into chocolate fudge that defied all efforts to remove it from its container!

The syrup has had the desired effect on Nolan’s milk drinking—he guzzles it down by the cupful now and makes his mama very happy. My dad won’t admit it tastes better than the chocolate-flavored corn syrup he has been used to, but he did say it gets a gold star, so I don’t think he’ll be sneaking home a new bottle any time soon.

Honey-Sweetened Chocolate Syrup

1 1/8 C raw honey
1 C natural cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 C water

Stir ingredients together in a 2 quart saucepan over medium low heat until thoroughly dissolved and warmed through. Cool and then pour into an empty condiment bottle and store in the fridge. Use 2-3 T per cup of milk, warm or cold, or pour over desserts and ice cream.

Source: Honey Rustlin’ Farms.

Although the chocolate syrup works fine for both hot chocolate and cold chocolate milk, I want to share another variant while I’ve got your mind on the subject. I’ve been making dulce de leche periodically since we started getting raw milk, to use up the odd extra half-gallon. It keeps in the fridge forever, and as I make it, it is the perfect consistency for drizzling over desserts and making oatmeal carmelitas. It is also, as it turns out, a great medium for making hot chocolate: I whisk cocoa powder, and sometimes a little cornstarch for body, into the dulce de leche to make a thick syrup, simultaneously sweetening my chocolate and avoiding the headache of trying to whisk uncooperative powders directly into the milk. The caramel flavor adds subtle depth to the hot chocolate, but mostly it is just a convenience when I want a little sweet treat at the end of a chilly day! Speaking of which…

Dulce de Leche Hot Chocolate

1/4 C dulce de leche
1 T cocoa powder
2 tsp cornstarch (optional)
1 1/2 C whole milk

In a small pan, stir the first three ingredients together into a syrup. Whisk in milk and heat over medium heat until steaming.

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