It is no secret that I am a big proponent of making things that many folks buy at the store. From the common (potato chips, bread, ice cream, laundry detergent) to the hard-or-impossible-to-find (furikake, candied jalapenos, game stock), home kitchen alchemy can do it if it’s worth having or doing. Sometimes my efforts earn me admiration, but just as often it gets me a resounding, “Why would you bother when you can easily buy this fill-in-the-blank at the store?” My motivation for this DIY spirit tends to vary with the project, but here, in no particular order, are a few reasons that pop up frequently.
- To save money: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m cheap. I want to stretch every household dollar as far as it can reasonably go without breaking. Starting with basic ingredients prepared at home is almost assuredly gentler on your wallet than pre-fab food.
- To make it taste better: I honestly believe that the best food is never, ever going to come from a box mix or a shelf-stable pre-made package. This is not to say I’m a food snob; I’ll eat just about anything you put in front of me. Food should sustain your body, yes, but it should also nourish your soul, so if I’m the one slinging grub, I’m going to make it the best grub I can possibly sling.
- To make it better for you: Soup made at home is, unless you’re very heavy handed, certain to contain less sodium than the canned or frozen variety. You can opt to make foods with healthier ingredients (for example olive oil vs. vegetable oil, butter vs. shortening, etc…)
- To avoid certain ingredients: Thankfully, my husband, children and self are free of food allergies, but there are still certain preservatives and ingredients that I choose not to serve to us. Making our own food from scratch is a much easier way to accomplish that than obsessively reading labels.
- To know the source of the item: This is not a star-bellied sneetch issue; I don’t care whether something has stars on thars. The problem is that there have been some real problems in the recent past with food, household, or health and beauty items that did not meet safety standards. Besides, why pay for something to come from overseas when I can make it here at home, saving goodness-knows-how-much fuel and/or energy for better purposes?
- To prove that I can do it: It’s that pioneer spirit, that sisu, that I-don’t-know-what. It’s the same reason my dad put on his winter kit and walked around the house three times after the meteorologist said that the weather was too bad for anyone to be outside. We do this because we are capable and we are not intimidated. If a machine can make it, I darned well better be able to make it, too. (This is where we pound our chests and do warrior cries, folks.)
Chocolate syrup is a big deal around here. Chocolate syrup is stirred into cold milk for chocolate milk, hot milk for hot chocolate, blended into smoothies, squirted on ice cream, peanut butter and banana sandwiches, pound cake, and –when I’m not looking- directly into mouths. We consume it in vast quantities. A couple years back, I got tired of actively ignoring the ingredient lists (the major brands all have high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavouring, food dyes, and other things on my no-no- list) and paying through the nose for the privilege. A little experimentation yielded a vastly superior in taste, higher quality, far less expensive chocolate syrup that was simple to make and required nothing more exotic than Dutch-processed cocoa powder.
I played around with the classic Alton Brown cocoa syrup recipe and found that our crew greatly preferred it made with raw sugar because of the light caramel undertones it delivers and the added richness. Honestly. How could rich + chocolate go wrong? I make at least one batch (sometimes more if the hot chocolate consumption is especially high around these parts) of this good stuff a month.
Bonuses: If you are looking for fat-free, this recipe is for you! If you’re not looking for fat-free, I suggest making it anyway. This chocolate syrup is mighty good. This syrup can be made with honey if you have corn allergies or aversions chez you. Try finding a chocolate syrup at the store that is corn syrup free for this price!
Homemade Chocolate SyrupRate Recipe
- 1 ½ cups water
- 3 cups raw sugar
- 1 ½ cups Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract preferably homemade
- ¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup or mild honey
- Bring water and sugar to a boil in a medium-to-large saucepan (this will expand as it boils in later stages of the recipe), stirring until sugar is dissolved.
- Whisk in the remaining ingredients until the cocoa powder is also dissolved. Return to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5-8 minutes. You do not want to boil it until it is very thick, as it will become even more viscous as it cools.
- Pour the hot syrup through a fine mesh strainer and let cool to room temperature before transferring into squeeze bottles.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.
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Ed Hahn says
I really get tired of seeing kosher or sea salt…
Stick with regular, iodized salt people.
Sea salt is evaporated sea water. Why would I want a bunch of other minerals in it, in unknown quantities?
Kosher salt has larger crystals.
Use iodized salt.
“Worldwide, iodine deficiency affects about two billion people and is the leading preventable cause of intellectual and developmental disabilities.”
Hey there, Ed. Are you rating the recipe based on the salt I recommend? Or based on the actual taste of the recipe? Just curious.
…as to why I specify kosher salt, it is because a varied diet provides enough naturally occurring iodine to prevent most iodine-deficient disorders. Additionally, I do a significant amount of canning (enough to write a book about it, in fact) and iodized salt when used in canning is an unmitigated disaster. It gives off flavours to the canned goods and can discolour the foods. So, as I use kosher and sea salt in my recipe development, my recipes specify kosher or sea salt, too. That is because a teaspoon of coarse kosher salt or sea salt has a different weight than a teaspoon of iodized salt. In other words, they salt food to different degrees and they’re not interchangeable.
Maybe find a salt to review? Whining about a component and not saying anything about the overall recipe is useless. Are you 6? C’mon. (Sauce is amazing btw, 5 stars would make again. Rich deep cocoa flavor. Win)
Hi, I am new to your blog and just love it so much. I am going to make this syrup this week and am wondering if you can eliminate the corn syrup and/or mild honey. I do not like the taste of either and wonder if it will change the consistency a lot or if I can just eliminate it. Would you know? Thanks so much.
You could use agave instead of corn syrup.
Dali la says
OMG! This is so so good! Thank you! I was wondering if it needs to be refrigerated and how long does it keep?
I’m so glad you like it! Yes, you probably should refrigerate it. It keeps for about a month in a tightly lidded container in the refrigerator, but we seldom have the chance to test that since it is hoovered so quickly by my family!
I wonder what I did wrong – the first time I made this (used turbinado sugar), it was PERFECT. Heavenly and wonderful. The second time I made it (gave half of it for a gift at Christmas without tasting it – my obviously stupid and bad choice – and regretted it later), I used demerara sugar (which I thought was just a different name for the same kind of sugar) and the syrup came out with big chunks/crystals in it. I thought it must have been melted by being boiled gently for 5-8 minutes as it was the first time around, but maybe not? Sigh. Well, I’ll just have to try again – I’m not quitting on this stuff, it’s too good! SO thanks for the divine recipe and I’ll try to avoid biffing it up again in the future!
WOW. I have always used turbinado and demerara sugar interchangeably, too. What a weird thing. I don’t even know what to say!
Pretty sure it was operators error on my part! I’ll try again as soon as I use this up (oh yeah, I’m still eating it! Even made wrong and kind of chunky your recipe is still better than that nasty store bought stuff!)
Janean Woods says
I’m with Jennifer. I am wondering how long this would last and does it have to be refrigerated? I’d love to use as gifts!
i have been looking for things i can make for christmas gifts. i thought this looked like a great idea. i was wondering if you had an idea of how long it will keep? does it need to be kept in the refrigerator?
i can’t wait to try some myself!
My son asks for chocolate milk all the time but I can’t fathom buying the store bought stuff. This looks perfect!! I’ll suprise him with some chocolate milk when he gets home from school tomorrow! Thanks!
I could not wait to try this and had a container of “Special Dark” cocoa powder. A mix of regular and dutch process. It worked great. My kids LOVE it and insisted on warm syrup on top of vanilla ice cream immediately!
Thank you! I too have been trying to ignore the yucky ingredients in the store bought ones, but this sounds so much better.
How long does it keep?
megan @ whatmegansmaking says
I absolutely LOVE this idea! I can’t wait to try this. No dutch processed cocoa powder at the moment, but this is on the list for next weekend!
pamela dayton time says
I make this all the time, and I always use raw sugar because, well, I always use raw sugar unless I’m making something that requires superfine. I just like it. I took a quart of this camping, and when our friends at the adjacent campsites got wind of the homemade chocolate syrup, everybody had to have some. Thirty-five kids and seven adults pretty much killed it.
pamela dayton time says
(thumbs up for sneetch reference. finishing reading now.)
cooking varieties-wan maznah says
hi foodie with family, first time here from networkblog. great site. love the chocolate drink, looks very delicious. i now have found the right place to try out making chocolate recipe. thanks
glad i blog walk to your site.. hi, i am Wan, from malaysia, do visit my blog , would love to read a comment from you too. have a nice day
Love it. I’m going to have to give this a try, now for some dutch-processed cocoa powder, I seriously doubt I can get that local, gonna have to look online or traverse into the city.
Verna Lantz says
Can you use Spenda instead of regular sugar?
I have never tried making it with Splenda! If you try, please let me know!
Amen. Did I say AMEN!? Phew. Thank you! P~
I don’t have the time/energy to make everything from scratch (not even close), but this is definitely something I can see being worth it. Thanks so much!