For Chocolate Lovers only

Chocolate Syrup

If you look elsewhere in this column, you’ll see a rant against the use of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Unhappily, it’s a very common sweetener in chocolate syrups, but it’s easy to make your own chocolate syrup, and when you do that you have control over what goes into it.

This is a very chocolatey syrup---so chocolatey, in fact, that you might want to use less than you normally would in milkshakes or other recipes. It’s also quite a bit less sweet than store-bought syrups. You can play with the amount of sugar here, but I wouldn’t suggest using less than 2/3 cup. I’m not certain how long this lasts, but I’ve had some in my fridge for over two weeks now and it still looks and tastes fine.

Yield: Generous 1 cup


  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • Few grains of salt
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Into a 1 quart, heavy-bottomed, nonaluminum pot, sift together the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Using a small slotted spoon, blend thoroughly, pressing out as many lumps as possible. Add about half of water and stir in well; mixture will be a thick paste. Gradually add remaining water, stirring in well after each addition. Scrape down pot sides with rubber spatula.

Set pot over medium-low heat and stir almost constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm. Increase heat to medium-high; stir frequently until mixture comes to a boil, scraping down sides of pot with rubber spatula occasionally.

Boil without stirring for 3 minutes. Mixture should achieve a rolling boil; when it does, reduce heat so that a rolling boil is maintained but mixture doesn’t boil over. At the end of 3 minutes of boiling, remove from heat. Add vanilla (be careful; it will spatter!) and stir in.

Scrape mixture into a heatproof, non-reactive container of at least 2-cup capacity. Cool briefly, then chill thoroughly, covering tightly when cold. As the syrup chills, you might see a “skin” form on top (as happens with pudding), but if you cover the container with plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge overnight, the skin should disappear.


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