Friday night before bed, I clicked on the Food Network for a few minutes while I enjoyed the last few bites of my February Daring Baker's Challenge dessert. I actually wanted to veg out in front of a movie, but don't you know 50 channels and a bit of free time (I was trying to rest my hands from knitting...) and not one thing to watch. Fortunately, Alton's episode "The Art of Darkness" was airing. Though I've seen it before, I love cocoa powder, and didn't mind my refresher course. I know Alton uses a tablespoon or so of corn syrup in many boiling sugar recipes, since it prevents crystallization of the sugar... but when he was mixing a saucier of molten black chocolate syrup, a seed of inspiration was planted.
You can see Alton stirring the goods around minute 3:15 on the YouTube video above. I drifted off to sleep thinking about that thick syrup, and about just how long it's been since I've had chocolate syrup. I didn't really even plan on making it, but the next morning, it was complete by 9:30. I can't say that I'm sorry either.
I had forgotten about the pure bliss of chocolate syrup, and probably have overindulged in the 24 hours since its creation, trying it in many ways. My coffee was first off, only since it was still hot and right in front of me. I don't like much in my coffee, just a bit of cream in the first cup, and black for the second, and certainly no sweetener. But chocolate syrup in coffee? Sasa, you're on to something... I could almost make a habit this! I ended my day with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup and some coarsely chopped peanuts. This morning, I had it mixed into my homemade yogurt, an even better version of the Wallaby Organic chocolate yogurt that I splurge on once in a while.
I thought the corn syrup was probably not a requisite ingredient, especially if a few pesky sugar crystals were all it was going to prevent. I perused the Google results for recipes and found basically Alton's recipe with corn-syrup omission at Fake Plastic Fish. The website is dedicated to the reduction of plastics in everyday life, something I completely agree with. While perusing it for awhile, I'm reminded of how shocking the widespread use of plastic truly is.
With all of this talk about BPA and toxic effects from heating foods in "microwaveable-safe" plastic containers, I genuinely feel no panic. Most of our canned or tinned food, is home canned in glass and I store almost everything in glass. I even use the plastic wrap sparingly. Granted, for some uses like wrapping up a pastry dough, I can't really find a suitable substitute, but more and more I find myself going plastic free as it relates (especially) to food storage. I have a sensitive nose, and just the smell of plastic bags turns me off, not to mention the taste I swear transfers to the foods stored in them.
OK, I'm off my soap box now...
I sterilized the jars by boiling them in water for 10 minutes and soon after was rewarded with "The Art of Darkness" in my very own kitchen: and yet another thing for the list of things I'll never buy again.
Homemade Chocolate Syrup adapted from Alton Brown and Fake Plastic Fish
- 1 c. granulated sugar
- 1 c. dark brown sugar
- 1/4 t. (a pinch) Kosher salt
- 1 c. cocoa powder (Organic Dutch process)
- 1 c. water
- 1 T. vanilla extract
In a large saucepan, combine sugars, salt and cocoa and whisk to combine. Add water, and heat over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil, stirring constantly (to avoid boiling over). Boil several minutes, until the mixture thickens - and remember that it will thicken more as it cools. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla extract, and store in glass jars. Makes 2 8 oz. jars, with just enough left over to take you through a day of experimenting with the ultimate "Art of Darkness".
My syrup cooled into a supreme and inky thickness, and I got the Boy-O seal of approval in a lunchtime chocolate milk. Yes, it has a boatload of sugar, but yes, it is worth it. You can comfort yourself by using all Organic ingredients if you like, and only needing a teaspoon or so for a 8 oz. glass of milk since it's so rich. That was all it took for me, anyway.