Monday, 23 November 2009

Chocolate Syrup for Homemade Chocolate Milk

There's a lot of controversy these days about just how much chocolate milk kids are drinking, particularly in schools. It's all part and parcel about how much sugar kids are eating - and even worse, drinking - these days, and the contribution that makes to our current epidemic of obesity.

There's way more chocolate milk around than when I was a kid, and it wasn't just that Mom would only buy it once in a very blue moon. We had some kind of milk program in my class in my first few years of school, and we all were given a half-pint of milk to drink each morning. I hated milk with a passion and regarded it as a form of torture. I remember clearing out my desk at the end of the year once and finding a little carton of ex-milk that had been shoved to the back of my rats' nest of papers inside, and which had plainly been there for months. Yeccchhh. Chocolate milk wasn't an option in those days, not that I liked it a whole lot better; it still had that nasty after-taste of milk. Still, it would have helped me choke it down.

And there's where the debate comes in: is it reasonable to give chocolate milk to kids if that's the only way to get them to drink milk? It all depends on how important you think it is for kids to drink milk, and there's a ton more debate about that than there was when I was young, when it was taken for gospel that kids should drink milk by the quart. Now that we're hearing from other people besides the Milk Marketing Board, we know about lactose intolerance and the fact that there are other sources of calcium besides dairy, and that exercise and sunshine are just as important in the formation of strong bones.

Now the problem is not only how much chocolate milk is out there, but the quality. I've been ranting about Beatrice' Chocolate Dairy Beverage, and how crappy it is, but even the better ones are not that impressive. If you must have chocolate milk, why not make it youself?

It's very easy, and you can keep the sugar down to a dull roar if you want. I've listed a range, and at 1 cup of sugar you will produce something much more like commercial chocolate milk. Personally, I think 2/3 cups sugar is plenty.

About 1 cup syrup - 8 to 12 cups chocolate milk
5 minutes prep time

Chocolate Syrup and Homemade Chocolate Milk
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup to 1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Measure the cocoa, sugar and salt into a good-sized, heavy-bottomed pot. Slowly mix in the water to make a smooth paste. Add the vanilla. Turn on the heat to high, and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.

Once the syrup comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-high and boil for 2 minutes exactly. It should boil steadily, but not (duh!) enough to boil over. Watch it; it will expand quite a bit which is why you used a good-sized pot.

When it has boiled two minutes, let it cool. Keep it well-sealed in the fridge until wanted, for up to several weeks. To use, add a generous tablespoon to 1 cup of milk and mix well. I find it easiest to put them in a jam jar, seal it and shake well.

It won't surprise you, I'm sure, to hear that I used soy milk. You could also put it in coffee, or drizzle it over ice-cream.

You can double this recipe if you like, but in that case boil it for 3 minutes.

Last year at this time we were driving off the road - WHEEEHAH! I'll take a nice glass of warm (*gag*) chocolateless milk over that anyday.


Latter-Day Flapper said...

I was *just* thinking I should look up alternatives to Hershey's! (I actually do like milk. Well, I like skim milk; milk-fat leaves a slightly bitter, greasy, taste in my mouth, which reminds me of the smell of latex paint. Not good. But I can drink skim until, um, the cows come home.)

Ferdzy said...

Hey, Flapper, it's easy to make your own. Now that I've posted it, I'll admit maybe a little TOO easy. The trouble with making your own choco milk - I'm finding - is that the proportion of syrup tends to creep up over time...

luckiest1 said...

My son loves that horrible "strawberry" milk mix that they also offer. I absolutely refuse to buy it for him as it's just red food colouring, sugar and artificial flavourings (and it's between $3.50 and $5.00 depending where you shop). I finally convinced him to make his own in the blender using fresh or frozen strawberries and a couple of spoons of sugar if he must. That did the trick! But this is a very helpful recipe so that I can avoid the chocolate syrup as well. :)

Alex said...

Thank you for sharing this recipe. My oldest daughter loves milk and chocolate, I can't stand it (never drank it as a kid, and I found it I'm lactose intolerant). The chocolate syrup on the store shelves have too many ingredients in my opinion, so I will be happy to try this homemade one for her.
I ♥ your blog by the way!

Ferdzy said...

Luckiest, kids tastes *do* evolve. You've jogged my memory, there was something called "PDQ" flavourings for milk - sort of egg-nogish - which my Dad used to buy for us as teenagers... by then it was very clear that sugary flavouring was the only way to get milk into me. (Still no inkling in those days that maybe they shouldn't even be trying.) No idea if that brand even exists any more. But the real strawberry thing sounds good... you'd get that into me now - with soymilk.

Alex, thanks for the kind words. I'm presently trying to come to grips with the fact that I'm probably lactose intolerant as well. As you can probably guess I gave up drinking the stuff decades ago. They problem is that I have a little cheese addiction that I really don't want to give up! Hope this works out for you and your daughter.

mamaloo said...

Luckiest, when I was a kid we used a spoonful of homemade jam to flavour our milk!

Thanks for the syrup recipe, I'm making it tomorrow! My sons thank you. I make pretty much everything else from scratch, why in the world did I not think of this?!

Joanne said...

I remember the days of little cartons of milk - I hated it as well. I am an almond milk person myself. I love the idea of making your own chocolate syrup. That way it won't have all of hte high fructose corn syrup, etc. that other chocolate syrups have.

moanina said...

this is a great idea... you can add some flavours and make it with your own milk choice. i like it!