Friday, June 15, 2012

New Regular Content Coming Soon

My super-awesometastic friend Dawn  blogged today about being a "Craft Buster" which is like Myth Busters but for Pintrest and other sorts of crafts.  And then I told her that she should make that a regular thing because it kind of sucks to try a cool-sounding craft and discover that it's either a hoax or requires a degree in quantum physics to execute.   She responded back that somebody needed to do the same thing for recipes and then she was all like *hint, hint* and I think maybe she was suggesting that she'd rather bust recipes but I'm totally going to steal that from her anyway :-P

Hello, I'm Mari and I love to cook and bake.  I love food.  People know this about me and are constantly sending me recipes and cookbooks and things.  And Pintrest is a really cool place to go for recipes.  But not all recipes are "user friendly" so from now on, every week on Friday I'm going to test a recipe I find on a popular cooking blog or on Pintrest and let you know how it turns out.  I'm not a gourmet cook.  In fact, my only real qualification for cooking is that I like to do it a lot.  I screw up recipes a LOT though, y'all, so I think I'm qualified to tell you if something is hard or easy.  And I'm not going to just be all like "This recipe sucks and is too hard."  I'll tell you why and how it works or doesn't work and we'll walk through it all together.

So, today is Friday and I'm going to just get the show on the road here.  Father's Day is this weekend here in the U.S. and this is a day that is all about gorging yourself on really manly food.  Or maybe that's Thanksgiving.  Or, well, pretty much every day, really.  Anyway, I'm going to kick us off with something pretty amazing that reminds me of my own father.  My dad was a total ice cream-aholic.  Like, dude would get a gallon and a half bucket every two weeks and eat it all.  In these HUGE mixing bowls.  Always vanilla. Often with Hershey's syrup poured over the top.  In our house it was called "nothin'" because you would hear him rustling around in the kitchen and ask, "Whatcha looking for?" and he'd say "Nothin'" and eventually I'd start saying, "Well get me a bowl of nothin' too!"

Until recently I always kept a bottle of Hershey's syrup in my fridge.  Good for making chocolate milk and topping a bowl of nothin'.  But I'm making a concerted effort to make more of my food from scratch.  It gives me more control of what is in our food as well as being a great budget helper.  So a while back I stopped keeping Hershey's syrup on hand.  But the other day one of my kids decided that she desperately needed chocolate milk right then.  I whipped out a recipe I had come across on Pintrest and we tested it.  Verdict?  AWESOMELY EASY.

Here's how easy this stuff was, y'all.  My 13 and 14 year old daughters made it themselves while I was frying bacon.  And it was still perfect.

So, here's the recipe, originally from The Tightwad Gazette
½ cup cocoa powder
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon vanilla
Mix the cocoa powder and the water in a saucepan. Heat and stir to dissolve the cocoa. Add the sugar, and stir to dissolve. Boil for 3 minutes over medium heat. Be careful not to let it get too hot and boil over! Add the salt and the vanilla. Let cool. Pour into a clean glass jar, and store in the refrigerator. Keeps for several months, but trust me it will be gone before then. Yields two cups.

We used store-brand baking cocoa and homemade vanilla.  Here's how we did it, step by step:

Mix the cocoa powder and water in a cold saucepan on a cold burner with a standard wire whisk.  Turn the burner on high and continue whisking until the cocoa is dissolved.  We slowly added the sugar (not necessary, but makes it much easier to stir in).  Reduced the burner to medium and kept whisking for 3 minutes.  A couple of times the mixture threatened to boil over.  When it starts rising up high enough to make you nervous, pull the pan off the burner and keep whisking while holding it in the air.  When it settles back down, return to the burner.  Remove from burner and add salt and vanilla.

Then just let it sit there.  After about 10 minutes it was still pretty hot, but mostly cool enough for the kid to make her chocolate milk.  It was definitely still too hot to bottle, though.  So I wandered off and pretty much forgot about it until late that evening and then I was like, "Oh crap!  I forgot to bottle the chocolate syrup!" So I dashed back in the kitchen and gave it a little stir.  It had a very thin skin on top that needed stirring but was otherwise still perfect and now cool enough to bottle.  I didn't have a pretty flip-top bottle handy like the one in the picture.  I did have several brown glass bottles for homemade vanilla, though.  So I used a funnel and poured the sauce into two of my brown glass bottles.  Then I printed some labels because I like pretty labels and like ten years ago I bought some kind of crazy case of full-sheet label paper for the printer and it's STILL not used up so I snagged some of it.  
There weren't a ton of places to take this picture.  Also, the wine
glass is for scale, not because I drink chocolate syrup from a
wine glass because that would be crazy.
I ended up with two of these brown bottles full of chocolate syrup.

And there you have it.  A super-simple recipe for homemade chocolate syrup.  I have not tried this recipe with alternative sweeteners or anything, just with regular granulated sugar from the grocery store.  So if your family is off of the refined sugars you're on your own.  But probably if your family is off the refined sugars you're not looking for reviews of chocolate syrup recipes anyway.

Tune back in next week to find out if adding pumpkin puree to yogurt is a good plan or a bad plan.  I'm kind of hoping for "good" because I loves me some pumpkin.  


  1. Works well with stevia too (though doesn't get as thick.) That is how we always make chocolate syrup here because Rach can't have the bought. Also cool is if you coconut oil you can do magic shell. That is ALSO a favorite around here.

  2. This is awesome!
    I'm so excited about you making it a weekly thing!
    This recipe is great for us, since I can be sure we make it nut free. :-)
    Great idea!