As part of the new Family Food Plan (FFP) — see yesterday’s blog — we had to give up our beloved chocolate syrup. This one was of the top 5 worries momma had. This change hit us hard, because “hot cocoa” first thing in the morning and last thing at night is a rite at our house. Also frequently, in the middle of the day, a good cup of hot cocoa will calm an upset Big Brother and help him settle like nothing else. Big brother fell in love with hot coca while visiting his Auntie Roo and watching Curious George together. George has hot coca in many episodes and the boys’ Auntie Roo was the first to make it for Big Brother (Little was too little at the time). So this is a special thing for both boys, especially Big Brother, and Momma did not want to have to have them give this up.
However, one of the things we have had to give up, sadly, is Hersey’s chocolate syrup. Trust me it was a weekly purchase, so it is a big change for us, little though it seems. I don’t have any here in front of me to read the label and tell you WHY, but I know it had something. This was a hard hit. I knew it was going to be an issue and so before we started the FFP I did some research.
The first full day of the new FFP I didn’t have a hot coca option. I made Big Brother warm milk and left him and Little Brother with daddy to go to the store in search of food past the boys’ bedtime. Shopping, as I am new at this, means reading every label and consulting my program book a lot. It is a long slow, somewhat frustrating, process best done alone. I came home to a wide awake, sad Big Brother asking for “hot cocoa please momma, please momma”.
At the store I had gotten plain Hersey’s baking cocoa. Real cocoa. I made him some hot cocoa. Based on the recipe on the container, but the cocoa just didn’t really dissolve (the sugar did). Also this was a pain, cocoa, sugar each time, he wanted a cup and it never really mixed well and seemed to always be all over the counter. Sometime he would drink it, and sometimes not. Can’t blame him, it was never quite right and Little Brother would not touch it.
So Hubby suggested I make my own chocolate syrup so I didn’t have to make the hot cocoa from the 2 powders each time and also so we could make chocolate milk too (which while Little Brother won’t drink much of, is what he likes).
Well anyone who knows me at all knows I was quaking in my boots at the idea of cooking something like that up all on my own (I hear you laughing PKRP you be nice). Off the cuff and cooking don’t go together for me, not yet anyway. This is an area I want to grow in and this will be a repeat them as the blog grows, but for now I am not even a novice. So I goggled the idea / process and for 3 options that all seemed reasonable. I chose one, for no other reason than it walked about using the home made chocolate syrup for chocolate milk with, of course, was my need.
This is the one I choose: http://smallnotebook.org/2009/07/10/homemade-chocolate-syrup/
I had watchers who were very interested, and this vacation house has a bar behind the stove so they can come at me from the front as well as both sides. I am still not used to cooking that way so the first cooking session of chocolate syrup was a bit more stressful than necessary.
Everything worked great until the 2nd to the last step. I was supposed to boil it THREE MINUTES. Well two problems, 1. Momma did not take into account how much “bigger” the mess would be boiling. The recipe warns not to let it boil over, now I know why – holy explosions batman, the one cup of liquid would “puff up” while boiling, it pretty much wanted to come right over the top of the pan instantly (gain I am sure some of you would expect that, not me, I had no clue). Need to use a bigger pan next time. And 2. the boys got really interested about the time it started to boil and about the time I was really worried it was going to boil over. So I had to try to run them off and block them with my body while trying not to have a HUGE STICKY HOT MESS on the stove. All the time with visions of how badly burnt one of us might get if this sticky boiling concoction got one us. So the end result, I did not boil it for the full THREE minutes before removing from heat and adding Vanilla (real).
Even with the challenges, and how nervous I get the first time I make something – SUCCESS.
Hubby came in the door just as I pulled it (too soon) off the stove. He said the house smelled great, so that is good. Hubby got first taste and said “just like the real stuff” LOL which made me laugh and a little sad too – we now think the packaged stuff at the store is “real” and what we do at home is a “copy”. What a commentary!! What would my Grandmother have thought, or my Great-Grandmother??
The syrup cooled to almost the same consistency as the store bought, a little “less think”. I am not sure if that is the not getting to boil for THREE MINUTES or is that is just the lack of “extras” in it.
Makes great chocolate milk and hot cocoa!!!! And that is what matters. Maybe even ore importantly it also raised Momma’s confidence level that we can eat somewhat like we always have and still follow the new FFP.
I made a 2nd batch. I got to let it boil the whole three mnutes this time — I don’t like it as well. It cooked down more, which I excpected BUT it cooked way down. The “boild 3 minutes batch” made only 1/2 what this batch above made. It also cooled almost too thick, almost like a failed fudge thick, well beyond syryp.
So in the future (I see this as a 2 or 3 x a week thing, I will try bigger batches when we get home and I can get a dispenser for it) I will only boil for about a minutes. I suggest anyone trying this recipie for a surpy do the same, the “three minute batch” would make a good topping for cake or ice cream or something, but it doesn’t mix in to milk as well (hot or cold).