Homemade Chocolate Syrup


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I am sure that by now it’s pretty obvious how much I love finding ways to make typically store bought things at home. Pretty much everything I make and blog about can technically be classified as “homemade” since, well, I make it all at home mostly from scratch. But I’m talking about the posts where I recreate things that you normally associate with store bought brands. Like when I made Milano Cookies, Oreos, Funfetti Cupcakes, Fish Sticks, Hamburger Buns, and Mayonnaise. Now that I’m in China and certain kitchen staples are a little harder to come by, you will probably find a lot more of these kinds of posts.

I am a nut for chocolate milk. Like at least a glass a day, sometimes two, kind of nut. So when Annie posted a recipe for homemade chocolate syrup a few months ago, I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning. I knew it would be love at first sip, and it was. I may or may not have drizzled a little directly into my mouth from the squeeze bottle. Rich chocolaty goodness! And of course, as I have found with a lot of DIY foods, it is so much easier than I thought it would be!

As with most things, the quality of ingredients you use will directly relate to the results that you get. Using Hershey’s cocoa powder won’t mean that your syrup is bad or gross, but it won’t be quite as good as if you use a better brand. I had Ghirardelli on hand, which isn’t the highest quality in the market but is a step up, and my results were great.


Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Ingredients
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
In a medium sauce pan, whisk together the sugar and cocoa powder, making sure to break up any lumps in the cocoa. Turn the heat to medium-high and stir in the water and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Once it has reached a boil, reduce heat to low and continue to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, allowing the mixture to thicken. Once the mixture has thickened remove the pan from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Store in the refrigerator.

Use for chocolate milk, ice cream topping, brownie topping, or any recipe that calls for chocolate syrup.

Source: Annie’s Eats, originally from 52 Kitchen Adventures

"Faux"-jito for Krystal’s Virtual Baby Shower


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Have you ever met a person and immediately felt like you’ve known each other for ages? That’s exactly what happened when I met my dear, sweet friend, Krystal. She is the kind of person that just immediately makes you feel comfortable. Granted, we had chatted online before but it was still just like hanging out with an old friend when we finally met in person at the Foodbuzz festival in November. Since she is also a SoCal girl, it luckily wasn’t the last time we got to hangout “in real life”. Just a few weeks before I left for China we got to meet up again and of course we had a blast (what’s not fun about sharing tacos then rounding out the evening with a trip to Ghiradelli to share a peanut butter sundae??).

 

Krystal and her husband, Eric (who I also got to meet, just as awesome and friendly as his lovely wife), are expecting their first child. They’ve decided to go “Team Green” and wait until the baby, who they lovingly call Cookie, is born to find out the gender. I just think that is awesome. Like the ultimate surprise.
Now here is the part where I have to make a little confession. When Krystal and I were together last month she mentioned off hand that our friend Joelen has asked Krystal if she could host a virtual shower in honor of Cookie. Knowing that I was getting ready to be living in a hotel for the next month or so I decided to cheat and make something before I left. Then I received the email from Joelen and she wanted to celebrate Krystal and Eric’s culture by asking us to share Filipino or Cuban treats for the virtual shower. What I had made didn’t really fit the theme, so I really had to put on my thinking cap.
Not having access to a full kitchen meant I needed to get creative. I finally decided that easiest thing to make would be a beverage. I googled Cuban beverages and one of the first results was Mojito. Absolutely perfect, I thought! Even supports the Team Green colors! I just tweaked it a little to make it nonalcoholic so it would be baby shower friendly. Thus was born the “Faux”-jito. From there I just had to find the ingredients.
We are in Hong Kong right now to reset Jesse’s visa and it was surprisingly easy to find a street vendor that sold both limes and mint. Thanks to that and the mini-bar, sugar packets, plug-in kettle, and hotel ice bucket, I quickly had a “Faux”-jito fit for a virtual baby shower.
So congratulations, Krystal and Eric! I couldn’t be more excited for you. Cookie is going to be one lucky kid to have parents as awesome as the two of you. Be sure to check out Joelen and Krystal’s blog to see all of the other fabulous Filipino and Cuban treats made for this special occasion!
Faux-jito
Ingredients
¾ lime, cut into 3 pieces, plus more for garnish
5-6 fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
Ice cubes
4 ounces simple syrup*, or sugar cane juice, if you have access to it
4 ounces club soda/soda water
*Mix equal parts of sugar and boiling water. Stir until all of the sugar has dissolved.
Directions
To the bottom of a glass add the lime and mint. Using a spoon, press down on them and poke them around (muddle) to release the lime juice and mint flavor. Add the ice cubes. Add the simple syrup and club soda and stir. Garnish with more mint leaves and lime.