Homemade chocolate syrup is the secret to the best egg cream of your life

Jar of chocolate syrup; Glass of egg cream
Photo: Allison Robicelli

I have wasted years of my life tolerating subpar chocolate syrup, but I didn’t even realize it until I came up with this recipe. I grew up in Brooklyn, so I’ve been loyal to Fox’s U-Bet since birth and never thought to explore any other options. I drink a good amount of chocolate milk—it’s the perfect accompaniment to peanut butter sandwiches, a pillar of my diet—but it never occurred to me to make my own chocolate syrup. I also enjoy a good egg cream from time to time, and the idea of using anything but U-Bet in an egg cream is like making pimento cheese without Duke’s mayonnaise: technically it can be done, but should it?

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This recipe was born of necessity when I recently found myself out of U-Bet in the midst of a personal crisis that could only be solved with some half-and-half-spiked chocolate milk and Pepperidge Farm cookies. Luckily I had all the necessary ingredients on hand, and it took less than three minutes to assemble. To ensure an end result that didn’t just taste like a pale imitation of U-Bet, I futzed around with the basic chocolate syrup formula, throwing in some brown sugar and espresso powder to add depth and a pat of butter to give it a bit of silkiness.

I had only intended to salvage my bad day, but instead, I ended up changing my whole life. I shall never again accept another chocolate syrup but this one. U-Bet and I had a good run, but now that I know something better exists, I simply can’t go back to the way things were. After enjoying an incredible pint of chocolate milk, I made myself an egg cream so fine it brought a tear to my eye. We present to you the recipe for each, and I encourage you to make them as soon as possible. You’ve waited long enough for this, the apotheosis of chocolate syrup, to enter your life. Don’t waste another day.


Dark Chocolate Syrup

Makes approximately 2 cups

Add the water, cocoa powder, sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt to a medium saucepan; use a whisk or immersion blender to mix until smooth. Cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until it begins to bubble; lower the heat to medium, simmer while stirring for about 30 seconds, then remove from heat and stir in the instant espresso powder, butter, and vanilla extract. Pour into a jar and store in the refrigerator, where it will keep for several months.


Brooklyn Egg Cream

  • Chocolate syrup
  • Whole milk
  • Seltzer

This is not as much a recipe as it is a technique: Fill a glass about 1/3 of the way up with milk, then pour a tablespoon or two of chocolate syrup down the inside of the glass. (I would never be so bold as to tell you exactly how much chocolate syrup you should use. You must follow your heart on that one.)

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Grab a fork, not a spoon, and vigorously beat the milk, much like you would an egg, while slowly pouring in ice-cold seltzer until the foam reaches the top. Continue whisking until the foam subsides a bit, then add a little more seltzer. Repeat until you have a beautiful head of foam about 2" thick and drink immediately.

Allison Robicelli is a writer, recipe czar, former professional chef, author of four (quite good) books, and The People's Hot Pocket Princess. Tweet me for recipe help: @Robicellis.

DISCUSSION

lectroid
Lord John Whorfin

Bosco > U-Bet

FIGHT!

I notice that U-Bet purists are largely east coast, and Bosco tends to have more loyalists in the midwest (Lenny and Squiggy of Laverne and Shirley (set in Milwaukee) were big fans). Which is weird because Bosco was created and manufactured in New Jersey in 1928. I inherited my Bosco preference from my grandmother and her sister, who handed it to my father and thus to me.