Chocolate Syrup

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Use this chocolate syrup to make chocolate milk that’s delicious, nourishing and all-natural. You can feel good about serving it to your children. This chocolate syrup is also great for topping ice cream or anything else that could stand the addition of a squirt of liquid chocolate.

My son has loved chocolate milk since since he hit two or three. Naturally. What kid doesn’t?

Here’s what’s in this chocolate syrup: cocoa, water, sugar, vanilla.

Here’s what’s in the chocolate syrup I used to put in his milk: Sugar, water, cocoa processed with alkali and less than 2% of salt, natural & artificial flafors, citric acid, potassium sorbate (preservative), xanthan gum, caramel color, red 40, blue 1, yellow. 6. Serving size: 2 tablespoons, yielding 23 grams of sugar and 100 calories. No fat or protein; all the calories are sugar calories. This is Nestle’s Abuelita Syrup de Chocolate. No cholesterol, saith the label. Whoo-hoo! So what? Cholesterol in the diet is not a problem. Sugar is.

We started buying the Abuelita syrup because the ingredients were so much more wholesome than any other chocolate syrup we could find. I’m sure you can guess the first ingredient on most of them. That’s right, HFCS — high fructose corn syrup! Like I’m going to raise my kid on that. No way. He’s going to need his liver someday.

Then one day we looked at the label after a shopping trip and saw the list I reproduced above. I could swear they changed the ingredients. But I didn’t have an old bottle to compare it to.

The moral here? Check ingredients every time you buy a product — they change! And generally not for the better.

Then my husband found the recipe this one is based on at Small Notebook for a Simple Home (, The chocolate syrup recipe is here. Rachel, who runs this lovely site, credits Amy Dacyczyn’s The Complete Tightwad Gazette with the recipe she published there.

When you make this and see the deep, dark, chocolate brown color, please wonder, along with me, why on earth Nestle finds it necessary to use no fewer than four artificial coloring agents in its syrup. Chocolate is already dark brown!

When you taste it, you may wonder why any product adds additional flavors. When you see the perfect chocolatey viscosity as it pours, you’ll wonder why they bothered to add xanthan gum for consistency.

I’ve kept a bottle in the refrigerator for several months. I just used the old Abuelita bottle, which I rinsed out with some hot tap water. So much for needing a bunch of preservatives.

Use the best cocoa you can find. There’s a marked difference in taste. Buy fairly traded cocoa if it’s available. It’s just the right thing to do.

Chocolate syrup

The recipe


  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Equipment that bears mentioning

Something to store the syrup in, like an old syrup bottle or a plastic bottle from water or soda.

In a nutshell

Melt and simmer ingredients in a saucepan. Add vanilla when cool.


  1. Place cocoa powder, water and sugar in a saucepan or medium heat.
  2. Whisk together until all is dissolved.
  3. Cook gently for three minutes.
  4. Let cool.
  5. Add the vanilla.
  6. Pour into a bottle or jar.

Extra notes

To make chocolate milk, stir about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon into a cup of milk. Or use my method: I put the milk and syrup together into a jar, put the lid on the jar, and shake until I no longer see chocolate syrup settled on the bottom when looking through the glass.

I make a pint (two cups) at a time. It’s a great dinner or lunch for a small child. Compared to commercial chocolate milk, there is very, very little sugar added. Of course, I always use whole milk. A child’s growing brain needs plenty of natural fat such as milk in its natural state provides.

Milk is no longer a whole food after its fat content has been artificially reduced through industrial processes. If there’s one thing Mother Nature knows, I figure, it’s how to make milk.

Thing that drives me crazy: the existence of lowfat chocolate milk, which has a lot of added sugar, not just a little like my chocolate milk does. The fact that parents have been conditioned to fear giving their kids milk with its naturally occurring amount of milkfat, but encouraged to give them milk with a big ol’ dose of high fructose corn syrup or sugar added.

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