Homemade cocoa syrup is far superior to anything you can buy and it takes minutes to make. Here is my formula. I started with Alton Brown's cocoa syrup recipe and refined it. (Updated most recently in 2013). It was already excellent — now I think it's perfect! If you want to see what I did and why, read the Notes.
Why "cocoa syrup" rather than the more common term, "chocolate syrup"? "Chocolate syrup" is a misnomer. Chocolate consists of fat (cocoa butter) plus solids (cocoa powder). The syrup is made from cocoa, not chocolate.
But it's delicious no matter what you call it. Complex, perfectly balanced, chocolatey, unlike the grocery store brands which are mostly one-dimensionally sweet.
1 1/4 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt (or a pinch of table salt)
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups Dutch-processed cocoa — Callebaut highly recommended. See Notes.
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Mix water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a 2-3 quart pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and whisk in cocoa, mixing until it is dissolved. Stir in vanilla extract at the very end. Cool to room temperature.
Strain into squeeze bottles. Straining is important if you're using queeze bottles. If you have a lot of solids in the strainer, you can push them through the strainer and add the strained solids. Then, strain once more.
- In the original recipe, he cooked the syrup to reduce it. I found it too thick and it tasted a little cooked (like pudding). I cooked it less each time and now I turn off the heat once the cocoa goes in.
- I tried this with several brands of cocoa. For the first batch, I used Droste. Very good. The next batch used Perignotti. Better! For the most recent batch, I used Callebaut, the cocoa that won the top ranking in Cook's Illustrated's test. OMG!! This is the best. Unfortunately, Callebaut is hard to find. I bought it by mail from Chocosphere. Ugly website but their service was great. $25 for a 2.2 lb (1 kg) bag.
- You probably know chocolate syrup is a "fat free" food. Well, not when you use premium cocoa. Callebaut is 22-24% fat. That's not very important since a portion includes just a little. A serving probably contains a gram or so of fat, or 1-2% of your daily value.
- Here are the adjustments I made to the original recipe. The original was too sweet and tended to crystallize when stored in the refrigerator, so I cut back on the water (from 1-1/2 cups to 1-1/4, then to 1, then back to 1-1/4 because it gets thicker when refrigerated) and sugar (from 3 to 2, then to 1-1/2 cups). The corn syrup stayed the same, increasing its percentage in the mixture. That eliminated crystallization. I also halved the salt.