What is chocolate syrup?

Perhaps your ice cream looks a bit plain with nothing on top, or would you like an egg custard? Either is glorified by adding chocolate syrup, a mixture of cocoa, sugar, usually high-fructose corn syrup, and a variety of other ingredients depending on the brand. Hershey’s® was one of the first brands to introduce the syrup to the US, beginning with a fountain version for adding to egg creams, sodas, or milk shakes in 1926, and later producing a canned form for home use two years later. Other companies like Bosco® soon joined the fray, as chocolate syrup became a popular addition at home and in soda fountains and diners.

Chocolate syrup, when mixed with milk and ice cream, makes a milkshake.

Most likely, there were earlier versions of chocolate syrup, thin chocolate glazes that could have covered cakes or desserts of various kinds. But companies that mass-produced the syrup gained widespread popularity, and the various brands were used for anything from ice cream toppings to delicious chocolate milk, which is made by simply mixing chocolate syrup and milk. Since the syrup was already sweetened, it made making things like hot chocolate or cold chocolate milk so much easier. You didn’t have to mess with trying to sweeten the cocoa and therefore cut down on prep time.

White sugar is an essential ingredient in chocolate syrup.

Today’s chocolate syrups come in numerous different types. For example, you can get ones that instantly form a shell when in contact with ice cream to produce a hard chocolate coating. Others are low-fat, diet, or have additional flavors added. They also keep for a long time in the fridge, unlike the first cans. So if you can spare with your chocolate syrup, which can be a difficult thing to do, you’ll usually keep it for a few months.

You can’t pretend that chocolate syrup is really good for you. In fact, as scientists learn more about the negative effects of high fructose corn syrup, it’s quite debatable whether chocolate syrup should be consumed on a regular basis. Still, in competition with other drink mixes like Ovaltine®, some chocolate syrups today are fortified with vitamins and/or minerals. It may make sense for the underweight child to use them, especially if milk consumption increases. On the other hand, fortification does not reduce calories for those who watch their waistlines. Like anything sweet, chocolate syrup may be best just for an occasional treat.

If you don’t have syrup at home and can’t get to the store, most cookbooks, and certainly the Internet, have recipes for making syrup at home. It is usually a combination of white sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and milk or butter. Freshly made hot syrup provides a fantastic hot fudge topping for homemade ice cream, or many would say, just about anything else you can think of!

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