When I think of chocolate milk, two things come to my mind. The first is the giant container of Nestle Nesquik chocolate powder that lived in the kitchen cupboard while I was growing up. Not only did that chocolate powder get stirred into milk, but was often sprinkled, quite liberally, on top of vanilla ice cream. The second is the number of times (which may be countless at this point) my kiddies have talked my husband into buying them chocolate milk at the gas station or grocery store (I don't think they have to do too much talking into). When my now nine year old was in preschool, I would drop him off at school and he would tell me to have Dad pick him up. He was smart and knew if Dad picked him up; it meant a trip to the gas station on the way home was far more likely than if I picked him up.
Not long ago, I came across a recipe for homemade chocolate syrup and decided to change it up a bit. I made it healthier by using honey and agave instead of white sugar. Whenever I can change something we are eating (or in this case drinking) for a healthier version, that my kiddies like even better than the not so good stuff, I say it’s a win all around. This chocolate syrup makes chocolate milk that is chocolaty, not as super sweet as Nesquik, and is very easy to drink really fast with a straw, especially when it is icy cold. Needless to say, this past week, we've been drinking a lot of chocolate milk around this house of mine.
Homemade Chocolate Syrup
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup cold water
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup agave
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt (heaping)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan whisk all of the ingredients together until there are no lumps. Bring chocolate mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer until chocolate syrup has slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Pour into a glass mason jar and let cool to room temperature; cover and refrigerate. Stir a spoonful or two (maybe three or four) into a cup filled with milk and ice and stir vigorously. Drink and enjoy!
*You could use all honey instead of the 1/4 cup agave. My honey has a stronger honey taste and I wanted to tone it down by using some agave. I added the extra 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup for a little extra sweetness, but could easily be left out.