One of my greatest consumer weaknesses is when Starbucks switches to cranberry red cups with silhouetted snow scenes and puts the Peppermint Mocha back on the menu. Give me a grande one of those beauties and everything is right in the grey and rainy world that is winter in Portland. But let's be honest...not only are those things expensive, but they have 430 calories and 49 grams of sugar. I have got to learn to make these things at home.
Starbucks will sell you their Peppermint [High Fructose Corn] Syrup, but I don't want to talk about that guilty pleasure. I am adamantly opposed to HFCS. But chocolate syrup should be a staple in every household. Frustrated at the two options for chocolate syrup in the grocery stores of (1) high fructose corn syrup as the first ingredient, or (2) a tiny jar of super-expensive "organic" sauce, I set out to find a recipe to make myself. And as it turns out, it is surprisingly quick, easy and delicious! I found this recipe on a website I've since lost track of...something about loving chocolate. I use raw sugar, and I don't know what Dutch process cocoa is, but any unsweetened cocoa powder works. See? You can be flexible...as long as your not using corn syrup (bleh).
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup sifted unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
Few grains of salt
1 cup water
2 tsp vanilla
In heavy-bottomed 2qt pot, combine sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk thoroughly to mix well. Gradually add water, stirring (not beating) with the whisk to blend thoroughly. Set over medium heat; stir frequently with whisk until mixture comes to a boil (there will probably be a layer of foam on top--this is OK). Boil three minutes, stirring frequently with whisk and reducing heat if syrup threatens to boil over. Remove from heat; pour into heatproof liquid measuring cup or pitcher of at least three-cup capacity. Cool briefly, then chill (uncovered) until completely cold. Strain through fine strainer into container of at least 2 1/2 cup capacity. Stir in vanilla. Store, covered, in refrigerator.