Thursday, September 25, 2014

Chocolate Syrup


Who doesn't love chocolate? If you are like my family, they will put chocolate syrup on just about anything.

I was shocked to learn that store bought chocolate syrup is likely to contain the following:
high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, potassium sorbate, mono- and diglycerides, polysorbate or artificial flavors.

Here is a healthier and cheaper version for you to enjoy.

Chocolate Syrup
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Whisk water and cocoa over medium heat to dissolve the cocoa powder. Add sugar and stir together. Increase temperature to high and bring mixture to a boil. Boil on medium heat for 5 minutes, this length of time gives you a store bought consistency syrup. You can change the length of time that you boil the mixture to change the thickness; 3 minutes for very thin and all the way to 10 minutes for very thick. Keep stirring while the mixture boils. You may need to adjust the heat or remove the pot from heat as this can boil over very easy. Remove pot from heat. Stir in salt, vanilla and baking soda.

Place warm syrup in whatever container you would like. You can store the syrup in a pint mason jar, an old store bought chocolate syrup container, or any other container you like. One advantage to the mason jar is that you can microwave the jar to quickly soften the chocolate just before serving.

Always allow to cool before refrigerating and you can store for up-to one month.

Yields: about 12 ounces

Serving Suggestions:
  • Chocolate milk
  • Hot cocoa
  • Malts and shakes
  • Topping for pancakes, waffles, ice cream or any other treat you can think of!

Recipe adapted from DIY Natural.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

No Fuss Cupcakes

Every parent has found themselves tackling the task of cupcake chef and decorator. This job can be made much easier with a few tricks.

Stress Free Tips:
  1. Use store-bought cake mix instead of making your own from scratch. Easy.
  2. Use paper liners in the cupcake pans. Can often find these on sale after the holiday or at craft stores. No Mess.
  3. Once you have mixed the cake, pour batter into a plastic bag and seal. Then cut the corner off for a no mess batter dispenser. Easy and No Mess!
  4. Make decorating easy. 
    • Let your special person select sprinkles and a frosting color.
    • Use store bought icing instead of making your own, add food coloring drops to get the right color.
    • Spread icing with a knife or use a pastry bag if you have one. Just start at the center of the cupcake and work your way out.
    • Apply sprinkles. Pour some sprinkles in a bowl. Hold cupcake over bowl and use a spoon to shake sprinkles on. Tip Cupcake slightly to allow extra sprinkles to fall back in the bowl.
 I usually like to make things from scratch but baking is not my "strong area" in the kitchen.

Know you capabilities and allow yourself a few cheats in life!