Monday, July 4, 2011

Just Following Orders

I’m sure all of you will be thrilled to know that I have made excellent progress on my weekend to-do list.  There’s a batch of soup cooling its heels on my stove now.  Last night, after going on a photo walk at dusk, I laid in bed with freshly painted toes (not covered up, of course—those nails needed to dry!), reading Dreaming in Hindi and feeling more relaxed than I have in weeks.  It was wonderful.  And perhaps most importantly, between Saturday and Sunday, there were three chocolate egg creams, but only two of them were enjoyed by me.

Recipes for egg creams always catch my eye, and I always think the same thing: I want one!  Unfortunately, it took years to turn my wanting into sipping, because I’m easily distracted and I’d forget about egg creams until the next time I saw a recipe.  But thankfully, Melissa Clark and her cookbook put an end to my flaky pattern, and the chocolate egg cream is working its way into my regular dessert and snack rotation.

This recipe is really two recipes in one: a recipe for thick, deeply chocolatey syrup, and a recipe for the chocolate egg cream.  I think it’s nice to have very basic recipes, like syrups, under your belt so you know you can always make a homemade batch of syrup as long as you have sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and a sly bit of salt.  You also need water, but I’m going to assume you always keep that on hand.  I know I do.

Making Chocolate Syrup

The syrup is a simple stovetop job that you mix together and let bubble away gently for a few minutes until it becomes thick and glossy.  Assembling the egg cream is even easier: simply measure, pour, and stir.  And if you’re really feeling wild and crazy, you don’t really have to measure, though I do because I am compulsive like that sometimes.

You know, they say that chocolate milk is an excellent beverage to drink after a work-out.  Since a chocolate egg cream is basically chocolate milk made fizzy with club soda, I’d have to say that a chocolate egg cream seems like an even better post-work-out option.  It’s reasonably nutritious, assuming you eat dairy, and it’s got a nice balance of sweet and salty to replenish blood sugar and all those lost electrolytes.  If you don’t like or can’t eat dairy, I bet you could make an excellent vegan chocolate egg cream with almond or coconut milk.  And the homemade syrup below is vegan, so you can still get that deep chocolatey flavor from your own efforts.

(Can you tell I’ve been reading vegan blogs and running blogs lately?  I thought so.)

Happy 4th of July, my dear readers!  May your egg creams always be cold, fizzy, and perfectly refreshing.

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

From In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite by Melissa Clark

I’m not sure on the yield of this recipe because I’ve never poured my syrup into a measuring glass to check.  Let’s just say it makes enough for a bunch of chocolate egg creams—more than six, probably fewer than twelve?

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar (I use vanilla-infused sugar here for an extra boost of vanilla)

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1)  In a medium saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil, whisking to dissolve the sugar.  Whisk the cocoa powder and salt into the sugar solution.  Reduce the heat so that the mixture is simmering, and let it continue simmering for about 5 minutes.

2)  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Chocolate Egg Cream

From In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite by Melissa Clark

Serves 1 (multiply as needed!)

3 tbsp. Homemade Chocolate Syrup (see recipe above)

3/4 cup milk

Fizzy water (club soda) to taste

1)  In a tall glass, stir together the chocolate syrup and milk.  Top with fizzy water.  Use a long-handled spoon to stir together briskly to make the fizzy water foam a bit.

2)  Drink immediately.  Repeat as necessary.

Chocolate Egg Cream

Almost immediately after taking this photo, I spilled my egg cream all over the coffee table, the rug, and the carpeted floor.  What a terrible end for the egg cream!  And what a pain in the butt to clean up!  Some days I really hate being a klutz.


Chrissy (The New Me) said...

I am SHOCKED to discover that egg creams do not, in fact, contain egg. This changes everything!

Rosiecat said...

Chrissy! Please, please, please make yourself a vegan egg cream :-) It's an iconic New York drink, you're a native New Yorker, and egg creams are great for sipping on hot Texas afternoons.

Hope your Tuesday is off to a good start :-)

Raquelita said...

I may bookmark this for the two days out of the month that I am deeply, passionately interested in chocolate (the rest of the time I could care less and want either savory or fruity treats).

I'm glad that you were able to enjoy some downtime this weekend. I have to say that the people I know who have post-docs in the sciences often work much longer hours than I do, and I usually log at least 50 hours if not closer to 60 during the school year.

Rosiecat said...

Hee hee! Raquelita, your lunar chocolate love made me laugh...what could possibly cause that? ;-)

Yes, it's true that science postdocs are insane workaholics. I am not one of them--I work 40-50 hours a week and find that I really can't work much more than that without being miserable. The issue of workload for science grad students and postdocs is a big controversy for many reasons, but I'm sticking with my postdoc job for now because I like my project and I'd really like to see it published.