Chocolate egg cream

I wish some old-fashioned things would come back into fashion.  For instance, don't you wish you had a nice ice cream/dessert parlor you could take your date or kids to?  The kind where you sit in a booth or at the counter and order an ice cream sundae, a shake, or some other kind of drink from the soda jerk.  I vaguely remember the old Woolworths stores having a counter like that and once in a while you still see a retro ice cream parlor around.  My husband and I used to go to one in Brooklyn (it could still be there) and I loved seeing the waitresses in their white uniforms and ordering some ice cream that came in one of those cold stainless steel bowls. 

One of my favorite things in the world is ice cream soda.  I love a Coke float!  A couple of scoops of mint chocolate chip ice cream with Coke poured over the top in a freezing cold glass makes me so happy.  But now that I'm older, I've cut back significantly on treats like that (soda is pretty much out of my diet).  However, I'm always on the lookout for lower calorie alternatives.  I think the old-fashioned chocolate egg cream is a great option.  It is so delicious and a much lighter alternative to a milk shake.
I always thought an "egg cream" would have eggs in it.  Apparently not.  In fact, there's no eggs, no cream, no ice cream even.  I remember watching a cooking show a while back where they talked about this and I was intrigued, thinking "I have to get me one of those!"  I never got around to it but with this blog in my life now, I've been motivated to try all these things I've been meaning to so here we are.  The only things in the chocolate egg cream are milk, chocolate syrup (make it with a little cocoa powder, sugar and water), and seltzer.  If you like chocolate and fizzy drinks, this is something for you.  If you have a hankering for a milk shake, give this a go instead.

The chocolate egg cream was created a long time ago (like late 19th century long ago) and is said to have originated in Brooklyn, New York.  Go Brooklyn!  It is a 3-ingredient beverage.  Ok, it's 4 ingredients if you make the syrup like we do here (I'm not counting the water).  You need milk (go with lowfat or even skim to keep it healthier but whole milk would obviously work), seltzer water, and chocolate syrup.

This recipe comes from Ellie Krieger via the Food Network.  I love Ellie Krieger, who is a nutritionist, and I really wish the Food Network would develop some more shows with her soon.  She has great food and nutritional tips and healthy recipes that I can relate to and want to eat.  This one for chocolate egg cream came out great.

This recipe makes enough to fill a large 16 oz. glass so you may need to adjust it a bit according to the size of your glass.  Mine holds 12 ounces so I made some minor adjustments but this drink is very much to taste and we don't need to be too scientific about it. 

You start by making your own chocolate syrup.  It's very simple and better for you than something that comes in a squeeze bottle.  It's made with about a tablespoon of cocoa powder, 2 1/2 tablespoons of sugar, and a tablespoon of boiling hot water that you mix thoroughly together into a paste.   
Once the syrup is made, add 1/2 cup cold milk into your glass.  Slowly add the seltzer water and stir the bottom gently with a tall spoon.  You'll see it foam and create a milky foam on top.  Then, slowly drizzle in the chocolate syrup you made earlier.  Stir the bottom gently, trying not to disturb that foam top, which does dissipate pretty quickly.
Enjoy it right away. 

Luckily, my 6-year old doesn't like soda (not yet anyway).  The carbonation makes him shiver and he finds it rather funny on the tongue.  But he tried this and declared it "the best soda in the world!"  Uh-oh...

One more note, I tried making this with whole milk first since I had some in the fridge for baking.  I also have skim milk, which I use for my morning cereal.  I had read somewhere that low fat and skim milk will not foam up as well as whole milk.  In my experience here, I didn't see much difference either way (the foam tends to disappear pretty fast either way) so I'll be sticking to the skim version for myself.  Taste-wise, I thought it was very similar also.  The picture below is one I made with skim milk.  The first photo on the top of the post is one with whole milk.  Looks about the same to me.
Chocolate egg cream using skim milk

Recipe:

Chocolate Egg Cream
Adapted from Ellie Krieger via Food Network

- For one large, 16 oz., glass -

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon boiling water
1/2 cup low-fat milk, very cold
1 1/2 cup seltzer water (not club soda)
1 pretzel rod (optional; for serving)

Make chocolate syrup: In a small cup or bowl, stir cocoa powder and sugar together.  Add water and stir to make a paste.  Set aside. 

Put milk into a tall fountain glass.  Slowly add seltzer water, stirring gently, with a long spoon.  Drizzle the chocolate syrup in slowly, trying not to disturb the signature foam on top.  Stir gently, and serve immediately with a pretzel rod (is using), as the white foam on top goes away quickly. 

NoteI've used a slightly different technique that also works and might be easier to remember.  First pour the syrup into your glass, add the milk and stir the two together until combined.  Then add the seltzer water, beginning to stir with a tall spoon about midway.  Fill the glass up to the top with seltzer, giving it one last gentle stir before serving.



 

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