If you have been a long time reader of the blog you might remember my friend from NYC, Nathan .. who runs a cute little deli on a New York Street corner
You can read about him and his infamous Pretzel Rolls: –
Well, Nathan and his new Hubbie Bill are doing fine – as fine as a business can do in New York at the moment with the Covid-19 pandemic running rife through their neighbourhood and lives. They are open again .. but sad to say that every week he seems to report one more missing regular that they just don’t know what has happened to.
Lots of places are still shut .. One of those places is their favourite “soda-fountain” shop – apparently he and Bill used to take an evening break from the Deli when they were dating and head off for either chocolate Milkshakes (about a zillion calories of ice-cream, cream, milk and chocolate syrup.) or an “Egg Cream”
Well – THAT caught my attention! I mean I know how skittish the Americans are about their eggs and how some consider them little bombs of botulism!
So I was totally intrigued at how come this fabulous foodie would be eating something that sounded like eggs and cream whipped together.
Well .. turns out .. its not! Also turns out that this Egg Cream is a pretty well know thing over the water .. who knew . Cos I had never heard of it before.
It’s a drink that consists of soda water, Hershey’s chocolate syrup, milk and ice …. so ….. a fizzy milkshake? Mm – not convinced!
So curiosity totally got the better of me and Nathan and i hung out on Zoom to figure out the recipe cos this sounded like something I have to try!
First .. the Hershey’s syrup .. well … OK for him living in the middle of New York .. less OK for me living in a wee town in rural Scotland in the middle of a global lockdown.
So we looked up the recipe and, well, lets just say this .. I won’t ever be buying a bottle of that stuff for sure! But having chatted with Nathan about how it was a deeply chocolate, slightly bitter syrup I was prepared to make a stab at it!
- Half a cup of cocoa powder
- Half a cup of white sugar
- Half a cup of water
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Few grinds of salt
Yup – believe me or not on the salt thing .. follow along and find out!
Pop the sugar and the cocoa into a pot and stir in the water.
Now – becasue its cocoa powder (to get the great depths of chocolate flavour) rather than an instant hot chocolate mix it always looks as though it never wants to incorporate. Keep going it will!
When it does pop your pot onto a medium heat ad bring the mixture up to a boil.
Turn the heat down and simmer for just two minutes .. the sauce will now be really smooth and glossy and beginning to thicken up slightly.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool down to a less lava like temperature.
Now you have to taste to balance your syrup .. I suggest adding a little ground salt (salt really enhances the flavour of chocolate) and about a tablespoon of vanilla extract (just to give a more rounded flavour profile)
When the syrup is cool enough – pour into a jar or small bottle as you will be storing this in the fridge before you use it all up.
So how to make this mythical “NYC Egg Cream” …
Pour half an inch of whole milk in the bottom of an iced soda glass.
Top the glass to within an inch of the top with bubbly water and stir.
Two tablespoons of chocolate sauce dribbled in and stir again.
Now you have a dark chocolate base with a frothy almost cappuccino head!
Now . You need to drink it down before the head disappears.
Verdict? Surprisingly choloately! I kind of thought that the milk would curdle when the bubbles went in .. but no!
Its not overly sweet – certainly not cloying like a full on milk shake with ice-cream can be .. but most definitely a chocolate drink indeed. Actually its quite a refreshing drink with a little fizzy pick-me-up. I’m not really sure what I was expecting … but this was a grown up kind of soda .. dark chocolate tasting base and a slight fizz … and when I pressed Nathan on it he admitted that occasionallly a wee tot of vodka might just find it way in there of an evening!
BTW – the kids demolished theirs! Smacked their lips and agreed that they would help me out by finishing the bottle o syrup for me LOL
So there you have it .. an authentic (well as authentic as Nathan and I can make it) NYC Egg Cream … a beloved treat enjoyed by two of my most beloved frugal friends!
Well .. you didn’t think we could kick off this blog again without ending up in the kitchen did you?
Living well – but living frugaly has always been the game!
So what kind of recipes would you guys find the most useful this summer?