Classic Egg Cream

April 24, 2010

There are some things that for a long time it never occurred to me could be made at home. Like marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate syrup for drinks. As a kid growing up one of my favorite things on Passover was making chocolate milk with U-Bet chocolate syrup. It was the only time of the year we had it. Growing up in California I didn’t quite understand the deep nostalgia it evoked in my mom, but she looked forward to it more than we did because of her Northeastern upbringing. I had seen Alton Brown make homemade chocolate syrup a while ago but it didn’t occur to me to make it myself until I wanted to make my son some “special milk” and realized that hot chocolate powder doesn’t dissolve easily in cold milk. I used this quick and delicious recipe by Alice Medrich and now we have chocolate syrup sitting in the refrigerator ready to go. Like anything homemade it is better than store-bought because you can control the quality of the ingredients. Using a high quality cocoa powder makes this a chocolate syrup that is not just for kids. It is intensely chocolate-y and is great for everything from drizzling on ice cream to making a mocha out of a morning cup of coffee.

It also turns out that it makes awesome egg creams. I have to admit that, not having grown up with it, the idea of carbonated chocolate soda doesn’t really appeal to me. It isn’t bad, I just don’t quite get what there is to love. There are people who will tell you that a properly made egg cream is the best thing in the world, so this is sure to make them happy. This vegan version is just as creamy as the original and with the homemade chocolate syrup it has a great chocolate flavor. My mom (who grew up in the egg cream region) thought it was delicious. Traditionally an egg cream is made with whole milk, but to mimic the richness of whole milk I used original flavored coconut creamer. For a slightly different flavor twist I imagine that the flavored creamers (french vanilla!) would make a deliciously creative egg cream. If you have a seltzer maker this is a great place to use it because an egg cream comes out best if the seltzer is extra carbonated, but regular chilled seltzer works fine too.

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Ingredients & Quantities

  • 3 tablespoon bittersweet chocolate syrup (see below)
  • 6 tablespoons coconut creamer
  • seltzer to fill the glass

Alice Medrich’s Cocoa Syrup

  • ¾ cup cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • pinch salt (1/4 tsp)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 tsp vanilla (optional)

Preparation Instructions

Alice Medrich’s Cocoa Syrup

Whisk together cocoa, sugar and salt until well blended in medium saucepan. Add enough water to make a thick paste and incorporate all dry ingredients. Add remaining water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla if using.
Let cool and store in a jar or squeeze bottle in the fridge.

Old Fashioned Egg Cream

Carefully pour the chocolate syrup into the bottom of an old fashioned milkshake glass. (In a pinch any 12 ounce drinking glass will do.) Make sure not to get any chocolate on the sides of the glass. Top chocolate with the coconut creamer. Take a long spoon and place it in the glass so that it reaches the bottom. Pour the seltzer in while lifting the spoon up and down to combine. If you stir at this point the foam will be brown instead of white. It will taste the same but will not be as exciting looking. Continue pouring in seltzer until the foam rises slightly above the rim of the glass. At this point, stir the mixture to finish combining the chocolate and cream. Try to disturb the bubbles as little as possible. Serve immedieately.

Recipe Times







Recipe Yield

1 Drink

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  1. Wish they had that coconut creamer here in Canada! (maybe it’ll come… someday)
    This looks like my kind of treat, though I think egg cream is known here as more of “a Montreal thing.” (I’m in Toronto)

    It does make me curious, however… I’ve been following your blog for a while and it seems your committment to pareve goes much deeper than just baked goods and sweets. I bake pareve to serve with meat meals, but dairy to serve with everything else – we adore butter!

    I guess I’m just intrigued about why you’d want to make a pareve beverage like this.

    Also… shavua tov from IComLeavWe (International Comment Leaving Week) #163!

  2. @Jennifer in MamaLand, I hope that coconut creamer comes to Canada soon. It is a great ingredient for natural parve baking.

    In answer to your question my family and I do eat dairy, but most of our sweets are for shabbat or company when there is more likely to be meat. For people who keep kosher I could see serving this drink as a light dessert to kids or perhaps even as an afternoon treat when someone might have eaten meat before. Since the syrup was parve it made sense to me to make the whole drink parve.

    I enjoy pushing the limits of what can be made parve even if I myself might be able to eat a dairy version. Even more importantly, many of my readers do not eat dairy at all. Because there was a period in my life when I also I wasn’t able to eat any dairy I learned just how much more limiting it is not to be able to just serve fish if I wanted to serve ice cream or cheesecake. I try to develop recipes so that a dairy-free lifestyle can still have diverse and delicious sweets. I know that was kind of a long winded answer, but I hope it answers your question.

  3. This looks great! But, I seem to remember my father telling me that an egg cream didn’t have any eggs or any cream! So I’ve always made it with just chocolate and seltzer. I wonder where that came from?

  4. @Jenifer, It is true that a traditional egg cream doesn’t have eggs or cream. It is made with chocolate syrup, whole milk and seltzer. I used creamer instead of something like soymilk because soy milk is not as rich as whole milk and I wanted to mimic the richness of the milk.

  5. My bubbie’s egg creams were famous on the lower east side of New York City. She, too, made her own chocolate syrup, which my uncle would stir for hours in a huge vat. I haven’t had an egg cream since becoming vegan, but So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer sounds like it would make an amazing one. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe and for bringing back so many fond childhood memories.

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