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Posted by on Jun 13, 2013 in Clean Eating, Recipes | 2 comments

Homemade Syrup Recipes: Cacao and Vanilla

Looking at the label of my Hershey’s syrup (I even had the Hershey’s Light Chocolate Syrup) I wasn’t thrilled with the ingredients.

So, I decided to make my own. This one is really easy to make and no artificial flavors or synthetic additives.

Homemade Chocolate Syrup:
*1 cup organic sugar
*1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Organic Cacao Powder)
1 cup water
dash of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a small saucepan, add sugar, cacao, and salt. Whisk together gently. Add water. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Cool.

*My changes were reducing the added sugar amounts.

Also note: organic cane sugar is still sugar and isn’t more “nutritious” but it is produced without synthetic pesticides and herbicides, which reduces your exposure to synthetic ingredients.

I actually plan to have a whole post on sugar, but for the sake of recipe, I will mention that sucanat is considered to be less processed than cane sugar and turbinado sugar, but remember they are all still sugar… I say if you are unsure which one to buy, aim for the rawest form and if not, pick organic sugar and this recipe will still be healthier than store bought syrups.

And try to buy raw, organic cacao powder.

What is the difference between cacao and cocoa?
Cacao is the raw, unprocessed form of chocolate.
Cacao is a bean that comes from the cacao tree. The beans are harvested, fermented and dried.

It is known as and becomes Cocoa once it has been processed:
cleaned, washed, and processed (typically involving high heat mixed with sugar and fat).
High heat reduces antioxidants levels, thus reducing it’s benefit.

Benefits of Cacao Powder?
Many site: improved mood, relief of PMS, antioxidant to fight free radicals.
I suppose I should just point out that eating chocolate in excess is not healthy and although there are benefits, probably shouldn’t bank on cacao for your source of vital nutrition. Plus, limiting the amount of added sugar is beneficial to your health. But, good to know that cacao, in it’s raw state can be healthy for you, versus cocoa, which is processed chocolate; which unfortunately, is how most eat their chocolate: altered state.
So, if and when you want a little flavor to your drinks, there are ways to do so without the extra additives and artificial flavors.

This is an example of how to begin to eat cleaner. You aren’t giving up chocolate or chocolate milk, in fact, you may find you like this one even better than your favorite store brand. I found it to be really tasty, and my son actually said he liked it better than the Hershey’s. It is also yummy with almond milk.

So, dump that Hershey’s out! Update: for best storage options, store in glass container.

A few years back, I got a Latte Machine and started making my own at home. I bought the Vanilla syrup from Starbucks and made my own Vanilla Lattes. Well, I decided to actually look at the ingredients in their syrup… worse than the Hershey’s. Ok, no problem. I will just make my own. So, on days I want a little flavor to my lattes, I’ll add 1-2 pumps of this homemade syrup.

Homemade Vanilla Syrup:

3 ½ cups water
2 cups organic sugar
½ cup organic brown sugar
3 tablespoons organic vanilla extract

*I reduced the added sugar and it still sweet enough.
Some recipes called for whole organic vanilla bean but I only had the organic vanilla extract on hand and it was fine.

In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, gently stir together the water and sugars. Cook until mixture becomes thick and syrupy (approximately 10-15 minutes). Allow to cool and stir in vanilla extract. Fill (glass) jar with cooled mixture. Screw on lid and slide in pump dispenser. Or you could use one of those glass salad dressing containers, that has a spout top. Serve with your favorite coffee drink!


  1. Love making a better version of this. My kids are super happy that they no longer have to forego the HFCS-laden version they adored. A sugar that I have been using is coconut palm. It is a bigger departure from organic cane sugar taste-wise but is supposed to be less processed and has a lower glycemic index. I’ve started to prefer the taste. Of course, as you mentioned, it is still a refined sugar — the one thing that I struggle eliminating the most from my family’s diet.

    • Absolutely, it is hard to avoid all sugar. But, it sounds like you are on a great path to reducing and substituting with better options. I definitely plan on trying the coconut sugar, as I recently started using coconut flour. Is your version much different than this recipe? If so, please share!


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