Chocolate gravy was never really a staple in my family’s household, but I remember the day I was first introduced to it in full detail.
Around the age of nine, I had stayed the night at my aunt’s house, goofing off with my cousins and arguing with my sister (trust me, it was the norm). I woke up to an exquisite aroma coming from the kitchen on the other side of the house. It was chocolate. I could feel it in my bones.
I threw the blankets off of me and tripped over my sister, rushing to find out what delicious buffet was awaiting us for breakfast. I sprinted down the hall to see a flash of short, blonde hair just as my aunt walked away from the stove top—the smell of chocolate had grown even more intoxicating as I rushed closer to the counter.
There it was.
A pan of biscuits, fresh from the oven with steam still rolling from the freshly buttered tops, was resting on a trivet next to a pan full of what looked like melted chocolate. What was this magnificent creature simmering before me?
“Do ya like chocolate gravy?” my aunt asked in her high-pitched drawl.
“Chocolate… gravy?” I responded. I was confused. I immediately thought of the white sawmill gravy that frequented my mother’s breakfast table. Why did my aunt melt chocolate chips in that? I grew ill. “Uhhh… No. I don’t think so.”
Just as I began to retreat down the hallway, Zach came rushing from his room.
“CHOCOLATE GRAVY!!!” he exclaimed as he readjusted his red basketball shorts up over his round belly, chubby cheeks still red from his pillows. “WHERE’S THE BUTTER??”
My aunt handed him a container and set out a stack of paper plates.
He immediately grabbed a couple of biscuits, split them in halves on his plate, smeared a thick glob butter onto the bread, and ladled a huge serving of gravy over them. He trotted back to his chair at the table and began to eat.
“How could he eat that?” I wondered as my sister and Stacey emerged from our room.
Once we were all seated with our plates, I timidly poked at my food while the rest of the household eagerly wolfed down the treat before them.
“You ain’t gonna eat that?” Zach asked. “It’s goooood!”
I picked up a small crumb of biscuit with my fork. I cringed. This can’t be good, can it? I slowly took the bite, and immediately fell in love. My eyes closed as I savored the bite. Chocolate gravy. Beautiful, delicious, creamy chocolate gravy. Heavenly delight sent to Earth from God himself. I swear I heard angels sing that day.
Twenty-five years later, I realized I had never made this dish for my daughter. Oh, what glory she was about to behold.
I woke up early and snuck into the kitchen while she continued to snore in my bed. My excitement about her first reaction grew as I mixed dough and began the roux.
Soon, she woke up and lazily walked into the kitchen.
“Momma. What’s that smell?” she asked, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.
“Chocolate gravy,” I responded.
“What?” her eyes widened as she looked at me and then to the stovetop. “…Chocolate gravy?”
“Chocolate gravy,” I restated as I broke a biscuit up into her plate.
She sat staring at the plate for a few moments before she picked up her fork and dug in. She closed her eyes on the first bite and slowly chewed just as I had done a quarter century ago. I knew that look. She was hooked.
Recipe for Chocolate Gravy:
1/2 C cocoa powder
1/2 t salt
2C whole milk
Mix all the dry ingredients together, add in butter and milk over medium heat and bring to a boil, once thickened add in vanilla and remove from heat.
Pro tip: My gravy was a little thick, so I thinned it out with my coffee to preserve milk until the next grocery run. It. Was. Perfect.