Chocolate gravy is an heirloom recipe in my family. Some of my earliest memories are of my mother making this dessert-like gravy. Never really questioning its origins, as a child I thought it was common to all households. As I grew older, though, I realized this was not the case. When I moved to a larger, more urban area in the South, I found that chocolate gravy was mostly a foreign concept. And while I now know that it is found in other parts of the South, it continues to be an obscure breakfast treat.
Recently, I asked my mother how she acquired her chocolate gravy recipe. Not surprisingly, she explained that she picked it up from her mother. Apparently, variations of the recipe have been passed down through several generations.
My grandmother was one of seven children. When she was a young teen, her father died after falling from a tree as he was picking apples. With no husband, my great-grandmother had to raise a large family on her own. This would have been around the time of World War I. Not having the resources to raise fruits and vegetables, my grandmother and her family often relied on flour- and cornmeal-based foods. One of the first things my great-grandmother taught my grandmother to prepare was chocolate gravy, which was served over biscuits.
4 cups milk
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup flour
Heat milk but do not boil. Whisk in sugar until dissolved, then flour and remaining ingredients. Heat until gravy thickens.