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Hot summer days call for milkshakes with homemade chocolate syrup

Hot. Steamy. Sweaty. Scorcher. How many words have you heard recently to describe this weather? My work puts me in the hot seat even when it’s not sweltering outside. So when summer comes around, I usually am ready for the temperatures.

I dress in lightweight clothes and make sure to start the day with a glass of water. More recently, I’m discovering that early morning is the best time to get things done, so when the thermometer reaches its zenith later in the day, I’m starting to slow down. Throughout the day, I continue to drink water to keep myself hydrated and I listen to my body.

Despite the heat, we continue to walk briskly every day at the park. Sometimes we even run. It feels like walking in a tropical jungle minus the exotic snakes and plants. By the time we are done, our shirts are clinging to our skin and the sweat drips down our arms and legs. And we drink more water.

I try to spend time outside, but I find myself heading inside where it’s cooler and the sun cannot reach me. A spot on the couch with the ceiling fan spinning above suits me just fine.

Mealtime means no cooking. Bread and cheese, fresh vegetables and fruit are really all we need for food along with a tall glass of ice water.

Now that we are spending less time outside, I can focus on my newest woodblock printing project. I also relax with a book, a rare opportunity in the summer, when I’m usually out and about.

But tonight, the hottest day yet, I’m thinking I need something cold, something I haven’t had for awhile: a chocolate milkshake.

Once the idea takes hold, I can’t get it out of my head. I need milk, ice cream and chocolate syrup and I need it now. I look for chocolate syrup at the grocery store but only find a well-known brand whose first two ingredients are corn syrup solids and sugar. That will not do.

If I’m making a homemade milkshake, I want it to be delicious and the best. So I grab a bar of Ghirardelli chocolate along with some organic milk and ice cream and head home to make my own chocolate syrup.

Jim is out. He’s supposed to play music tonight. I think I’ll surprise him when he gets back. So I turn the burner on very low to melt the chocolate, add a little butter, vanilla, sugar and water and wait. Jim is soon home: apparently the weather is such that the music is canceled.

So, we pull the blender out of the top cupboard and put in the ingredients for the milkshakes. Wow! They were all we expected them to be: refreshing, tasty and just good stuff.

Every now and then, I need a reason to celebrate. This weather was reason enough!

I hope you have a chance to enjoy a cool, refreshing homemade drink. Here’s the chocolate syrup recipe, in case you need it.

Chocolate Syrup


  • 4 oz. semisweet chocolate bar (Ghirardelli)
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract


  1. Melt and mix over low heat until smooth. Allow to cool. Ready to use over ice cream, in a milkshake or over fruit.


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