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Biscuits and Chocolate Gravy

Did you ever eat chocolate gravy? As a child I didn’t know anyone who had, but I now have a friend and her father has made chocolate gravy as part of their Christmas morning breakfast for as long as she can remember.

I find the tradition and roots of Southern cooking fascinating, so I did a little chocolate gravy research. According to my research, many food historians connect chocolate gravy to the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas and the hill country of Mississippi. I also found references to chocolate gravy in books about the Appalachian Mountain cooking of Tennessee and North Georgia. These geographical areas had limited resources, so cooks had to be resourceful and use what they had on hand.  Earlier recipes for chocolate gravy are a combination of sugar, cocoa and water thickened with flour. Pretty basic, economical and tasty for a hungry family.

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And although fascinating, I guess it isn’t really surprising that chocolate gravy would be served over biscuits. Southern culinary history abounds with uses for biscuits or biscuit dough to stretch more costly ingredients. Everything from toasted cinnamon-sugar biscuits, dumplings, bread pudding or a glorious biscuit topped cobbler, so why not cover biscuits with chocolate gravy?

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In the more modern chocolate gravy recipes, water has been replaced with milk. I’ve recently seen a chocolate gravy recipe that contains a hefty dose of butter – I guess this makes the gravy more like a chocolate dessert sauce.

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Is chocolate gravy a tradition in your family?  If so, where is the geographical origin of your family? Let me know.

 

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