Let me begin by saying I never ate chocolate gravy growing up, never even heard of it. I’ve since come across it a few times on various blogs and recipe sites, and it sparked my curiosity. After a bit of searching, these seem to be the best explanations as to the origin of this dish:
According to The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, Vol. 7: Foodways: “Another variety, popular in Appalachia, is chocolate gravy, sweet gravy prepared with cocoa and poured over biscuits for breakfast. This gravy is stirred with milk and occasionally cream. Chocolate gravy also enjoys a rich history in the cooking of the Arkansas Ozarks, although its origins are unknown.”
“Chocolate gravy is native to the Mountain South, particularly the Blue Ridge Mountains of eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina. It comes from the tradition of resourceful cooks transforming humble, inexpensive ingredients into excellent dishes. When made properly, the gravy is somewhere between fudge sauce and thin pudding and is usually served on hot biscuits. It is called gravy because it was once common to call nearly all roux-based sauces made in a cast-iron skillet a “gravy”, even when no meat was involved, although there are versions that use bacon drippings in place of the butter.”
So it seems like it’s pretty regional. Maybe that’s why I’d never heard of it, since my family all comes from the Deep South. From what I’ve been able to gather, it also seems like this is more of an old-timey treat that’s mostly fallen along the wayside in more recent generations. But boy, am I sure glad I found it! One bite of hot buttermilk biscuit smothered in chocolatey goodness, and I was in heaven. I may have even heard the angels sing. Okay, maybe not, but this is seriously GOOD. And for a quick, economical dessert or snack to satisfy those sweet cravings, this can’t be beat.
There are different variations, but the recipe I used came from Redneck Epicurean(real name Amy) on Recipezaar. Her profile states that she sadly passed away a few years ago, but fortunately, all her amazing recipes are still there for us to enjoy. This recipe for chocolate gravy originally came from her Mamaw.
1 cup sugar
2 Tb flour
3 Tb cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups milk
1 Tb butter
Whisk together sugar, flour, and cocoa powder in a saucepan. Stir in the milk. Cook over medium heat until mixture has thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Serve over biscuits.