It’s the Leftover Milk Conundrum with the Chocolate Gravy Solution

Here’s the situation: One day you get a hankering for cereal. You pick out your favorite chocolate, sugary goodness. Wait, what? How did those words appear. I mean… You pick out your favorite fortified bran cereal located on the far opposite side of the cereal aisle. And milk.

Shake, shake. Pour, glug. Munch, munch, crunch, crunch. Clank.

Then you’re out of milk. Humph. That’s fine. Another trip to the store procures one more carton of milk.

Pour, shake. Shake. Humph. You’re out of cereal. But remaining in your fridge, about to be lost in a back corner, is a nearly full carton of milk.

Glug. Munch, crunch. Clank.

Cereal isn’t really a staple in your household. It’s more a craving. Just like milk. This is when you enter the Leftover Milk Conundrum.

This is a real conundrum. You aren’t quite ready to forego the chocolate as part of the breakfast routine. Who keeps writing these things? Having just finished your box of no frills cereal you are deserving of something such as chocolate gravy. (You are also exhausted after hurdling the Cereal Dilemma — adult or kid…adult or kid…adult or kid?)

For the skeptical refusing to believe in the Leftover Milk Conundrum I would like to illustrate other examples. Not confined to milk this also affects jalapenos, egg whites and yolks, zested lemons, shampoo, paint, rice…

Fortunately for all of us there is the Chocolate Gravy Solution. Being a Solution means that the ingredients for this are all household staples. Yip, yip, hooray. We may all awake another morning knowing that breakfast awaits and another Conundrum has been successfully negotiated.

This was not something I’d heard of prior to a couple months ago. My own little poll showed no one else has heard of this either. Even so recipes are thick and plentiful (, Saveur, Homesick Texan, VegWeb, and so many more*) differing in amounts (and generally telling the same story).  According to the webisphere this is supposedly a southern tradition. I’m skeptical but not about to argue with the Chocolate Gravy Solution. Chocolate Gravy is very familiar though. I have not yet placed my taste bud memory, but it feels like conundrum free childhood.♣

The webisphere declares this should be served with biscuits (though I suspect it would be delicious atop almost anything). There is a lot of debate…vehement declarations about proper southern buttermilk biscuits. I liked the ones posted here. They were easy, I was impressed with myself. Good job Brynne. Experiencing a Leftover Milk Conundrum I did not have buttermilk (though also a leftover conundrum). However, my fridge is also having a zested lemon conundrum and fake buttermilk was created.

As long as we are in a vehement declaration about proper southern cooking I should admit that this was all made with almond milk instead of dairy milk. Because when solving the Leftover Cereal Conundrum there was a Milk Dilemma — which is akin to the Cereal Dilemma mentioned above.

Chocolate Gravy*

scant ¾ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
heaping ¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ancho chili powder
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt and ancho chili powder in a medium pot. Stir in the milk. Place over low-medium heat. Stir constantly. At first you will be worried about lumps, but don’t because it will all smooth out. However, do stir constantly. (If you get tired of this and decide you really do need to double check recommended amounts of vanilla and then get distracted by facebook don’t be surprised if your gravy has formed a skin on top.) Cook until thickened. It is done when you can draw bas relief styled images on the top.

Remove from heat.

Stir in the vanilla (and butter if using). Eat immediately.

*Adapt the ingredients or choose the recipe according to your tastes. I went extra on the chocolate and even considered making it with chocolate  milk because I have an insatiable chocolate spot. Many of these recipes have less. I used lots of milk because the milk needed to be used up. And I under-filled each ¼ cup measure of sugar because I prefer less sweetness. The butter is optional here because after adding the two tablespoons I couldn’t really see the point of it. Perhaps it just needed more.

♣ Pudding!

4 thoughts on “It’s the Leftover Milk Conundrum with the Chocolate Gravy Solution

  1. Me thinks that if you had not used the butter you might have then missed something in the taste of the “gravy.’ But perhaps this is merely another conundrum which will be solved only by trying it both ways.


  2. The whole time I’m reading, I’m thinking pudding. ♣ Vóila – pudding. Oh, the skin is the most desirable part of chocolate gravy (pudding) and should be sought.


  3. Hahahaha! I struggle with the leftover milk conundrum at least once a month. I buy a small container of milk because I don’t think I’ll go through it. Then I eat all my cereal really quickly and am left short. So I’ll bump up to a big container of milk, and then run out of cereal, and then 2 weeks later…sour milk. I am SO making chocolate gravy from here on out! Thanks for blowing my mind. 🙂


    • I go through that same thought process all the time. I’m so glad someone else has this same problem.


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