Grandma, please forgive me.

I just got back from visiting my family in Mississippi, and in between touring the largest home garden I’ve ever seen, being kicked out of the kitchen more times than I can count, and drinking quarts of sweet tea, I kind of stole my grandmother’s recipe for biscuits with chocolate gravy.

I’ve never been to Mississippi and not had chocolate-and-biscuits for breakfast. It’s a family tradition, but like most traditions, we all do it differently. I split the biscuit, slather it with butter, and spoon the chocolate on top. Mom chops the biscuits into small pieces, dots the plate with butter, and pours on the chocolate with a heavier hand than I do. Grandma puts a pat of butter on the plate, tops it with chocolate, smooshes the butter and chocolate together, and then dips the biscuit in that. Grandpa eschews the chocolate altogether, but uses Grandma’s method to mix butter with sorghum molasses. Grandpa’s way, lacking chocolate entirely, is obviously wrong.

Like so many family recipes, it never occurred to me until this most recent visit to ask Grandma to teach me how to make the chocolate gravy. (Her attitude about me in the kitchen was such that I didn’t even ask, but instead resorted to subtle subterfuge. The one thing I got to do all weekend? Chop pecans. Grandma needs no help, thank you very much.) My great-grandmother died without my having ever inquired after her recipe for chocolate pie. Thankfully, the chocolate pie was passed down to a cousin of mine with more sense than I, but I’ve learned my lesson. I casually asked my grandma what she put in her chocolate gravy, ran to get a notepad when she wasn’t looking, and stuffed the recipe in my purse.

It’s for posterity, Grandma! I had to do it!

I’ve printed the recipe below as Grandma dictated it to me, but (at the risk of incurring significant wrath) I’ve added a few suggestions. Serve this alongside your favorite biscuits at your next brunch or Christmas breakfast and your family will swoon. My hunch is that leftover gravy, should you have any, would be excellent on ice cream, a brownie, crepes, or on more biscuits.

Grandma’s Chocolate Gravy
Serves 6-ish
Note: The amount of liquid is approximate. The gravy should be on the thin side, but not too thin. Practice.

You will need:
1.5 c. granulated sugar
2 tbsp. flour
2-3 tbsp. cocoa powder
About 1 c. water (I bet you could use milk to get a creamier gravy)
2 tbsp. butter

Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring intermittently, until mixture bubbles, becomes very frothy, and thickens significantly, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately over warm biscuits.