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Griffin to Go: Falling in Love with Egg Creams

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A cherry egg cream made the Junior’s way.

Egg creams have neither eggs nor cream in them, but who cares? They’re delicious.

They’re also perfect for a hot San Antonio evening. Yet the treat is northeastern, specifically, or peculiarly, New York in nature. That’s where I first discovered them.

I hadn’t had one in years and I guess I’d shelved them in the back of my mind. That is, until I came across “Junior’s Dessert Cookbook” (The Taunton Press, $24.95), a collection of sweets from the Brooklyn landmark restaurant.

That’s when I learned Junior’s version wasn’t the only style of egg cream to be had.

The difference is in the approach and the region that it comes from, says Alan Rosen, whose grandfather, Harry Rosen, started Junior’s.  “There has always been a big debate over what goes in first — the syrup or the milk. In Brooklyn, it’s the syrup; in the Bronx, it’s the milk. Obviously, at Junior’s we follow the Brooklyn way and start with the syrup.”

The secret is knowing “when and how to stir them,” writes Rosen with Beth Allen. “As the foam starts to form, begin stirring quickly and vigorously, until a thick foam reaches the top of the glass. It should be white foam — not the color of mud.”

Junior’s also offer a few tips, including the following:

  • If you can’t find Fox’s u-bet syrups in your supermarket, buy them online or  buy another quality brand. you can also try the Italian syrups use to flavor coffee.
  • Make sure the milk is icy-cold and very fresh. Junior’s only uses whole milk in their egg creams, because the higher the fat content, the better the flavor.
  • Enjoy your egg cream before the foam settles.

The only syrup I had at home was cherry, one of the Italian varieties mentioned. It worked all too well. I enjoyed the Brooklyn-style experiment so much that I had to have a second made the Bronx way.

The winner? Me.

Truthfully, there was little difference in flavor, but there was all the difference in appearance. The Brooklyn version had a bright cloud of white foam on top. The Bronx, while not the color of mud, was the color of the drink, which was darker and didn’t look quite so special.

See for yourself.

Junior’s Egg Creams

Chocolate Egg Cream:
1/4 cup Fox’s u-bet or other top-quality chocolate syrup
1/2 cup icy-cold whole milk
3/4 to 1 cup icy-cold sparkling seltzer (fresh and bubbly!)

Pour the syrup into a tall 16-ounce glass.

Pour in the milk, but don’t stir.

Quickly pour in the seltzer over the back of a long-handled spoon, letting it bubble and bounce off the spoon. Keep pouring and stirring vigorously until a thick white foam rises to the top. Serve immediately before the foam starts to settle and disappear.

Makes 1 egg cream.

Coffee Egg Cream: For each egg cream, you need 1/4 cup Fox’s u-bet coffee syrup, 1/3 cup icy-cold whole milk, and 3/4 to 1 cup icy-cold seltzer.

Strawberry Egg Cream: For each egg cream, you need: 1/4 cup Fox’s u-bet strawberry syrup, 1/3 cup icy-cold whole milk, and 3/4 to 1 cup icy-cold seltzer.

Vanilla Egg Cream: For each egg cream, you need: 1/4 cup Fox’s u-bet  vanilla syrup, 1/3 cup icy-cold whole milk, and 3/4 to 1 cup icy-cold seltzer.

From “Junior’s Dessert Cookbook” by Alan Rosen and Beth Allen

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2 Responses to “Griffin to Go: Falling in Love with Egg Creams”

  1. Marcia Larsen says:

    Wow ! Thanks for the trip down memory lane. It was a very big deal when I was 9 or 10 to walk the 4 blocks to the fountain for a chocolate egg cream. I have since made some with lots of flavors (but no u-bet) without a recipe.Can’t wait to try one made properly. Marcie

    • John Griffin says:

      I’m going to another version today made with extract or flavoring (haven’t decided between coconut and strawberry yet) instead of syrup to avoid the sugar. Hope it turns out.