What was your reaction when you read the words chocolate gravy? If it was, "Ohmygawd, YES!!!", I'm guessing you're from the South. If it was, "Whaaaa?", then you're probably from north of the Mason-Dixon line, at least in a cultural sense. If you're in the perplexed group, let me enlighten you.
My husband's family is mostly from Oklahoma originally, and then eventually settled in Arkansas. They have taught me some interesting things about food with a Southern influence--some of which I've liked (like this chocolate gravy), and some I didn't care for (like hominy casserole and pickled okra). Luckily, my father-in-law keeps plenty of good Scotch around to wash down the stuff I don't like.
When we would all meet up in Arkansas near my in-law's house, sometimes Marc and I and my sister-in-law's family would go out for breakfast at a little diner right by Bull Shoals Lake called Connie's. This was always a really special treat. On one particular trip to Connie's my sister-in-law, Leah, ordered chocolate gravy, and I almost gagged when the words came out of her mouth. The only gravy I had ever eaten at breakfast was sausage gravy, and when my brain tried to imagine chocolate gravy, I envisioned some kind of horrible half sweet, half savory abomination of chocolate and sausage together. She quickly corrected me and said, "it's like eating warm chocolate pudding for breakfast." Turns out, eating warm chocolate pudding for breakfast is a-ok with me. Thank goodness Leah was there to school me. And thank goodness not all Southern food tastes like pickled okra.
3/4 cups sugar
1/3 cups cocoa (I highly recommend Dutch-processed cocoa; I like Penzey's brand)
3 Tbs. flour
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) butter
2 cups milk (whole milk is best)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Whisk the sugar, cocoa and flour together in a bowl and set aside. Melt the butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the cocoa mixture to the skillet and stir until well mixed with the melted butter. Cook for a minute or so to let the cocoa bloom. Slowly whisk in the milk and turn up the heat. Cook, stirring or whisking constantly, until thickened. Off heat, stir in the vanilla and salt. Serve warm over biscuits.