Cold Chocolate Cravings

Salted caramel is all the rage these days, showing up on dessert menus and in drinks everywhere. A friend was recently excited to see salted caramel hot chocolate on the menu at Starbucks. Unfortunately, they made him a salted caramel mocha instead and he doesn’t like coffee. Frustrated and disappointment caused by the mistaken order stayed with me.

Months later, on a frigid night at home, I wanted a drink to warm me besides tea and remembered the salted caramel hot chocolate. How hard could it be to make? Caramel is just cooked sugar and I keep cocoa and powdered milk on hand for just such an emergency. (Yes, chocolate cravings constitute an emergency!)

caramel hot chocolate

the caramel solidified and the cocoa didn’t break up but it still tasted like heaven!

The good news is if you have the attention span to make caramel it’s easy! Although I didn’t have the patience to properly sift the cocoa and powdered milk so it had chunks of powdery magma but it certainly tasted good! I also added the bonus of some spices that are commonly used in Mexican or “Ancient” hot chocolate, my favorite flavor of the drink. All that was missing was marshmallows!

Ancient Caramel Hot Chocolate

inspired by a drink at Starbucks

  • ¼ c sugar
  • 2 T water
  • dash salt
  • 2 T cocoa powder
  • 2T powdered milk
  • 1 c water
  • dash cinnamon
  • dash chili powder
  1. Heat the sugar in a pan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Stir the sugar constantly once it is dissolved until it turns a caramel color.
  3. Just before the sugar burns, add 2 T water and stir.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in a dash of salt.
  5. Combine the cocoa powder and powdered milk.
  6. Mix 1 c water into the powder mix.
  7. Stir the caramel mixture into the hot chocolate mix.
  8. Mix in the cinnamon and chili powder.
  9. Garnish with a dash of salt and any other favorite hot chocolate toppings!

Notes and Variations

The really easy way to do this: have a jar of caramel handy, stir in some salt, add to hot chocolate. Making the caramel was definitely the hardest part. I wound up making a caramel hard candy which was kind of fun to dip in the hot chocolate and eat like a lollipop. My goal for next time is to get a proper caramel sauce made, then mix it into the hot chocolate.

The spices are my personal favorite. I love a rich, dark hot chocolate with a bite of spice at the end of it. I’m sure this would taste good with whatever your favorite hot chocolate flavor is. A few drops of almond extract? Mint syrup? Some alcohol? Whatever suits your fancy!

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