I was introduced to this salted caramel hot chocolate recipe a few months ago when a few friends and I shared a cup at a local chocolate cafe. I remember feeling a little lightheaded when the hot, creamy drink nuzzled its way up to my taste buds; its velvety texture and sweetly salty seduction were almost more than I could take. After the head rush faded away, I’m pretty sure I exclaimed, “This hot cocoa is better than sex!”
Ok, maybe not really, but it was right up there. I’m a huge sucker for hot cocoa, even since I spent a few months running around Europe. I don’t drink coffee because I’m already a default spaz, so whenever I went to a cafe and wanted something warm to drink, I opted for the whatever hot chocolate they had on hand. Each country had its own special style of serving hot chocolate: Italy’s was super thick, almost like pudding, while France’s was thinner and made for sipping more quickly. The UK’s hot cocoa was pretty much like the packet stuff you find here in the states. As you can imagine, it wasn’t my favorite.
Based on that afternoon, Casey over at Good. Food. Stories. developed her own insanely decadent salted caramel hot chocolate recipe using a dry caramel method. Sadly, dry caramel is my mortal enemy, so my version combines the milk and sugar before cooking. You’ll find this recipe rich and thick despite the fact that I use cocoa powder for the hot chocolate – I made a batch with chopped chocolate and it my head nearly exploded, so I’m sticking with the powdered stuff.
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 cups 2% milk, divided
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- Whipped cream for topping
- Shaved semisweet chocolate for topping
- In a heavy, high-sided saucepan, combine heavy cream, 1 cup of milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Set over medium heat and cook until caramel reaches 230°, stirring constantly to keep it from bubbling over. Once the caramel has reached the right temperature, remove from heat and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the remaining 3 cups of milk until it reaches 180°, or when it starts to steam and bubble around the edges. Do not scald or boil the milk, as this will change the flavor. Once the milk is at temperature, turn the heat to low. Slowly pour the cocoa powder into the milk, whipping enthusiastically with a wire whisk. Keep whisking until all cocoa is dissolved.
- While still whisking quickly, drizzle the caramel into the cocoa in a slow, steady stream. Continue beating until well mixed. Ladle into small mugs and serve with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of shaved chocolate.
If you like this salted caramel hot chocolate, check out these others: