hot chocolate with salted caramel

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I suppose I should start this quick post (which is actually more of an idea than a recipe) with a few facts.

Fact #1: One of my favorite holiday drinks at Starbucks is the Salted Caramel Mocha.

Fact #2: I have a small jar of salted caramel leftover in the fridge from my apple tart a couple of weeks ago.

Fact #3: Due to the chillier-than-usual weather this month, my favorite afternoon snack has been a nice warming cup of hot chocolate, topped with fresh, lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Now that you know the facts, here’s the story:

A couple of days ago, as my pot of hot chocolate steamed away on the stove, I reached into the fridge for the heavy cream. That’s when it caught my eye- that poor little neglected jar of salted caramel, sitting on the top shelf of the fridge, slightly above eye level.

It made me think of the Salted Caramel Mocha I’d recently had at Starbucks, so I gave it a short zap in the microwave and drizzled it over my whipped cream… now I’m going to be sad when the jar is used up!

I’m sure you don’t need a recipe for hot chocolate, but I’ll give you the one I use anyway :) It’s just a slight variation of the recipe found on Hershey’s Cocoa Powder packages.

 
⅓ cup sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
⅓ cup hot water

4 cups unsweetened almond milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

For the whipped cream:

About ½ cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

 
Whisk the sugar, cocoa, and salt together in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the hot water and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then whisk in the almond milk. Heat the milk until it’s almost boiling, but not.

While the milk heats, whip the cream and sugar.

Pour the chocolate into a mug, top with a dollop of whipped cream, and drizzle with salted caramel. Cozy up with a book (or a MacBook ;)) and enjoy!

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