Homemade salted caramel hot chocolate that rivals the coffee chain version. It’s rich and smooth and, if made with almond milk or a similar milk substitute, it comes in at under 200 calories.
I’m not a coffee drinker, but that doesn’t mean I don’t lament the fact that the nearest Starbucks is 80 miles away. EIGHTY. MILES. This is The South, y’all, and we don’t value our heated caffeine like our Northwest-living counterparts. I don’t even know how for I’d have to go to find the nearest drive-through coffee stand, but it’s far.
The reason I feel the need to whine about my lack of access to a beverage that I don’t even consume? Hot chocolate. Even though I’m not interested in coffee, sometimes I’d give my firstborn- most days, really, I’d probably get more for the second one- for a cup of hot, rich, decadent cocoa.
Don’t even get me started on the powdered packet stuff. Guck. I’ve tried a few homemade recipes, but it seemed like the ones that boasted richness called for melted chocolate and specialty syrups. No thanks. Others claimed to be a substitute for the coffeehouse version, but ended up weak, watery, or bitter.
Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
recipe adapted from Chef in Training
1 1/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons caramel syrup (I use the Hershey’s kind in the bottle; feel free to get fancy)
dash of salt
Whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan. Add the milk and caramel syrup and turn the burner on to medium heat. Whisk constantly for 3-5 minutes, or until mixture is hot.
I think it’s lovely served on it’s own, but you could add whipped cream, marshmallows or a drizzle of caramel and a sprinkle of kosher salt.
The cocoa powder tends to clump. I’ve found the best way to keep my drink smooth is to sift the sugar, salt, and cocoa powder through a fine mesh sieve straight over the saucepan, then stir vigorously during the heating process. The alternative would be to simply strain the heated cocoa into a mug so the strainer catches the clumps. Both steps are optional but might result in smoother hot chocolate.
I make this with skim milk. You can use whatever you have on hand. I’ve made it several times with almond milk, which makes the whole recipe just under 200 calories, but it does slightly alter the taste.
Can’t get enough copycat restaurant recipes? Try these Frosted Cranberry White Chocolate Cookie Bars that are even better Starbuck’s cranberry bliss bars.
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