A cup of heart-warming Caramel Hot Chocolate will make you forget winter exists. Almost.
I’m so sick of winter, probably as much as you are tired of hearing everyone complain about the weather on Facebook, Twitter, and other blogs you may read, but seriously – not one but TWO polar vortexes are enough for me to wish winter away. Last week my car decided to shut off while sitting at the red light for no reason. I’ve had several knowledgeable guys look at it, but nobody can figure out why. I think my poor car just wants to thaw in a garage for 24 hours. I will say one of the best decisions I’ve made since moving here was living on the same side of the mountain as where I work. Even though there’s less civilization and the major stores are roughly 40 minutes away, I drive to work five times a week where as I may travel over the mountain every other weekend. Mountains are scary in inclement weather. One time I was driving back to work from our Maryland office (which is on the other side of the mountain), I GOT STUCK. When I realized I wasn’t making it back to work, I turned around and sat in a parking lot for about a half hour until I tried again. I couldn’t even go home.
With winter I need comfort. Hot soul-warming drink kind of comfort. Caramel Hot Chocolate kind of comfort. Whether you are trying to warm up after shoveling four inches of snow or cuddled up on the couch for the night, you need this drink in your hands. No argument.
The idea came from the caramel hot chocolate drink at Starbucks. This recipe isn’t quite the copycat, but I bet it’s pretty darn close. Use the best quality cocoa powder you have as it really does make a difference. It’s also very quick to throw together, assuming you already have caramel sauce in the fridge (homemade recipe found here).
- 2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup Dutch cocoa powder (see note)
- 1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup caramel sauce (homemade or store bought)
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- Caramel sauce, for drizzling
- In a medium saucepan, heat the milk until hot but not boiling (you’ll start to see steam). Whisk in the cocoa, 1/4 cup sugar, and caramel until smooth. Turn off the heat. Pour into two mugs.
- In a cold medium bowl, beat the cream until it starts to thicken. Gradually beat in the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form (when you pull the beaters straight up, peaks form without falling over). Pipe on top of hot chocolate then drizzle for caramel sauce.
Dutch process cocoa is highly recommended because it adds a little more depth to the drink. However, you can substitute natural cocoa in a pinch.
WHAT YOU’LL DO TO MAKE HOT CHOCOLATE MIX:
Start with a clean glass jar. Carefully layer the ingredients in the following order:
- Powdered creamer
- Cocoa powder
- Powdered milk
- Powdered sugar
- Chocolate chips
- Crushed peppermints
Customize your hot chocolate mix with ribbon and an instruction label. Download the label we made.
Remove marshmallows and set them aside. Use a spoon to mix the remaining ingredients.
Fill a mug with 1 cup of boiling water or milk. Add ½ cup of the mix to the boiling water. Stir. Top with marshmallows and enjoy! (Save the rest of the mix for later, or share it with your friends!)
What other awesome homemade gifts do you like to whip up for your family and friends? Drop us a comment below!
- Homemade Gifts
How to Make Unicorn Hot Chocolate
- Place the white chocolate chips, half-and-half, milk, and vanilla in a medium-sized sauce pan.
- Heat over medium heat, whisking continuously until hot (do NOT boil).
- Whisk in food coloring until you get your desired color.
- Add to individual mugs and top with whipped cream and sprinkles.