Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Recipe - Easy Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

Ok, buckle up. This one is going to knock you right out of your seat! After that strawberry hot chocolate just didn't turn out to be good, I felt like I should make amends for it. And believe me, this more than makes up for it!

Salted caramel has been growing in popularity for the past few years. Even without the salt, this recipe is mind blowing! It's also one of the easiest. It came from a great recipe book I have, Hot Chocolate by Fred Thompson. The version in the book does not include the salt, however.

The easiest thing about this amazing recipe is that we don't have to make the caramel or figure out what kind of chocolate to use. Ghirardelli has done that for us! They make a huge variety of single portion chocolate squares. They're meant for snacking, but wow, do they make a good hot chocolate!


6 squares of Ghirardelli Milk & Caramel
1 cup half & half
1/4 tsp salt

Pretty easy list! You should be able to find Ghirardelli squares at almost any grocery store or drugstore.

Unwrap them and cut them all up. As always, the smaller the pieces, the faster and easier it melts. It's a little messier than our usual chocolate chopping, thanks to the gooey caramel inside.

Instead of milk, we're using half and half. Half and half is 50% milk, 50% cream. It's thicker than milk, obviously, and definitely creates a much more textured and creamy hot chocolate.

Heat up the half and half in a saucepan. Don't boil it, and keep stirring so it doesn't scald. Once you think it may be just about to boil, add in the chocolate squares. Again, because of all that caramel, it's going to be a little bit messier while you whisk it together, but eventually it all melts smoothly. 

If you decide you like caramel just fine on its own without the salt, then you are done. Grab a mug and pour!

If you're going all the way, turn off the heat and add in the salt. Once you have stirred the salt in and given it a minute or so to dissolve, taste it. 

Not salty enough? Add a little more. Too strong? Add a little more half and half.

I topped mine with a bit of homemade whipped cream and a drizzle of store-bought caramel sauce, which I found in the ice cream section of my local grocery store.

See?! Incredible, isn't it? I just had one of these, and now, looking at these pictures again as I write this, I want another. Insanely sweet and chocolaty, with the caramel and salt playing off each other just perfectly, it really is one of the best hot chocolates you can make.

I'd love to do another in the future, using homemade caramel and a great artisan dark chocolate.

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