Monday, November 14, 2011

Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa

Ever since I visited Ghirardelli Square last weekend, I've been on a hot cocoa kick. Not just any hot cocoa, but rather a Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa. That's what I ordered when I was at Ghirardelli Cafe in San Francisco and I haven't been able to get enough these days. I figured it would be easy enough to recreate this version of hot cocoa and it was. It was really easy... but more importantly, it was all about the technique. To get the perfect balance of caramel and chocolate goodness in every cup, you need to introduce each ingredient in a very special way...

This isn't your regular hot cocoa folks. This is a salted caramel hot cocoa. That means a lot of sweet love is going into each mug so it's something to savor and sip. And with each sip, you'll get a perfectly balanced taste of buttery caramel with a hint of salt and rich chocolate topped with fluffy whipped cream. Each mug of this decadent hot cocoa is coated in a caramel sauce. Next, Dutch processed cocoa and sugar are dissolved in a little warm milk to create a little paste. This sweet chocolate 'paste' makes it easier to incorporate the warmed milk that will turn itself in the hot cocoa you've been waiting for. As the warmed milk incorporates with the sweet chocolate paste, the caramel coated sides of the mug begin to melt and give off the buttery caramel flavor. That is what makes this cocoa so balanced. So skip the trip to the local café and make this at home. I'm already on my 2nd mug and you've got to catch up with me!

Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa
recipe adapted from Sweet & Savory Life

3 tablespoons Caramel ice cream topping (I like Mrs. Robinson's Caramel Butterscotch sauce)
1 heaping tablespoons Dutch processed cocoa
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup of milk (your choice)
Canned Whipped Cream
Pinch of Medium Coarse Sea Salt

Heat milk in the microwave or in a small saucepan until warmed but not boiling.

Meanwhile, pour 2 tablespoons of caramel syrup into a mug so the inside of the mug is coated well. 

Add Dutch cocoa, sugar and 2 tablespoons of warmed milk to the bottom of the mug and stir to dissolve completely.

Pour in the warmed milk into the mug and stir to combine.

Garnish with whipped cream and drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon caramel. Sprinkle sea salt over the top and serve.