November 26, 2020
All the flavors of chocolate, buttery caramel, vanilla, and frothy milk make this caramel hot cocoa an unforgettable treat.
Topped with whipped cream and extra homemade caramel drizzle, you’ll be warm and cozy in no time.
There’s nothing wrong with going to the local coffee shop or drive-thru for a caramel-chocolatey drink topped with whipped cream and all the fixings, but this homemade recipe is perfect for those cold days when you want to stay home.
It’s also a lighter option that tastes just as indulgent thanks to my homemade caramel sauce and hot cocoa recipe.
We often use hot chocolate and hot cocoa interchangeably, but the two are different. Instead of melting chocolate and milk, hot cocoa is made with cocoa powder for a light consistency and flavor. I like using hot cocoa for this recipe because it works well with the caramel’s richness.
The final result is a dreamy hot beverage that’s not too overpowering, with room for delicious hot chocolate toppings like whipped cream and marshmallows.
How to Make Caramel Hot Cocoa
Making caramel hot cocoa is no different from regular hot cocoa. All you need are a medium saucepan, whisk, and the step-by-step directions below:
Combine the cocoa powder, sugar, water, and salt in a medium saucepan, over medium heat. Bring to a simmer while constantly stirring until smooth.
Reduce the heat, and stir in the milk and caramel. Continue to whisk and make sure the mixture doesn’t boil.
Once the caramel dissolves into the hot cocoa, remove from heat and serve.
Best Caramel Sauce for Hot Chocolate and Cocoa
When it comes to the best caramel sauce for hot chocolate and cocoa, I’ve got to mention my dairy-free caramel sauce. It’s is velvety smooth, and buttery sweet but made with no milk, cream, or butter. Instead, the silky consistency and golden color come from coconut cream, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.
With an ingredient list like that, it made it into my Clean Treats Cookbook along with other recipes for baked goods, chocolate recipes, ice cream, and everything in between- all of them made without refined sugars, flour, or dairy. But the caramel is essential, and I find this version is even tastier than the classic recipe.
It’s a cinch to whip up on the stove-top, but if you don’t have the time or ingredients available, regular storebought caramel will do the trick.
Topping Caramel Hot Cocoa
To make any cup of hot cocoa complete, we need toppings like:
- whipped cream
- extra caramel drizzle
- shaved chocolate
- coarse sea salt (for some salted caramel action)
Caramel Hot Cocoa
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup hot water
- ⅓ teaspoon salt
- 4 cups milk, dairy or non-dairy
- 3 tablespoons caramel sauce
- In a medium saucepan, combine the cocoa powder, sugar, water, and salt over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly until smooth, and bring mixture to a simmer.
- Reduce heat, and stir in the milk and caramel. Continue to whisk to dissolve the caramel sauce but do not boil.
- Once the caramel has incorporated itself into the hot cocoa, turn off the heat and serve immediately.