Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate


Have you ever wondered, why do we call it hot cocoa half of the time and hot chocolate the other half of the time? The answer is very simple really and makes complete sense. Hot cocoa is made from cocoa powder, therefor it doesn’t have the cocoa butter in it and hot chocolate is made from chocolate (which contains both the cocoa and cocoa butter).  It seems pretty obvious and I had never really thought about why there are two names, until I went to post this recipe and was wondering what to call it.

caramel hot chocolate

You may have noticed my set today is dun duh duh dah – snow! Yes, lovely, lacy, glittery, perfectly bright and gorgeously white – bitter cold snow. There is actually a story behind it. Not that you care, but I just love the memories so I have to share. When I was young my siblings and I would go out to play in the snow and I got this grand idea once to build giant chairs out of snow, as large our little legs could roll and push a giant snowball. Yeah they’d get pretty heavy, it would probably be such a funny thing to watch us little kids trying to do. Anyways, we’d get our “thrones” as big as we could, then build a step in front so we could climb to the top of it (but it’s not like it was large enough we actually needed the step =), then we would build a backrest and arm rests on each side (snow is pretty mold-able under the proper conditions, on powdery snow days we’d never be able to do it). After our hard work was complete, I climbed onto my chair and about then I’d realize how cold I was (because when you have work to do it’s easy to forget such things), and I decided I needed a cup of hot cocoa to drink while sitting in my throne. So, I shaped a little cup holder into one of the arm rests, ran inside and prepared my hot cocoa then returned to my prized piece of art. I’d sit in my chair, until my butt started to go numb from being so cold from the chair – that was essentially made of ice ( which only took a few minutes ha ha) sipping my warm cup of cocoa. It was so much fun.

As you see because of that I will always love hot cocoa and not just because of it’s silky smooth, warm chocolaty decadence. Now if I would have had this caramel hot chocolate back then I really would have felt like royalty in my throne =). I had some caramel sauce waiting for a good use in my fridge and I thought seeing as it’s been negative degree weather it was the perfect time for hot cocoa. This hot chocolate is blissful to say the least. I will say, yes you could use store bought caramel sauce but it won’t be near as good as what you get with the homemade caramel sauce. It’s worth the little bit of extra effort. If you want a salted caramel version, simply sprinkle some Maldon sea salt flakes over the top. This recipe really is very versatile and can be prepared to suite your personal taste. You can add in more chocolate, use more caramel sauce, you could use semi-sweet chocolate chips or even cocoa powder and sugar. I think it would also be delicious with dulce de leche in place of the caramel. How ever you make it, don’t forget to drizzle the top generously with caramel, it’s the best part – when you get a sip of half hot chocolate, half caramel drizzled whipped cream or marshmallows. MMMMM. Enjoy!


caramel hot cocoa2

caramel hot cocoa3

I don’t usually show the set (and don’t you love how I call it a “set” like I’m some pro photographer – I wish =), but this my view, peering out the window after I nearly froze my hands off getting the above pics. I came inside and ran my hands under warm water, the sting ahhh. Then I walked back over to the porch and peered out at the gorgeous little beauty awaiting and decided it was worth going back out for =).

hot cocoa set

I know this is turning into a seriously lengthy post, but I’ve been waiting for a great fit for my snowflake photos. Around Christmas time we had the most gorgeous snowflake storm I’ve ever seen. The snowflakes were visible to the naked eye. I spent about 2 hours taking pictures of snowflakes. They were stunning to say the least. I wish I would have had a ridiculously expensive camera along with a macro lens that captures perfect detail. Rather I own a Canon rebel,  a 50mm macro lens and I don’t even own a tripod. For close ups like this, it would be nice so I’m not sitting their holding my breath trying not to shake my camera. The second was my favorite photo. I call it the mother snowflake. I wanted to call it such because it was like a mother snowflake, if you look closely their is a small snowflake safely resting upon it. Snowflakes truly are a gorgeous.



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Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

The perfect winter treat! The rich flavor of chocolate meet the sweet and salty flavors of salted caramel for one unforgettable and comforting drink.

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Hot Chocolate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 2 people
Author: Jaclyn


  • 2 cups milk , preferably whole
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (I recommend Ghirardelli)*
  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce , recipe link follows
  • Sweetened whipped cream or vanilla marshmallows
  • Grated chocolate for garnish , optional
  • Caramel Sauce , recipe below


  1. Prepare caramel sauce according to directions listed and allow to cool slightly. Heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once milk is warm, stir in chocolate chips and caramel, and cook whisking constantly until chocolate has melted. Allow to cool slightly and serve warm topped, topped with sweetened whipped cream or miniature marshmallows, drizzle each serving with 1 Tbsp caramel sauce and garnish with grated chocolate if desired.
  2. *For a richer hot chocolate, you can use up to 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips and mix in more caramel sauce as well if desired.
  3. Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

Recipe Notes

Caramel sauce recipe and step by step tutorial HERE (just leave the salt out if you don't want salted)


  • Stefani: I’d love to try this recipe, but the hyperlink doesn’t seem to be working from this end to get the caramel sauce recipe (sad day!) I also tried searching your site but can’t seem to find it ???? would you please direct me to it? Appreciate it! Beautiful pictures by the way! June 24, 2018 at 6:51am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for letting me know! Have updated that now. :) June 29, 2018 at 11:50am Reply

  • Janie: First time on your site. Lovely! I could not access the caramel sauce for the hot chocolate recipe. Could you please send the link or recipe? Thanks, Janie November 10, 2017 at 11:35am Reply

  • Melanie Smith: Omg, your photographs of the snow flakes are AMAZING!!!! I love snow flakes just not the cold…I would make enlargements of your photos and frame them, they deserve to be seen!!!! I wish I had some photographs like those, thats what I would do!! Your site is wonderful, thank-you for all the great recipes!!!! Keep up the great work… October 26, 2016 at 7:24am Reply

    • Jaclyn: That’s sweet of you to say Melanie – thanks so much! October 26, 2016 at 1:42pm Reply

  • Christmas Drinks – Rioma: […] Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate | Cookingclassy […] December 20, 2014 at 11:13pm Reply

  • Emilly: ooommmgggg!!! This is by far the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had!!! I made this for me and my girls on a girls night and they fell in loveee! Thank you for sharing your resipe <3 October 24, 2014 at 11:34am Reply

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