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.




Caramel Hot Chocolate

Yield: 2 Servings (recipe can easily be doubled)


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


  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

I love the snowflakes that shine like diamonds.




  • Kate: This looks so delicious, love the glass mug as well.
    The snowflake pictures are truly wonderful, as well xx January 24, 2013 at 1:31pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much Kate! I love clear glass mugs because then you can actually see whats inside =). January 25, 2013 at 10:59am Reply

  • Sarah: Oh my goodness, this looks AMAZING! And your pictures are gorgeous as always! January 24, 2013 at 2:29pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much Sarah, I always love your blog! Thanks for stopping by! January 25, 2013 at 11:08am Reply

  • Jackie: Oh, those snowflakes are gorgeous! And I loved your story. I wish I had a snow throne right now! I am never around snow, but when I am, I just end up running back indoors. (I don’t do well in the cold, even though I get so excited about snow.)

    I also like how you put in the set picture. It’s always great to see what happens “backstage.” :) January 24, 2013 at 2:49pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: It’s funny isn’t it to really see the behind the scenes set, it looks all pretty sitting there with just a snowy background then you see that I took the photo on the ground on my cement porch which was only halfway covered in snow =). Thanks for your nice compliment! January 25, 2013 at 11:10am Reply

  • Natasha of I love that you put the hot chocolate in the snow. It seriously looks amazingly good. I think I’ll brew myself a cup of hot chocolate asap. Thank you!! January 24, 2013 at 3:05pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Natasha for stopping by =). I always love your blog everything looks amazing! January 25, 2013 at 10:57am Reply

  • Yammie @ Yammie’s Noshery: Yum!!!! Awesome pictures! Btw, I was just wondering… what camera do you use?? January 24, 2013 at 3:51pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Hey Yammie! Thanks! I use a canon rebel xsi, but this year I’m really trying to talk myself into the canon 5d mark II with a 24-70 mm lens. It’s an investment but it may just be worth it. The one I have now gets the job done but it’s that annoying thing thing where you want more than what you have =). I just love the photos of Helene Dujardin (tartlette) and that’s what she uses – the 5d. January 25, 2013 at 11:48am Reply

      • Yammie @ Yammie’s Noshery: Oh yeah! I love her photos!! I’m in Nikon world at the moment so I’m thinking more of the D800 someday. :) January 26, 2013 at 8:33am Reply

  • Trish: Hi, Jaclyn, I just wanted to say hello and tell you that those snowflakes are beautiful!! They are so pretty I’m going o save them on my computer, thanks for sharing! January 24, 2013 at 4:44pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Trish – I’m so glad you think so =)! It’s so cool to see what snowflakes really look like up close. Thanks for your comment! January 25, 2013 at 10:56am Reply

  • Debs @ The Spanish Wok: OMG I could just do with this right now. Rather indulgent but who cares when it’s cold outside and being the weekend nearly, this would be comfort drinking at it’s best, must just make myself a Spanish (La Mumba) version this weekend. Thanks for sharing.

    Love the pics too, very pretty. January 25, 2013 at 4:51am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much Debs! January 28, 2013 at 1:10pm Reply

  • Kari@Loaves n Dishes: When I was a kid in northern Canada, I made entire suites of snow furniture in the backyard; we’re so much more easily amused when we’re young. I would have loved a cup of this rich hot chocolate to warm me up when I came in from playing. The snow flake photos are amazingly beautiful! January 25, 2013 at 3:04pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Kari for your sweet compliment! January 28, 2013 at 1:13pm Reply

  • Tasha Zee: Beautiful pictures… really truly amazing! January 25, 2013 at 7:48pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much Tasha Zee! January 25, 2013 at 9:43pm Reply

  • Shawn @ I Wash…You Dry: I never knew the difference either! Good to know, and hello! Gorgeous photography as always. Those snowflakes are stunning! January 26, 2013 at 6:22pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much Shawn, that’s so nice of you to say =)! January 28, 2013 at 1:19pm Reply

  • angela @ another bite please: oh my gosh jaclyn what a beautiful post…. the “set” i love…the hot chocolate looks all cuddled up cozy in the snow…and you poor dear doing it in the freezing cold you ARE an amazing food blogger to which I would call you a pro. your photos are always amazing! January 28, 2013 at 5:35am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Angela you are so sweet, as always! Thank you so much, that really is such an amazing compliment to be given =). It would have been cool if I could have captured some steam in the pic as well but I had to let the hot chocolate cool just a bit before putting it in the snow or I would have ended up with just a pool around it haha, but it was fun to change things up. Thanks again for your kind comment, I always love reading the comments you leave! January 30, 2013 at 1:10pm Reply

  • Michelle P.: This looks just amazing. I’m definitely hoping to make this soon! Your pics make this look so good! January 28, 2013 at 9:13pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Michelle =)! January 29, 2013 at 10:21am Reply

  • Bonita: Just letting you know that I linked to this post on my page about Gourmet Hot Chocolate Recipes: February 13, 2013 at 8:38pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for including my recipe Bonita! February 16, 2013 at 12:11am Reply

  • Nansy: I made this today and I already want another :) There is just something about making it at home that tastes a little better than fishing out $3-4 for one at a coffee shop. Thanks Jaclyn! November 17, 2013 at 7:40pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: You’re welcome Nansy! So glad you liked it! November 17, 2013 at 9:27pm Reply

  • Yariene: Hi Jaclyn! I was wondering if the name of the Ghirardelli chocolate chips was 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips. Also if I can’t find Ghirardelli, what other chocolate do you recommend? November 28, 2013 at 6:47am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes those are the right ones. If you can’t find those I’d recommend Guittard Extra Dark Chocolate Chips or any other bittersweet chocolate chips should work fine or the bittersweet baking chocolate that comes in the flat rectangles would work great (just chop it first. Those are usually right by the chocolate chips in the grocery store). Hope that helps! November 28, 2013 at 7:08am Reply

      • Yariene: Thank you for answering so fast. I’ll let you know how it went making the Caramel Hot Chocolate. Congratulations on your blog, the food looks amazing and it is clear that you are very passionate about it. November 28, 2013 at 9:15am Reply

  • Luli: I was going to go to Starbucks for hot chocolate with a pump of caramel, but then I decided to give it a go myself because of how cold it is outside. I came across your recipe and it’s PERFECT, I’m loving my hot chocolate, thank you so much! I poured it in my favourite mug and it’s definitely making my day off work amazing.

    Here’s a picture I posted on Twitter if you’d like to see! April 14, 2014 at 1:00pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked this Luli! May 6, 2014 at 6:26pm 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

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

  • 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

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