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Thick Hot Chocolate with Salted-Caramel Whipped Cream
Hot Chocolate with Salted-Caramel Whipped Cream Erin McDowell

You deserve a treat. Go ahead and splurge on hot chocolate so good, you’ll forget that packaged stuff even exists. (Feeling extra saucy? Add a shot of espresso or a splash of coffee liqueur. It only takes a minute, and the results are oh so indulgent.)

RELATED: How to Make Red Wine Hot Chocolate

Makes 6 servings
Start to Finish: 30 minutes


Salted Caramel Sauce

1 cup sugar

¼ cup water

6 tablespoons butter, cubed and at room temperature

½ cup heavy cream, at room temperature

½ teaspoon fleur de sel sea salt (sold in gourmet and specialty groceries)

Hot Chocolate

1½ cups whole milk

¼ cup heavy cream

¾ cup bittersweet chocolate chips

½ cup milk chocolate chips

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Salted-Caramel Whipped Cream

½ cup heavy cream

¼ cup Salted Caramel Sauce


1. Make the caramel sauce: In a small pot, stir the sugar with the water over medium heat. Continue to stir until the mixture comes to a boil, then stop stirring. Cook until the sugar is amber in color and reads 240° on a candy thermometer.

2. Remove the pot from the heat, and stir in the butter and cream. Be careful: The mixture will bubble and steam vigorously. Season the caramel with the fleur de sel, then carefully pour the caramel into a glass jar. Let cool to room temperature.

3. Make the hot chocolate: In a medium pot set over medium heat, bring the milk and cream to a simmer. Meanwhile, place the chocolate chips and vanilla in a large, heat-safe bowl. Pour the warm milk mixture over the chocolate and stir until smooth.

4. Make the whipped cream: In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the cream until it holds soft peaks (the cream comes to a point on the whisk but falls over when you lift it out of the bowl). Add the caramel and whip until combined.

5. Pour the hot chocolate into mugs and top with dollops of whipped cream. If desired, drizzle with additional salted caramel sauce. Serve immediately.

Finishing Touches

It's the details that count! Try these tips

  • Try spooning ¼ teaspoon cinnamon into the bottom of your mug for a boost of flavor and aroma.

  • This salted caramel is the perfect hostess gift--the kind of thing that gets you invited back again next year. Jar it up, add a ribbon and get ready for swoons.

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