Hot Caramel Cocoa

Nothing beats sitting down in the middle of a crazy afternoon, taking a minute for yourself and enjoying something warm to drink.  Or after a long day at work, dinner is made, the dishes are done, and the kids are in bed, curling up on the couch with a good book and snuggling up with a warm nightcap.

This is a ritual of mine every night.  After the twins are tucked in to bed, I spend some time with my husband.  He usually retreats to bed well before I do.  After I finish my chores for the day, I look forward to sitting on the couch and making a cup of tea.  I often drink a chai tea at night or in the chilly winter months a hot cup of cocoa can ease the winter blues.
 
I was looking forward to experimenting with a variety of caramel recipes.  One of them I shared a few weeks ago, Oven Baked Caramel Popcorn.  I was interested in making some caramel apples for Mr. Mother Thyme’s birthday soiree that I have talked about a few times. I made these for little goodies guests could take home.  I had them wrapped in little bags, making them cute favors after a fun evening.   I made the caramel from scratch but had a few caramel candies on hand in case I needed a back up.  Fortunately the back up didn’t have to come in play but I had these caramels that needed to be used which made me think of creating this Hot Caramel Cocoa.

I experimented with this recipe two ways, one using caramel candies on hand, the other making caramel.  Both ways are delightful, but I prefer making the caramel from scratch, and honestly it doesn’t take that much more time to do it that way.  I actually thought preparing it from scratch versus unwrapping a bunch of caramel candies and melting them was easier.
 
Below I will share both versions, but the outcome either way is fantastic!  If you are a caramel lover, you will be in bliss when enjoying a hot cup of this on a cold winters day.

Hot Caramel Cocoa

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • 2 cups milk

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan combine butter, sugar and corn syrup of medium heat, stirring occasionally as butter melts.
  2. Bring to a boil and stir continuously for about 3-4 minutes until color is golden brown.
  3. Reduce heat to low and gradually add in milk stirring after each addition.
  4. Continue until all milk is added then stir in cocoa.
  5. Bring heat back up to medium until heated to desired temperature, stirring occasionally.
  6. Carefully pour in to serving mugs. Garnish with marshmallows, whip cream, chocolate shavings or drizzle with caramel.
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Hot Caramel Cocoa (using caramel candies)

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 20 caramel candies, unwrapped
  • 2 cups milk

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan combine cocoa, sugar and water over medium heat until sugar and cocoa is dissolved. Reduce heat to low.
  2. Place caramel candies in microwave safe bowl and cook on 50% power for 1 minute until caramel is smooth and melted. Pour in to cocoa mixture and stir until smooth.
  3. Gradually add in milk, stirring after each addition until all milk is added.
  4. Bring heat back up to medium until heated to desired temperature, stirring occasionally.
  5. Carefully pour in to serving mugs. Garnish with marshmallows, whip cream, chocolate shavings or drizzle with caramel.

Notes and Tips- You can make this the day before and store it in a Quart size mason jar. When ready to serve, pour in to a saucepan or microwave safe bowl and reheat.

This recipe was made with whole milk but you can substitute for low fat or skim milk for a lighter version.

If you don't have loose cocoa, you can use 1 tablespoon of cocoa from the cocoa packets. Store the remaining unused cocoa in a small container to reuse to make this again.

Pour 1/2 cup of coffee to a 1/2 cup of the Hot Caramel Cocoa for a Caramel Coffee.

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