Behold, my favorite winter drink. Let me make a few things clear: this is not cocoa. This does not resemble anything that comes out of a pouch and requires only hot water. This is intense hot chocolate, meant to be served in small cups and sipped slowly. Are you up for it? Here are step-by-step photos, followed by the full recipe at the bottom:
You'll need sugar (brown or white...after flip-flopping back and forth, I think I prefer white), unsweetend cocoa powder meant for baking, unsalted butter, kosher salt, and milk (I use 2%. If you use milk with less fat, you won't get the velvet texture this drink requires.)
Make heated chocolate milk. Heat the milk, add the chocolate...
...and whisk until no chocolate lumps remain.
Heat the sugar. We're going to melt it until it creates an amber-colored syrup...
Everything's better with butter! Add a little, and don't be afraid when the syrup froths up a bit.
Caramel can be tricky to work with. Much like a Mean Girl*, it will burn on you if you turn your back on it for long. The key is to keep stirring. After the butter is melted, add the salt.
*Don't you just love that movie? I was watching it just the other day. So quotable!
Finally, add the heated chocolate milk. Stir until you have a velvety smooth mixture, and serve!
Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
1.5 cups 2% milk
4 TBS unsweeted baking cocoa powder
1/2 cup white sugar (or brown, if you want a more molasses taste)
2 TBS unsalted butter
1/4 tsp kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp if you'd like a saltier punch)
Heat milk about 90 seconds in microwave on high. Add cocoa powder and whisk until well combined.
Heat sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir constantly, until the sugar melts into an amber syrup, and add butter (it will froth up a bit). Continue stirring until butter is melted, and add salt. Stir again until salt is well combined. Turn heat down to medium-low and gradually add heated chocolate milk and stir until smooth. Serve with shortbread cookies, wrap yourself in a blanket, and watch a sweet and salty movie (like Mean Girls).