Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Mix

This homemade mix was given as part of the gifts to my family this year. After Kate notified me of the depleted stock I had made last year, I took that as a hint/demand for more. Even though the previous recipe was delicious, I always spring on the opportunity to try out a new blend. Salted caramel seemed like a more than safe bet for being delicious.

Making this recipe definitely has a couple more steps – you have to make the caramel first and then pulverize it into powder – but is not as time consuming as it may first appear. Although noisy it most definitely was. I thought my food processor was dying at first hearing how loud the caramel pieces were whirling around in there, but thankfully all was well. Good thing too because I need to make more of this for myself after trying a sample.

One year ago: Bacon and Cheese Egg McMuffin Cups

SALTED CARAMEL HOT CHOCOLATE MIX

Makes 4 cups of mix – enough for 16 servings approximately

Ingredients:

1-1/4 cup sugar

1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

1 Tbsp fine sea salt

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably good-quality Dutch process)

1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder

1/4 cup cornstarch (optional – makes for a creamier, thicker finished product and also helps your mix not clump in storage)

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

6 oz. good-quality bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (preferably from a block, but chocolate chips will work too)

Directions:

  1. Line a baking sheet with lightly oiled parchment paper, set aside.
  2. In a medium pan, preferably non-stick, place the sugar over medium heat and allow it to melt gently without stirring. The edges and underneath will start to melt first and caramelize, you can then very gently jiggle the pan to help more of the sugar melt in to the mixture. This will only take 4 to 5 minutes at the most so don’t walk away, just watch your sugar melt into caramel and let it get to a medium golden color then remove from the heat and add the vanilla and sea salt. It will bubble a bit, so be careful and swirl the pan to mix it just a bit. It’s not really important if it mixes in because it’s all going to be pulverized in the food processor when hard.
  3. While the caramel is still liquid, pour it out onto your lined baking sheet and allow it to harden and cool completely, about 30 minutes. Use the bottom of your pan, a mallet, or rolling pin, to tap the caramel a few times and break it up into smallish pieces that you can easily fit into your food processor.
  4. Place the caramel shards into the food processor and with the lid completely closed allow the caramel to be pulverized into a fine powder – it will be loud at first and then more quiet as the caramel is turned into caramel powder. Don’t open the lid of the food processor until the powder has settled. This will all only take about 4 minutes.
  5. Add cocoa, dry milk powder, cornstarch and brown sugar to the caramel powder in the food processor. Pulse the mixture a few times to chop and combine thoroughly, then process for 15 seconds until combined and powdery.
  6. Too the cocoa/caramel mixture, add the chocolate. Pulse the mixture a few times to chop and combine, then allow to process for 15 to 30 seconds more or until the mixture is all combined and powdery. Don’t process it so long though that you start to melt the chocolate in your food processor.
  7. Store the mixture in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
  8. To make a cup: Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of mix to 1-1/4 cup hot milk and whisk or stir well. Top with whipped cream.

Source: Budget Gourmet Mom

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