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Salted Caramel is a taste bud extravaganza!  Combining salted caramel with chocolate has to be a winner.

A few weeks ago I discovered this recipe on Pinterest and, of course, had to try it.  I made a batch to give as gifts but stashed a few servings away for me, too.  It’s delicious.  Add the sea salt to your taste and…BONUS…you have to try it to assure that the combination is absolutely perfect.

A cup of salted caramel hot chocolate mix for a long winter’s night…mmmm!

Cup of Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

Cup of Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Mix

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups good quality Dutch cocoa powder
1 to 3 tablespoons good sea salt (I used 1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 cup dry milk powder
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
10 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside; Heat the 2 1/2 cups sugar in large, heavy pan, over medium heat.  Stir often.  When the sugar begins to melt, continuous stir (or swirl the pan) to melt without burning.  The sugar seems to crystallize but it will melt to a deep amber color after 15-20 minutes.

Sugar begins to crystalize

Sugar begins to crystallize

Sugar crystalizing more

Sugar crystallizing more

IMG_1397

Sugar begins to carmelize

Sugar almost done

Sugar almost done

Carmelized sugar

Carmelized sugar

Remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the vanilla (it will spatter). Whisk the caramel until smooth again, then immediately pour in the lined baking sheet.  Allow it to spread without touching the sides.  Set aside and let the caramel harden, at least 1 hour.

Cooling carmelized sugar

Cooling carmelized sugar

When ready to make the mix, use the back of a large spoon to tap the caramel several times into small broken pieces that can fit into the feeding tube of a large food processor.  Turn the processor on, and while running, feed the caramel pieces into the tube so the processor pulverizes the caramel into a fine powder.  Continue to add the pieces, a few at a time, until it is completely powder (a cloud of caramel dust will float out of the tube).  Turn the processor off and follow the next steps to complete the mix.

Add the rest of the ingredients, except the chocolate, into the food processor with the caramel powder.  Replace the lid and process until smooth.  Add the chocolate to the bowl and process again until the mixture is a fine powder.

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Mix

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Mix

At this point, I made a cup to taste to assure I added enough sea salt. Originally, I started with 1 tablespoon and after tasting, I added another 1/2 tablespoon to the mixture.

Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, for up to one month.  To serve, stir 3 tablespoons mix into 1 cup hot milk.

Adapted from Pennies on a Platter 2007; Adapted from Mom It Forward

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