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Bite Of Minnesota: Smoked Salt Caramel Hot Chocolate

What is it about snowy nights that cause cravings for mugs of hot chocolate? It isn't like I am actually out in the snow and need to warm up. Rather, I am snuggled up with a blanket watching the snow fall outside from the comfort of my couch. Yet, I still crave a warm drink.

Last year I was all about the spicy hot chocolate, adding a pinch of cayenne to kick things up a notch. This year, I am all about salted caramel ... smoky salted caramel to be exact. It all started with Peace Coffee's Smokey Salted Caramel Cortado back in October, so when my friends at Kitchen in the Market tweeted about a smoked salt caramel recipe from a recent cooking class, the craving kicked back in.

Don't worry, if you don't have time to make the caramel sauce yourself, they sell little bottles at their storefront for just $2.50, but I'll share the recipe here so you can get your own fix of Smoked Salt Caramel Hot Chocolate during the next snowfall.

Smoked Salt Caramel Hot Chocolate_Crystal Grobe
(credit: Crystal Grobe)

Smoked Salt Caramel Sauce
From Tastebud Tart at Kitchen in the Market

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2-3 drops of lemon juice
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon smoked salt

Mix sugar, water and lemon juice in a 2 qt sauce pan. Bring to a fast boil. Cook sugar, washing down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush/water. Cook until the sugar just begins to caramelize at the edges. Do not over cook, as the caramel will burn quickly!

Remove from heat; stir in butter until melted, and then add the cream. You may use more cream to thin out the caramel a bit more if desired.

I used a pre-made hot chocolate mix (no surprise, Kitchen in the Market sells that too), stirred in a little whipped cream and drizzled the smoked salt caramel over top. Yum!

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