Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Mix

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Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate MixStruggling for a way to start this blog post, I typed “Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate” into my Google search tool to see if the results would inspire me.  I bet you can guess the first item listed.  That’s right…a link to Starbucks’ Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate.  And you know what that made me realize?  Many of you are going to ask me if this mix will supply you with a homemade version of the coffee powerhouse’s favorite hot cocoa drink.  My answer?  I have no idea.

I can hardly believe it myself, but I have never tried Starbucks’ Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate.  I’ve heard of it many many times, from many many people, but it never occurred to me to order hot cocoa at a coffee shop.  It is now at the top of my to do list.

Last month, I made a batch of this to use up at home so I could test it out before serving it in our holiday baskets.  My mother-in-law was coming into town to watch Judah while Ben and I traveled to San Francisco for a few days, so I planned to make it while she was here.  The night before we left for SanFran, I heated up a cup for the two of us.  I thought it was a little too salty, even though I cut a tablespoon of the sea salt out of the original recipe.  Interestingly enough, though, the subsequent times I made a drink (from the same batch) it wasn’t too salty at all.  Even-so, I still cut down the salt some more when putting together the next lot for the Christmas baskets.

I think Mama G had the same experience.  If her first cup was too salty, it didn’t seem to phase her. When we arrived home, we found her in the middle of heating up another tall glass of this hot cocoa.  She had a few more servings during the next couple of days she was with us, and when she realized we forgot to pack up the rest of the mix for her to take home, she texted me and said “I wish I had brought the salted caramel cocoa.”  My response? “Haha! I know! I thought of it after you left!  I’ll have some tonight in your honor.” 🙂

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Mix2You do need a food processor to make this, as it needs to pulverize the ingredients (including hard caramel) into a powder.  One batch of this mix fills eight half-pint mason jars, which is enough to serve at least four people each jar.  Below is a downloadable PDF of the labels I created for these jars.  Print them on sticker paper, then affix to the lid.  Perfect addition for a gift basket.

Click here for the downloadable jar labels picture above.

Click the image below for downloadable, printable labels created by Miranda, a talented Pennies on a Platter reader. Thanks, Miranda!









Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Mix

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 32 servings

Serving Size: 1.25 oz

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Mix

The slightly burnt caramel magically transforms this hot mix into a sweet and salty chocolaty drink.

  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups good quality Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons fleur de sel or good sea salt (My preference is 1-tbsp)
  • 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 granulated sugar in a large heavy pan, over medium heat, without stirring. When the sugar begins to melt, take the handle of the pan and swirl it to melt without burning. The sugar might seem to crystallize, but it will eventually melt to a deep amber color. (Can take 15-20 minutes, so be patient.)

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

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.

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.

Source: Adapted from Mom It Forward, originally from PheMOMenon

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  1. I’d love to make this for Christmas, but my little town doesn’t have dutch processed cocoa and I don’t have time to travel to get some 🙂 I googled how to substitute and it said to add some baking soda. Seeing as this isn’t baked, do you think it would be okay to just swap with regular unsweetened cocoa? Thanks!

    Merry Christmas, Nikki!

    • Does your grocery store have SaCo’s premium cocoa which is a blend of natural and Dutched cocoa? This is what I use when I can’t find Dutched cocoa in the stores. If not, you can give the natural unsweetened a try, but it will produce a more bitter flavor than the Dutched. 🙂 Let me know if you try it with the natural unsweetened and what you think!

      • I just made this with Hershey’s Natural Unsweetened cocoa because the hubby couldn’t find the Dutched cocoa I sent him out for. 😉 Turned out wonderful! I mean, it’s in the 90’s here in TX and I’m going back for my second cup of hot chocolate! I don’t know what the Dutched cocoa would taste like, but the natural is great!

  2. I love this idea!! I’ve had the salted caramel hot chocolate at Starbucks and it’s so so good.

    Merry Christmas, girl!!

  3. LOVE this!! I definitely want to try and make this soon! Thanks for sharing!:)

  4. I just did this with the SaCo premium and it seemed to work great! I did a scant tablespoon of salt and that was pretty good for me. I think I kind of burned my caramel, though. Would it help if I made it with medium low? I’ve never been able to make caramel on the stove to save my life!

    • Glad it turned out for you Becky! I honestly am not the best to give caramel-making advice as I’ve failed many times myself when trying to make other caramel recipes. This one worked out fine for me the two times I’ve made it so far. Maybe next time using medium low heat will be better for you… but I really don’t know. Or, maybe a different pan? 🙂

  5. Hi, not sure what is going on with my computer but it is not allowing me to open pdfs. Could you email me the caramel salted hot chocolate printable tags?

    Thanks so much! And Merry Christmas!

  6. This is a great gift idea….too bad I found it a bit late this year, but it would be great for next year….thanks!

  7. Hi! Found your post via Pinterest and was SO tickled to see you made this from my Mom It Forward Christmas post last year! It is an absolute favorite at our house still too. I love the labels you made too – they are adorable! You totally made my day that you tried this recipe. Happy Holidays!

  8. Your post inspired me to try the starbucks version. YUMMMMM…. I am going to have to try this at home. Too bad I didn’t have the recipe for Happy Hadley-Day; I would have used it for the hot chocolate bar!

  9. I made salted caramel hot cocoa to give as gifts this year too, so good!

  10. Thinking these might be a good idea for prizes at a baby shower! We are going to have a “hot chocolate bar” – so this would tie in.

  11. Does the mix expire? I want to make this as christmas gifts early BUT it is August. Will the mix still be good by December?

    • Hi Andrea. The directions say to store for up to 1 month, so I don’t think I would make it this early. I’m sure it probably lasts for more than 1 month, but we’ve used it up sooner than that, so I can’t tell from experience.

  12. Traci Miller says:

    I don’t have a food processor but I have a vitamix, do you think that would work?

  13. I have a similar question…I have a ninja, with the smoothie jar and the food-chopper container…would that work? It’s one of those pulse blenders. I’d hate to get the caramel made (assuming it works) and not be able to do this. Or could one sub. the caramel chips and pulverize those?

    • Hi Robin, If you think the ninja can pulverize the hard caramel pieces into a powder, then it should be fine. I’ve never used a ninja and not really sure what it is or how it works. So, that’s my best answer for you. I would not substitute with caramel chips. If I’m thinking of the same thing you are, these are not hard enough to grind into the powder you need. Hope this helps!!

      • Thanks. I suspect you are right on the chips. (The kind you add water to and then microwave to “melt”, were what I had in mind). I’ll test it and see how it goes. and keep watching comments, as doing this with werthers sounds good too. 🙂

        • Curious if you tried it with hard caramel candies/chips and if so how it worked out? Sometimes a quick substitute sounds good.

  14. This looks amazing and perfect for one of my difficult-to-buy-for giftees. Do you think it would be possible to use pre-made hard caramels (like Werther’s) instead of making my own? I’m a little frightened of candy-making.

  15. If you are a fan of white chocolate try Starbucks white hot chocolate -so good!

  16. I was thinking of making this using Werthers hard candies as well. Here’s the recipe I am going to test out:

    20oz Werthers hard caramel candies, unwrapped
    1 1/2 cups good quality Dutch cocoa powder
    1 tsp sea salt (the Werthers contain salt, so adjust to taste)
    1 cup dry milk powder
    3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    10 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips

    Pulverize the Werthers like you would the homemade hard caramel. Add the other ingredients (except choc chips) and process til powder. Add chocolate and process again.

  17. Thank you so much for this recipe! I’m not able to work at the moment, and I’m already worrying about how to buy or make special Christmas gifts for my large family.

    This recipe is amazing, and I think it will really feel like a luxurious treat made with love, rather than an embarrassing ‘I’m sorry I’m broke’ gift.

    You’re a star!

  18. Cannot wait to try this, Nikki!

  19. Oooo, found this on pinterest and I’m so excited to try it!!! I love Starbucks Salted Carmel HC, but it always seemed to me that there was not enough salt taste to it (I’m a sucker for salted carmel flavor!) Hopefully I can try this soon! I was also thinking of doing a “Homemade HC gift bag” for family this year… this would be a great idea!

  20. WOndering how using Werthers candy in place of the caramels worked out..

  21. Pinned it, made it, loved it! I can’t wait to send it in my Christmas care packages. Will make with Tbs. fleur de sel next time.

  22. I’ve just tried the recipe with Werthers candies. I halved the recipe since it’s just me and the husband, and I used 30 Werthers.

    It worked great! I could have gone for more Werthers, I think, since the caramel flavor is pretty subtle, but I don’t mind it at all that way. When you drink it you sort of go, “Oh, it’s chocolate. Oh, caramel. Oh, a hint of salt,” and I like that it’s got that variation to it.

    Thanks! 🙂 I definitely like this mix more than the hot chocolate mix I’ve been buying.

  23. WOW! I must admit, I haven’t tried one either. But I have so many friends who love them from Starbucks. I can’t wait to make this for gifts!

  24. How many Caramels? I read the recipe and dont see them listed?

  25. I’m going to try this. I just started a job and don’t know what people will do for Christmas so I am going to pair this with homemade cookies. I’m only giving enough for 1 serving. Just enough to say thinking of you. Glad I found this.

  26. Saw this recipe on Pintetest. This was my first time making caramel. I think I did pretty well. I may have gotten it a little too dark. This mix tastes amazing. I used just a tablespoon of salt. I found some Morton brand sea salt that is finely ground. We dont eat much salt so this amount was just right. Thanks for the great recipe. It will make the winter months a lot more enjoyable plus a nice alternative to my usual cup of tea! 🙂

  27. Anna Speegle says:

    I have tried to make this twice, but I am having trouble getting past pulverizing the caramel. It gets super sticky in my food processor before I can get the other ingredients in. This jams up the food processor and then it ends up being alot of hard chunks of caramel powder. Any suggestions??

    • Hi Anna,
      I’ve never had this problem, so I can only think of maybe 2 reasons. 1- How long are you letting the caramel set to harden before breaking into pieces? It says at least 1 hour, but maybe you need to let it harden a little longer? 2- Do you live in a high humidity climate? This might affect it, although I’m not absolutely sure it would.

      • Anna Speegle says:

        I do live in a higher humidity climate, although I felt it would be better since it is winter. The first time I let the caramel harden 6 or 7 hours (didn’t get back to it until then) and thought that maybe letting it sit too long attracted the humidity to the sugar. Today, I only let it harden just over an hour and it did better, but still a problem. Maybe I will try letting it cook just a bit longer and see how that does.

        • Let me know how it goes! When I made this recipe, I lived in the dessert of California (read: no humidity) and now I live in Mississippi. I haven’t made it yet this year, so we’ll see if I have the same problem!! 🙂

        • I have a Bullet. I processed it just long enough to get it all pulverized and it was sticking to the top and sides about halfway through the process. The sticking on the bottom was probably b/c it was too hot, but the humidity was definitely a factor.

      • I live in Arkansas, so similar climate. I tried it again, watched for the lowest % humidity (32% the day I made it), turned on my air conditioner to get rid of as much humidity in my house as possible (and didn’t run the washer or dishwasher just in case) and it worked better, but was still A LOT of work! The caramel powder still stuck to the sides and top, so I had to work fast. Still had some super hard chunks of caramel powder that were stuck to the bottom of the processor. It doesn’t taste very caramely. I would probably make the recipe again minus the caramel part, unless I move to a drier climate!

        • oh, and I sifted everything to get rid of the chunks and reprocess as much as possible.

          • Anna, what kind of food processor do you have? I’m also wondering if maybe you processed it too long, so that it overheats the caramel powder to make it start sticking?

  28. How does a food processor do with making the carmael into a powder? I have a brand new one and don’t want to ruin it….thanks!

  29. I just made this and of course I had to give it the good ol’ taste test before packaging.. YUM!!! I made it with the nestle cocoa powder and it was fine. I think a tad more salt (I used 1 Tbsp) of french Grey salt on the caramel before I ground it up. and dusted the top with a 1/2 tsp cinnamon. I have to say this is the best hot chocolate I have ever had. Off to make some homemade marshmallows to go with! Thanks!!!!

  30. Thanks for the recipe. I used Green and Black’s unsweetened cocoa and I think I could have left out the chocolate chips as it was a tad too chocolatey – I wouldn’t have thought it possible ;)- and overwhelmed the caramel. It was still very tasty. Topped with mini marshmallows in 0.5litre mason jars it will make great presents for cub and brownie leaders, teachers etc.

  31. I just made the caramel part and I’m not sure if I may have cooked it too long….how do you know if its overdone? I tasted it now that it is hard and it tastes a little burnt even though it is a deep amber color

  32. This also makes awesome chocolate milk (which I discovered accidentally). Heat up a little milk & mix with the powder. Then top up with cold milk.

    Yum yum.

  33. Hey! Wandered in from Pinterest- is bittersweet the same as semi- sweet? Or the same as bitter? Went to the grocery store to get it and found only those two options? Live in Canda so not sure if its a “lost in translation ” thing or not…. Thanks can’t wait to test this one out!

    • Hi Heather,
      I have read somewhere that bittersweet and semisweet are interchangeable, however, in some recipes I have found they are not. In this case, the bittersweet will be fine to use (not bitter, though!) 🙂

  34. I so want to make this up but I don’t have any milk powder, can I still make this and just omit the milk powder? Thanks :o)

    • Hi Megan,
      I think omitting the milk powder would alter the taste significantly. You can try it, but it might be a lot of work gone to waste if you end up not liking it. Sorry I couldn’t tell you for sure! 🙂

      • Thanks, I actually managed to buy some skim milk powder, all I could find at the wal-mart here. I’m thinking of making it tomorrow maybe 🙂

  35. Just made a double batch for gifts for my clients. The smell is heavenly!! I cannot wait to give this stuff a taste.
    To those who live in a high humidity zone (I do too, now that it is actually cold and we are running the heat in the house, chances are the humidity is very low in your home, and you should have no troubles with the caramel sticking.

  36. do you think i could switch out the salt and caramel and grind up some candy canes and make it a peppermint hot chocolate mix?? i might have to try both!! thanks for the recipe 🙂

    • Hmmmm… never tried it but seems like a fun idea! Let us know how it turns out!! (Might just try it myself!) 🙂

      • PS. just tried this out with candy canes and it tastes AWESOME!!!!!!! highly recommend it 🙂

        • Yay!! I’m going to try it! (How many candy canes did you use?)

        • Amandam I would love to try it with candy canes as I love peppermint/chocolate combo- did you use the littel ones or big ones and how many boxes (or cups?) Thanks

        • i actually just went to a bulk candy store and bought these mini peppermint candies (around 1 lb) and put them in the food processor. (i dont think it really matter what kind of candy you use as long as its the hard peppermint.) that made too much, but when i was buying i wasnt sure how much it would make. anyways, i put 2.5 cups of the powdered candy canes and it was delic! i took it into work to have my co workers taste test and they all loved it!

  37. Mary Begovich says:

    I made 2 batches of this, did not add the chocolate chips (the 1st batch I forgot to…tasted it and decided it would be WAY too chocolate-y so I left them out for the 2nd batch). SOOOO good! I made them for gifts so I hope my friends enjoy it as much as I do! By the way, I don’t own a food processor so I ground up the caramel in a blender then did the rest by hand. Turned out fine.

  38. Hi, so my friend and I just spent the afternoon making this for Christmas gifts and had the cement in the food processor disaster everyone is talking about, plus our caramel tastes burnt…darn. Also we tried 2 tablespoons of sea salt and it is way too salty–I recommend sticking with your recommendation (and our sea salt wasn’t maybe a good enough quality.) But I think this might help answer everyone’s question: my friend is knowledgable about cooking so knew exactly where we went wrong… When you are working with caramel you need to use a thermometer because the temperature and stage the caramel is at when it comes off the stove is crucial…so basically if you pour it in the cookie sheet to harden at the wrong stage, it gets hard but will stay sticky no matter what. Being very specific about that detail in the recipe could help. Not sure it could help us, though, because we also boiled both pots of caramel by accident. Whoops. ; )

    • I made the caramel 2x and both times it had a burned taste( and it wasn’t burned). My husband, the candy maker in the house ended up making it for me using his recipe (brown sugar, butter and a tiny bit of water). Much, much better.

      • Could I please get your hubbys caramel recipe? I don’;t want to chance me messing up the caramel for this….thanks

  39. Stop! Don’t make it like this! The “caramel” doesn’t taste rich, buttery, or creamy. It just tastes like dark,cooked sugar. I used crushed Werthers candies and Oh, my! Wonderful. If you want to go the homemade route, find a recipe for ‘Homemade Werthers’, there are lots of them on the internet, don’t waste your time on the cooked sugar.

    • Sorry you feel that way, SandiD, as many readers have tried and loved the recipe as is (as seen in the comments above). Others have had difficulties, but it’s then a matter of practicing making the caramel with the type of stove, pan, etc. you are using. Kitchens vary from home to home, so recipes often come out with different results. Because it didn’t work for you, doesn’t mean no one else should try it. Real caramel is actually cooked sugar, so you are getting true caramel with this homemade version.

  40. Well said Nikki! I’ve noticed a few comments where it seems that there just seems to be a difference of opinion on the meaning of ‘caramel’. When I first made the recipe I did intend it to just be a true, ‘burnt’ sugar, which I realize may seem unpalatable to some when eaten alone. It isn’t intended to be eaten alone like candy and the flavors really only all come together when it is mixed with the chocolate, cocoa and other ingredients. Making a ‘caramel’ that can be pulverized from other things won’t get that same deep, slightly smoky taste that the original recipe was intended to have and will most likely just end up tasting like a very sweet hot chocolate. Still good, but not the same. My advice to those who are worried about cooking the sugar is to just substitute straight up brown sugar and call it good. None of those other substitutes will get the actual dark caramel notes under the chocolate so there isn’t really any need to try pulverizing other hard candies, chips or other recipes. It’s an entirely different flavor at that point.

    I do however love the candy cane idea! A peppermint version would be awesome.

    I hope you don’t mind me sticking my nose in here. I was just working on that updated post I mentioned last week and saw some more of the comments and had to put my two cents in. Thanks for the vote of confidence on the recipe!

  41. i stayed up past midnight and made 3 caramel batches. they all tasted burned. what am i doing wrong?

    • As Holly (the original recipe developer) noted above, the caramel in this recipe isn’t made to eat alone. It’s intended to have a little burned taste to it, in order to stand out in the hot chocolate. See her comment above. 🙂

  42. Rohanknitter says:

    I just made four batches of this tonight to give as gifts – of course I had to sample some and I think it’s the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. I followed the directions exactly and it turned out great. Yes, the caramel is a bit smoky, almost burnt but its not meant to be like a caramel candy you’d eat by itself. When pulverized and processed with all the other ingredients it is amazing. (And my food processor has no trouble grinding up the caramel). Thanks!

  43. I’m getting ready to make this with Werther’s (I’m a baker, but making candy terrifies me!) I can’t wait to test it out before handing out as Christmas gifts! Thanks for posting!

  44. Rohanknitter says:

    Don’t be afraid to try doing the caramelized sugar- I’m terrible at making candy but it worked fine for me. Just remember its not supposed to taste like a caramel you’d eat by itself.

  45. After a couple of burned batches of caramel, I finally got it right on the third try. Third times the charm, right? The trick for me was using a wide sauce pan rather than a skinny pot. The sugar was able to melt more evenly this way. Just anther tid bit, turning the pan frequently while the sugar melts was another step I think I was missing. I know it is in the directions of the recipe, but I think rotating the pan frequently is an important step.

    My food processor did start to jam a little when I was trying to grind the caramel. I added a couple spoonfulls of the cocoa mix to the processor, and that seemed to really help. The dry ingredients helped the caramel not to stick to the blades and grind better.

    Once I figured this all out, everything turned out great. I really love the labels too. Thanks for the Christmas gift idea!

  46. Everyone that was asking about using a ninja–DON’T DO IT!! I got a brand new food processor one and now my blades are nicked everywhere and the container is scratched really bad.

  47. Hello! I stumbled across your recipe and it looks like a great gift for me to make and give to my coworkers! One question: what size mason jars did you use to gift the hot chocolate mix?


  48. I made this today as a trial run for Christmas gifts. My caramel turned out the way its supposed to (I used a 10 inch skillet )but I didn’t feel like it was caramelly enough. It’s still really tasty hot chocolate though! I think next time I’ll make my own caramel and also add in pulverized werthers at the recommendation of others. Thanks for the recipe!

  49. Isabel Walker says:

    I tried making this today the caramel I had perfect but I’m finding after adding the vanilla extract that the “dry ingredients’ appear somewhat damp? is this normal?

  50. This turned out great! I made the caramel the first time around and thought I horribly burnt it! Then I fully read through all of the comments and realized it was supposed to have that burnt, unpleasant taste, it is burnt sugar after all, ha. I didn’t have a problem at all with it clumping or overheating in my food processor. I used 2 scant tablespoons of good quality Himalayan sea salt, and it was right on! Thanks for this great gifting idea!! Now I’m thinking of all the things I could add or tweak to make a bunch of different flavors!

  51. I made this last night to use as Christmas gifts but I’ve just sampled it I’m not sure I want to share

  52. I just made this for coworker gifts and had to taste test it…oh my! I have already made, and loved, the peppermint version because it was easier but I’m so glad I took the time to make the caramel! It wasn’t difficult at all except I was distracted by a little person and forgot to add the vanilla (kicking myself!). I used Fry’s Cocoa (might be a Canadian item?) and semi sweet chocolate chips and it’s excellent! Thanks for posting this gem!!

  53. Hi! I am going to try a “shortcut” due to lack of time….. I’m thinking I can grind Werthers Original hard candies in the Food processor to create a caramel powder from hard caramel…. Do you have an idea of how much caramel powder is created from your homemade caramel? 1/2 cup? More? Less?


    • Hi Michelle, I’m sorry but it has been about a year since I last made this, and I can’t remember how much caramel powder it made. Other readers stated they tried Werthers, so if you review the comments someone may have left how many they used.

      • Thanks! I reread some of the others after I messaged you and see I was not the first to think of that option. I have become a little more brave in the last few hours and may try the “make your own caramel” version! Thanks for your reply! Can’t wait to try this! Merry Christmas!

  54. I made this and it is divine! My husband said it wasn’t sweet enough, is I added more sugar. Wish I hadn’t. It was perfect before the extra sugar. It’s still good if a little on the sweet side.

  55. I saw your mix on Pinterest and tried it for Christmas- big hit!

  56. Tried this out for Christmas and loved it! Thanks for sharing!

  57. I would love to make this recipe as Christmas presents this year, but I was wondering what size jar you used (8 oz.?) and how many jars you were able to fill for a single batch?

    I’m excited to try this out!

    • Hi Lola,

      I just copy and pasted this from my post: “One batch of this mix fills eight half-pint mason jars, which is enough to serve at least four people each jar.”

      Enjoy!! 🙂

  58. TJ Scrapper says:

    You could also put a tag on the jar to “return the jar for a refill next year” so that you don’t have to purchase new jars.

  59. Cute idea! I love it! : )

  60. This looks amazing can’t wait to try it out x Thanks for sharing – I’m off for a stroll around your lovely blog x
    ((hugs)) Suzie xoxo

  61. Nikki,

    This looks truly AMAZING! I’m not a Starbucks person so I never heard of the salted caramel hot chocolate option! So I’m a newbie and I can’t wait to try this out!

    Thank you so much for sharing at our mason jar holiday party!!!

    🙂 Linda
    @It All Started With Paint & Mason Jar Crafts Love

  62. I’m wondering if coffee whitener would work in place of the milk powder? A couple of other hot chocolate recipes have used that instead. Also, I can only really get my hands on hot chocolate powder instead of cocoa?? (Also rubbish at caramel) I’m so confused, I don’t want to substitute too much and lose the recipe entirely!

    • Hi Georgia! I wish I could tell you exactly how it would turn out if you did these substitutes, but you’ll have to just try it and see. 🙂 Then you can come back here and let us know! Good luck!

  63. Dear Nikki,
    Hello from Germany! What a nice blog you have! And I love all the nice gift ideas! Will try this mix for xmas! I am having a little trouble finding powdered milk. The lady in our supermarket was sending me to the babysection 😉 i will check the internet…
    By the way, I live 30 min. away from the german town “Werther” where the Storck family produces the famous candy 😉 I will use this candy, for sure!
    Greetings from good old Germany, Stephanie

  64. Can you use this mix with water as well?

    • Hi Elizabeth,
      I have not tried it, so cannot claim how it tastes. But, I’m pretty sure it would be fine, just not as milky and creamy, of course. 🙂 If you try it with water, come back and let us know how it tastes!

  65. Hello…I’m about to make a triple batch of this recipe, super excited, all quality ingredients lined up and brand new food processor ready to go (making presents to gift to loved ones was a great excuse to add to my kitchen) 🙂

    I’m worried about my food processor tho, I don’t care about scratches because things are meant to be used, however I was reading through the manual and it says its not designed to grind hard things (like coffee beans,spices,etc.) would you mind sharing what kind of food processor you used for this? The one I bought is a kitchen aid with a 7 cup workbowl…also of concern to me is, will one whole batch fit in this bowl capacity? Advanced apologies if my ???s seem silly, I’ve never worked with a food processor at all before so am very nervous (but excited!) thanks!

  66. Also, if any food processor using vets can offer troubleshooting advice on what to do to ensure an efen consistency/mix when the bowl isn’t big enough for a whole recipe I’d greatly appreciate it. I feel so silly for asking!

  67. I just made this recipe with a little shy of 1 tbsp sea salt and it is DIVINE.

  68. I have been looking for the link to make the gift tags for the jars but could not find it. I wondered if anyone still had it that would be willing to post the link so that I can download it?
    Thank you so much!!

  69. I found the labels, they were up near the top….. Are they stickers? Would these be Avery labels? If so, what size would I need?
    Thanks so much for the help!

  70. Thank you so much for your help Nikki! 🙂

  71. I have a really stupid question. I see where you say melt the sugar…. But does that make Carmel? I see no Carmel in ingredients to buy?
    Sorry I know this is a stupid question!

    • Nikki Gladd says:

      Not a stupid question, Katie! 🙂 You are making homemade caramel in this recipe. So, yes, the sugar makes the caramel. 🙂

  72. Hi,
    I made 2 batches of this and it turned out wonderful! The only change I made was I doubled the amount of candied caramel to the recipe. We live in a different country and our sugar is more like “sugar in the raw”. So after two burned batches I realized that our sugar takes a fraction of the time. I am so glad I found this recipe. I am using it as a fundraiser towards our upcoming adoption. This recipe is to DIE for! Thanks a million!

  73. mandy henshaw says:

    Im going to buy all the ingredients for this tomorrow and make it tomorrow evenning for xmas gifts to go along with other home made treats cant wait soooooooooo ecxited .

  74. mandy henshaw says:

    Thank you so much for this recepie i made two batches up last night and placed in jars with several marshmallows placed on top . Then placed the lids and a piece of xmas fabric they look great . I also did a batch with candy canes instead of the caramel . Cant wait to give them out as xmas gifts . I guess your busy getting already for thanks giviing have a great time x.

  75. Great recipe and printables! I love it when I can make real food with nothing artificial. I had to use the hersheys too and I my boys and I thought it tasted great. I think I can alter it easily for my sisters kids too as they are dairy free by leaving out the milk, maybe add non-dairy creamer.

  76. Not sure what I’m doing wrong but I’m trying to ground up the hard caramel (which I let harder for much longer than an hour) and my food processor could grind it up but then it all started clumping together and now is hard and definitely not a powder =( Any advice?

  77. hi! this sounds wonderful! i was wondering if truvia (stevia) would be an acceptable substitute for the sugar. lmk what you think.
    thank you,

  78. Why does the mix only last a month? Wouldn’t it last as long as the expiration of the powdered milk? This sounds great and I want to add it to my baskets but I want to give things that have a shelf life beyond the holidays. Thanks.

    • Nikki Gladd says:

      Hi Cyntha,
      Good question! Since there are other ingredients mixed with the powdered milk, it will not last as long as the shelf life of powdered milk only. I have actually kept this for over a month, but as a safeguard stated 1 month in the recipe. I’m no expert in this area, though. The best bet is to make it closer to when you plan to gift it just to be safe. 🙂

  79. Can I use sugar in the raw for this recipe?

  80. I just made this and have high hopes that it will taste good, because it was a LOT of work. My food processor is not large enough to hold all the ingredients. I ended up grinding the caramel first, then mixing everything together with a sifting spoon in a bowl. I sifted all the larger pieces out and ground those separately and remixed them back in to the ingredients in the bowl. Then I did the chips. I had to add some of the dry mix to the chips, as it was getting “gooey” in the processor and still not a fine powder. It’s finished now though!

    Word of warning: Do NOT tap the back of the spoon onto the caramel IF you are using a glass baking dish. My old favorite Pryrex baking dish cracked on the first wack.

  81. Drinking a cup now and my first reaction was that three tablespoons seems like a bit much for one cup of milk, so I may cut back to two. Definitely taste the salt (one tablespoon was just enough for me) to make it exotic from the Swiss Miss I’m used to, but I’m not getting the caramel aspect of it. Is it in the smooth taste I’m getting? I did the caramel part just as listed. I don’t know. I mean, it still tastes good and I’m going to bring a jar to my friend’s place so we can all have a cup together and get some more feedback, but as for my first powder mix I would say it was 10x better than the “chocolate block” mess that’s blowing up Pinterest. Thanks! And any tips would be appreciated to enhance the flavor!

    • Nikki Gladd says:

      Hi Tori,
      I think the caramel taste is more of an aftertaste… so you taste the chocolate first then the hint of caramel comes through. Definitely depends on different tastes buds and variation of cooking, but that is how I would describe it. 🙂 Glad you liked it!

  82. Hi!
    I love the idea, it would make a great christmas present. My only problem is, that I don’t know what the food processor is. In my country we don’t have them. So I was wondering if – insted of that – my coffee blender would do the job.
    Thank you for your answer!
    Merry Christmas!

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