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hot chocolate bar

salted caramel hot chocolate

Something’s wrong with me…..

I had a free afternoon. And what did I do with my free afternoon? I spent it at the mall! I could have done a million other things. Well, not a million, but I could have cleaned the house, for instance (not really!), or I could have curled up with a good book (yes!), or I could have taken a nap (yes, yes!!)

Instead, I went to the mall. Who goes to the mall this close to Christmas?! Only those who are desperate, I guess (there were a lot of the desperate) or those who are a glutton for punishment (there were a lot of the glutton, too).

I belong to the latter, I guess. I don’t think I was desperate for anything. Well, maybe I was desperate to get just a couple more things. Both kids must get equal number of gifts. If the boy receives X number of gifts, so should the girl. That’s been the unwritten Christmas rule since I had both of them. You know how kids are. To them, it’s not the quality that counts, it’s the quantity.

So, when I found out I had 1 more gift for the boy than for the girl, I sort of panicked a little (come to think of it, I’ve been in a panic mode for some time now). And when you panic, you go to the mall.

I never said I was the best decider. My decision-making skill is as poor as my counting skill, apparently. How in the world did I get 1 more gift for the boy in the first place? Sigh…..

That mall trip was enough to rattle anyone. First, it took me 10 minutes to find a parking spot. Then, I couldn’t find any seat to eat my lunch at the food court. And, of course, it took me ages to pay for my single purchase since the line wrapped around the entire store!

I was completely frazzled when I got home…..

I went straight to my hot chocolate/coffee bar…..and I was saved…..

hot chocolate bar

by my little corner of bliss…..

christmas hot chocolate bar

This is such a nice idea. I love having this corner in my kitchen around this time of the year. When it’s so cold outside, there’s nothing more comforting than a hot cup of chocolate or coffee. And all the toppings are right there within reach.

But first, you need to make yourself some salted caramel sauce. ‘Coz that’s the best thing you can add to your latte or hot chocolate.

salted caramel sauce

Salted Caramel Sauce

2 cups sugar
6 tbsp butter
1 cup half & half
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp fleur de sel or kosher salt

1. Place sugar in a medium saucepan and heat on medium-high.
2. When sugar starts to melt, use a wooden spoon to stir. It will be clumpy at first, but just keep stirring. Eventually it will melt completely and become smooth.
3. You can stop stirring once sugar is completely melted. Continue to boil until it reaches a deep amber color or registers 350ยฐF on a candy thermometer.
4. Cut up butter to pieces and add to the pan. Sauce will bubble. Stir with the wooden spoon until butter is completely melted and blended into the sauce.
5. Remove from heat. Slowly and carefully, add the half & half. Sauce will start to bubble again. Again, stir it down with the spoon.
6. Return pan to heat and boil for another minute.
6. Add vanilla extract and salt. Stir to combine. Remove from heat.
7. Allow sauce to cool before using. It will thicken considerably once it’s cooled down.

This sauce makes a cute little gift placed in a jar, so make lots and start giving it away!

caramel sauce jar

Or better yet, make it into something decadent, like this thing…..


I hope Justine likes this with her tea.