Letter #5: CARAMEL MILK! Right? Right?
And some rambling about other sugary beverages
Okay, not sure what this has to do anything, but I wanted to share: I MADE CARAMEL MILK!
Caramel Milk for the Win
You know how there’s chocolate syrup that you stir into milk? We had some caramel syrup (the kind for ice cream sundaes) and I’m like, “This is the same consistency. Why have I never tried stirring THIS into my milk?” And boy, oh boy, did I feel like an absolute GENIUS when I tried it.
Just stir some caramel syrup into milk the same way you do with chocolate syrup. (I think the recommended amount on the back of the chocolate syrup container says 2 tablespoons of syrup into 8 ounces of milk, but I doubt I actually follow that due to my unabashed sweet tooth.)
It’s so sugary and delightful, like you’re drinking caramel ice cream. I’m someone who adores melting/melted ice cream (I call it “ice cream soup!”), so it makes perfect sense why I absolutely love this new (or, new to me at least!) beverage :P
Also, Bonus Fun Fact:
When you get to the last drops of syrup in your chocolate syrup (or caramel) bottle, don’t throw it out just yet! Try unscrewing the cap, pour some milk inside the bottle, screw the cap back on, and shake it all up!
That way, you get to use the last remnants of syrup for one last beverage, so less food waste and one more drink for you! :) Also, I’d imagine getting most of the syrup off the inside walls of the bottle would make it easier to rinse out and recycle, if you can recycle plastic bottles like that in your area.
Alright, so I felt like I couldn’t just quickly throw out a “Make some caramel milk!” and just be done there. So behold! More sugary beverages I love! Also, word nerdery!
Hot Cocoa vs. Hot Chocolate
Perhaps this beverage is better for the fall or winter, but I still make hot cocoa in the spring and summer anyway. (I just had hot chocolate this afternoon actually.) So if you’re like me and you can never get enough of warm chocolate drinks, or if you’re just now thinking you might like to try hot drinks during the summer months, this is for you.
First off, maybe I should clarify the difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate. I know they’re often used interchangeably (even I’m guilty of doing so), but they are technically different. And if you know my nerdery over the difference between teas and tisanes, this is pretty on par for this lil’ ghost.
So here’s the main difference: Hot cocoa is a mix of sugar, cocoa powder, and milk while hot chocolate is chocolate melted into milk. It’s literal hot, melted chocolate.
Not surprisingly, I have a go-to recipe for both types of warm chocolate drinks.
For the hot cocoa, I mix 2 tbsp cocoa powder, 3 tbsp granulated sugar, and a pinch of salt in a mug filled almost to the brim with hot milk. Then I just stir (carefully) until there aren’t any more clumps of the cocoa powder mixture left. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll add a splash of vanilla extract or peppermint extract (but use the peppermint sparingly because it can get really strong!).
My favorite hot chocolate recipe is slightly more involved, but not by much. I stumbled across a blog with this recipe through Pinterest a few months ago and I’ve been in love ever since: http://www.aspicyperspective.com/french-hot-chocolate-recipe/. Honestly, I’ve lost count how many times I’ve made this recipe from Sommer of A Spicy Perspective. I haven’t tried any of her other recipes yet, but I’ve been eyeing the Drinking Caramel recipe linked right above the French Hot Chocolate recipe card on her site.
If you wanna go a slightly more cheap-o version, you can substitute the nice chocolate bars for chocolate chips. (I always have store brand semi-sweet chocolate chips on-hand, so I typically use those. Mind you, it’s not as good as with a fancy chocolate bar or good melting chips, but it’s still very warm and rich. You get a bit of bite/graininess with the chocolate chips, but it’s still very nice. Feels a bit more rustic, I suppose?)
If you want something sorta leaner or if you don’t have any heavy cream around, substituting the heavy cream for milk works just fine too. As in, using 1-3/4 cups milk + ½ cup milk instead of 1-3/4 cups milk + ½ heavy cream. I typically have whole milk around, so that’s what I use if I don’t happen to have heavy cream in the fridge. Again, it’s not as rich and creamy as the original, but this does form a warm chocolate beverage. The drink is still nice and rich with the milk, but more of the consistency of typical hot chocolate instead of drinking chocolate.
Also, if you’re lactose-intolerant, getting lactose-free milk also helps makes this treat not be unpleasant! (This is what I use, by the way. My go-to for this recipe is lactose-free whole milk with heavy cream.)
Also note that I’ve made the original recipe and all of these substitutions, so I’ve tested the taste and consistency differences! Beta tasting for the win! :)
Now then. Go forth. Spread the caramel and chocolate wisdom. Make caramel milk! Make all the chocolate drinks, all of them!
Thanks for stopping by for some sugared ramblings. And as always, happy reading!
‘Til next time,
Works Cited (MLA 8th Edition):
Prakash, Sheela. “What’s the Difference Between Hot Cocoa and Hot Chocolate?” kitchn, Apartment Therapy, LLC, 8 Feb. 2016. https://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-between-hot-cocoa-and-hot-chocolate-228029. Accessed 24 June 2021.
“IS THERE REALLY A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOT COCOA AND HOT CHOCOLATE?” Taste, Williams-Sonoma, Inc., 18 Dec. 2018. https://blog.williams-sonoma.com/is-there-really-a-difference-between-hot-cocoa-and-hot-chocolate/. Accessed 24 June 2021.
Goodwin, Lindsey. “Hot Cocoa Vs. Drinking Chocolate.” The Spruce Eats, Dotdash, 10 Oct. 2019, https://www.thespruceeats.com/hot-cocoa-vs-drinking-chocolate-3971361. Accessed 24 June 2021.