Caramel Espresso Hot Cocoa. – Half Baked Harvest

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Caramel Espresso Hot Cocoa, complete with snowman marshmallows. Because…’tis the season! Steamed coconut milk, sweet chocolate, shots of espresso, and real vanilla. This steaming hot mocha is creamy, rich, perfectly sweet, and best enjoyed with a large helping of whipped cream and a side of snowmen marshmallows. Perfect for sipping while trimming the tree…and all holiday season long.

Caramel Espresso Hot Cocoa |

I’ve know for weeks that today’s recipe would be something warm and cozy to sip on today. The weather is chilly, maybe it’s even snowing, you’re shopping, decorating, and all around just ringing in the holiday season.

Or at least this is the picture I have painted in my head. If you’re on the couch today taking is easy after yesterday, that totally understandable too.

Either way, a steaming hot caramel mocha is perfection for all occasions. It’s finally time to say, “tis the season”.

Caramel Espresso Hot Cocoa |

For as long as I can remember, my mom has started her mornings with a mug of hot cocoa. Not coffee, not tea, hot cocoa…every single day for literally my lifetime…and then some.

Growing up, her hot cocoa was much, much sweeter than it is today. In fact hers is barely sweetened today. When I was a kid, she’d drink the Ghirardelli mocha hot cocoa mix and it was delicious. Sweet, vanillay, nice and chocolatey, and with a little coffee flavor too.

Sometime in my teens she slowly started to ditch sweetened cocoa and lean into hot cocoa made with more cacao than cocoa. It’s her own version of a much less sweetened mocha.

We really love a steaming cup of mocha hot cocoa. So I wanted to share something similar, but with a special holiday touch.

Caramel Espresso Hot Cocoa |

The details – the snowmen marshmallows

I’ve made these once before and they are the cutest little dudes. They’re the easiest to create, and while they are not needed, they really make the hot mocha festive.

I usually skip the marshmallows when sipping hot cocoa. BUT…every now and then, they’re just what you need.

These snowmen consist of three regular old marshmallows, a pretzel stick, melted chocolate, one sprig of rosemary, and a sweet mini meringue cookie. That’s it. Simply thread the marshmallows onto the pretzel sticks, add a face and buttons with melted chocolate, tie on a “rosemary” scarf, and then finish him off with a peppermint top hat.

Caramel Espresso Hot Cocoa |

The creamy steaming hot mocha

It’s pretty simple. I love to use coconut milk for an extra creamy mug, but any milk will work. I should add, the higher fat, the creamier the mocha…and the better this will taste.

Then just add chocolate chips, cocoa powder, caramel (to sweeten things just a little), a few shots of espresso, and then real vanilla. The caramel adds just the right amount of sweetness that isn’t too much, but is just perfect.

If you have one, I highly recommend using a real vanilla bean with the seeds scraped out. It makes for a really special  mug.

Then a small pinch of sea salt.

Each mug of warm mocha is thick, creamy, perfectly sweet, and heavy on the chocolate. One thing to keep in mind though, the hot chocolate itself is not overly sweet. Yes, the caramel sweetens things, but I don’t use a lot. If you prefer a sweeter mocha, just use more caramel or add maple syrup to sweeten.

If you’ll be adding the marshmallows, remember that those will also sweeten this up quite a bit.

The question is, do you enjoy extra whipped cream, marshmallows, or both? In my book, the holiday season calls for both…of course!

Caramel Espresso Hot Cocoa |

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and happy Black Friday too!

Looking for other warming holiday drinks? Here are a few ideas: 

Salted Caramel Brûlée Latte

Gingerbread White Russian

Chai Espresso Martini

Creamy Coconut Hot Chocolate

Lastly, if you make this Salted Caramel Espresso Hot Cocoa be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Salted Caramel Espresso Hot Cocoa

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 10 minutes

Total Time 20 minutes

Servings: 4

Calories Per Serving: 465 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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  • regular marshmallows
  • pretzel sticks
  • rosemary sprigs
  • melted chocolate
  • peppermint meringue cookies
  • 1. Add the coconut milk, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, caramel, espresso, vanilla, and a pinch of salt to a large pot. Place the pot over medium low heat until the milk is scalding, but not boiling. Be sure to stir the pot often to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom and burning.2. Once the mocha is steaming, ladle into mugs, dollop with whipped cream, and top with marshmallows – if desired. Drink and enjoy!


  • 1. Slide 1 marshmallow onto the middle of a pretzel stick. Press another marshmallow onto the bottom end of the pretzel stick. Tie the rosemary sprig around the top portion of the pretzel, then slide another marshmallow onto the top of the pretzel to secure the rosemary. You should have 3 pretzels lined up with a “rosemary scarf”. Lay the snowman down flat on a parchment lined baking sheet (see above photos).2. Spoon the melted chocolate into a small ziplock bag and snip a very small portion of the corner off. Using the chocolate, draw the snowman eyes, a nose, a smile, and buttons. Dollop a small amount of melted chocolate on top of the snowman’s head. Press a meringue cookie into the chocolate. Chill in the fridge until the chocolate is firm, 10 minutes.3. Use the marshmallows however you please! They keep well in a sealed container for up to a month. If storing longer than a day, skip the rosemary.

Caramel Espresso Hot Cocoa |

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