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salted caramel mocha

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I didn’t do a dang thing to make this drink healthified.

No natural sweeteners. No low-fat whipped cream. No chia seeds. No whole grains. No protein powder. No coconut water. No barbell squats. No tricep dips. It’s full-leaded, my friends. And you know what that means? That means it is healthy for your soul. Somethings are meant to be enjoyed in their natural form. And I believe this grandiose mocha is one of them.

When I heard that Starbucks came out with a salted caramel mocha, I was decidedly intrigued. But that intrigue quickly faded when I took my first seasonal sip of my beloved pumpkin spice latte. No other Starbuckian interloper was going to tear me away from my true love. I kept saying, “I’ll try one next time.” And then, when the next time came, I found “grandenonfatnowhipdecafpumpkinspicelatte, please” tumbling out of my mouth before I could catch it. But this past weekend, I drove up to the drive through prepared to actually see through with my promise and order a salted caramel mocha.

Then I saw the sign advertising the eggnog lattes. And well, that was that. Grandenonfatnowhipdecafeggnoglatte, please.

But not to be deterred by my terrible promise-keeping, I came home later and whipped up one of these seasonal mochas from scratch for myself. And I have to say, this may be the best coffee drink I’ve ever made.

It was sweet, but not too sweet, a little bit salty and perfectly rich and decadent. Of course, if you aren’t feeling as over-the-top as I was, you can skip the whipped cream and extra caramel sauce. I’m sure it’d be equally delicious scaled back. Plus, you could then avoid the beautiful, but messy spillage that happens when you drop whipped cream on a full mocha. For example.

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salted caramel mocha


  • Author: Cassie Johnston
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x

Description

Adapted from The Motherload

I haven’t tasted the Starbucks version, so I have no idea if this does it justice or not, but I do know that this sucker is awesomely delicious. Feel free to use this as a jumping off point to make your own perfect mocha. Make it more or less sweet depending on your tastes, and feel free to toss in a bit more cocoa powder for a deeply chocolate taste.


Scale

Ingredients

For the drink:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup hot, strong coffee (I did 4 tablespoons of coffee to 1 cup water in a French press)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons caramel sauce (my favorite recipe)
For the topping:
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • Whipped cream
  • Caramel sauce

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat milk over low heat until very hot. Remove from heat and froth milk with a frother, whisk or immersion blender. Or, pour into a Mason jar, screw on lid and shake until very frothy.
  2. While the milk is heating, whisk together the coffee, cocoa, sugar and caramel sauce. Split the coffee mixture between two mugs.
  3. Pour the hot milk and foam into the coffee, dividing evenly between the two mugs.
  4. For the topping, mix together salt and sugar. Top each mug with whipped cream, a drizzle of caramel sauce and a hefty sprinkling of the salt and sugar mixture.

  • Category: Drinks

What’s your favorite fancy coffee drink?

I know this post makes me sound like a Starbucks feign, but I really only hit the ‘bucks up in the fall and winter. And even then, it’s only about once a week. But my drink of choice is definitely the pumpkin spice latte, followed closely by the eggnog latte. Although, honestly, this mocha was so good it might be giving both the PSL and EL a run for their money. Yum!

 

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

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28 Responses
  1. SaraD

    I have tried the Starbucks salted mocha and I found it unbearably sweet. I do have a soft spot in my heart for PSLs and gingerbread lattes. Haven’t had an eggnog latte yet this year!

    1. Cassie

      The original recipe for this called for two tablespoons of sugar in the coffee and I just couldn’t even imagine that, plus the whipped cream, plus the caramel sauce.

    2. I know I’m a year later, but I have to chime in: I love the Starbucks SCM, but I, too, find it much too sweet! I always ask them to halve the toffee nut syrup and it is much, much better.
      Also, Cassie: thank you for using actual cocoa powder in the recipe. That’s just what I was looking for! I made some heavenly caramel sauce last week, but I just don’t keep chocolate syrup on hand. Thank you!

  2. Peppermint Mocha is my go to – as, like you, I’m mostly a Starbucks gal in autumn/winter so I feel my weekly trips are justified ๐Ÿ™‚ although I will WILL DEFINITELY be hitting up the salted caramel asap! And yours too – looks ahhhhhmazing ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. That looks awesome Cass! My fave coffee is Caribou’s Ho Ho Mocha (aka white chocolate mocha with a shot of peppermint topped with whip and peppermint candy – oh so naughty).

    1. Cassie

      Oooh! We have something similar to that at a local coffee shop called the White Zombie. I don’t even like white chocolate but that stuff is goooo-oood!

  4. I had one of those at starbucks the other day… quite delicious! But I did find myself gravitating towards the peppermint mocha, so I think that will be my next selection (I am a starbucks addict, and I freely admit it.)

    This looks so delicious though! Even better than starbucks!

    1. Cassie

      I would love to be a Starbucks addict (seriously, there is nothing better than having a Starbucks cup in your hand), but I just can’t justify the funds. Especially when I can make the same things at home!

  5. Sara

    This. This is why I love your blog. You balance the 80/20 ideology very well. Healthy, fuel your body, nutritious food 80% of the time and feed your soul, too good to pass up food 20% of the time.

    Love it – this looks delicious.

  6. I am always intrigued by salted caramel anything but haven’t tried well, anything yet! I should change that soon…

    I was at Starbizzle on the weekend and went with a Skinny Peppermint Decaf Mocha – I love the mint chocolate combo! And here is a funny story, I actually asked if there was egg nog in the egg nog latte – maybe I should have had full on caffeine ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Cassie

      Ooooh! The combo of salt + caramel + chocolate is definitely one of my favorites. And I LOVE mint and chocolate together. But I’m saving my first Peppermint Mocha for the day after Thanksgiving. That plus a little Christmas music and tree trimming sounds perfect. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Andre Racicot

    Same recipe, but use smoked sea salt! Starbucks uses this smoked salt-sugar combo, which they flat out refuse to sell to me, so I made my own!

  8. Jo

    Thanks so much for this post, I’m from London, UK and made this today as it poured down with rain outside, I felt so comforted and happy! I thought I’d mention that I used butterscotch sauce as I didn’t have caramel sauce on hand, but it tastes lovely!!

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