There’s this really cool thing that happens when you get to do what you love for a living. Well… it’s that you do what you love. For me that usually means an abundance of butter, caramel, and chocolate chunks. There’s also a ton of dishes, camera batteries, and a few good hours on the computer.
There’s another thing that happens when you get to do what you love for a living. Despite the butter and caramel, what you love becomes… work. We all know that work is sometimes UGH.
Then there’s this other thing that happens when you’re lucky enough to do what you love for a living, and it feels like work, and you start to feel UGH… you start to feel entirely ungrateful for your very fortunate circumstances. That’s just honest. Not good, but honest. It’s like you’re not allowed to be discontent where passion and career meet.
I’ve been in Asheville, North Carolina this week. I’m trying to wade through a few work projects. It’s awesome… and it’s ugh… and it’s awesome!
Do you know what I mean?
I’ve taken a few super great work breaks in Asheville. Work breaks must involve either wine or chocolate so naturally I found myself at French Broad Chocolate Lounge.
The chocolate dipped shortbread at French Broad Chocolate is out of this world. Don’t even get me started on the mochas. Don’t even talk to me about their Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate.
Major delicious. Good inspiration.
And so! Milky Salted Caramel. Because work is sometimes work, but caramel helps. Caramel always helps.
First we make the caramel.
It’s really simple and it’s really complicated.
Sugar. Water. Cream and butter.
Boil and stir. It only requires a bit of bravery.
Granulated sugar is added to a pan. I used cast iron because it’s what I have on hand here in Asheville but really a silver bottom skillet is best. That way you can see the sugar browning as it bubbles.
Once the sugar and water is browned to a pretty, scary, super hot amber color, we quickly stir in heavy cream.
This requires just a bit more bravery and a tolerance for steam.
Multi-tasking. Whisk caramel and pick up butter.
Multi-tasking. Whisk caramel. Pick up butter. Plop butter into caramel. Keep whisking. Never stop whisking.
It’s all feeling pretty dreamy.
Once the butter is melted into the caramel, we whisk in a good dose of sea salt.
Salt to balance the sweet.
Because we’re classy, the warm caramel goes into a pretty pouring vessel.
Caramel in the glasses. Like… a lot of caramel in the glasses.
Warm milk because we can’t just eat caramel with a spoon (even though we totally can).
It’s like ice cream meets hot chocolate meets not hot chocolate because it’s totally just hot caramel in a cup with milk.
photos with help from Jon Melendez
Whipped cream and more caramel because that’s the nicest thing to do with extra caramel.
Sweet and salty and creamy beyond! This drink is mega indulgent! Think: after dinner sipping. Think: mid afternoon sipping followed by a good long nap.
This is just what I needed to kick my own but out of an itty-bitty work funk.
Milky Salted Caramel
makes 2 drinks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons water
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for topping
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
To make the caramel, add sugar and water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, swirling the pan instead of stirring it. Bring to a boil and allow sugar and water to brown. Once sugar has browned to a medium amber color, remove from heat and immediately stir in heavy cream and butter. Mixture will boil and foam. Stir well. Add salt and stir well to incorporate. Caramel may seem thin… that’s ok.
In a medium saucepan, warm the milk.
While the milk warms, whip the heavy cream with powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Whip to soft peaks.
Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of warm caramel to each tall glass. Stir in warm milk. Top with whipped cream and drizzle with more caramel. Serve immediately.