It’s December 23rd.  I have a sort of rule for this date – whatever hasn’t been done by now isn’t going to get done.  And you know what?  That’s okay.  After all the hustle and bustle of all the last minute details and running out for “one more thing” at least ten times, it’s time to let everything go and enjoy the holidays.  Because none of those little things are what really matter anyway, but you already knew that.  Sometimes we just need reminding.

Today I have the day off from work.  I have a date to get in lots of baby snuggles with my sweet girl.  I have a lunch date with my favorite little man.  And I have a real date with my husband!  But before all of that, I’m taking a little time just for myself.  That early morning time before the kids start rustling when I can sit and read by the glow of the Christmas tree with a warm drink.  It’s a kind of peace I rarely find outside of my yoga mat, but I was able to do it yesterday and I will be sure to do it again today.  Lately my beverage of choice has been this salted caramel mocha.  Finally, after countless experimental versions (some very unpleasant, I might add), I’ve found a formula I’m happy with.  Of course, this is how I prefer it but the beauty of making your own drinks at home (besides saving $5, of course) is that you can make it however you like.

I’m sending lots of holiday love and peace to all of my wonderful readers.  Oh, and I’m doing one last giveaway today – Le Creuset love.  Check out the giveaway page to learn more and to enter.


2 tbsp. vanilla bean caramel sauce
1 tbsp. chocolate syrup
Small pinch of fleur de sel
2/3 cup strong brewed hot coffee (or a lesser amount of espresso)*
1/3 cup milk, warmed
Whipped cream, for serving
Additional caramel sauce, for serving


  • 01

    Add the caramel sauce, chocolate syrup, and salt to a mug.  Pour the hot coffee into the mug and stir well until the caramel and chocolate are mixed in.  Stir in the milk.  Adjust flavorings to taste.  Top with whipped cream and an additional drizzle of caramel sauce, if desired (and really, why wouldn’t you?)

  • 02

    *I still don’t use a coffee maker but simply use the cold brew method that I use for the iced coffee base and warm it up as needed for each drink.  It works very well and is less acidic than hot brewed coffee.


  • Christine

    This looks so good and my wallet will thank you. I’ve been wanting to make my own caramel sauce for a while but really intimidated. I think I’ve read your post on it a dozen times but always tense up at “the mixture will steam and bubble violently” part. I’m just going to have to bite the bullet and try it this weekend (with protective gear).

  • Sewcraftylynn

    Annie, thanks for all your great Holiday ideas this week! I really enjoy reading your site.

  • robinbn

    I wish I liked coffee because that looks SO good. Enjoy your holiday!

  • I LOVE that rule! And that it’s OKAY – completely agree, although I am so dang hard on myself. Grrr. I’m actually assessing annual goals today. Eeek.

    Anyway – this looks WONDERFUL – i’m making it today!

  • This looks delicious & I’m sure it’s better than Starbucks! And a whole heck of a lot cheaper too! Have a happy holidays, Annie and enjoy your family time!

  • Aubrie

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, Annie! I have been a long-time reader but rarely a commenter. Thanks for making my days a bit brighter with your delicious food and fun stories. I always look forward to reading your posts, and you have beconme my go-to source for irresistible desserts and healthy dinners. You’ve been a great friend in my kitchen and I can’t thank you enough.

  • Carleyb

    Yummy! I just made up a recipe for this myself and am drinking it this second! Did you know that Starbucks actually doesn’t use caramel, except for the topping? A friend of mine is a barista at Starbucks! They use their toffee nut syrup! For mine, I used your recipes for toffee nut syrup and chocolate syrup (but I used splenda)! I mixed those (I didn’t measure) in my mug with coffee creamer and then added my coffee and a dash of salt! I didn’t bother with the caramel sauce this time but I’m sure adding that would taste even better! I’ll have to give your recipe a shot too to change it up!!

  • Julie

    Been waiting for this since you first mentioned it after creating the pumpkin spice syrup(which was awesome!). I just so happen to be making your vanilla bean caramel sauce today(which is awesome!) so this works out perfectly! Merry Christmas!

  • I’ve tried a couple times, and it was never quite right. Trying this today! Merry Christmas, lady.

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    Mmm this sounds so yummy!

  • It looks sooo good. Just the marshmallowey top layer full of gooey-ness…YUM!

  • Shelby Ruttan

    what a nice treat to sit back and enjoy…have a great Christmas & enjoy the family!

  • Anonymous

    I’m forwarding this to my friend who lives for flavored coffees. (I’ll take the caramels on the side of the plate!) ;-)

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I actually did know that. A lot of readers mentioned it in my last knock-off drink post (pumpkin spice lattes). I tried a lot of variations using a toffee syrup but to me they tasted nothing like the Starbucks version, so I went back to basics and was much happier with this one. I hope you enjoy it!

  • This sounds wonderful! I have your caramel sauce in the fridge so this would be so easy to whip up!

  • This looks wonderfully warming and comforting. Merry Christmas to you and your sweet fam. Thanks for all the great recipes this year!

  • My husband and I really enjoy your iced coffee. You said you heat it up…microwave? stove? My husband has problems with the acidity in coffee, so we thought it’d be great to try!

  • Andrea

    I’m so glad you posted this; I missed it when it was at Starbucks this year (well, actually I’ve been trying to lay off the expensive coffee altogether) and will most definitely give it a try in the nice, long, QUIET month of January!

    BTW-making your gingerbread waffles this year for Christmas morning breakfast as I know from previous experience, it’s one thing that everyone in the family LOVES! And my family, coworkers & friends all raved about the pumpkin fudge I made at Thanksgiving.

    Thanks for sharing your love of baking with us. :) Happy holidays.

  • I really wish I had one of these right now! It looks delicious, I’ll definitely need to try this recipe soon. Merry Christmas!

  • Nicole T

    It’s like you were reading my mind! This is my new favorite drink from Starbucks but the nearest location is almost an hour away. I’m always craving these & now I can make them on my own. Thanks, Annie!

  • Looks fabulous! Have a wonderful Christmas Annie!

  • Callie

    Happy holidays, Annie! Thank you for so many wonderful recipes this year, and I hope you have a fantastic weekend with your family!!

  • Anonymous

    I just use the microwave.

  • I love the salted caramel taste!

  • Leahsthoughts

    I wish I had this right now! Maybe it will be my Christmas morning coffee.

  • Love all these coffee beverage ideas – my husband asked for an aeropress and milk frother so we’ll be trying many of these out soon! Your vanilla and peppermint syrup are already in heavy rotation with my hot chocolate and daily coffee anyway. Thanks for the great ideas, and I hope you have a relaxing day!

  • I like the idea of the cold brew method! I’ve never tried it, but it sounds like a great option, since I am not really a fan of the bitterness either! I read somewhere that a medium sized salted caramel mocha from Sbux is around 400 calories, and I almost keeled over! This is a much better way to save money AND stay a little healthier! :)

    Merry Christmas, Annie! You were such a blessing to me this year–from helping me out with meal options, and giving me great dessert ideas to being an awesome example of a kind, strong, motivated woman. So I wanted to say thank you and wish you the BEST Christmas ever. :)

  • Cheri

    I like your rule. No sense stressing about last minute details when those aren’t the memories that will last anyways. This Caramel Mocha looks and sounds so delicious. And, I love your tip about using the cold coffee. I’m not a coffee drinker either but I did make that cold brewed coffee in the summer and loved it. Now I’m excited to try it in this. Wishing you and your family a peaceful and blessed Christmas.

  • Lisa3622

    Love your rule! You’re right, we need reminded. Merry Christmas and thanks for the time you take to make this blog for all of us. It’s fantastic!

  • The salted caramel is my favorite! It used to be peppermint mocha but the salt in the caramel has won my heart!

  • Mvsteed

    i enjoy reading your recipes, they are pictured so beautiful too! Merry Christmas!!!

  • Amanda

    This photo is beautiful!

  • I’d love to have a couple of sips of this caramel mocha.
    Merry Christmas Annie!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you very much :)

  • Emily Clark

    Yum! Merry Christmas Annie. I’m glad you could spend some precious time with your family, and I feel lucky that you still made time for your readers.
    All the best to you, and again, Merry Christmas.

  • Paulahennig

    Sounds simply perfect!

  • Jenny

    Funny, I just happen to have both of those sauces on hand since they were both part of my Chritmas goodies gift bags. :)

  • Maria @ Cheeky Pink Tulip

    This just about looks like the most delish beverage ever.

    Maria xx

  • Jen

    You are a sheer genius! So excited that my over-priced love affair with a certain national coffee chain may be over!

  • Hello Annie, I’m going to make this tomm morning for breakfast, and excited much!! Thanks for sharing! Love the pics as always!

  • Cara

    Just made this! Store bought just doesn’t cut anymore! ☺️☕️