Have you ever had one of those chocolate oranges ?
We used to get them in our stocking every year for several year when I was a kid. I remember the excitement of opening the box and whacking the orange-sized ball of chocolate as hard as I could on the floor.
Three good whacks usually did it.
Then I would peel off the orange tinted wrapper to reveal these luscious, shiny, chocolaty pieces of orange segments. The chocolate was even textured to look like the skin of an orange with little dimples etched on the outside and little juice pockets etched on each orange segment. There was even a center pith that the segment broke away from.
The first bite of that creamy, melt-in-your mouth orange chocolate was heaven. The orange flavor was always dead on, no chemical-y orange flavor here. It was as if they dipped a real orange in rich dark chocolate.
Pure heaven, I tell you.
I remember seeing those chocolate oranges in the stores all year round, but they were usually flooding the candy aisles at Christmas time.
We have not been able to find them in a store in years! You can maybe find them online for a ridiculously high price, which just may be worth it.
What is the world coming to?
What’s this have to do with hot chocolate?
I had been brainstorming some fun flavors to add to your traditional hot chocolate to share with you here on Robust Recipes.
All I could come up with were the traditional standbys, peppermint hot chocolate, spicy Mexican hot chocolate, both really delicious but not quite experimental enough.
Then, my cousin emailed me.
“Remember those chocolate oranges we used to get in our stockings? I am hoping I can get my hands on them this year.”
The sad truth is, I think she has been saying that to me for the past 8 years and she has come up empty handed each Christmas.
So, an alternative, maybe not as fun, but just as tasty solution popped into my head!
Why not make Orange Hot Chocolate?!?!?!
I was so excited to get started I made it that evening and I was not disappointed.
It was so simple to make, just steep orange peel in warm milk for 10 minutes. Remove orange peel.
Add your cocoa powder, honey-because honey adds thickness and perfectly complements the orange-vanilla, and a little more orange zest for good measure, and we are in business.
Top the orange hot chocolate with a little homemade whipped cream for extra decadence-not necessary, but recommended. And you’ve got yourself an extra tasty, extra festive delicious cup of hot chocolate that is laced with bright beautiful orange flavor in every comforting sip.
I may not be able to whack my mug of orange hot chocolate like I did my chocolate orange-that would be a very messy and bad idea-but it offers all of the taste.
If my cousin comes up empty handed this Christmas, yet again, I guarantee you we will be making orange hot chocolate in their memory.
Fun, festive, indulgent, and simple.
Seriously, you guys will go bonkers over this one!
- 2 cups unsweetened, unflavored almond milk (or milk of choice)
- 2 oranges (preferably organic)
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- ¼ cup honey (or more if desired)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch sea salt
- Pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
- For the whipped cream (optional):
- 8 ounces heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon honey (or more if desired)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- In a small to medium sized sauce pan add the milk.
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel off the skin of one of the oranges in long chunks, leaving behind most of the pith. Add the orange peel to the milk. Gently heat up the milk over low heat until you begin to see little bubbles at the edge. Immediately turn off the heat and allow the orange peel to steep in the milk for 10 minutes.
- After the 10 minutes, remove the orange peel and discard. Turn the heat back on to low. Whisk in the honey, cocoa powder, vanilla, and sea salt until well combined. Allow the mixture to heat for 3 minutes to bring it back up to temperature.
- Remove the hot chocolate from the heat and add the zest of 1 orange and the fresh grated nutmeg. Stir to combine.
- For the whipped cream:
- While the orange peel is steeping in the milk you can make the whipped cream. Add all ingredients into a chilled mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer start mixing on a low speed.
- Once the cream begins to thicken a little then you may turn up the speed to medium speed and whip the mixture until small peaks have formed.
- Divide the hot chocolate between two mugs, top with whipped cream and serve immediately.