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2.13.15 Spiked Cinnamon Orange Hot Cocoa

2.13.15 Spiked Cinnamon Orange Hot Cocoa

Hot cocoa is one of the best parts of winter. Yeah it’s cold and snowy outside, but let’s be honest, would you really want to be drinking a hot, delicious cup of cocoa in any other circumstances? At least for me, the answer is no. If it’s winter, it’s cocoa weather. It’s what I’m craving after going skiing or skating on a cold day, or while I’m curled up by the fire on a winter evening. I’ll drink it for breakfast with a simple side of buttered toast, or sip it while lounging around the living room on a snowy afternoon. Like I said, it’s some tasty stuff.


Now here’s the trick. There are a lot of ways to make hot cocoa. You can go with a pre-made mix, or make your own mix, or use those chocolate tablets á la abuelita. Personally, I’ve always been a fan of the tablets, mainly because, until recently, I never tried making my own hot cocoa. Which is silly really, especially once you see how incredibly easy it is. I got to work mixing up my own cocoa mix, with cocoa powder, some sugar for sweetness, and some cinnamon and a hint of chile for some spice. It was perfect.

Of course, when all is said and done, a good cup of hot cocoa can always be made just a little better by spiking it with some sort of delicious alcoholic additive. The possibilities are endless here, but in the end, I opted for some Grand Marnier, mainly because chocolate and orange is a match made in heaven. Top with a dab (okay, more like a scoop) of freshly whipped cream, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a twist of orange peel, and you’ve got quite possibly the best cup of hot cocoa imaginable. Which is good, because this weekend’s gonna be a cold one, and we’re gonna need a lot of hot cocoa.


Spiked Cinnamon Orange Hot Cocoa

serves 2

In my opinion, the spiciness of chile is a natural complement to cocoa’s richness. I love adding a touch of chile powder to my hot cocoa, but if spicy cocoa’s not your thing, feel free to omit it.

  • ¼ c cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp chile powder (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups milk, preferably whole milk
  • 2 oz Grand Marnier
  • whipped cream, orange peel, and a sprinkle of cinnamon for serving

1. Mix together the cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon, chile (if using) and salt.

2. Heat milk in a small saucepan on the stove until steaming. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa mixture until a smooth consistency is achieved.

3. Allow cocoa to cool for about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the Grand Marnier, and divide cocoa between two mugs. Top with whipped cream, and garnish with a twist of orange peel and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

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