Today I have an easy and festive holiday beverage for you, orange hot chocolate!
I’ve always loved the combination of orange and chocolate, and this chocolate orange drink could not be easier to make, friends.
Another great holiday beverage is my orange spiced eggnog.
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Why This Recipe?
I’m sure there are plenty of orange hot chocolate recipes out there. This one takes the cake though.
- The perfect amount of chocolate: I tested this recipe using all different ratios of milk to chocolate, and these measurements give the most bang for their buck.
- It’s a perfect seasonal drink because chocolate oranges are always available around the holidays
- The jaunty garnish: I love the little candy orange section perched on the rim of the mug. Is it strictly necessary? Nope. But it does add a festive touch for the holidays.
- It’s easy to change the flavors. If chocolate and orange is not your thing. you can use any flavored dark chocolate candy bar or bars. Just remember that this recipe is by weight, so make sure you’re using the same amount for your drink. For reference, chocolate oranges weigh about 5 1/2 ounces.
PRO TIP: Do choose a dark chocolate orange (or bar) to melt into your milk. If you want to use one of the milk chocolate versions, reinforce the chocolaty-ness with a spoonful or two of cocoa powder. Milk chocolate alone won’t give you enough chocolate flavor.
What’s In a Name?
Hot cocoa is made with cocoa powder, sugar and potentially some other flavorings. Some versions contain dry milk powder, and you can make it with either hot water, hot milk, or a mixture of both if you’d like.
And I’m just going to say this: Maybe let’s get away from buying boxed hot cocoa mix. (Have you read the Swiss Miss package? Lots of additives.)
You can also make your own hot cocoa mix and keep it in a big vat in your cabinet. You’ll know exactly what is in it, and it will be delicious.
Hot chocolate is basically chocolate melted with some liquid, usually dairy. It is rich and generally thicker than hot cocoa.
As delicious as I think this orange hot chocolate is, I know some of you might like yours a bit different from the way I like mine.
Here are a few ideas for changing up the flavor and richness.
- Stir in a teaspoon or two (to taste) of good quality instant coffee per cup to make a flavored mocha.
- To make a richer drink, use half and half in place of some or all of the whole milk.
- Use a bit more milk (up to 30 ounces) to stretch the chocolate and cut the richness/sweetness a bit. Don’t leave out the salt, though.
- For adults, add a splash of liquor or liqueur. Frangelico, Kahlua, and Grand Marnier would all work well. A shot of rum or bourbon instead would not be a bad plan, either.
- Use your very favorite chocolate. Since this is a milk-based drink, I would recommend using dark chocolate for the best flavor. But there are tons of flavored chocolate bars that you probably have said “wow, this is good enough to drink!” And now you can.
- Use a vegan bar and a dairy substitute such as almond milk, oat milk, or cashew milk for a vegan version.
How to Make
It is literally as easy as whisking chocolate and hot milk together.
To make it super creamy, I recommend combining your ingredients in a blender.
You could also use an immersion blender right in your saucepan.
Or consider going old school, taking a tip from Mexico, the original home of chocolate, and frothing your cup with a molinillo, or Mexican hot chocolate frother.
How to Make the Garnish
All you have to do is take a sharp knife, and run it under very hot water.
Dry off the blade and then make a notch through the thin side of a wedge of orange chocolate that is wide enough to accommodate the rim of your mug.
You may have to repeat running the blade under hot water a couple of times so you don’t end up cracking the wedge. Make sure you dry your blade each time.
Then, fill your mug, fit the chocolate orange wedge onto the edge. Tada!
What To Serve It With
Of course, you can just drink this without any accompaniments, but let’s say you’re going to leave some of this out for Santa. He’ll want cookies too!
My all-time favorite Christmas cookies are angel slices. Delicious pecan-coconut filling on top of shortbread with a tart lemon glaze. Trust me, these are The Best.
If you like your chocolate with a side of chocolate, then these chocolate peppermint crinkle cookies are calling your name. You can always leave out the mint and candy pieces for straight up crinkle goodness.
Oh, and don’t forget to leave a note for Santa!
If you have questions about this post or recipe, don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can leave a comment on the post and I will get back to you within about 24 hours.
If your question is more urgent, please shoot me an email, and I will respond within 4 hours, unless I’m asleep.
Since I’m a fan of the orange chocolate drink, I’ll share the recipe for that version, but please know you can make your drinking chocolate any flavor you prefer.
A Note About Measurements
NOTE: Most of my recipes are written by weight and not volume, even the liquids.
Even though I try to provide you with volume measurements as well, I encourage you to buy a kitchen scale for ease of measuring, accuracy, and consistency.
Don't let its small price and small size fool you. The Escali Primo is an accurate and easy-to-use food scale that I have used for years. It's easy to store, easy to use, has a tare function, and easily switches between grams and ounces/pounds for accurate measurements.
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- 1 Dark Chocolate Orange, ("core" and all), broken into segments
- 21 ounces whole milk, (2 2/3 cups)
- heavy pinch of salt
- Heat the milk to a high simmer, whisking frequently.
- Pour the hot milk and the chocolate pieces into your blender and blend to combine and make it frothy.
- Pour into 4 6-8 oz mugs.
- Top with mini marshmallows, whipped cream, or a spoonful of marshmallow cream, if desired.
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Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 6 oz
Amount Per Serving Calories 287Total Fat 16.1gSaturated Fat 9.4gCholesterol 18mgSodium 212mgCarbohydrates 30.3gFiber 2.8gSugar 27.6gProtein 5.7g
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Enjoy your beverage, and your holiday.
Take care, and have a lovely day.