Ultra rich and slightly sweet with bold notes of dark chocolate, orange, a pinch of cinnamon and a good glug of Grand Marnier; Spiked Orange Hot Chocolate. An adult hot chocolate and sipper for those special occasions or to warm up with during the coldest months of the year. This recipe is vegetarian or vegan.
The first time I discovered drinking chocolate was in Portland at the beloved Cacao many years ago. It was shortly after having finished Chocolate Lab in pastry school, so I had a fresh perspective on the world of chocolate.
I thought it the most luxurious elixer one could ever have. Smooth, velvety… completely indulgent. Like drinking a chocolate bar.
Since my discovery, I’ve been making hot chocolate at home using various bar chocolate, always dark and at least 72%. Sometimes I make adult hot chocolate by spiking it, other times enjoyed simply with or without inclusions such as ginger, cardamom, or chilis. Orange is probably my favorite, after dinner as a dessert with a bit of booze, of course.
Those packets of cocoa powder with copious amounts of sugar and tiny marshmallows; hot cocoa – my childhood dreams. They are a thing of the past.
What is the Difference Between Hot Chocolate and Hot Cocoa?
Hot chocolate (aka drinking chocolate) and hot cocoa are not one in the same, however. Hot cocoa is made with cocoa powder where the cocoa butter has been removed. Alone, cocoa powder has an intense chocolate taste, and no fat.
Hot chocolate on the other hand, is made with chocolate; bar, baking or chips. It’s the cocoa butter (fat), in part, that makes hot chocolate completely luxurious.
Want to take this adult hot chocolate over the top? Since I consider Spiked Orange Hot Chocolate a dessert, I look for high quality chocolate; the higher the percent chocolate, the less sugar it contains and the more bittersweet it will taste. I go for dark, anywhere between 72%-80% and look for chocolate that is organic, and fair trade.
A Few Recipe Notes
- Completely adaptable for vegetarian and vegan diets. For a luxurious dairy free hot chocolate dessert experience, and to treat your Valentine, go for unsweetened homemade cashew milk, or full fat coconut milk. Whole milk, or 1/2 n 1/2 (or a mix of whole and 1/2) can be used as well.
- Top this adult hot chocolate sipper sweetened whip cream or coconut cream or simply with shaved chocolate. Hot chocolate is rich enough on its own.
- Use your favorite high quality chocolate. If you’re a fan of bitter notes, go for a high percent, over 72%. It pairs beautifully with orange zest. Look for dark chocolate in bulk bins too – the price is better and it reduces waste! I like Theo’s Pure 70% dark chocolate. This resource lists many excellent (and vegan) chocolate brands.
- Not sweet enough? Add a 1/2 tsp at a time of maple syrup or brown sugar – add to taste.
- This recipe is easily made alcohol free too… simply leave it out and add just a bit more milk.
- For Valentine’s or other special occasions, share with Dark Chocolate Shortbread or Vegan Chocolate Shortbread.
Spiked Orange Hot Chocolate
For One Serving:
Serve With (optional):
- Lightly Sweetened Whipped Cream or Coconut Cream
- Chocolate Shavings
- In a medium sauce pot, add the milk, chopped chocolate, zest, salt and cinnamon. Gently heat on the lowest setting, whisking occasionally until all the chocolate is melted. About 5 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to come to a simmer or boil. Remove from heat and gently whisk in the Grand Marnier. Strain into a serving cup(s). Garnish with optional whipped cream or coconut cream and shaved chocolate.