Happy December! Even though it isn’t nearly as chilly as I would like it to be, I was craving a wintery Orange Mocha and made up a batch last night. As always, I played with this recipe a bit and love the addition of cloves and the cinnamon stick because they add so much extra flavor. I also made my Cranberry Chocolate Biscotti the other day to go with it. I forgot to pick up cranberries and really wanted some extra pizzaz, so I added a ½ tsp of orange zest to go better with the mocha, and boy was that a tasty experiment! So put on your favorite Christmas CD, grab a pair of freaky animal slippers, and snuggle up while you enjoy this tasty spin on your typical hot cocoa. Who knows? Maybe this recipe will turn into a Christmas morning tradition for you.
1 orange, washed
5 C strong coffee, leaded or unleaded (note: you sacrifice flavor if you make it too light!)
7 cloves (the whole thing! They sort of look like tiny wooden screws, if you aren’t sure)
1 whole cinnamon stick
½ C unsweetened cocoa powder
½ C brown sugar (you can substitute ¼ C of it for honey)
½ tsp ground cinnamon (for more flavor, leave the stick in longer, don’t add more pwd!)
½ tsp vanilla
Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel from the orange in wide strips; it makes it easier to remove them from the pan later on. In a saucepan, combine peels, cloves, cinnamon stick, and coffee; let stand over medium heat for 5 minutes. Discard orange peel, cloves, and cinnamon stick using either a sieve or a slotted spoon.
In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together cocoa powder, brown sugar, and ground cinnamon. Whisk into coffee to combine.
Stir in cream and vanilla; the vanilla sometimes gets bitter if added earlier (also, you would add the honey in this step, if using as a substitute). If you have one, you can use an immersion blender to froth the mixture. Ladle into mugs and top with whipped cream, sprinkles, and a curled orange peel. Works best as a hot drink. Serve with my Chocolate Cranberry—and orange!—Biscotti. And best of all, relax.