Clementine Hot Chocolate (GF)
There’s a real-feel temperature of -9 today in Northampton, and it’s pretty much been like this for a while, which obviously means I have a strong(er than usual) craving for hot chocolate on a regular basis. In the summer months, that craving turns into chocolate ice cream, but for right now, I’m sticking with the cocoa. I’ve started making up different recipes, normal and dairy-free; with and without funky additional flavors, to try to find my favorite. The contenders started out rich and heavy: tahini, Nutella, peanut butter, almond butter, coconut cream. While each pot of these spread-based cocoas came out unbelievably decadent, I really couldn’t handle more than half a mug’s worth before having to take a rest. And coming back to room temperature chocolate is not the dream. So I thought, how about extracts? They kick coffee up a notch for sure. And indeed, peppermint hot chocolate was seasonally appropriate in December, and anise cocoa went really well with sugar cookies, but both fell a little flat in terms of a “Go To Recipe”, y’know? Then I started remembering a million years ago, when I used to find those amazing chocolate oranges in my house’s chocolate drawer- yes, we have one of those, no joke. (Also I had no idea these chocolates were still being made until I found that link and am now struggling not to order all of them). The best thing about chocolate oranges was that both flavors complimented each other perfectly, neither canceling out the other. So I think at that moment, I knew orange was the route to take. But of course, I only had clementines in the house at that point and just couldn’t bring myself go to the grocery store to buy one orange, so I figured what the hell; orange, clementine; potato, potahto, and such.
Sometimes, the kitchen gods smile and and give you a hot chocolate recipe that is satisfying enough for dessert, light enough for a mid-morning snack; completely chocolatey, but still exciting and different. Definitely a recipe I will make for years to come. So, with the snow blowing around here for snowpocalypse2015 -the first act of which (last Tuesday) seemed to be a bit of a hoax in Northampton, while today’s blizzard feels much more eerie– I can’t think of a better time to make another cup for myself, pray the power doesn’t go out, and share this recipe. Feel free to make it 100% vegan (or 100% not) according your personal preference!
Hot Chocolate (serves 4)
2 cups 2% milk
2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tbsp brown sugar
zest of one clementine (or orange)
4 tbsp dark chocolate cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
In a medium saucepan, heat both milks over medium heat. While milk is heating, whisk together all other ingredients in a small bowl. Add tablespoons of water one at time to chocolate mixture until smooth. Add chocolate to milk and heat!