Cardamom Orange Hot Chocolate

Now that winter is officially here, it’s the perfect time to rediscover the joys of hot chocolate.

A quintessential cold weather beverage, hot chocolate takes on a distinctly bright and citrusy character when infused with orange peel and cardamom. If I’m feeling particularly decadent, I’ll even top it with a dollop of whipped cream and some shavings of dark chocolate—or even a shot of espresso for those especially cold winter mornings.

2 cups whole or reduced-fat milk
4 whole cardamom pods
2-3 strips orange peel from a navel orange
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 teaspoons sugar
Pinch salt
Yield: 2 (8 ounce) servings

1. Pour the milk into a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. As the milk is warming take the cardamom pods and crush them with the flat side of a chef’s knife. Scrape up the pods and loose seeds, and add them to the milk.

 2. Using a vegetable peeler, remove strips of peel from an orange, careful not to get too much of the bitter pith. Add the peel to the milk.

 3. Warm the milk for 5 to 7 minutes or until the milk comes to a gentle simmer. Remove from heat.

 4. Using a whisk, stir in the cocoa and sugar. Season with a pinch of salt.

 5. Strain the mixture and serve in mugs.

Photo Credit: RTimages/

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