Yeah, I know, its not a cocktail ... but I'm cold, I'm cranky, and I'm hormonal. Deal with it.
Today is all about dealing with it. Dealing with stuff I don't like, stuff I don't wanna do, and people I'd rather do without. Life is like that sometimes. So when I say "deal with it", of course, I mean chocolate. I mean I NEED chocolate. Stat!
Cocoa with Orange and Anise:
- 10 ounces non-fat milk
- 3 strips of fresh orange peel, about 2 inches each
- 3 to 4 whole star anise
- 3 tablespoons natural, unsweetened cocoa powder
- scant 1 tablespoon agave nectar, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons of water
- 2 to 3 drops pure vanilla extract
- grated nutmeg and or cinnamon for garnish, optional
Pour the milk into a small sauce pan and to it add the orange peel and whole star anise. Heat over medium to medium high heat until very hot, but not yet boiling.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder, agave nectar and water, stir well with a wire whisk to blend until a smooth paste is formed. Just before the milk begins to boil, remove from heat and add the cocoa paste - using a small spatula because you'll want to get every bit of that cocoa-y goodness. Whisk well with a wire whisk to combine and reheat gently if necessary. Add 2 to 3 drops of pure vanilla extract, stir to combine. Strain into a mug through a fine, mesh sieve and dust the top of cocoa with a bit of cinnamon and or freshly grated nutmeg if desired. Serve and enjoy, repeat as necessary!
As written, this recipe will yield one rich, delicious, intriguingly spiced cup of cocoa.
Chocolate and anise pair so beautifully together - its a stunning combination. And, c'mon, orange and chocolate are classic pure and simple. Each flavor is there, adding its bit to the mix, yet the finished cocoa will taste strongly of neither. There's a hint of orange in the back ground and the subtle spice of the anise adding air of mystery to the proceedings. Really, its delicious.
A brief word about the agave nectar - that's my choice, and I don't use much of it. If you prefer a sweeter cocoa, you could certainly use a tablespoon of sugar instead, or more agave if you like. Do as you see fit.
Lastly, if you really need a drink - go ahead and add a splash of Grand Marnier to mix. I couldn't hurt and might actually help!
One sip of this cocoa and I'm feeling more human already ... which is good news for the people who need to deal with me. Never underestimate the power of chocolate.