I wish I could call it my secret ingredient, but I've never been able to keep my own secrets. I put ground cardamom in most things I bake. Pumpkin chocolate chip cake, oatmeal cookies, carrot cake, granola…
Then I found a recipe where the cardamom would be far from hidden.
I saw something called chocolate con leche y naraja y nata al cardamomo in a book about chocolate in a Buenos Aires bookstore. I didn't buy the book, nor could I full understand the Spanish, but I got the gist of the drink and decided to improvise my own at home.
Orange and chocolate isn't typically a combination I love, but in this drink with cardamom and cream, it's very welcome. I've made this a few times already for dessert. If there's anything more comforting than hot chocolate, it's this version.
(Which was difficult to photograph, by the way. Here I let the cocoa cool first so it wouldn't melt the whipped cream, but then the cream didn't all stay at the top of the drink, and some got covered in chocolate. A whipped cream dispenser would have helped, but it's not a gadget I would ever actually need.)
Cardamom-Orange Hot Chocolate with Cardamom Whipped Cream
Idea from a book I can't remember the name of, but the recipe and execution is all my own.
- 4 cups milk
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup sugar, plus another tablespoon for whipped cream (or more depending on your taste)
- 1 orange
- 2 teaspoons ground cardamom (freshly ground seeds provide a much stronger flavor than the powder you might buy. I've never worked with whole green cardamom pods.)
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a pot over medium heat, whisk milk, cocoa powder, 1/4 cup of sugar (or more
to taste) and one teaspoon of cardamom. Add zest of one orange (alternatively, cut the rind off in strips with a pairing knife, trying to get as little white as possible). Allow to heat slowly so the flavors can be infused and so the milk doesn't burn.
In a small mixing bowl, beat cream, 1 teaspoon of cardamom, 1 tablespoon of sugar (or to taste) and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. This happens easiest when the cream and bowl are very cold.
Pour hot cocoa through a fine-mesh strainer into four mugs and top with whipped cream.