Recipe: Orange Cinnamon Hot Chocolate with Toasted Marshmallows

Lately it's been pretty chilly and rainy where I live and that always makes me think of a warm and savory cup of hot chocolate. Sometimes I'll pick one up locally and other times I find an unbelivable photo for inspiration or a recipe that looks fun and then I cook up something like this. The cinnamon and orange zest in this one really added an irresistable autumn-winter aroma and flavor.

I've mentioned a cookbook called Winter Gatherings by Rick Rodgers quite a bit here on the blog ever since discovering it. I have been so inspired by it and have found every recipe to be just right. This recipe is pretty much straight from the book with a little added twist of my own. Hope it will help you get through a rainy chilly day in the near future. P.S. I am pretty excited to have found out that this author has published over 30 cookbooks and even has a book like this for other seasons called Summer Gatherings and Autumn Gatherings. Seems I've jumped a little ahead. I'd better run and get the one for Autumn too.

Orange Cinnamon Hot Chocolate with Toasted Marshmallows:
Yields about 4 Servings

1 Cup Water
8 Ounces Bittersweet Baking Chocolate, Chopped Up
2 Cups Milk
Zest of 1 Orange
2 Cinnamon Sticks
8 Large Marshmallows

1. Start by preparing the hot chocolate. Place 1 cup of water in a sauce pan or pot and turn the flame up to medium bringing it to a rolling boil. Once it has come to a boil lower the flame to very low and add the pieces of chocolate. Mix the chocolate and water constantly for a minute or so to remove any lumps and get it completely smooth. Then remove it from the flame and set it to the side for a moment.
2. Add the milk to the pot with the chocolate and water. Zest ( use a zesting tool to scrape some of the peel in small bits) an orange into the pot as well and add the two cinnamon sticks whole dropping them right in to settle at the bottom. Bring it back up to a simmer on a low flame. Mixing everything together the entire time. Remove the cinnamon sticks with a slotted spoon if you would like once it's finished.
3. Now toast the marshmallows, I like to use a wooden skewer but you can use whatever tool works well for you. Push the marshmallow onto the skewer just a bit. Open up the flame on the oven and hold the marshmallow up above the flame for less then a minute turning it to get an even toast. If they go on fire at all just blow them out and turn to the other side. Once each marshmallow is toasted to your desired amount set them on a plate or dish to the side until ready to serve the hot chocolate.  
4. Pour the hot chocolate into mugs or serving cup of choice till the very top. Add two toasted marshmallows to each mug and serve hot. 
Hope you will enjoy this recipe!
Stay warm.
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