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Elevate A Cup Of Hot Chocolate With A Drop Of Orange Extract

Hot chocolate with dried orange slices
Hot chocolate with dried orange slices - Xsandra/Getty Images

Chocolate and orange is a much-loved flavor combo, especially around the holidays -- but why not appreciate it year-round? Orange is a richly-flavored fruit, both sweet and tangy with an almost floral, subtle quality to it, and chocolate is so multilayered and complex in flavor that it can be used for both sweet and savory dishes. The most famous orange and chocolate pairing would probably be in the form of candy, but it's a duo worth keeping in mind the next time you whip up some hot chocolate.

A cup of creamy, rich hot chocolate is made all the more interesting and delicious by cutting the sweetness and thickness with some bright citrus flavor, and it couldn't be easier to accomplish: Next time you're making hot chocolate by whatever method you prefer, add a bit of orange extract to the mix. It's an easy and tasty way to spruce up hot drinks not just around the holiday season, but anytime chilly weather leaves you in need of a pick-me-up.

Read more: The 15 Best Milk Brands, Ranked

How To Add Orange To Your Hot Chocolate

Mug of hot chocolate with oranges
Mug of hot chocolate with oranges - Fotostorm/Getty Images

Chocolate and orange make such a brilliant combination, it's a wonder we don't see it around as much as, say, chocolate and mint or chocolate and peanut butter. There are probably lots of incredible ways to inject some orange flavor into a cup of hot chocolate, but using orange extract has got to be the easiest. And if you don't already have orange extract among your baking supplies, you can easily grab a bottle at your local grocery store, with prices ranging from $5 to $15.

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The amount of orange extract you use is up to you, so try adding just a couple of drops at a time to taste. The great thing about this trick is that you can use it no matter how you make the hot chocolate, even if you're just using a powdered mix, so it's an easy and fun way to upgrade a mug of cocoa.

As long as everyone enjoying the hot chocolate is an adult, you can also flavor the drink with a boozy citrus kick. Add about ½ ounce of Grand Marnier or another orange-flavored liqueur to turn your hot chocolate into a perfectly indulgent nightcap.

Other Flavors That Pair Well With Hot Chocolate

hot chocolate topped with marshmallows
hot chocolate topped with marshmallows - Igorr1/Getty Images

The other fun thing about this tip is that it's infinitely versatile — you can try zhuzhing up hot chocolate by adding virtually any flavor extract. Peppermint extract will give you the classic mint-chocolate combo. Almond, vanilla, or raspberry would also make easy crowd-pleasers, and if you're feeling experimental, you can always try strawberry, banana, or whatever other extracts you (or your grocery store) may have available. Just be sure to be careful with your quantities and make sure to taste as you go. A ¼ teaspoon of orange extract might be perfect, but the same amount of peppermint could be far too much for your personal taste.

And, if you're opening up the possibilities to include boozy options, look for similar flavors on your bar cart. Aside from orange liqueurs, there are plenty just begging to be tried. If you're looking for a place to start, peppermint schnapps, amaretto, and coffee liqueur are all winners. But whatever you do, don't forget to top off your cozy creation with some whipped cream or a handful of mini marshmallows.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.