Orange Cardamom Hot Chocolate Recipe

orange-cardamom-hot-chocolate-title-imageHow fun is this?!  I’m part of Sandy Toes and Popsicle‘s Hot Chocolate Recipe Party blog hop.  What that means is that several other bloggers are sharing their favorite hot chocolate recipes too.  After you check out my post I know you are going to want to go check all of them out.  My contribution is this Orange Cardamom Hot Chocolate.  I’ve been wanting to try this recipe out for a while so when Jill asked if I wanted to be part of this party I said YES!  I’ve been super into cardamom lately.  And orange just goes really well with chocolate so I figured they would all work really well together.  As with most of my recipes, I ran it by Kristin to make sure that amounts of each thing and technique sounded right.  And then I set to work to try it out.

orange and cardamom hot chocolateThere are tons of ways to make hot chocolate and it is pretty much a personal preference.  So whatever way you like it, do it that way.  The orange and cardamom will work with whatever base you decide to go with.  I used 1% milk because that is what we had in the house.  But whole milk would make it super creamy and delicious.  And Pioneer Woman likes a mix of milk and cream, and has her own version of orange flavored as well.  YUM!  Grab an orange, about a cup (or more) of semi-sweet chocolate and set to work finding whole cardamom pods.  They aren’t everywhere but I ended up finding them at World Market of all places.  Powdered would work fine too I’m sure if you can’t find the pods.

orange and cardamom hot chocolateThese ingredients smell amazing.  The cardamom pods were not as fragrant as I thought they would be when I cracked them.  Cracking them was really easy.  Place them, one at a time, on the cutting board.  Lay a large chef’s knife (blade aiming away from you) on top of the cardamom pod.  With the heal of your hand give it a quick whack.  It will split the pod without breaking it in to tiny pieces.  The orange flavor is so clean and bright and totally reminds me of Christmas thanks to my mom making me candied orange peel every year while growing up.

hot chocolate recipeWith Kristin‘s approval, I decided to steep the orange peel (being careful not to get the white bitter part when I peeled it with a vegetable peeler) and cracked cardamom pods in the milk.

boil-milk-on-the-stoveWhen heating milk, you need to make sure that you stir often over a medium to low flame so you don’t scald it.  It doesn’t smell good when it burns.  So I’ve heard…

melt-chocolate-in-milkOnce the milk has come to a boil, I skimmed out the orange peel and cardamom pods and threw them away.  Then I added the roughly chopped chocolate to the pan.  I continued stirring until I felt like it was really melted.  I’m not a chocolate expert so I really don’t know why my chocolate stayed looking speckle-y instead of being really smooth.  It didn’t stop me from drinking the end result though.

bart-simpson-coffee-mugAnd doesn’t hot chocolate taste better in a special mug?  This was one of my husband’s from when he was a kid.  His mom gave it to use a few years ago when she was cleaning out her cupboard.  He never uses it but I certainly do.

cardamom-and-orange-infused-hot-chocolateI ladled the hot chocolate in the mug and topped it with another piece of orange peel.  I also sprinkled a little bit of powdered cardamom on top to make sure that when you go in for that first sip you know what you are getting.  Overall the orange and cardamom flavor was subtle but delicious.  This is definitely something I will be making again!

orange-cardamon-hot-chocolate-recipe

Jill created a download for the recipe card.  Download it below:

Orange Cardamom Hot Chocolate Recipe Card

It prints two to a page so be sure to share it with someone!  Huge thank you to Jill for creating the party and all the printables!

hot-chocolate-recipe-party-imageDon’t forget to go check out the other amazing hot chocolate recipes (each with their own printable recipe card!  Collect them all!):

Caramel hot chocolate – Alma ( fieldtripmom.com )
Nutella hot chocolate – Tee ( thatsitmommy.com )
Mexican hot chocolate – Pattie ( livingmividaloca.com )
Peanut butter hot chocolate – Linsey ( lillepunkin.com )
Coffee with hot chocolate mix added – Kara ( smallthingsarebigthings.com )
Frozen Hot Chocolate – Jamie ( mngirlinla.com )
Peppermint Hot Chocolate Floats – Caryn ( rockinmama.net )
Hot Chocolate with Marshmallow cream topping – Jill ( sandytoesandpopsicles.com )

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Styling up a Geometric Back to School Brunch

iced coffee and mimosasI was super flattered when Abigail of Paper and Cake asked me to collaborate (along with Kristin of Meringue Bake Shop) with her on a styled post she wanted to do.  Abigail is a very talented graphic designer and party stylist who I had the pleasure of rooming with in New York several years ago for a Martha Stewart Event.  I’ve used her printable party decor before and when she said she wanted to do a geometric themed set for a back to school brunch, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.  But I have never styled a party for someone else before!  It was very challenging for me.  I am used to being in control over every aspect from start to finish.  But this time I had to focus on only certain parts.  I learned a lot about myself.  I am a quiet control freak.  But many of you who know me, already know that.  Now can we please talk for a minute about these wall decorations.  Yup, totally a printable that you can make to go along with your party set.  Abigail is a genius.

geometric back to school Brunch consisted of a buffet area with some of the most delicious dishes.  Ever.  You guys know I am a huge Kristin fan.  I love her to death.  She’s amazing at baked treats and sweets but she is just as good with savory foods.

eggs pesto goat cheeseShe made a breakfast bruschetta that was insanely good.  It was the perfect brunch DIY station.  She set out goat cheese, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes so you could dress your toast and eggs however you wanted.  Which is a good thing because I would have thrown up all over Abigail’s house had someone made me have sun-dried tomatoes.

breakfast-cereal-panna-cottaI die over Kristin’s panna cotta.  This particular one was breakfast cereal flavored!  SO YUMMY!  She basically infused milk with frosted flakes and rice krispies and then used that milk to make the custardy treat.  I wish you guys could taste it!

meringue bake shopOH NO SHE DI’INT.  There was a DONUT trifle!!

donut-trifle-for-back-to-school-brunchAMAZING!  Sure you can just plop donuts out on a plate for brunch.  But they are even better with creamy goodness and fresh berries.  Seriously.  Do this.  Perfect for holidays…just saying.

egg-bruschetta-wiht-goat-cheese-and-sundried-tomatoSince it was my first time styling, I brought along a ton of dishes and fabrics and random doodads that we might need for the shoot.  When you use Paper and Cake printable party decor you really don’t need much extra in the way of decor.  Abigail puts together a nice little set for you to use.

back-to-school-breakfast-brunchI love collaborating on styled shoots.  It is such a fun and creative way to hang out with people you admire.  And you get to eat the food.

geometric-flowers-for-brunchHow kick ass are these flowers?!  I thought they went perfectly with the geometric feel of the party.

signature-drink-menuFor the beverage station, there were two options.  A make your own mimosa area and an iced coffee area.  Kristin made some creamers to go along with the coffee.  I’ll be sharing a recipe for one of them tomorrow!!  Get ready for it.  It’s amazing.  I’ve been using it in my coffee every day since we did this shoot two weeks ago.

pitcher-of-iced-coffeeI’ve always loved iced coffee but trying to figure out how to get it double strength in order to dilute has always been too much for my pea brain to handle.  Luckily Trader Joe’s came out with an iced coffee concentrate for me.  Yup just for me.

creme-brulee-coffee-creamerFor serious, these creamers blew my mind.  What I loved most is that they were so flavorful but not sweet.

homemade-creamer-by-Meringue-Bake-ShopDo you guys love this brunch and printables as much as I do?  You can find them right here.

geometric-brunch-mimosaCheers to Abigail and Kristin for a wonderful collaboration.  And for letting me finally be in a picture. :)

Printables : Paper and Cake

Food and Beverage : Meringue Bake Shop

Styling : Me (and everyone else too because it really takes a village)

Photography : Me and Abigail (we pooled our photos and I have no idea who took what.  Well I certainly know that I didn’t take the picture of me holding the mimosa…)

Music Inspired Last Minute Valentine’s Printable

music inspired valentine jack whiteHave I mentioned that I like music (she writes sarcastically).  I knew that I wanted to create a printable for Valentine’s Day based on this song lyric above by Jack White of the White Stripes.  I have always loved this line from ‘Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground“.  So I asked Lauren to design the printable since I am a mess with graphic design.  They turned out awesome!

outside of music valentineSo if you have forgotten to do something special for your honey just print one of these out.  Throw on some red lipstick and leave your mark at the top.  Fold it up, seal it and you are ready to go.  Easy.

music inspired valentine tv on the radioThen one day I was listening to TV on the Radio on my iPod and I heard this lyric.  At first I thought they were saying “promise” and it got me thinking.  You really do have to be brave to be wholeheartedly in love.  You give your entire self to someone and you  even though it makes you vulnerable.  You have to be brave to do that.  And then I remember that the song is called “Province.”  Hmmm.  What the heck is that.  So I looked it up and this lyric seems to be taken from a quote by Ghandi.  And it pretty much means promise.

outside of valentineMy husband and I don’t exchange gifts on Valentine’s Day.  But making a cd of our favorite songs would be a great accompaniement.  I’m in love with that striped fabric, aren’t you?  I used my Xyron sticker maker to make the hearts sticky to put on the valentine and also seal it.  Look at me being all crafty.

last minute music inspired Valentine's PrintableBig thanks to Lauren for creating the printable and helping with styling in these photos.

Download your music inspired Valentine’s here:

music inspired valentine’s pdf

*Be cool.  Don’t sell these or steal these to do evil with.