This recipe was created by Nicole Plue, Pastry Chef at the former Julia's Kitchen at COPIA: The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts in Napa, CA. The orange zest, cinnamon and brown sugar are a perfect marriage of flavors with the Collection Etienne 61% Cacao Semisweet Chocolate. The hot chocolate is all the more sensational with the addition of aromatic, buttery tasting brandy!
3/4 cup [126g] Guittard 61% Lever du Soleil wafers
3 cups [726g] half and half
1 strip, about 1/2 x 3 inches, orange zest
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 cup [52g] packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup brandy (optional)
Place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Place over simmering water and heat until melted.
Meanwhile combine the half and half, orange zest, cinnamon stick, and brown sugar in a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat to a gentle boil, then strain.
Slowly stir the melted chocolate into the hot half and half until blended. Add the brandy, if desired.
Keep warm in the top of a double boiler over hot, not boiling, water. If the hot chocolate is overheated it becomes too thick.