Baked Hot Chocolate with Star Anise and Orange

By • February 16, 2012 • 18 Comments



Author Notes: The first time I saw the recipe for Baked Hot Chocolate in The Essence of Chocolate cookbook by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg, I was hooked on the concept. I loved the whimsical touch of baking the cakes in coffee mugs, and then topping with a big dollop of whipped cream. For chocolate lovers, it’s a combination of three great desserts in one – the top layer is crisp and cake-like, the middle layer a warm chocolate pudding, and the bottom layer a thick and gooey version of hot chocolate.

I decided to create my own version but instead of a flourless dessert, I wanted a little more structure. I accomplished this by adding equal parts of almond and cake flour – just enough to add some texture and flavor without compromising its three-layer nature. I also decided to change up the technique of adding the eggs. The original recipe calls for incorporating whole eggs, but akin to making a soufflé, I opted for separating the eggs so I could beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold them into the chocolate mixture. I also substituted confectioners’ sugar for granulated sugar, thinking that the former just makes more sense. Probably the biggest deviation of all – and the one that I love the most – is the addition of orange zest and star anise. I tinkered around with the quantities, landing on what I feel is the perfect amount to add interest but not overwhelm the chocolate. And whatever you do, DO NOT skip the step of making the cocoa-star anise whipped cream, which I based off of Nancy Silverton’s Genius Whipped Cream recipe (on this site). I not only recommend putting a big dollop on top but serving the rest on the side so you can keep adding more.
EmilyC

Serves 4

For the Baked Hot Chocolate

  • 9 oz good-quality semisweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 6 T unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp finely grated orange zest
  • 2 T almond flour
  • 2 T cake flour
  • ½ tsp freshly ground star anise
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

For the Cocoa-Star Anise Whipped Cream

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp confectioners' sugar
  • ¼ tsp ground star anise (or to taste)
  • 2 T crème fraiche
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange four 8 oz ovenproof coffee mugs or ramekins in a baking pan.
  2. In the top of double boiler, or in a metal bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter, whisking occasionally, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
  3. After the chocolate mixture has cooled for 5 minutes, whisk in the egg yolks and orange zest.
  4. Sift together the almond and cake flours, ground star anise, and kosher salt. Gently fold into the chocolate mixture.
  5. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks, then sift in the confectioners’ sugar and continue beating to stiff peaks. Fold 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites in two more additions.
  6. Spoon the batter into the cups. Add enough hot or boiling water to the baking pan to come about halfway up the sides of the cups. (Because of the short baking time, very hot or boiling water works best.) Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes, or until the tops lose their glossy finish and start to crack in several places. I recommend checking them at about the 15 minute mark and then keeping a close eye on them.
  7. Remove the cups from the pan. The baked hot chocolates can be served warm or at room temperature. They can also be prepared in advanced and refrigerated for up to 1 day. To reheat, bring to room temperature and then place in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until warm.
  8. Serve with a big dollop of cocoa-star anise whipped cream, with more on the side.
  9. To make cocoa-star anise whipped cream: Using an electric mixer, start on low speed until the cream starts to thicken. Sift in the cocoa, confectioners’ sugar and star anise. Increase the speed to medium high and continue to whip, stopping the machine before the cream will hold soft peaks. Remove the bowl from the electric mixer and finish whipping the cream by hand with a whisk. Fold in creme fraiche.
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over 2 years ago Waverly

YUM, YUM!

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over 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks Waverly! : )

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over 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

oh, this sounds like perfection. Well done, EmilyC! The Essence of Chocolate is one of my favorite cookbooks - cocoa (or cacao) fascinates me, and Scharffenberger/Steinberg tell its story so brilliantly, and provide lots of great inspiration in the process!

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over 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks so much mrslarkin! And I completely agree with you on The Essence of Chocolate. It's such a beautiful cookbook. It's one of the rare cookbooks where virtually every single recipe begs to be made!

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

After a busy week, I'm only seeing this fabulous recipe now. I love everything about this, EmilyC! Star anise and orange are a favorite flavor combination of mine (though usually in savory applications), adding them to chocolate is brilliant.

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over 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks gingerroot -- that means a lot coming from you! l too love the combination of star anise and orange but I'd never paired them with chocolate prior to developing this recipe. I was surprised and pleased with how well they complement each other!

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over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Brilliant, I have never heard of baked hot chocolate , everything in this is fantastic. Wow!

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over 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks sdebrango! They come together in no time (about 30 minutes total) and I love that you can eat them straight from coffee mugs!

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over 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Can I please be a taste tester in your kitchen, too? This sounds amazing.

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over 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks drbabs -- and absolutely anytime, as long as that means I have the same privilege in yours! : )

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over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Amazing! I want this now! (yes, with breakfast.) Will it work to replace to the almond flour with more regular flour do you think? Also, love your approach of adding more whipped cream as you eat. That is definitely the *proper* way to eat both hot chocolate and cake. :)

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over 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks fiveandspice! You could definitely leave out the almond flour and make up the difference with cake flour. Sounds like we're on the exact same page regarding whipped cream...I pretty much want every bite to have a little whipped cream in it! : )

Sausage2

over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Yup, that is exactly my whipped cream page! Also, I was thinking - given that it seems to be very trendy to bake things in jars right now - I bet you could bake these in Mason jars just as well as in mugs, though the baking time might change a bit.

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over 2 years ago EmilyC

Ohhh -- I like that idea A LOT! It'd be cool to see the three layers of the dessert. And similar to your idea, these would be super cute baked in those egg coddlers that Amanda owns (and I covet).

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over 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

You're killing me. Seriously. And the stuff you read is obviously much more interesting than what I do! I can see endless variations on this, as well. What a great recipe. ;o)

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over 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks AJ! I must admit to reading lots of cookbooks...seems there's always one on my bedside table. And I agree with you on there being endless variations. I like the unexpected twist of star anise and orange, but cardamom and/or black pepper would be lovely here, as would cinnamon. And even if you left the baked hot chocolates unchanged, you could change up the flavor profile with the whipped cream. Let me know if you ever try them -- I'll bet you would come up with some wonderful variations!

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over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Yum! Sign me up for being a taste-tester in your kitchen.

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over 2 years ago EmilyC

Thanks HLA -- I'd love to have you and your palate in my kitchen anytime! : )