Christina’s Cucina

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Such crazy winter weather has been experienced all over the country.  Here in the Chicago area, we even hit a 40 degrees below zero wind chill factor at one point.  My backyard looks like this at the moment, and it’s certain more will come as winter is far from over.  When it becomes freezing with a blanket of beautiful snow, I head to the stove to make something warm and comforting.

I found many hot beverage recipes this winter from a small but lovely cookbook with a title that would capture images of keeping warm on a cold day:  A Cozy Book of Coffee & Cocoas, by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler.  I received this book from Christina Conte of 

Christina knew my daughter, also a Kristina, when Kristina lived in Los Angeles.  When Kristina moved from LA to New York City several years ago, she had a giveaway of most of her cookbooks to fellow blogger friends.  Many came over to go through the books and other kitchen items, and Christina was one of them.  When Christina heard about the flood last summer that destroyed most of my cookbooks, she sent me a box of books with a lovely note saying that some of them had belonged to Kristina and she wanted me to have them back.  I don’t recall which ones were Kristina’s but they are all great!

Such a nice selection!  I plan on diving into all of them.

I have loved using The Cozy Book of Coffees & Cocoas in the last couple months and decided it would be the one to write about as I am gazing out at new fallen snow this morning.  The hot coffee and espresso recipes offer a Yule Latte with eggnog, powdered white chocolate, hazelnut syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Caramel Hazelnut cappuccino adds caramel and hazelnut syrups to the espresso.  A Canadian Coffee has shots of Kahlua, Amaretto, and Bailey’s Irish Cream into dark roast coffee and topped with whipped cream.

My favorite hot chocolate recipe is the Orange Spice Hot Chocolate.  It smells so good with cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little orange extract in the Dutch process cocoa.

Be sure and check out Christina’s website.  Her recipes are amazing!  It’s so funny that I chose to make a hot chocolate because after I made and photographed it, I went to Christina’s page to see what she had up for today.  Yep – a hot chocolate!  We must have been on the same wavelength.

Thank you for all these lovely cookbooks, Christina!  I’ll be making more from all the books and checking out your site often, as I love how you have so many British and Scottish recipes and I happen to be of almost 100% British and Scottish heritage; except….for the love of haggis.  My Scottish blood has not taken a liking to that just yet.  Maybe you can convince me with your haggis stack recipe on your site.  It looks amazing!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Orange Spice Hot Chocolate
  • 2 Tablespoons Dutch process cocoa
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon orange extract
  • ¼ cup hot water
  • 1-1/2 cups low-fat milk
  • Garnish: Whipped cream, orange slices or zest strips (optional)
  1. Place cocoa, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a saucepan. Gradually whisk in the orange extract and hot water.
  2. Heat over medium-high to a rapid simmer and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually pour in milk, whisking to incorporate, and heat through but do not boil.
  3. Remove from heat and beat with a hand mixer until slightly foamy, if desired, or add a dollop of whipped cream. Serve immediately. Serves 2.


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6 Responses to Christina’s Cucina

  1. January 23, 2018 at 10:04 am #

    Had to look up haggis–no way I am ever trying that ! I guess it’s an acquired taste–or you ate it when you were young and had no idea what was in it. I’m thinking the “recipe” was invented when every part of an animal was used because food was scarce and you ate that or starved.

    Don’t know what haggis is? Well it’s a Scottish dish consisting of a sheep’s or calf’s heart, liver, and lungs mixed with suet, oatmeal, and seasoning and boiled in a bag, traditionally one made from the animal’s stomach.

    On a more appetizing note–the hot cocoa sounds wonderful !

    • January 23, 2018 at 3:53 pm #

      I don’t blame you for not wanted to try haggis if you were brought up here in the US, Barb. I truly think I would be exactly like you if I grew up here. However, given that I was brought up eating black pudding (blood sausage) which is one of my all time favorite foods, it wasn’t a reach to try haggis a few years ago, especially since it wasn’t presented in the sheep’s stomach, but a lovely tri-colored tower with gravy on top. It was delicious.

      When you think about it, it really is better if all the parts of an animal are consumed, as the animal died for us to eat it and to throw parts away is wasteful. I’m sure you’re right about how the dish got its origins, but the fact that it’s still very popular in Scotland says a lot about its taste. Not that I’d encourage you to try it. I understand not wanting or being able to. Just be open minded about others who do eat it. 🙂

  2. January 23, 2018 at 12:01 pm #

    that drink looks so delicious…a nice warmer upper

    • January 23, 2018 at 4:52 pm #

      It is! I have always loved orange-chocolate combo. Next time, I might try a little Grand Marnier in place of orange extract. 😉

  3. January 23, 2018 at 3:47 pm #

    What a lovely post, Debbie! I’m touched by your lovely comments regarding my site!

    I’m so very happy that the cookbooks found their way back to your Culinary Cellar! That is really funny about the hot chocolate coincidence, though! Wow! I know it’s winter, but goodness, what are the chances that we posted hot chocolate at the exact same time? It was a difficult decision whether to part with that particular cookbook as it does have some great recipes, but given that I had it for years and hadn’t made ONE recipe yet, I thought I better pass it along! Now I’m wanting to make the one you featured! Orange and chocolate are two of my favorite flavors together! (If you like it as much as me, look up the Chocolate Orange bread pudding recipe on my site. It’s from another food blogger in NY, and it’s TO.DIE.FOR!

    Thanks again for the lovely post! Enjoy the cookbooks!

    • January 23, 2018 at 4:49 pm #

      You are so welcome, Christina! Now I am going to look up the Chocolate Orange Bread Pudding recipe. I am so grateful for your cookbooks and will think of you any time I use the coffee and cocoa one. Since my maiden name is Scottish I suppose I must try haggis someday, but only your recipe, and bagpipes must be background music!

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