Boozy Chocolate Orange Panna Cotta: A Drunken Approach to Christmas

After months of trying to occupy the void left in my life since last December, it’s here.  Christmastime is finally here.  This, the season of sharing, caring and putting up with shoppers pushy, angry and overbearing, is upon us.  I’d like to say I’m prepared, but this season snuck up on me like a stealthy, yuletide ninja and I can say I’m about as prepared for this season as Marcus Bachmann was prepared for heterosexual sex with Michelle.  I’m not sure how December always seems to creep up on me, as if there weren’t 364, 24-hour-long warnings to help me get in gear. Yet here I stand, ruggedly-handsome-in-that-slightly-sexy-way-but-I-don’t-want-to-admit-it-for-fear-of-you-disagreeing-with-me and completely, utterly and totally unprepared! In fact I have partially written cards from last Christmas that I have yet to send, but instead of making myself feel like a failure for being 1 year late, I like to think that I meant to write them a year in advance and I end up feeling incredibly smug and superior to everyone else. And that’s really what Christmas is all about, isn’t it?

Terry's Chocolate Orange

In the UK there’s a little gem called Terry’s Chocolate Orange that is marketed around Christmastime every year, and due to the incredible demand of Anglophiles across the US it has entered into our territory for mass consumption. And mass consume we do. Not only because it’s delicious, but because it’s the only candy I’ve come across that encourages — no, DEMANDS — you to smash it against a counter to break up the pieces, which is what I usually want to do anyway after begrudgingly spending $8+ on chocolate. I bought two after talking myself out of buying eight, and while eating them before purchasing them later on that afternoon I had a thought: what can I make to recreate this magical taste and get me good and drunk at the same time? Actually, the getting drunk idea came much later after I was already halfway to that point, but those details aren’t really that important as how I was going to get drunk again later.

So I made panna cotta. If you’re averse to animal products (vegans!), alcohol (Mormons!) or desserts (heretics!) then you may want to shield your eyes from what I’m about to describe to you. I’m not sure what brought me to make panna cotta, because I was a pretty tipsy when I came up with the idea and I’m impressed I was able to even say “panna cotta” let alone string together an intelligible thought long enough to make a recipe that actually worked the way I’d planned.  Panna cotta is an Italian dessert that literally means “cooked cream” and is essentially a cooked-then-cooled pudding that’s served with a variety of sugary and/or fruity accompaniments, depending upon ones taste and blood-alcohol level.  I’d go on, but I think most everyone’s excitement piqued at “cooked cream”.

What’s great about panna cotta is every single part of it, and given that I turned it into a diabetic’s nightmare makes it that much more desirable. Loaded with Callebaut semisweet chocolate, heavy cream, sugar and orange liquor, I delicately wrapped every ingredient into creamy, boozy, gelatinous, chocolatey-orange trapezoids. And then ate them. All of them. Because as far as I’m concerned, it’s not close enough to Christmas for me to suffer the repercussions of not giving to others.  Right, Santa?


Boozy Chocolate Orange Panna Cotta

[print_this]Recipe: Boozy Chocolate Orange Panna Cotta

Summary: The perfect treat for when you want to get stealth drunk off of chocolate and orange.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s) active; 6 hours 20 minutes inactive

Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6


  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp gelatin
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup orange liquor
  • 1/2 orange, juiced
  • 1 orange, zest only


  1. Place 1/2 cup of heavy cream and 1 tbsp of gelatin into a cup and set aside while preparing additional ingredients.
  2. Place 2 1/2 cups heavy cream and sugar into a medium sized saucepan over medium heat, allowing it to heat up until just simmering, stirring continuously until all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in milk and gelatin mixture until fully dissolved — ensure that there are no gelatin lumps in the cream mixture!
  3. Stir in chopped chocolate until fully melted. Set aside and let cool for 20 minutes.
  4. Juice half of the orange and stir juice and orange liquor into the chocolate cream mixture and place into 6 small ramekins or mold of choice. Cover each cup with plastic wrap and let stand until at room temperature.
  5. Cool in fridge for minimum of 6 hours and sprinkle with orange zest before serving.[/print_this]

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