I was inspired
I was inspired to make this chocolate orange balsamic glaze after enjoying an amazing product made by California Balsamic. Their "chocolate orange balsamic" is sugar, oil, & salt-free & it's one of my favorite flavors from that company.
I really enjoy drizzling this chocolatey orange flavor over my blueberry oatmeal many mornings. (See my "Steel Cut Oatmeal with Blueberries & Chocolate Orange Balsamic" recipe)
This glaze isn't quite a copycat of the chocolate orange balsamic but it is similar and it can be made with ingredients easily found in your grocery store. It's a bit thicker and more substantial than the plain balsamic.
Picture drizzling this chocolatey glaze over hot cereal, over fresh berries and other fruits, using it as a garnish for desserts, or even using it as a salad dressing! A chocolate salad? Yes, really!
See my Chocolate Orange Berry Salad recipe! 🥗
Mise en Place
The mise en place for this recipe (getting everything in its place prior to cooking) is quite simple. You will need to have some prepared date paste on hand. Otherwise, it just requires a little pouring and measuring and zesting of two oranges. (see my basic date paste recipe)
Combine ingredients in a small sauce pan
Begin by pouring the aged balsamic and orange juice into small pan. Then, add the date paste and whisk to combine. Next, begin to heat the liquid on low for a couple of minutes before whisking in the cacao powder.
The cacao powder may take a little time to mix in, but with a little heat and whisking for just a couple more minutes, the powder will eventually absorb into the liquid.
Once the cacao powder has combined with the liquid, add the orange zest.
Make note of the depth of liquid
After adding the orange zest, dip a wooden spoon or popsicle stick into the liquid to make note of the depth of the liquid in the pot before you begin reducing (cooking down) the liquid into a glaze. You'll be aiming to cook it down by almost half. So, when you've reached that point, the depth of the liquid will be about ½ what you started with (or halfway up the spoon as compared to your first marked depth on the spoon).
Simmer to reduce the liquid
Next, briefly bring the mixture to a boil & then quickly turn the heat back down to a simmer. You'll need to simmer the liquid, uncovered, for about 20-30 minutes. Stir the liquid frequently and continue to check the height of the liquid.
Reduced to a glaze
Once the liquid has reduced to a glaze (it'll be at almost ½ or 50% of the starting quantity of liquid), you'll be able to see this difference when you briefly clean off your spoon and dip it (or a popsicle stick) into the glaze. You'll also know the glaze is done cooking when it begins to easily coat the back of a metal spoon. Keep in mind, the glaze will continue to thicken as it cools so we want to thicken it up just enough but not too much during the simmering process.
Remove the glaze from the heat and set aside, uncovered, for about 20 minutes to cool.
Strain and store the glaze
Lastly, strain the glaze by pouring it through a fine mesh sieve. Using a spatula helps this process along. Straining the glaze will help to remove the orange zest. It's also an important step because it helps to smooth out the texture of the glaze.
I like to store my chocolate orange balsamic glaze in a squeeze bottle so I can drizzle it out as I need it. It can also be stored in a jar and drizzled with a spoon.
The glaze can be stored for about 5-7 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator. OR, it can be kept in a freezer for up to 6 months. The glaze does not freeze solid & can be used straight out of the freezer*! Chocolate orange balsamic dressing ready when you are! 😁
*Note: If your glaze turns out a bit thicker and does become too thick in the cool refrigerator or freezer, submerging the container in some warm water for a few minutes will help to thin it out again.
Chocolate Orange Balsamic Glaze
- small sauce pan
- fine mesh strainer (sieve)
- 1 ¼ cups aged balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup orange juice pulp-free
- ⅓ cup date paste
- ¼ cup unsweetened cacao powder or cocoa powder
- 2 Tbsp orange zest zest of about 2 oranges
Combine the ingredients in a small sauce pan
- Pour the aged balsamic & pulp-free orange juice into a small saucepan. Then, add the date paste and whisk to combine.
- Begin to heat the liquid on low and whisk for a couple more minutes before adding the cacao powder. After adding the cacao, whisk until the powder is well incorporated, it may take a couple minutes more.
- Once the cacao powder is incorporated into the liquid, add the orange zest.
Make note of the depth of the liquid
- After adding the orange zest, insert a wooden spoon (or a popsicle stick works well) into the liquid vertically make note of the depth of the liquid in relation to the spoon (or popsicle stick). Later, when the liquid is reduced down by ½ (50%), the depth of the liquid will be ½ the height of the original liquid level.
Boil & then simmer the liquid to reduce to a glaze
- Bring the liquid to a boil briefly & then quickly turn the heat down to a simmer. Keep at a simmer for about 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently, just until the liquid reduces by almost ½ & the glaze just begins to evenly coat the back of a metal spoon.
Allow the glaze to cool
- Next, remove the pan from the heat and set aside, uncovered. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes or so. It will thicken a bit more as it cools (& even more once refrigerated).
Pour the glaze through a fine mesh strainer into your storage container
- Once cooled, pour the glaze through a fine mesh strainer and into your desired storage container. This straining step helps to separate out any remaining solids (such as the orange zest) in the glaze and makes the glaze more pleasantly smooth in texture. It may be helpful to use a spatula to help press the glaze through the strainer.
- Discard the orange zest.
- The glaze can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. OR, it can be kept in a freezer for up to 6 months. The glaze does not freeze solid & can be used straight out of the freezer! Chocolate orange balsamic dressing ready when you are! 😁If your glaze turns out a bit thicker and does become too thick in the cool refrigerator or freezer, you can submerge the container in some warm water to bring it back to a thinner consistency.