Monday, December 31, 2012

DIY Cozy Comfort

We've had some pretty frost-bitten days lately, my friends.

I have to admit, the holidays really haven't quite caught up to me yet, even as I sit here right on the verge of 2013. Between driving back and forth to work, shopping and wrapping all of those presents, and stuffing my face with all the Italian food my family makes for Thanksgiving and Christmas, you would think that I'd just stop to take it in. 

But no. Unfortunately the only time I've had to appreciate the holidays is when I find myself pouring all of my energy into Holiday-themed desserts and displays for the Hotel. I've created four different gingerbread houses for a Gingerbread Village, designed an entire New Year's Eve menu, and completed both a Thanksgiving and a Christmas buffet. I guess that's not much to scoff at.

It wasn't until the day after Christmas, when I was preparing to meet up with some friends from High School, that I realized that none of this baking had taken place at home. 
Of course, I had to fix this. I'm a Pastry Chef, for goodness sake, won't people be expecting a little something from me for the Holidays?

Then came the ideas. What's better than Hot Chocolate Mix and Marshmallows? And not that store-bought stuff. Something homemade, and extra delicious. 

Add a little Guittard dark chocolate, spice up the marshmallows, and there you have it. Coziness in a cup, all wrapped up Flouretta Sweet style. 


Dark Hot Chocolate Mix
Makes about 8 servings

*The best part about this recipe is that it is versatile. If you decide you want to create a White Chocolate Peppermint version, or maybe even a Milk Chocolate Mocha version, you can! Simply change your flavorings to make it your own*

1 cup chopped dark chocolate (I used Guittard, but your favorite will do!)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark, but my favorite is Cocoa Barry)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp instant coffee granules
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice

1. Make sure that the chocolate is finely chopped, to ensure that it will properly melt once you add it to the hot milk. To do this, I pulsed it in a food processor. Of course, chopping it by hand works just fine too!
2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Package any way that you wish, or keep it all for yourself!
3. To serve, add three heaping Tablespoons to one cup hot milk. Enjoy by a cozy fire or watching the snowflakes fall with friends, family, or your cat :)

Honey Cinnamon Marshmallows
by Chef Peter Greweling
Makes 1 half sheet tray

*Please note that this recipe is written in grams. Since it was taken from a professional confections book, it is best to keep the recipe written as-is to ensure an optimal result. Simply purchasing a basic digital kitchen scale will allow you to create this recipe (and it's a great piece of equipment to have if you love to bake!).*

Granulated Gelatin   40g
Water, Cold              230g
Sugar                        680g
Corn Syrup               150g
Honey                       410g
Water                        170g
Vanilla Extract          20g
Cinnamon                 10g

1. Bloom the gelatin by stirring it in the cold water
2. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and honey in a large saucepan and cook until the mixture reaches 252F with a candy thermometer (be sure that the pot is at least 3x the size of the mixture. Be aware that honey bubbles up greatly when it boils, but once it reaches a certain point, it will not boil over, so don't get nervous!). Do not stir! As the sugar cooks, be sure to wash down the sides of the pot with a pastry brush dipped in water. This will ensure that your sugar does not crystallize. This step should take several minutes, so be patient
3. Pour the cooked sugar mixture in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whip attachment, but DO NOT begin whipping; be sure to reserve your pot for later. Let the mixture cool to 212F first.
4. While the sugar cools, melt the hydrated gelatin over low heat in the same pot in which you cooked your sugar. Pour the melted gelatin over the sugar and begin whipping. 
5. Whip the sugar and gelatin on high speed for about 8 minutes, or until well-aerated. Add the vanilla extract and cinnamon. 
6. Spread the marshmallow onto a half sheet pan lined with oiled parchment paper or a sil-pat. 
7. Place another piece of oiled parchment paper on top and flatten to smooth the top. Allow to rest overnight.
8. To finish, cut your marshmallows to the desired size or shape, and toss in a mixture of equal parts confectioner's sugar and cornstarch. Shake to remove excess starch and enjoy!


It's quite an accomplishment to say that you made a gift entirely from scratch, AND that it's better than what you could have bought at the store!

I hope that you whip up a batch of these delicious treats and cozy up with your loved ones this winter. Don't miss the rush of the Holiday Season, or you'll have to wait all the way until next year rolls around :)

Have a blessed start to 2013.

Stay hungry and curious,



  1. I have read about making your own im trying yours. I am also sharing your site with a lady at work who loves baked goods/cakes....I told her you were great!