Marna Reed Talks Chocolate

Hey everyone! Today I have a special guest and co-crazy-goal-setter (TOTALLY a word) Marna Reed here with me as part of her blog tour. First, let me share a bit of something about the book.

Finally back home… 

When Ren Lang set out to do a good neighborly deed, he didn’t prepare to be digging out more than a car. Seeing Kristal Overwood once more reminds him how hard it was losing her the first time. It doesn’t take Ren long to see Kristal staying in Waterseed, their small Vermont hometown, might crack open up his closed, hard heart. It’s not a risk he’s willing to take again.

But for how long? 

Since she has no plans to linger in Waterseed, Kristal doesn’t want to build any lasting emotional ties. Of course fate has Ren helping her re-build her childhood home. Seeing her foster brother is stirring up more than the past…it’s digging up that long-ago buried attachment to him. And despite her resolve, she’s falling for more than his charming family this time.

Now will it take a cup of spiced cocoa to have that chat they should have had all those years ago?

Find Home Sweet Cocoa here.

Take it away, Marna!

Hi, everyone! Marna here.
First I’d like to thank Misha for allowing me to take over a bit on her blog to let you all in on my debut Christmas-themed novella, Home Sweet Cocoa, a sweet contemporary romance.
So, let’s talk hot chocolate.
I’ve been trying out some new recipes. Since it’s starting to feel like fall is finally replacing summer here, I’m putting away the ice cream and busting out my hot chocolate. Usually I’m a simple Nestlé kind of girl, but lately I’ve been fiddling around with making cocoa from scratch. From there I branched out to try different hot chocolate blends.
Here are a couple variants of orange spiced cocoa, which is really just like regular hot chocolate with a kick of citrus:
RECIPE ONE – ORANGE-SPICE COCOA
I grabbed this recipe from the Food Network. It’s a little more straightforward and simple than the second recipe, so let’s start here.
Ingredient List
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
½ cup cocoa powder
6 cups milk
½ tsp of orange zest
1 cup whipped cream
Preparation Steps:
Sift 1 cup confectioner’s sugar into a bowl with ¼ tsp ground cardamom, ½ cup cocoa powder. Stir until mixed well. Bring milk to a simmer over medium heat (don’t let it boil, unless you have a strainer handy). Whisk in the cocoa mixture until smooth. Top the chocolatey drink off with whipped cream and a bit of orange zest for garnish. J
I sum it up below with pictures from my first attempt with this recipe!
 


RECIPE TWO – WHITE HOT ORANGE-Y CHOCOLATE
Recipe Two is from a cute little blog called WillCook For Friends, and this one has added the twist of white chocolate. Fun!
Ingredient List
4 oz. (by weight) good quality white chocolate, roughly chopped (or about 3/4 cup)
2 cups milk (I used whole milk, but I’m sure you could use whatever % you like)
3-4 green cardamom pods, crushed
1 two-inch strip of orange zest
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon or freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish
fresh whipped cream, for serving (optional)
Preparation Steps:
If your chocolate is in a block or a bar, chop it roughly and place it in a large bowl. If it is in chip form, just add it to the bowl as-is. Place a small pot on the stove over medium-low heat, and add the milk, crushed cardamom, and orange zest. Heat until the milk begins to steam, and small bubbles appear around the edges of the pot, stirring frequently to keep the milk from scorching on the bottom of the pot. As soon as bubbles appear at the edges, remove from the heat — do not let it boil! Place a strainer over the bowl with the chocolate, and pour the milk through to remove the cardamom and orange. Add the vanilla extract, and let sit for 20-30 seconds to allow the chocolate to begin melting. Whisk until smooth. Garnish with a dash of cinnamon or freshly grated nutmeg. Serve as is, or top with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.
Check out the pictorial breakdown for this recipe below…
 
Yum!
If you’re curious about more hot chocolate recipes, search the internet for the many lists of all the kinds you could try out if you’re adventurous enough.
I’m also giving away one (1) e-copy of Home Sweet Cocoa. All you have to do to be entered is answer this question: What’s your favorite hot drink to blast away the chill of autumn and winter?

Leave a comment with your answer and your email address and I’ll get back to the winner. I’m looking forward to reading the responses! Thanks for stopping by.
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What’s Your Chocolate Blogfest

Hi all, before I start today’s post, I just want to make a *tiny* announcement… DOORWAYS IS FINISHED!!! Although this fact makes me a little sad, I’m also quite relieved. Been working on it for almost six years. Sadly I’m on a diet at the moment, so no chocolatey celebrations, but as luck would have it, I’d entered a blogfest a few weeks ago and it allows me to fantasize about it a little.


So my chocolate… I’m a chocoholic, so anything goes. Although Lindt’s dark chocolate is divine. Any flavor works for me. But when I have 85% chocolate, it goes to one thing. This:

The picture below isn’t of a fondant I’ve made, but my recipe comes very close. With luck. It’s a french recipe, after all.

Credit



(From a previous post of mine.)

Unfortunately it will be in metric, since I’m too lazy for conversions.
(From Mariete van der Vyfer’s new recipe book, but I changed the method slightly so that I could enjoy the process…)

Melted chocolate tart (Or, by my name: Delightfully easy fondants.)
200 grams 80% or above dark chocolate
125 grams butter (Yes. BUTTER)
6 separated eggs
1/4 cup of sugar

Step 1: Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (that’s 392 degrees Fahrenheit. see? I can be nice)
Step 2: Spread something like butter or margarine or non-stick spray over the inside of a small but deep cake-pan, or 6 to 10 oven-proof dessert moulds depending on the size. I prefer the latter, but please don’t use muffin moulds unless they’re deep.
Step 3: Mix the yolks and sugar
Step 4: Melt the chocolate and butter together in a fire-proof glass bowl over boiling water. This is the fun part since you get to watch the butter and chocolate turn into a smooth, creamy liquid. Siiigh.
Step 5: beat the egg whites until stiff (Sorry if this sounds weird, but the recipe is in another language.)
Step 6: Mix results from steps 3 and 4
Step 7: Carefully fold the egg whites into the above mixture. Make sure that everything is well blended.
Step 8: Pour the mixture into the prepared dish(es) and put into the oven. Be careful not to fill the dish to the brim, since the mixture does expand in the heat.

Now this is where you need to take a bit of a gamble, since the time left in can be a bit of a gamble, but here’s a rough guide for you to guesstimate:

Cake pan: 20 minutes (cover with foil after the first ten minutes to prevent drying out.)
6 moulds: 12 minutes
10 moulds (what I got, since my moulds were a bit small.): 6-8 minutes

Basically, the smaller the volume, the less time in the oven.

Step 9: They will be soft and sticky when you take them out, but the outside hardens as the fondant cools. When they are cool enough to touch and stable at the bottom, turn the moulds over. The fondants should drop out without much trouble. I strongly suggest you serve them/it with vanilla ice cream.

Step 10: Break through the soft crust and relish the soft, gooey centre bursting forth. 

So what’s your favorite chocolate/chocolate dish?

NaNo day 23 (BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!) (Oh and check out the brilliant idiot- i.e. me- proof fondant recipe at the bottom)

Hey all.

Not really back yet. Just wanted to say thank you so very much for dropping by, joining and commenting. Your support and sympathy really help. 🙂

I decided to rather forget NaNo for this year and rather aim for some BEEEEEEEEG writing sessions in December. Who knows? Maybe, with nothing better/different to do, I might actually manage to hit 100k in thirty days.

Wouldn’t that be something?

Anyway… I have a lot to share and tell, but it just feels like it will be a rushed/emotional mess if I start now. But I promise to be back to my compulsive posting self in December. Feel free to expect my return around the fourth or fifth (my exams finish on the third).  I’ll also start dropping in on your blogs again at that time.

I really miss you all! 

How are you doing? Any finished WiP’s? Any NaNo’s won yet? What’s up in your corner of the world? Any other news? 

Oooh ooh ooh. Before I sign off. I leave you with this beauty of a reward/treat/consolation.

Unfortunately it will be in metric, since I’m too lazy for conversions.
(From Mariete van der Vyfer’s new recipe book, but I changed the method slightly so that I could enjoy the process…)

Melted chocolate tart (Or, by my name: Delightfully easy fondants.)
200 grams 80% or above dark chocolate
125 grams butter (Yes. BUTTER)
6 separated eggs
1/4 cup of sugar

Step 1: Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (that’s 392 degrees Fahrenheit. see? I can be nice)
Step 2: Spread something like butter or margarine or non-stick spray over the inside of a small but deep cake-pan, or 6 to 10 oven-proof dessert moulds depending on the size. I prefer the latter, but please don’t use muffin moulds unless they’re deep.
Step 3: Mix the yolks and sugar
Step 4: Melt the chocolate and butter together in a fire-proof glass bowl over boiling water. This is the fun part since you get to watch the butter and chocolate turn into a smooth, creamy liquid. Siiigh.
Step 5: beat the egg whites until stiff (Sorry if this sounds weird, but the recipe is in another language.)
Step 6: Mix results from steps 3 and 4
Step 7: Carefully fold the egg whites into the above mixture. Make sure that everything is well blended.
Step 8: Pour the mixture into the prepared dish(es) and put into the oven. Be careful not to fill the dish to the brim, since the mixture does expand in the heat.

Now this is where you need to take a bit of a gamble, since the time left in can be a bit of a gamble, but here’s a rough guide for you to guesstimate:

Cake pan: 20 minutes (cover with foil after the first ten minutes to prevent drying out.)
6 moulds: 12 minutes
10 moulds (what I got, since my moulds were a bit small.): 8 minutes

Basically, the smaller the volume, the less time in the oven.

Step 9: They will be soft and sticky when you take them out, but the outside hardens as the fondant cools. When they are cool enough to touch and stable at the bottom, turn the moulds over. The fondants should drop out without much trouble. I strongly suggest you serve them/it with vanilla ice cream.

Step 10: Break through the soft crust and relish the soft, gooey centre bursting forth.

Enjoy! 😉