Thursday, September 22, 2016

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'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 NestlĂ© 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:


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 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…



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.


  1. Ha! When I saw the cover, I assumed it was a book about hot chocolate. I didn't read the subtitle. As a major hot chocolate fan (drink some everyday and it must be made with milk) I'm happy to see cocoa in a staring role. Good luck with your blog tour.

  2. I'm so glad we're heading into hot cocoa weather, although I don't look forward to snow/ice. Heh. Congrats, Marna!

  3. Hot chocolate > tea > coffee. Always. ^_^

    It's how I operate, and it works. I've been using cocoa to jolt me in the morning. It's too delicious to give up! The worst part was I wasn't able to justify it during the summer, but now that's autumn is finally here (sorta) I can drink all the cocoa I want and not look like a weirdo. :D

    Thanks for stopping by Jeff and Cherie!

  4. Orange zest, I never thought of that! I'll have to try it, thanks:)

  5. Nice to meet you Marna, good luck with your book!

  6. Do it, Mark! I'll always love my hot chocolate plain, but both orange spiced recipes are keepers. :-)

    Nice to meet you too, Rachna. Thank you for the luck and for stopping by!

    Thank, Sheena. It's a long time coming. Glad I was brave enough to take the leap. ^_^


Thanks for commenting! I love to read what you think.

Feel free to ignore the check-box saying "Prove you're not a robot." My word verification is off, but I moderate comments to posts older than two weeks.