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Recipes & Entertaining Ideas

Filtering by Tag: Hot Chocolate

Cognac Hot Chocolate

Marc J. Sievers

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If you’re like me, you get to a point when you just need a moment during the winter months where you can just sit back and feel cozy. I love bundling up and watching snow fall (especially at the beach!), but sometimes, I need a little escape from the cold. I decided that now would be the perfect time for a luxe, chocolaty pick-me-up to relax and recharge.

My Cognac Hot Chocolate is a rich, layered and complex version of traditional hot chocolate, but with a little kick, courtesy of the addition of cognac.  Far from the hot chocolate of your childhood, this treat is sophisticated and worthy of a few quiet moments to sit, enjoy and stay warm indoors. Cheers!

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Cognac Hot Chocolate

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • Whole Milk – 3 cups

  • Half-and-Half – 2 cups

  • Milk Chocolate – 5 ounces, rough chopped

  • Dark Chocolate – 8 ounces, 72% cacao, rough chopped

  • Cocoa Powder – ¼ cup, unsweetened, Pernigotti recommended

  • Cinnamon – ¼ teaspoon

  • Fleur de Sel – ¼ teaspoon

  • Dark Brown Sugar – 2 tablespoons, lightly packed

  • Vanilla – 1 ½ teaspoons, pure extract

  • Salted Caramel Sauce – 4 tablespoons, favorite store-bought brand

  • Cognac – 1 cup, Rémy Martin 1738 recommended

  • Cinnamon Sticks – for stirrers and garnish (if desired)

 Directions 

  1. In a large saucepan set over medium heat, add the milk and half-and-half.  Heat to just below the simmering point. 

  2. Remove the pan from the heat and add all of the remaining ingredients, except the cinnamon sticks. 

  3. Using a whisk, vigorously whisk the mixture until it is smooth and the chocolate is completely melted. 

  4. Gently reheat over medium heat, ladle into mugs and garnish with a cinnamon stick, a bit of frothed milk or whipped cream (if desired).

Tip: You can prepare the hot chocolate up to five days in advance and store it in an airtight container with a piece of plastic wrap pressed against the top of the hot chocolate and set in the refrigerator.  The plastic wrap will help prevent a skin from forming on the top of the hot chocolate.

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Salted Hot Chocolate Ice Cream

Marc J. Sievers

If you have never made homemade ice cream, you are in for a real treat!  A few months ago, I was making my Velvety Hot Chocolate from my first cookbook Entertaining with Love, and while I was measuring out the ingredients it occurred to me that they were very similar to the base ingredients for my ice cream recipe.  After a bit of tweaking (and lots of taste testing!), my Salted Hot Chocolate Ice Cream was churning away in my ice cream maker, ready for its close-up!

This is by far the best and most luxurious chocolaty ice cream I have ever had, let alone made myself!  The texture is similar to a velvety mousse—light, airy, and incredibly silky.  The flavors are so rich and intense, from using really good ingredients (particularly the chocolate and cocoa powder), and my secret ingredient:  Fleur de Sel caramel sauce.  Rather than make your own caramel sauce for a few tablespoons, I like to use a good store-bought one.  In fact, my favorite jar is from Trader Joe’s (also where I buy my chocolate bars by the pound).

For the ultimate ice cream enjoyment, allow each scoop to sit at room temperature for a few minutes and you will be able to taste the flavors much better than it being ice-cold.  The most perfect chocolate ice cream is calling your name – enjoy!


Salted Hot Chocolate Ice Cream

Ingredients (makes 1 quart)

  • Milk Chocolate – 4 ounces, finely chopped

  • Dark Chocolate – 4 ounces, finely chopped

  • Cocoa Powder – ¼ cup, unsweetened

  • Heavy Cream – 3 cups

  • Vanilla – 1 teaspoon, pure extract

  • Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce – 3 tablespoons, good store-bought variety

  • Fleur de Sel – ¼ teaspoon

  • Cinnamon – 1/8 teaspoon

  • Dark Brown Sugar – 2 tablespoon

Directions

  1. In a medium sauce pan set over medium heat, add the heavy cream, brown sugar, caramel sauce, and both chocolates. Whisk until the chocolate is just melted.

  2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and cocoa powder.

  3. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap pressing it directly onto the surface of the mixture. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator until it is very cold.

  4. Once the mixture is chilled, add it to an ice cream maker and follow manufactures directions.

  5. Scoop out the ice cream into a freezer-proof container and freeze for 2 hours.

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

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Goodies for Santa - Winter Hot Chocolate & Brown Sugar Snickerdoodles

Marc J. Sievers

Christmas is my favorite time of year!  As a little boy I would count down the days until it was time to listen to Christmas music, decorate the tree, and of course Christmas Eve.  I would leave cookies and milk for Santa, chocolates for his elves, and baby carrots for Rudolph.  In the morning I would rush to the table to see if the goodies were gone, and sure enough each year there were crumbs left behind and a note from Santa thanking me for thinking of him!  To this day I still leave Santa and his little helpers goodies on Christmas Eve, the tradition and magic lives on!


Watch my webisode of From My Kitchen to Yours - Cookies for Santa (filmed in Williams-Sonoma Lincoln Park's grand gourmet kitchen!) for a complete tutorial:


Brown Sugar Snickerdoodles

Ingredients (makes 24 cookies)

  • Butter – 1 stick, unsalted, at room temperature

  • Light Brown Sugar – ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons, divided

  • Granulated Sugar – ¼ cup

  • Flour – 1⅓ cups, all-purpose

  • Eggs – 1 extra-large, at room temperature

  • Vanilla – 1½ teaspoons, pure extract

  • Honey – 2 tablespoons

  • Cream of Tartar – 1 teaspoon

  • Baking Soda – ½ teaspoon

  • Sea Salt – ¼ teaspoon

  • Cinnamon – 1½ teaspoons

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

  2. In a small bowl sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Set aside.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and set to medium speed cream together the butter, honey, vanilla, granulated sugar, and ½ cup of light brown sugar, about 5 minutes.

  4. Add the egg and allow to mix until fully incorporated, about 2 minutes.

  5. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl making sure everything is well mixed.

  6. In a shallow bowl or plate combine the cinnamon and remaining 3 tablespoons of light brown sugar.

  7. Using a 1¼-inch metal scoop, scoop the dough and release each ball directly into the cinnamon/sugar mixture and gently roll it around.

  8. Arrange the dough balls two-inches apart onto the prepared sheet pan. Lightly press down the tops of each ball.

  9. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.

  10. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Tip: When baking, the light brown sugar on the outside will caramelize slightly adding a depth of flavor to this fresh take on an iconic cookie.


Winter Hot Chocolate

Brown Sugar Snickerdoodles & Winter Hot Chocolate are two classics with a Marc Sievers twist!

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • Light Brown Sugar – ¾ cup

  • Half and Half – 3½ cups

  • Sea Salt – ⅛ teaspoon

  • Cinnamon – ¼ teaspoon

  • Honey – 1 tablespoon

  • Vanilla – ¾ teaspoon, pure extract

  • Vanilla Bean – seeds of 1 large pod

  • White Chocolate – 5 ounces, roughly chopped

  • Cocoa Powder – unsweetened, for garnish

Directions

  1. In a medium sauce pan set over medium-low heat add the half and half. Allow it to come to just below the simmering point.

  2. Remove the pan from the heat and add the sugar, salt, honey, cinnamon, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, and the white chocolate.

  3. In the pan, quickly whisk until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate is completely melted.

  4. Gently reheat over low heat, and then carefully ladle into mugs.

  5. Garnish each mug with a dash of cocoa powder and a marshmallow (or two)!

Tip: Make a BOOZY version by adding in a shot (or, two!) of Butterscotch Schnapps,, Caramel Baileys, or your favorite spiced liquor! 

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

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