As I approached my car, I couldn’t help but notice a single bright flower attached to my windshield. I removed the flower and my eyes quickly darted to the card beside it. My heart quickened as I read, “today I want to show you how thankful I am for you. Come home straight after work, you’ll have more instructions at that time…”
My hour-long work meeting felt like a day but when I finally got home I found more of the same flowers and an envelope outside my apartment door. The envelope included directions to a running store and a gas card (yes, I was a broke social worker working for a group home so that gas card was to make sure that I needn’t worry about driving around the city). When I arrived at the running store I was handed another envelope. Inside the envelope was a gift card towards shoes for our first marathon along with a list of “26 things he’s excited to do with me.”
The next set of directions led me to a spa. After checking in at the front desk, I was taken to a tranquil room for an hour long massage. As I left the room, relaxed and over-joyed, the massage therapist handed me another envelope that led to several other clues in the form of crossword puzzles, word searches and fill in the blanks taking me to Barnes & Noble, a “Paint Your Own Pottery Store,” and more. My final destination: home.
When I got to my apartment, there was an envelope outside my door with instructions to go straight into my room and call him when I was ready. After excitedly getting dressed, I dialed his number. He knocked on the door and I opened it to find him standing in chef’s attire; white jacket, pinstriped pants, dishtowl. He led me to the couch and he cooked dinner after handing me a bouquet of roses. As I looked closer, I noticed that little notes had been tied to each rose. The notes were from my family and closest friends, each had one sentence about why they love me. I cried, he changed into dress clothes and we ate a delicious meal together.
After dinner, he had me count the roses: 11. “Hmmm…he said, that’s odd. I’ve never heard of only 11 roses. Why don’t I go check for the 12th…” He came out, however not with a rose, but with a guitar. I sat next to him as he sang me a song he had written.
“Strange though,” he said. “We still haven’t found that 12th rose. Let me go check again. Why don’t you close your eyes this time.” With my eyes closed, he placed the 12th rose in my hand, there was a long red ribbon attached and at the end of the ribbon instead of a note, there was a box. I felt the box with my eyes still closed, and when I opened it…
it was empty.
Instead of a note, was the greatest man I’ve ever known on his knee, asking me to marry him.
If you’re wondering, I said yes ;) and then we went for a delicious dessert at the Melting Pot, and the last 5+ years since have been wedded bliss
Valentine’s Day is coming. And while you don’t have to plan an extravagant scavenger hunt for your love (although I highly recommend it ;)) you may be searching for the perfectly sweetened dessert to share after dinner.
Don’t be fooled. This decadent hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows is much more than just a warm drink, it is a complete dessert. I was sent Marshmallow Madness! to review, and after questioning my ability to actually make marshmallows from scratch, I quickly realized that the instructions were easy to follow and the entire process was clearly explained. And the best part? Making these was fun!
This book is filled with tons of creative ways to make and use marshmallows and it’s definitely one of the most approachable cookbooks I’ve seen!
Happy Valentine’s Day
Homemade Marshmallows and Hot Chocolate
Marshmallows adapted from Marshmallow Madness!
Hot Chocolate adapted from Adapted from Joy of Baking
Keywords: dessert beverage vegetarian Christmas Thanksgiving winter
- 4 1/2 tsp. unflavored powdered gelatin
- 1/2 plus 1/4 cup cold water
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
For the Hot Chocolate (makes 2 cups)
- 2 cups plus 4 tbs. milk
- 2 tbs. cocoa powder
- 2 tbs. sugar
1. Spray 8×8 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Whisk together the gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water in a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes (it will begin to mold together).
2. In small saucepan, stir together sugar, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup cold water and salt over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until temperature reaches 240 degrees (I bought my first thermometer for this recipe; it only cost about $3 and is pretty crucial for this stage!).
3. Meanwhile, pour remaining 1/4 cup honey into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Melt gelatin mixture by putting in microwave on high for about 30 seconds or stirring in pot over high heat. Pour completely melted gelatin into the mixer bowl. Set on low speed and keep mixer running.
4. When the syrup reaches 240 degrees, slowly pour it into the mixer bowl. Increase speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes. Increase to medium-high and beat for 5 additional minutes. Beat on the highest setting for 1 to 2 minutes, while beating in vanilla. The batter should become fluffy and have tripled in volume. Pour batter into prepared baking dish and smooth over with a spatula.
5. Mix together confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch (this is now called “coating”). Sift/sprinkle coating generously over the top (this is what prevents them from sticking to everything and it can be dusted off when serving). Set coating aside (you will need it again). Let marshmallows sit in cool, dry place (not the refrigerator) for at least 6 hours.
6. Lightly dust work surface with coating. Loosen marshmallows with a knife around the edges and turn pan over so that marshmallows “fall” onto work surface. Sprinkle top with more coating. Cut into preferred size pieces (a pizza cutter works great). If needed, dip individual pieces into coating, dust off the excess. Serve and enjoy!
For the Hot Chocolate
1. Place 2 cups milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until it is very hot (not boiling). Meanwhile in each mug, stir together 1 tbs. cocoa powder, 1 tbs. sugar, and 2 tbs. milk. Pour hot milk over mixture and stir until it is evenly combined. Top with marshmallows, serve and enjoy!
~What is your favorite way to eat marshmallows?