When you meet a chef that makes marshmallows in her business- well, you have to know her favorite Hot Chocolate Recipe!
Meet Chef Alexa from 240sweets
Brr! Winter is here in full force. “Time to chase away the chill with some hot chocolate,” is what we say at 240sweet. There’s something about a steaming mug of chocolate and milk topped with gourmet marshmallow to make everything right. Here, we like the good stuff: real heavy whipping cream, milk chocolate and handmade marshmallows. While not everyone has the time or energy to make their own hot chocolate mix, I’ve found that grocery store brands can be made delicious when you replace the water with WARM MILK and top them with good marshmallows. Sometimes, we even add bourbon (or bourbon marshmallows) to make it extra special.
For the perfect hot chocolate, I like to mix heavy whipping cream with chocolate mix. Then, I pour in some bourbon. Finally, I top it with either Salty Caramel Swirl 240sweet puffs OR 240sweet Marshmallow Whip (our version of fluff) and my Salty Caramel Sauce. Served steaming hot, this will chase the winter blues away. The real dairy and gourmet marshmallows provide depth that can’t be found in water and grocery store puffs.
This month, 240sweet is even having a #MugItUp Contest for people to share images of themselves enjoying hot chocolate with marshmallows. The Grand Prize is one year’s subscription to my Marshmallow of the Month Club.
How have you worked with Indiana Dairy?
While I’ve always been a fan of dairy, I was introduced to the American Dairy Association Indiana when someone suggested I enter the Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese Cook-Off Contest. Then I won Grand Champion with my Decadent Macaroni and Cheese and became the Queen of All the Dairy.
Tell us a bit about how dairy is used in your restaurant.
With my wife, Sam, I own 240sweet Artisan Foodworks. We make gourmet marshmallow-centered confections and provide full-service catering. Our most popular marshmallow, the Salty Caramel Swirl featured in Oprah magazine, is made with heavy whipping cream. In fact, several of our most popular puffs incorporate caramel that I make using Indiana dairy. In catering, the Grand Champion Decadent macaroni and cheese is our most popular item. To make my macaroni and cheese, I use seven different types of dairy.
Provide some background into your restaurant.
The mission statement of 240sweet Artisan Foodworks is to make people happy through gourmet food and drink. We do this by serving real foods and drinks, made as much as possible from scratch with local ingredients. In December 2015, Indianapolis Monthly ranked us #3 in their listing of the top five caterers in Indiana. So I think we must be doing something right. Funny, most people don’t know that we started to make marshmallows to give out with menus to promote the catering business.
What is your favorite part of your job?
That’s a hard question to answer. I love my job as Executive Chef. Two reasons why: 1. There is nothing better than the look of happiness on someone’s face when they taste my creations for the first time. And it’s pretty cool to see it. 2. Sam and I are creators. We make things like foods and beverages. Even when we’re not working, we’re playing with new flavor combinations/techniques at home or exploring places with new foods and drinks. So I have a job where I get to make things. Pretty cool.
Tell us a little about yourself and your hobbies?
Foods and drink are my world. I am the child of two chefs and was raised in the restaurant/catering world. Working in my parents’ catering business as a teenager is where I first met and feel in love with my wife. So it’s no surprise that most of my free time is spent with foods and drinks. I also like to build things and decorate my house. We have one whole room that I covered in marbles from floor to ceiling. I’m kind of an outsider artist, that way. And one of my favorite museums is the American Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore.
Tell us a little about someone who has influenced your life and why?
My parents have been a big influence on me. They taught me to always do my best and to think on my feet. Max, my dad, was one of the first off-premise caterers in Indiana. People are still copying him. He has a great response to people who would ask his secret to success, “There is no secret.” Both Mom and Dad just worked hard and never gave up. My mom, Christine, is a force of nature who introduced many foods to our area when she had her Michelin starred restaurant, the Walnut Room. I’m pretty lucky they taught me the love of good food, drink, making people happy.
To brush the cold off here is an amazing Hot Chocolate!
Bourbon Hot Chocolate
- 4 Tbsp of 240sweet Decadent Hot Chocolate Mix*
- 1 cup of Half & Half
- 2 oz of Marker’s Mark Bourbon* (optional)
- 1/4 cup of 240sweet Marshmallow Whip*
- 1 Tbsp of 240sweet Salty Caramel Sauce*
- In a small to medium saucepan, boil 1 cup of half & half. Whisk 4 tbsp of the Decadent Hot Chocolate mix into the saucepan. Upon removing from heat, add 1/2 cup of Marker’s Mark, if using. I prefer the Cask Strength. Top with a quarter cup of the Marshmallow Whip then drizzle 1 tbsp. of the Salty Caramel Sauce. Garnish with a sprinkle of crunchy sea salt.