Feature

Sweet Treats for Cold and Cozy Nights

By Christina Ossa

Volume 1 Issue 4

January 20, 2021

Sweet Treats for Cold and Cozy Nights

Original photo by Christina Ossa

During the wintertime, I’m always cold, and I'd usually find myself snuggled up by the heater under a blanket. I would watch TV and try to keep warm, but it always feels like something is missing. I feel hungry, craving sweets, but I’m either too lazy or don’t want to put in much effort to prepare something. If you happen to be like me, a lazy person who often craves sweets, take a look at the recipes below because they don’t take much effort!


“Elevated” Boxed-Brownies

You’re probably wondering, why not just make brownies by what the instructions say on the back? Well, even if brands like Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker have been in the boxed baking business for a very long time, boxed brownies aren’t always the best. They never compare to a brownie from scratch and sometimes leave you still craving something sweeter or more chocolatey. I’ve figured out a way to elevate any brand of brownies, however, to make them taste almost as good as a brownie from scratch; you’ll only need a couple of extra ingredients, and I promise: if you put in just a little more effort than what the box says to do, you won’t regret it.


Ingredients:

*Prep according to box, except for water

½ stick butter (melted)                                                       ¼ cup sugar

¼ cup cocoa powder                                                          1 tsp vanilla extract

*optional* ¼ tsp coffee extract/instant coffee        *optional* ½ cup chocolate chips


Directions:

  1. Prep according to the box you’re using, except don’t put in the water

  2. Substitute the butter for the water

  3. Add the other listed ingredients

  4. Stir until fully combined

  5. *optional* Add chocolate chips

  6. Follow pan and baking instructions based on the box you’re using

  7. Enjoy!


Hot Cocoa Bombs:

While making hot cocoa bombs isn’t the easiest or most low-maintenance recipe, pre-made ones throughout a school/work week always come as a treat after a hard day! I would recommend taking some time out of your day over a weekend to make these and trust me, you won’t regret it once you use them. They make delicious hot chocolate and if you add a dash of heavy cream to your milk, it’ll taste even richer than with just the milk. Also, keep in mind this recipe accounts for each hot cocoa bomb, so when you’re filling them, add all of these ingredients in each one. Peppermint is also another amazing addition to hot cocoa that amps the already sweet flavor of the chocolate by adding a minty flavor, so if you’re a fan of peppermint like me, then you should add this ingredient!


Ingredients/Tools:

6-cavity semi-sphere mold                          8 oz melting chocolate (melted)

1 tbsp cocoa powder                                      ½ tbsp sugar

*optional* ¼ tsp coffee extract                  ½ handful of marshmallows

½ candy cane/1 full small candy cane


Directions:

  1. Do the regular process of filling your mold with the melted chocolate

  2. Spoon in the chocolate until you have one layer and once that one dries take a clean paintbrush or cooking brush to brush on another layer of chocolate

  3. Put the chocolate in the freezer to solidify for 10 mins

  4. Carefully take out the chocolate molds by pushing around the sides and once the sides come loose by peeling them off gently

  5. Add the ingredients to 3 of your chocolate semi-circles

  6. Put the top halves of the semi-circles onto a warmed plate to glue your semi-circles together

  7. Once melted SLIGHTLY place the top semi-circle onto the bottom one carefully

  8. Add decorations like chocolate drizzles, sprinkles, etc. onto the top

  9. Place in a mug with warmed milk and enjoy!


Mug Chocolate Lava Cake:

Another low maintenance recipe to try out on a lazy, cozy day would be a mug cake. It takes only a couple of minutes for a gooey chocolate cake. Whenever I’m too lazy to bake but want something sweet, I’d usually grab a mug and make this recipe. It’s great for a quick snack or an after-dinner treat while you’re watching TV, doing homework, catching up on work, or gaming. You’ll also get a sweet surprise in the middle since it’s filled with melted chocolate just like a real lava cake.


Ingredients/Tools:

1 large mug, microwave-safe                                                                             1 tbsp butter (melted)

2 tbsp sugar                                                                                                              2 tbsp cocoa powder

2 tbsp milk (add ½ of tbsp later if too thick)                                               2 tbsp flour

1 chocolate truffle/2 pieces of a chocolate bar/6 chocolate chips    ¼ tsp baking powder 


Directions:

  1. Grab your mug and put in the melted butter

  2. Add the sugar to the butter and stir until combined with a spoon

  3. Add the cocoa powder and stir

  4. Add the milk, gradually, then continue to stir

  5. Add your flour and baking powder

  6. If your mixture is too thick, add about ½ tbsp of milk or enough to loosen the batter

  7. Place your chocolate into the middle of your mixture and make sure it stays in the middle for the “lava-cake” result

  8. Microwave the mug for 1 minute to 1 minute and 15 seconds

  9. Carefully take out the mug and enjoy!