Tag Archives: candy

Dinner and a Movie: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

I would be entirely remiss if I did not include the king of all dessert movies in this series, and early on.  Mel Stuart’s 1971 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory may not be quite as true to Roald Dahl’s classic book as its 2005 adaptation, but if the chocolate river and gumdrop trees don’t leave you hungry for dessert I don’t know what will.  Gene Wilder’s Wonka can be mildly terrifying, but aside from the psychedelic trips the movie actually manages to impart messages about the downfalls of greed.  If turning into a giant blueberry or falling in with the bad eggs wasn’t enough to scare you out of gluttony, charming Charlie’s reward demonstrates without a doubt that good guys finish first.

Sappy messages aside, let’s get down to the only thing about Willy Wonka that really matters—the chocolate.  I half expect to find a golden ticket anytime I unwrap a Hershey’s bar; so far, I’ve been unlucky.  With no chocolate factory tour in sight, I’ve resorted to making my own chocolate.  This recipe doesn’t involve much work but sort of looks like it does, which is pretty much a win-win situation.  The amounts listed below are very rough estimates, and I’d encourage budding chocolatiers to try out their own unique flavors and additions!

Simple Chocolate Truffles


10 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips

5 tbs. heavy cream

2 tsp. vanilla extract



Add chocolate and cream to a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir continually until the chocolate is melted.  Remove from heat and pour in vanilla (or any other flavoring).  Spoon the chocolate into a silicon ice cube tray, or ball it up and place them on a cooking sheet.  Refrigerate for two hours or until set.  Enjoy!


Dinner and a Movie: This is the End

At midnight during the summer I am usually tucked into my bed, nodding off to the next episode of “Game of Thrones” on HBO to Go.  There are those, however, who are still out at the movies at that ungodly hour, which means that I now often find myself at work along with them.  The night that “This is the End” came out was one of those nights.  Much to my mother’s chagrin, I stayed at the movie theater after my shift ended to catch the midnight show.  Still dressed up in my collarless, navy, button-up uniform shirt, I bought myself some caffeine and settled in for the ride.  All I can say is if you have not seen it yet, get up and go.

The apocalyptic comedy stars…well, everyone, but namely Seth Rogen, Jay Burachel, James France, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson.  (Seth, Jay, and Danny actually stopped by my theater on opening day to hand out candy and popcorn to unsuspecting moviegoers; I was an entirely unhelpful employee as I stood off to the side and stared at them walking in.)  The stars, who all play hilariously obnoxious versions of themselves, find themselves stuck in James Franco’s mansion to hide out while the rest of the world burns down around them.  Unfortunately for them, Franco’s pantry contains just “12 bottles of water, 56 beers, Nutella, C.T. Crunch…and a milky way bar.”  Naturally, a fight ensues over who should get some of that Milky Way:


Jonah Hill:  Can I have that Milky Way?
James Franco:  No you can’t have the Milky Way, cause it’s my special food, I like it.
Seth Rogen:  I want some of the Milky Way.
Craig Robinson:  I’ll be pretty bummed if I don’t at least get a bite of the Milky Way.


I get it, Craig.  I would be pretty bummed too.  It is also good to know that Milky Ways are James Franco’s “special food.”  I understand where he’s coming from, too.  But if the world is coming to an end you better believe I will be stuffing my face with every kind of chocolate available.  Frankly I’m surprised that no one was fighting over the Nutella.  Thankfully, though, it is not the end of the world, and there are still plenty of Milky Way bars to go around, a fact which was quite helpful when I made Milky Way cookies.  These surprisingly simple cookies are gooey and delicious.  If Milky Ways aren’t your thing, most other types of chocolate candy should work just as well.


Milky Way Cookies 

Adapted from iheartnaptime.com



2 sticks softened butter

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

2 ¾ cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

35 mini Milky Ways, coarsely chopped (I cut them in quarters)



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking soda.  Slowly add this mixture to the other bowl.
  4. Pour in the chopped candy bars, and mix well so you don’t get all the candy in a few of the cookies.
  5. Roll dough into small balls and place on the baking sheet.  They expand, so leave a bit of room in between each ball.  I would also recommend coating your hands in flour so that you can get nice, even balls without them sticking to you (it’s a pretty sticky dough).
  6. Bake for approximately 8 minutes.  Let cool about 2 minutes on baking sheet.

Weekend Getaways

The sweet relief of Fall Break–a much needed vacation from the stresses of classes, internships, clubs… Claire and I took this opportunity to completely remove ourselves from New York City. Personally, I’m writing from a lake house in the suburbs of San Antonio. I never would have thought that Texas gets cold… weird…

Anyhow, for those of you still in the city, we scoped out a couple cool food escapes for the long weekend:

1. Kalustyan’s: Located at 29th and Lexington, this unimposing storefront seems like nothing out of the ordinary. However, upon entering this market, one is immediately hit with the smell of spices. (It brings me back to my mom’s spice cabinet back in San Diego.) Browsing down the aisle, there are at least 20 types of beans, 30 types of rice, nuts galore, and salts like no other place in New York. It was absolutely amazing! However, I initially searched out this market for its spices, and I had yet to find them. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I spied a side-room down the stairs. No joke–I actually did a double take. This was the spice room. Surrounded by other food enthusiasts, I had found New York’s spice mecca. I was able to discover 10-inch-long cinnamon sticks, basil seeds, nigella seeds (which are legendary for their ability to cure anything except for death), and white cardamom. Of course, there are tons more spices–I just didn’t have the budget to buy them all. I’m not saying that Kalustyan’s is expensive. In fact, quite the contrary. Due to their cheap packaging, the spices cost about half the price of West Side spices! It’s a fantastic deal. The only thing that was a bit expensive was the Black Cyprus Salt that I picked up. Needless to say, this is worth the trip.

2. The Kitchen Arts and Letters: On the Upper East Side at 93rd and Lexington, this is the country’s (and maybe the world’s) biggest cookbook and food writing bookstore! It all started a couple weeks ago when I found the name of the bookstore in Gastronomica, a food magazine. A couple weeks later, I tried to order a copy of Cooking for Kings from Amazon, only to be notified that I would not receive the book until January! This was ridiculous, and I was determined to find that book. This bookstore not only had a copy of Cooking for Kings, it also carried some of the most beautiful cookbooks I have ever seen! If you’re tired of dealing with the Cookbook section of Barnes and Noble (a tiny and limited selection), head over to the Upper East Side. Their staff is very knowledgeable and they will help you find whatever you need. Or you can just browse.

3. Candies!: If you feel too old to trick-or-treat, head down to some of the city’s great confectionaries. On 108 Rivington Street (Lower East Side), you can find Economy Candy which was just featured in the Times. From the description, I am dying to go. Another favorite of mine is Papabubble, located on 380 Broome. Make sure to try their Lavender hard candy–it’s my favorite flavor.