Friday, March 14, 2014

Stranger than Fiction's Dark Chocolate Macadamia Wedges {Food'N'Flix}


Food‘nFlixDeb from Kahakai Kitchen is hosting this month's Food'N'Flix. And we are watching, or rewatching as the case may be, Stranger than FictionClick to see Deb's invitation.

from imdb.com
This was a surprisingly charming film with a rockstar cast. I was more than a little surprised to see Will Ferrell depart from his usual goofball character and display some dramatic acting chops. Maggie Gyllenhaal was fantastic. And Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, and Queen Latifah all sparkled in their roles - not like disco ball sparkly, but crystal vase sparkly. Elegant and subdued. Impressive.

My husband Jake claimed that I have seen the movie before. It didn't seem familiar. However, I am guilty of renting movies, popping them in, and getting distracted with a multitude of projects while he sits and watches it. So, this time, I shut down my laptop, placed my beads out of reach, and didn't stick anything in the oven that needed babysitting.

I'm not going to give away too much of the movie. Will Ferrell plays Harold Crick, a staid taxman whose mundane existence is upended when he begins to hear his life being narrated by a voice that only he can hear. The narrator Kay Eiffel - played Emma Thompson -, is an author struggling to complete her latest book. She is completely unaware that her protagonist is alive and uncontrollably guided by her words. Fiction and real life collide when Harold hears the Narrator announce that events have been set in motion that will lead to his imminent death. Another layer of the story: a romance. Harold - remember he works for the IRS? - is auditing intentionally tax delinquent baker Ana Pascal, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal.

from imdb.com

And if you're watching this for the foodie side of things, there is the scene. The cookie scene. Harold asks Ana why she became a baker. She tells him she was on track to be a lawyer.

I was barely accepted [to law school]. I mean, barely. The only reason they let me come was because of my essay: "How I was going to make the world a better place with my degree." 

And anyway, we would have to participate in these study sessions, my classmates and I, sometimes all night long. And so I baked so no one would go hungry while we worked. Sometimes I'd bake all afternoon in the kitchen, in the dorm, and then I'd bring my little treats to the study groups and people loved them. 

I made oatmeal cookies... peanut butter bars...dark chocolate macadamia nut wedges, and everyone would eat and stay happy and study harder and do better on the test and more and more people started coming to the study groups and I'd bring more snacks and I was always looking for better and better recipes until soon it was ricotta cheese and apricot croissants and mocha bars with a almond glaze and lemon chiffon cake with zesty peach icing. 

And at the end of the semester I had twenty seven study partners, eight Mead journals filled with recipes and a D average. So I dropped out. I just figured if I was going to make the world a better place I would do it with cookies.

Making the world a better place with cookies? Sounds like a plan. Everyone always smiles when they eat a homemade cookie, right?!? I watched that scene half a dozen times - making sure that I got all the cookies she named written down. Then I looked at the list and tried to figure out what I wanted to make. In the end, I picked her dark chocolate macadamia wedges. Mainly because I'd never made anything like them before. Here goes...

Dark Chocolate Macadamia Nut Wedges
inspired by Stranger than Fiction - for Food'N'Flix, March 2014


Ingredients
The Crust

  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 C organic granulated sugar
  • 3/4 C cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 eggs

The Filling

  • 1 C organic dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1 C butter
  • 1/2 C honey (I used a local pine honey)
  • 2-1/2 C dry roasted, unsalted macadamia nuts
  • 1-1/2 C dry roasted, unsalted hazelnuts
  • 1/4 C whipping cream
  • 1/2 t lemon extract
The Finishing Touches
  • 2 C semisweet chocolate chunks
  • 1 T butter
  • fleur de sel

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line the bottom of a baking dish with parchment paper and grease the paper. Place flours, sugar, and butter in a large mixing bowl and, using a pastry cutter, but the butter into the mixture until it has the consistency of coarse crumbs. Add eggs and press the dough together until it forms a ball. Press the dough into the prepared baking dish. Bake 15-18 minutes, until edges are lightly golden. Cool on cooling rack and reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

In large saucepan, heat brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter and honey over medium heat until butter melts. Raise heat to high and boil for 2-3 minutes - until a caramel forms.


Remove from heat. Fold in nuts, whipping cream and lemon extract. Pour filling over the pre-baked crust.


Bake 45-50 minutes or until filling is set around the edges. The center might still jiggle slightly. Cool completely. I left ours overnight.


To finish...slice the 'pie' into wedges and temper your chocolate for dipping.


Place 1 C of chocolate chunks in a pan and heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in the other C of chocolate chunks. Heat the chocolate again until melted and smooth.

Dip your wedges into the chocolate. I chose to do only half of them. While the chocolate is still warm, sprinkle the wedges with fleur de sel for garnish. Let chocolate set. Serve with a glass of cold milk!

Next month, we'll be watching girlichef's pick - Kung Fu Panda. My boys will be happy to help me brainstorm for a dish to make.

10 comments:

  1. These bars look so decadent and wonderful--I love that crust. Of course I would go for the dark chocolate-dipped ones with the fleur de sel on top. ;-) Yum!

    I'm so glad you liked the movie and actually got a chance to sit down and relax watching it. ;-) Will Ferrell does do a great job. Thanks for joining in!

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    1. Thanks for hosting, Deb. I really wouldn't have picked to watch that movie otherwise and it was a gem.

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  2. These look delish! I have never made anythng quite like this before either.

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    1. Thanks! Yes, they were delicious...and didn't last very long in my house.

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  3. Classy looking cookies/ wedges. I loved that monologue in the movie.

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    1. Thanks, Tina. I think that monologue made the movie! ;)

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  4. I did miss the Macadamia Nut Wedges in the movie. OMG yours look amazing.

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    1. It was definitely something that stuck in my mind. And it's funny that three of us made it for Food'N'Flix. But I loved everyone's take on this movie!

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  5. Your recipe was really what I was aiming for! Looks so delicious and I think that is what Ana made for her study groups (more so than my adaptation). Great recipe!!!

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    1. Thanks, Debra. I'm sure yours was fabulous as well.

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