This month, Debra of Eliot's Eats is hosting the Movies & Munchies group and has us watching New Year's Eve.
I had never seen this ensemble cast rom-com. But I enjoyed it and probably wouldn't have watched it without the #MoviesandMunchies nudge.
I will say: it's rife with clichés. But do you know why certain plots are used over and over? Because they work!
How many movies have you seen where two couples are racing to have the first baby of the year? Or where a couple gets trapped in an elevator and falls in love? Or a jilted woman forgives the man who broke her heart because he is actually remorseful? Apparently we never tire of a feel-good love story. And this movie has many, many love stories going at the same time.
The star-power and cameos in this movie make it worth watching just to see who is going to show up next. Don't take it too seriously. Just pop some popcorn and settle in for a silly evening that surrounds the ball dropping in Times Square.
With Katherine Heigl playing a pastry chef who was jilted by Jon Bon Jovi last new year's eve, Sarah Jessica Parker playing a single mom shows up for her Cinderella-inspired midnight rendezvous with Josh Duhamel in a horse-drawn carriage, Jessica Biel and Seth Meyers trying everything to induce labor so they can have the first baby of they year to win $25,000, Michelle Pfeiffer traipsing around New York with Zac Efron to cross items off her bucket list, Cary Elwes and Halle Berry being the medical team caring for dying Robert De Niro, and Ashton Kutcher and Lea Michele colliding in an elevator, this assemblage of talented actors is just plain fun.
There isn't a lot of food in the movie. I did note cucumbers being sliced, tomatoes and eggs being thrown, spicy enchiladas, anchovies (to induce labor), milk and cookies, Disaronno & cranberry cocktail, and chocolate truffles by parachute. But I was inspired by the scene when Jon Bon Jovi walks into Heigl's kitchen which has been largely abandoned by all the other staff. Only Heigl remains and she is stuffing chocolate truffles into her mouth. She spits the truffles into a napkin, wipes her mouth and tells him the kitchen only has dessert left,
"Jello, cupcakes, or chocolate truffles?" she asks.
I'm offering a chocolate cupcake and a salted chocolate truffle!
Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes with Cocoa Tahini Frosting
These are rich and chocolate-y with a splash of coffee flavor in the cakes and the savory bent of tahini in the frosting.
makes 12 cupcakes
3/4 cup organic granulated sugar
3/4 cup organic dark brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk or sour cream
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup brewed coffee
1/3 cup hazelnut butter (such as Nutella, you could also use tahini here as well)
2 cup flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
Cocoa Tahini Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup tahini
1-1/2 cups organic powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coffee extract
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
Also needed: piping bag and star tip
chocolate for shaving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cupcake pan with paper liners.
In large mixing bowl whisk together egg, sugars, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla until well blended. Add in the cocoa powder, coffee, and warmed hazelnut butter. Mix until just combined.
Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and chocolate chunks. Whisk until all dry ingredients are moistened.
Pour into prepared liners, about 1/2 cup per hollow. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Cocoa Tahini Frosting
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and tahini until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix to combine. Mix in the extracts. I divided the frosting in half, mixing the cocoa powder into one half to have a pale frosting and a cocoa frosting. Place the frostings in a piping bag to top the cupcakes in a swirl pattern. Or you can up the cocoa powder to 1 cup and make the entire frosting darker. Up to you!
Once the cupcakes are completely cool, pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. Shave chocolate over the top, if desired. Refrigerate if not serving immediately. Let them stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before serving though.
Salted Chocolate Truffles
Though truffles look difficult, they aren't.
makes approximately 30 truffles
1-1/2 cup 72% cacao chocolate, chopped
1 cup organic heavy whipping cream
1 T butter, softened
Also needed: Tablespoon scoop, baking sheet, parchment paper
2 cups 72% cacao chocolate, chopped
flake salt, as needed
Also needed: double boiler or a mixing bowl that can sit suspended over a saucepan, toothpicks
Place chopped chocolate in a large mixing bowl. In a medium saucepan, bring cream to a boil . then pour cream over the chocolate. Let sit for three minutes. Whisk until smooth. Stir in butter. Refrigerate until firm - at least two hours. I left mine overnight.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. With a tablespoon or tablespoon scoop, scoop chilled truffle ganache from your bowl and place on the lined tray. Refrigerate for a minimum of 15 minutes. (I let them chill for about 30 minutes.)
First you need to temper your chocolate. Place 1 cup of your chopped chocolate in a double-boiler and place, over low heat, until melted. Remove from heat and stir in the other half of the chocolate. Set aside until the chocolate begins to lose its shine; it's beginning to crystallize. Then, return the chocolate to the double-boiler and warm again, over very low heat, until smooth and glossy.
Dip chilled truffles in the melted chocolate, one at a time. You may use a candy dipping tool, but I just use a two-toothpick combo. Dip the truffle quickly into the melted chocolate and shake off the excess. Place on the parchment-lined tray and use another toothpick to nudge the truffle off of the toothpick. Dip the toothpick back into the melted chocolate and use a dab of chocolate to cover up any imperfections.
Immediately after chocolate dipping, sprinkle the truffle with a bit of fleur de sel. Repeat with remaining truffles. Let the chocolate set. Serve at room temperature.
That's a wrap on my offering for the January Movies & Munchies event. You still have plenty of time to join us if you wish; the month is less than half over.