The Perfect Evening – Dinner, Champagne, Dessert, and Alice in Wonderland!

On Friday evening we celebrated my dear friend Jennifer’s 39th birthday by having dinner at our house and going to see Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.

www.mypicshares.com

We made a chicken/chorizo/rice dish – sort of like Paella, with some local ingredients (check out this recipe for an idea of what we made – we used chorizo for our dinner, the recipe uses sausage, but you can use either) and a green salad with our homemade dressing.

Who can forget dessert? When I think of  Alice in Wonderland , besides the rabbit holes and the Queen-of-Hearts, I can’t help but imagine delicious pastries, tarts, cakes, and pies with afternoon tea. Alice just wouldn’t be the same without something sweet and delightful. Oh, and champagne.

So I made a recipe from The Nourishing Gourmet’s web site, Mounds Candy Bar, for the finale to our meal.

I was looking for something relatively simple since I had a very busy day ahead before our dinner and night out. This recipe definitely suited our needs: it had to have chocolate, be easy to prepare, and be absolutely delicious. And of course, I wanted it to be healthy.

www.mypicshares.com

This dessert was not only full of chocolate, but also coconut and almonds, and wonderfully satisfying for the sweet I was craving. It definitely tastes like a fancy treat you’d buy in a candy shop. It’s much more like a truffle than a candy bar.

Here’s the recipe from The Nourishing Gourmet:

“Mounds” Candy Bars

Makes 12, large

  • 1 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup of honey – I wanted to use raw, but I just used what we had on hand, which was conventional honey
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 36 almonds, left whole or chopped

1. Melt the coconut oil and honey over low heat until just melted. Whisk to combine. Add the almond extract and coconut flakes.

2. Now take out your muffin tins (you will need a 12 compartment muffin tin). In each compartment, place three almonds, or divide the chopped almonds). Then, divide the coconut mixture, making sure you get an even mixture of coconut flakes and coconut oil. Place in a freezer (make sure it’s on a flat surface), and freeze until hard (about 30 minutes).

Ingredients for chocolate sauce to pour over coconut mixture:

  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder (not dutch cocoa, I used Dagoba)
  • 1/4 cup of honey, or more if you want it sweeter
  • 1 cup of coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3.  Combine these ingredients in a 2 cup glass measuring glass and place in a pot of simmering water. Heat until everything is just melted, and remove from heat. Either whisk briskly, or use a hand blender to combine well (the hand blender is the easiest way to do this).

4.   Take out the frozen coconut flakes mixture, and divide your chocolate mixture over it (about two tablespoons per muffin compartment).

The truffles, as Jennifer’s husband called them (and that is SO appropriate) turned out great and everyone loved them. They were exceedingly rich and decadent, and a perfect prelude to our movie.

As we often do for special occasions, we donned our finest apparel in honor of Alice, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and of course…the amazing Tim Burton. Anyone who knows me understands my innate love of clothes and dressing up…I don’t need much of an excuse to do it. Jennifer and I wore our aprons, petticoats, and striped stockings (my apron is one that Jennifer made for me a couple of Christmases ago). Alice and Tim would be proud!

In this photo, Erin and I are giving out kisses to the birthday girl.

www.mypicshares.com

We’re old pros at this; we’ve been doing it for years! We’ve got enough crazy clothes in our collective closets to open our own boutique. My friend Jennifer did own a hair salon with a clothing store in it for nearly 10 years. What can I say, we’re just young at heart, have an eye for the unique, and like to have fun!

As we expected, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland delivered all the wonderful sights and sounds his productions are well-known for and loved – lush backgrounds, gorgeous costumes, and resplendent macabre themes – which are spooky but not too dark. This movie was definitely suitable for children (although maybe not the really young ones, perhaps under 6), and all the kids in our group enjoyed the show.

And…if you’re wondering whether the kids liked it, here’s my son enjoying his “Mounds Truffle” Saturday morning, after breakfast.

Probably the best measure of whether a dessert is good or not is to find out if it receives approval from children. At our house, not only do we believe in staying in our pajamas on the weekends until at least noon, we also think dessert is good any time of the day (especially when it’s good for you!).

12 Comments

  • March 15, 2010 - 7:59 AM | Permalink

    Eating a great meal and going to the movies for Jennifer’s (My Wife)Birthday was so wonderful. This coconut / chocolate dessert was incredibly decedent and delicious. I recommend people trying this recipe make them smaller if possible, so you can share with more people or hide them in the freezer easier so no one else can find them and eat them!

  • Tara
    March 15, 2010 - 8:10 AM | Permalink

    That looks so good! I think I’ll make these today. Love the video of your little guy too!

  • March 15, 2010 - 8:16 AM | Permalink

    Wayne has good advice about the amounts – we ended up with 12 of them and still have leftovers! They are really hard to resist, and since they are so rich, it’s hard to eat a lot at once. But of course, you want to spread it out so it lasts awhile too!

    Tara – I hope yours turn out yummy and you enjoy them! :)

  • Tara
    March 15, 2010 - 9:46 AM | Permalink

    Just made them. I like smaller portions so I actually used a mini muffin tin. I lined it with little white paper cups (like the kind you get at Michaels baking section) and got 24 with extra chocolate topping leftover. I filled two regular sized muffin cups with the left over and plan on chunking it up to use in some baking. What a great way to get healthy chocolate chips. My candy is still cooling, but from the little taste of the coconut mixture I can already tell they are going to be amazing!!! Now the trick will be to ration myself one (or two!) a day. ;)

  • March 15, 2010 - 10:00 AM | Permalink

    Tara – hey, I am excited you made this so quickly! I think making them in smaller mini-muffin tins is a great idea! I only had the big muffin tins, and it looked similar to the ones Kimi used in her recipe, so I just went with that. The ones we made definitely ended up being pretty big, so smaller is a really good idea so you can have a little each day. That’s been my challenge is that when we take the ones we made out of the freezer, they really are so big that you either have to eat them right away – because they can melt, or put them back in the freezer soon.

    Yay for healthy chocolate chips, that’s a great idea too! I thought about what to do with the extra chocolate when I made ours, but I just ended up pouring the extra over the ones I had already poured. Boy were they decadent!!!

  • March 15, 2010 - 1:51 PM | Permalink

    Oh my oh my oh my…which do I love more, the recipe or the outfits?! LOL! I’m going to try this recipe ASAP since my roommate’s birthday is approaching soon and I was just wondering this morning what to make as a treat for her…voila! These! :-D And I have been considering splurging to go see this movie in the theater (these days usually save my $ and see stuff when it comes to dvd…but this is Johnny & Helena & Tim!). As a costume buff myself, I just loove what you guys are all wearing! What a great night you had…thanks for sharing! :)

  • March 16, 2010 - 9:25 AM | Permalink

    Sara – Isn’t dressing up fun? I don’t think I’ll ever grow out of it, and I haven’t had many reasons over the last couple of years to do it…I’m such a costume fiend, it makes me feel so…me!

    I used to be a music promoter and event coordinator in the underground music community, and you should have seen some of the costumes we wore to those – lots of lace, ruffles, velvet, PVC, tall platform boots, corsets, ballgowns, petticoats, and bustles. I’ve still got a lot of those things in my closet, and anytime I get an excuse to wear them is just fine with me. :)

    Some of my favorite movies I’ve attended over the years have been in groups of friends who also wore costumes. I guess that’s why it’s considered a special occasion! Like you, I save my money and usually only go out to a movie a few times a year, and I often get dressed up anyway, even if it’s not a movie like this one because then it always feels more special.

    This recipe really was the perfect accompaniment to our evening, and I hope if you make it for your roommate, it turns out great! Maybe you can hit the theatres and see Alice too…I think I might have to go a second time! :)

  • April 4, 2010 - 8:20 AM | Permalink

    Haha I love it—we have much in common! I have a confession to make: I have costumes and go to scifi conventions! LOL! My costumes are mostly scifi related right now (BSG, Starship Troopers), but I’m working on some Victorian/Steampunk ones, and I’d love to do an Alice costume! The big convention I go to (DragonCon) has a ton of club-like events, and for that and from my older club days I’ve also got a ton of platform boots, PVC, etc too! I go to conventions because they are the only place where I can play dress-up 24/7, hehe.

    I also made the Mounds bars! I just blogged about it here: http://www.avidity.net/realfood/2010/04/04/real-food-sweet-treat-moundsalmond-joy-bars/. Holy cow these are better than I’d imagined! But definitely all you need is one at a time, maybe two most (two was pushing it for me). Thanks so much for posting the recipe…this will be one of my staple “sweets” from now on, I think. Was wanting something to make at the holidays instead of my mom’s fudge (which was good but full of crappy ingredients); I think this will do perfectly. :)

    And I think I am going to go see Alice in the theater this week! Yay!

  • April 4, 2010 - 11:33 AM | Permalink

    Sara – I know all about DragonCon…that’s so cool that you have been able to attend it! It’s in GA, right? Hey, one of the bands that I have promoted four times in Boise goes there I think annually, The Cruxshadows. Have you seen them? They are amazing live, and very nice people too. My son has their posters on his walls and we have their T-shirts and albums. They used to be one of my very favorite bands. I still like them, I just got a little burnt out. :)

    We used to go to conventions and festivals a lot. We’ve been to Convergence twice (once in Seattle in 2000 and the one in Las Vegas in ’03). They were really fun! And I was the organizer for a masquerade ball in the summer of ’04 at an annual Fandemonium convention that occurs here in Boise (for comic, manga, and anime fans). That was a lot of fun, and I would love to attend another one someday…just not organize. The organizing became a big headache and was lots of stress. But I don’t regret doing those things, it was a lot of fun and gave me some great experiences.

    It’s great to be able to make your own costumes and create stuff. I was never a seamstress, but I assembled plenty of bizarre and wonderful costumes from my closet by layering skirts, tunics, vests, etc., making jewelry (which I’ve done for over 20 years), using pieces of lace, ribbon, tulle, taffeta, and all kinds of trappings and stray pieces of this and that.

    Now my energy and efforts go to sustainable food and this web site. I think it’s been a pretty fair trade. :)

    Hope you enjoyed Alice, and I’m glad you had a chance to make the Mounds Bars. Aren’t they splendor-ific?? :)

  • April 9, 2010 - 9:02 AM | Permalink

    You promoted CXS! I knew we had similar tastes, lol! I *LOVE* them, and they are one of the highlights of DCon every year for me. Last year my roommate & I did some “fairying” for them, handing out flyers & stuff (and SO sad about the theft they recently had!). I completely understand what you mean about getting burned out, though; I suppose only seeing them once a year helps keep me from that (and I mostly listen to them closer to con time, because they are so a part of con for me). And I applaud you organizing con things, although I could never do it on that scale; the past two years I was involved with a large fan group and helped put on some parties, and that was enough of that for me! The con is an escape, so I’d rather just enjoy it. :)

    I know of Convergence, but so far DCon is the only big con I can make it to each year. Thankfully enough friends go that the actual cost is fairly minimal, and it’s close enough that three of us can pile into a car & drive up to Atlanta. DCon also has such variety that I can indulge all my diverse & nutty interests, haha, from sci fi to fantasy to gothic to historical. You should consider going sometime…your son would LOVE it! Not only do the Cruxshadows play, but there are enough superheroes & movie characters walking around to give every kid whiplash from trying to see them all! lol!

    The big challenge this year will be to keep to my real food ways while at the con. I know I won’t party as much as in the past because I’d rather not do that to my liver, especially after all this time of healing it with food. So cons will be different for me now…but I can’t *not* go, because I love playing dress up for four days straight, 24 hrs a day. Just can’t say no to that. :)

    Still haven’t gotten to Alice yet, but am aiming for this Sunday!

  • April 9, 2010 - 10:03 AM | Permalink

    Sara – boy do I know what you mean about the drinking aspect of the cons. That’s one reason why I pretty much left the underground music scene in Boise, because all of my friends were destroying their lives smoking, drinking, eating garbage, and staying up all night. I’m still a night person, but I drink much, MUCH less than I used to. I love red wine, so I still have some now and then…but all the heavy drinking I did for years, I am certain, is largely responsible for many of the health problems I had, along with eating processed foods. My husband and I used to party a lot, and now we are much quieter and mellow. But we still LOVE music and all the stuff that goes with it. That will never go away.

    Here in Boise we don’t really have cons that much because Boise is pretty lame in the cultural aspect of things like that. That’s why the Convergence festivals we attended we had to save up for and go abroad. And we didn’t have a child then, and we were both employed full-time with good jobs. Now we are just starting up a solar business…and well, I probably don’t need to tell you that our income is much reduced from what it was until the business gets going, which could be a few years from now. But, I’m so glad my husband doesn’t have to go to a horrible job he hates and is not inspired by. And as he says, “you never know when a million dollars will walk through your door”. That possibility was never there when he worked at the dental insurance company.

    I would love to take our son to one of the comic/anime/sci-fi cons, I know he would love it! He’s really into comics and fantasy stuff, and he loves to use his imagination. I’m hoping some day that will be in our vacation plans. And we have family down in Florida where a lot of those things happen (what city do you live in?). My aunt teaches psychiatric nursing at U of Florida in Gainesville, and my sister-in-law lives in Orlando. Our uncle lives on the coast, but I forget where.

    I hope you have fun at all the festivals and cons you attend this year. Until we are able to attend again, I’ll live vicariously through you! :)

  • Erin
    July 13, 2010 - 1:39 PM | Permalink

    Is there a substitute to coconut oil?

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