Friday, December 10, 2010

Sugared Cinema: The Holiday (2006)

 Iris, in the movies we have leading ladies and we have the best friend.  You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason you are behaving like the best friend.

You're so right.  You're supposed to be the leading lady of your own life, for god's sake!  Arthur, I've been going to a therapist for three years and she's never explained anything to me that well.  That was brilliant.  Brutal, but brilliant. 

Yes, I did it.  I jumped from one holiday sap story to another the very next week.  'Tis the season to get sentimental over feel-good movies, right?  That and I have a Titanic-sized girl crush on Kate Winslet.

If you're a "judge by the cover" film watcher, I'd understand if The Holiday didn't earn an automatic spot on your Must See list.  But if you've already seen it, then you know that Jack Black breaks out of his comedic comfort zone and is actually pretty charming. And that Jude Law almost makes you believe that he's not the jerko that he is IRL (or so I hear.)

(We already know that Cameron Diaz plays the cute card well because she's tall, thin and has good hair.)

There's a particularly sweet scene involving hot chocolate, two adorable little ladies and Mr. Napkinhead.

Every time I see it, I crave hot chocolate.  And every time I crave it, I'm usually out of powdered cocoa packets.  It never fails and at the same time is a huge fail.  Think about that one.

In a no-holds-barred attempt at quashing my chocolate-y urges (ew?), I wanted to seek out the richest, most guilt-ridden hot chocolate recipe on the planet.  And I found it in the Max Brenner cookbook, Chocolate: A Love Story

Wannabe French Hot Chocolate
Recipe by Max Brenner

Here's what you'll need:

1 Tablespoon cornstarch, sifted
1 3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
7 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped or chips

Oh and hey - the batteries in my hot shoe flash peaced out early in the evening so these pics are...well, you'll see.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and about 1/4 cup of the milk until the cornstarch dissolves.  Whisk in the sugar and the egg yolk.

Pour a little over 1/2 of the milk into a saucepan set over low heat.  Bring it to a simmer.

Whisk some of the warm milk into the egg mixture to temper it then pour the mixture back into the saucepan.  

Continue to whisk for a few minutes or until the mixture comes to a full boil (it should thicken by this point, almost like a thin custard.)  Remove the pan from heat and stir in the vanilla.  Strain the custard through a mesh sieve set over a heatproof bowl.

Bring the remaining milk to a boil (I used the same saucepan.)  While it heats up, pour the chocolate over the custard.

Pour the hot milk over the chocolate and let it sit and soften for a moment.  Now you can stir.

Divide between 2-3 mugs or pour into one humongous reindeer mug.  Top with whipped cream, cinnamon, marshmallows, anything you like.

This hot chocolate is no joke.  The custard base gives it a rich, almost soup-like consistency and it's toothachingly chocolate-y, which I'm alllll about.  Feel free to cut down on some of the sugar or use bittersweet chocolate instead.  But please, for the love of Rose DeWitt Bukater, don't let the season go by without making this.

Mr. Napkinhead agrees.


Happy holidays.


  1. The hot chocolate looks prfect and I ❤ Mr. Napkinhead

  2. AHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I love it! Mr. Napkinhead is awesome.

    Also, Kate Winslet is super hot. How the hell did she get hotter as she got older? She's like the female George Clooney.

  3. well you know i love me some of this movie. i watch this whenever it is on (along with the Family Stone). i finally saw the appeal in jude law and it was when he was CRYING.
    and i am in LOVE with the cottage that CDiaz got to stay in!

  4. Lora - he's quite the character and is a good man to have around if you spill anything.

    Margie - right?! Kate looks incredible. She and Helen Mirren need to get together and go bowling /breakfastclub

    Angry Asian - sigh. That part was so sweet. "Stay in a cottage in the English countryside" is on my bucket list.

  5. LOLOL Ali!! You are soo freakin funny! Can't wait to show J! Love you napkinhead xoxo

  6. What a coincidence, I just bought hot chocolate at the grocery store today! I was having such a craving! But to be completely honest, I also bought Bailey's to put in it! :)

    And I was pleasantly surprised with this movie. I gave it a chance one Sunday afternoon and it was definitely a good time!

  7. Was I the only one who thought the pairing of Kate Winslet and Jack Black was a little odd? I mean, Cameron gets Jude freaking Law and poor Kate...ah well, still a good movie :)

    Napkinhead Ali is hilarious!

  8. Love, love, LOVE your blog!

  9. This is one of my favorite movies. You rock napkinhead!

  10. Such a cute movie--and the little girls in it are SO adorable! I want to live in Britain long enough that my children speak with British accents.

  11. Thanks guys (and welcome Westonomy and Amy :D) Sorry I haven't had a chance to reply - this weekend-into-work-week is kicking my bootay. Definitely need a dose of The Holiday (which they took off from OnDemand, those jerkuses.)

  12. I love your Hot Cocoa recipe! Nice blog as well, will bookmark you :)