A Love Letter to Friday the 13th

I have a confession to make. I don’t like horror movies. My imagination is already a little too overactive for them to be very fun for me… or non-disruptive to my sleep schedule.

But. I love Friday the 13th, the original 1980 slasher in all its gory glory.

I love its campiness. I love its style. But mostly I love the ending. I’m not going to give it away. I know we’re talking about a 35 year old movie here but if you haven’t seen it yet I don’t want to deprive you of the same delightful experience I had when the film finally divulges who has been killing camp counselors out in the woods at Camp Crystal Lake.

This Friday the 13th we’re sharing pages from an undated draft by writer Victor Miller. Take a peek behind the machete and then go re-watch (or indulge for the first time) this 80s slasher classic. Perfect Valentine’s date: check.

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Awesome TV: ALIAS, “The Prophecy”

It’s hard for me to distill my love of the early 2000s TV show ALIAS into one blog post. To my teenage incarnation it was just…everything. It HAD everything; the smarts, the fights, the heart, and the hair!

In an homage to RUN LOLA RUN, Sydney Bristow sported that fantastic red-pink hair in the pilot – the connection to the classic 1998 feature film continuing through the series with trademark running scenes and even a few more obvious references.

Rereading the first-season episode “The Prophecy” (final draft, written by Josh Eisendrath February 28, 2002) reminded me just how much I loved the combination of espionage with the supernatural. In this mid-season story arc (ramping up to the Season One finale), Sydney is poked, prodded, tested and interrogated when the CIA discovers a portrait of her, seemingly drawn by Milo Rambaldi – a 15th-Century amalgam of Nostradamus and Da Vinci who served as the tireless generator of much of the show’s mysteries.

Check out a few pages below. The full script can be found in the WGF Library.

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FAN FOODS: The Stay Puft Ectoplasm Cake

Stay Puft CakeIf you saw (and/or wept tears of inspiration and joy during, like I did) the “Like a Girl” campaign during the Super Bowl last weekend, then you now know how to run and punch like a girl. Well, come 2016 we’re also going to learn how to fight ghosts like a girl. By four of my favorite comedian juggernauts. And girls. I’m getting emotional again just thinking about it.

Stay puft cake 2So I thought I’d do what I do best and bake a treat in their honor (and pull a script off the library shelf).

Garlic, My Soul, Fanboy Comics and I have compiled a glorious conglomeration of cake, photos, recipe and script pages from the original GHOSTBUSTERS draft written by Dan Aykroyd in 1983. This script has been flying off the shelf of the Foundation Library like the card catalogs in the opening scene of the original film (although the WGF Library is less haunted by ghosts than aspiring screenwriters and film scholars – even though we welcome all types, dead or alive).

May this weird and wonderful mixture of media be my tribute to girls doing their thing everywhere and one small fist in the air for gender bending remakes.

INGREDIENTS

1 box King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix
½ cup butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 package green Jello (I used lime flavored)
1 carton whipping cream

DIRECTIONS

  1. Prepare the cake mix per the instructions from the intrepid souls at King Arthur Flour.
  2. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes in its pan, then gently remove and place on a cooling rack.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the jello packet according to the instructions.
  4. When the cake is completely cooled, put back into the pan and using a knife or fork, poke holes, from top to bottom, all over the cake.
  5. Pour the liquid Jello over the cake, focusing especially on the holes you just poked. (pour a small bit of Jello into a cup and refrigerate if you would like to top your cake with ectoplasm like we did).
  6. Refrigerate the cake for at least an hour.
  7. Beat the whipping cream until it forms stiff peaks. Frost as you like. Enjoy!

Magnificent photo credits to Garlic, My Soul and nerd solidarity and inspiration from Fanboy Comics.

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Awesome TV: GILMORE GIRLS, “Chicken or Beef?”

Jane Espenson is the queen of sass. Her witty dialogue shines from the pages of many a beloved, cult favorite (BUFFY, ANGEL, FIREFLY, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, WAREHOUSE 13, ONCE UPON A TIME, is not even the beginning of an exhaustive list).

So discovering Jane has even written for notoriously quick-talking and pop-culture-referencing GILMORE GIRLS was delightfully not shocking.

Reading through one of her episodes, Chicken or Beef? from Season Four in which (spoiler alert) Dean gets married, is a study in hilarity:

  • “So I should follow the yellow stick road?”
  • “It’s like heaven. Or a Victoria’s Secret commercial, which to some people is the same thing.”
  • “I hope fate’s also coughing up forty bucks for a salad spinner.”
  • “I might just give birth out of boredom.”

“I won’t spoil the plot of “The Happiest Doughnut” for you, folks except to say it’s funny, a little sad, and truly inspiring. But a caveat for all you parents – the dunking scene may be too intense for pre-school aged children”

From Rory and Lorelai’s infamous banter to Buffy’s infamous post-kill puns, the sass of Jane abounds. Here are three pages from the “Chicken or Beef?” shooting script, dated August 25, 2003:

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SCREENPLAY 101: AMADEUS

I watch AMADEUS – screenplay by Peter Shaffer, based on his play, and number 73 on the list of the WGA’s 101 Greatest Screenplays – as a comedy. Which might make me a terrible person.

But it’s just so funny. For one thing, it attributes fart jokes to a historical icon. (“We are in the residence of the Fartsbishop of Salzburg!”)

But there’s also complex interplay between characters. Salieri’s childlike hatred of Mozart’s brilliance (“So that was he!… That giggling, dirty-minded creature I’d just seen…crawling on the floor…Mozart!”) and Mozart himself, existing in some kind of genius-infused, childish dream world (“Here everything goes backwards. People walk backwards – dance backwards – sing backwards – and talk backwards!”).

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The film’s flawlessly balanced grandiosity is just perfectly timed for laughs.

Shaffer’s original premise is especially effective – telling the story of Mozart’s decent into madness from the perspective of his biggest, albeit covert, rival, eventually doomed to madness himself.

It’s like the ultimate straight-man comedy. Cancel their flight home for Thanksgiving and they’d be Steve Martin and John Candy. OK, that might not be the most apt comparison. But you can’t tell me you wouldn’t want to see Salieri and Mozart try to share a small motel room bed.

I’ve watched this force of a film exactly twice now – once in college and then again recently for this post. Thinking back now it’s amazing how similarly I reacted to this film at vastly different times in my life. Both times this impressive eight-time Academy Award winner hit me as a totally complete film – not missing a beat, laugh or twisted, poignant moment.

My theory is that, in this case, it all starts with the tone. Delving into the copy of the script we have here in the library, the 1982 final draft, is a study of pacing and balance.

Fittingly to its content, Amadeus masters tone in a way that is perfect and rare. Its completeness comes from the cohesive and overarching feeling of madness sustained and driven by each and every character.

It is delightful and terrifying at the same time. Like the two-faced mask Mozart’s father (and later more sinisterly Salieri) wears, the script’s tone hangs on a double-edged blade of light and dark, comedy and tragedy. All that is beautiful is hardened. All that is funny sours.

The straight man not only points to the absurdity of his comic foil but highlights his own tragic flaw.

“Do you want to rest a bit?” Mozart, very near death, says to Salieri as he composes, and Salieri transcribes, in a fit of creative frenzy that helps him to his grave.

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Scenes like this speak to me from one of the darkest places of the human spirit. Yet somehow it’s silly. Somehow the absurdity of this line in the context of reversal is strategically and manically lighthearted.

And that laugh. Let’s not forget about Mozart’s laugh. An eerie, indulgent and absurd laugh loosed by Mozart into his unending parties and dark nights.

I was particularly interested to know if Mozart’s insane, Salieri-tormenting giggle was written into the script or strictly an element of Tom Hulce’s brilliant performance. It turns out to be a combination of both – written into the script as a “high-pitched giggle” and then performed to the height of compete absurdity.

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Amadeus is simply a perfectly balanced film – all the more effective and poignant considering it is about two extremely unbalanced individuals.

Here’s the deal: Throughout 2014, we’re posting pages from every script on the WGA’s list of the 101 Greatest Screenplays, as chosen by Guild membership, because we have every one in our library. Sure, we have other scripts that didn’t make it onto the list, either because they didn’t make the cut or because they were produced after the list was generated (presumably SHARKNADO, which we totally have a copy of, is only in the latter category).

Thor-Sized Cereal Power Bars

As a small digression from my standard format here, I made these Thor-sized cereal bars in an effort to bribe Thor into becoming an icon for cultural awareness. I just want to see a children’s book or Archie-style comic entitled “Thor Learns About Cereal” or “Thor Learns Proper Earth-Bound Coffee Refill Protocol” – something harkening to the beauty in our differences and hilarity in absurdly ripped men from a heavenly realm discovering the miracle of mortal breakfast foods.

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Cereal is a fiber-packed staple for those surrounding the Norse god’s earthly adventures – at least in the Jane Foster camp. Packed in her trailer and eaten in lieu of other sweets in her more emotional and Thor-missing moments, cereal seems to mean a lot to this scientist and her god. Or at the very least (in cereal-marketing-speak) start their mornings off right, keep them going throughout the day as well as going regularly!

These cereal bars add your breakfast cereal of choice to the originial Rice Krispie treat recipe – following that time-tested, easy-to-make formula. You can cut them into any shape or size you find convenient for packing on-the-go on your way about the realms. And do, in fact, deliver sugary-peanut-buttery energy just when you need it (like during your Marvel movie binge watching fest so as to be properly prepared for everything forthcoming). I just hope Phase Three allows Thor time to continue on his culinary journey.

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Delicious photography and culinary know-how courtesy of Garlic, My Soul.
Very special thanks to the folks of Fanboy Comics for their geek-tastic inspiration and encouragement.
Drop by the WGF Library to read Thor and Thor: The Dark World for yourself!

INGREDIENTS
2 ½ tablespoons butter
½ cup peanut butter
1 package marshmallows
6 cups cereal of your choice! I used Crispix because I’m obsessed with Crispix but Chex (in any fun flavor) would work wonderfully for the completely GF crowd. Be sure to check your labels.

DIRECTIONS
1. Grease a medium pan and set aside.
2. In a large pot, melt butter over low stovetop heat.
3. Stir in peanut butter.
4. Mix until melted and creamy.
5. Pour in marshmallows.
(Life Hack: spray your stirring utensil and later whatever you use to compact the mixture into the pan with cooking spray to help lessen stickage)
6. Turn off heat when marshmallows are almost completely melted (you may still see small marshmallow lumps).
7. Stir until smooth.
8. Slowly fold in cereal and mix until evenly coated.
9. Turn the mixture out into your greased pan and spread evenly.
10. Let cool, then cut into any size or shape you find convenient for your travels about the realms.

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FAN FOODS: Doublemeat Palace Secrets Leaked!

We’ve stumbled upon some very powerful information. Everything you know about the Doublemeat Medley from Southern California fast-food chain Doublemeat Palace is about to change.

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“The burger isn’t people. In fact, it isn’t even meat. It’s all processed vegetables,” claims UC Sunnydale student and witch, Willow Rosenberg. “Isn’t that weird?” she adds.

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Not people? We know, right? We’re as shocked as anyone. With suspicious appendages just lying around willy-nilly and the employees looking like the most lethargic of brain-eating zombies, dark, nefarious recipes seemed only par for the course.

But in the days following Ms. Rosenberg’s discovery, Doublemeat Palace Store Manager Lorraine Ross was overheard confirming said allegations herself (albeit through audio procured by uncitable sources):

“It’s a formed and texturized vegetable-based meat-like product, suitable for grinding. It’s blended with large amounts of rendered beef fat for flavor.”

Former Doublemeat employee Buffy Summers encapsulated our thoughts perfectly, “Wait. The secret ingredient in the beef is…beef?”

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So now you too have some very powerful information. Below is the leaked Doublemeat patty recipe in its entirety. How you use it is up to you. Just be sure to keep an eye out for lamprey demons, they’ve got the taste for doublemeat infused flesh now and will take any form to get it.

Above pages from the BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER episode “Doublemeat Palace,” Written By Jane Espenson.

Photos courtesy of Garlic, My Soul. 

 

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INGREDIENTS
1 16 ounce can plain black beans
½ bell pepper, chopped
½ onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 egg
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 teas hot sauce
½ cup gluten free breadcrumbs

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.Drain, wash and strain the black beans.
3. In a medium bowl, mash the black beans then set aside.
4. On lightly greased baking sheet, roast the chopped bell peppers, onions and garlic.
5. Remove from oven when they are browned and tender.
6. Mix together mashed beans with roasted veggies. A kitchen-aid works wonders. But you can also use a blender if you want a smoother patty.
7. In a separate bowl combine the egg with the spices and hot sauce.
8. Slowly add the liquid mixture to the veggie mixture and combine until it reaches an even consistency.
9. Sprinkle in the breadcrumbs and mix to your desired texture.
10. Form mixture into roughly 4 patties.
11. Grill, bake or sauté to your heart’s content.
12. Enjoy with vampire, lamprey and human friend alike.DSC_4576

 

FAN FOODS: CHOCOLAT Closing Scenes and Historical Hot Chocolate

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It only makes sense that we should end our series on CHOCOLAT in line with the close of the film. And the very last page of the script, the very last bit of chocolate to make it onto the screen is hot chocolate. It signifies the balancing of Vianne’s life, the end of her wandering and the solidification of her and Roux’s relationship.

Hot chocolate also features in Armade’s introduction to the chocolaterie. And even beyond the characters, harkens back to the early Mayan and Aztec cultures – Vianne’s roots – in which chocolate, in its unrefined state, played key roles in ritual sacrifice, mythology, the lives of the royalty, and everyday currency.

It also was most often, in its earliest form, a drink.

Armande Hot Chocolate

“When we modern Westerners think of chocolate, we think of it in its solid, sweetened form, and this is reflected in the undue emphasis which much food writing gives to solid chocolate. Yet during nine tenths of its long history, chocolate was drunk, not eaten,” explains one of the books used in the research and writing process of the screenplay, the charming True History of Chocolate by Michael D. Coe and Sophie D. Coe.

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The decision to infuse Vianne’s background with Central American roots put new emphasis on her character’s journey and her role as a healer. In the writing, Jacobs gave himself “permission to say, ‘well what if the traveling angel needed to change herself? And that she’s not only healing this village but that the village is healing her.’”

This beautiful theme of redemption delivers to us “a lift” just as Vianne promises Armande in her hot chocolate.

Roux Hot Chocolate

We’ve had such a fantastic time diving into the CHOCOLAT materials, which are available here in our very own WGF Archives. We owe a huge thank you to Robert Nelson Jacobs for donating said materials and obliging us in our love of all things chocolate and social media. We also owe huge photographic credit to Garlic, My Soul, their photos being light years ahead of our shaky hands with damaged iPhones.

Stay tuned because we already have another Fan Foods series in the works that we’re completely nerding out about.

And be sure to check out the first and second posts in the CHOCOLAT series.

RECIPE:

Ingredients
2 3oz bars dark chocolate (70% or above)
2 cups 2% milk
1 tablespoon agave
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon cinnamon
A few drops of vanilla

Directions
1. Roughly chop the chocolate into small squares.
2. Using the double boiling method (mine included a large bowl over a skillet of softly boiling water), melt the chocolate and stir until smooth.
3. Slowly stir in milk until you have your desired texture.
4. Stir in spices and lastly add vanilla.
5. Best consumed at a chocolaterie café counter or with your food blogger friends in the 90 degree LA heat. Still good.

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Fan Foods: The Continued Celebration of Chocolat – This Time With Cake

My feelings about chocolate cake are deep and visceral. Throughout my early childhood, my namesake great-grandmother made a ritual of baking the most shockingly decadent chocolate cake for our visits to the remains of her southern farm. To be sure she was always present to watch our complete enjoyment of her culinary endeavors, she would squirrel the cake away in the largest circular green tin I had ever seen (and have ever seen since).

She was known to hide the tin on top of book shelves and under beds so she alone was the dispenser of such delights. Although never, as one might think, was she ever stodgy about its dispersal – I can’t guess the number of times my mother found me and my sister at Grandma Eva’s worn-out kitchen table eating chocolate 1-2-3-4 cake first thing in the morning. Chocolate cake will forever signal to me the rebelliousness in celebrating mundane and ordinary mornings.

It’s through this lens of quirky, resolute matriarchy that I understand Armande Voizin, Judi Dench’s character in CHOCOLAT. Watching for the first time, I felt like I already knew her character. Her temperament. Her deeply rooted sense of identity and interwoven culinary life. In an incredibly heartrending sense of the phrase, she is what she eats.

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Her story arc is simultaneously lovely and tragic. “Bittersweet” in screenwriter Robert Nelson Jacobs’ words. Harkening back to the power of comestibles, Armande’s story arc culminates in what Jacobs’ handwritten notes describe as a “last supper” – despite her diabetes, Armande convinces Vianne to throw her an elaborate birthday party to include the most sensual and extravagant of her ancient chocolate recipes.

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Inspecting his notes from an initial meeting with Director Lasse Hallström, Jacobs reminisced about the process of writing that vital scene. He pointed out wisely that often celebratory scenes in film leave a rift between character and audience.

“Don’t assume the audience is going to be as happy as the characters are. The audience might be bored watching them have a good time,” Jacobs advises through Hallström’s sentiments from those early meetings. “Find what’s actually not happy about the scene, find the grain of sand in there that’s going to wrinkle and somehow build the scene around that. And I just thought that was a gem of advice that he gave me.”

Not only is that grain of sand related to Armande’s health issues but it also harkens back to the profound, underlying turmoil of the town. Next week, in our last Chocolat installment we’ll look at that deep seeded unrest as well as the powerful theme of healing (doled out by Vianne or otherwise). But for now let’s settle into Armande’s Last Supper and the rebelliousness in a proper chocolate cake.

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This recipe is neither my grandmother’s nor Vianne’s – but a hybrid twist on both. It has the delicate yet hearty almond flour of many French recipes, the butter content of a true southern confection and the newer scientific amalgam of gluten free flours. It has the texture of the best pound cakes and the depth of the warmest ganaches. And, best of all, supplied me with a wonderful few days breakfasts in honor of Armande and my own grandmother.

(Photos thanks again to our talented and lovely friends at Garlic My Soul).

And check out our first and third installments in the CHOCOLAT series here.

RECIPE:

Ingredients
¾ cup butter
½ cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 3oz bar dark chocolate (70% or above)
½ cup brown rice flour
¼ cup sweet white rice flour
¼ cup almond flour/meal
A few drops vanilla extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and grease two circular cake pans to set aside.
2. Mix the butter, softened slightly, until smooth.
3. Add in sugar and mix until creamy.
4. Crack in eggs, mix again until well incorporated.
5. Drop in baking powder.
6. Chop the first two chocolate bars into small pieces and in a separate bowl, double boil. Stir until smooth.
7. Add chocolate to batter.
8. While slowly mixing, add in the flours.
9. Then vanilla extract.
10. And lastly the heavy cream. Mix lightly until smooth.
11. Pour evenly into cake pans.
12. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, rotating halfway through. It will be done when the center is spongy and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
13. Remove from oven and let cool before removing from the pans.
14. Double boil the rest of the chocolate, stirring in a touch more heavy cream.
15. When cake is fully cooled remove from pans and use melted chocolate in between layers.
16. Enjoy at the rebellious gypsy boat party of your choosing.

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FAN FOODS: A Celebration of Chocolat, Part 1

I have been a fortunate foodie and writer this year. I, one day, mentioned my love of the film CHOCOLAT and my vision for recreating recipes from specific scenes. At which point someone here in the office said, “you should talk to Bob about that.”

Bob turned out to be Robert Nelson Jacobs, the screenwriter behind the film and now the Foundation’s board president, who in the subsequent months graciously allowed us to knock on his door numerous times for materials, interviews and camaraderie over an Oscar nominated celebration of life and culinary indulgence.

The movie was instrumental in the shaping of my passions early in their development. I have since spent an equal amount of time in the writing and culinary worlds – two trades so different in their execution and daily routines, yet so spiritually and creatively similar it only follows that a script marrying the two would hold so much charm.

Jacobs’ masterfully crafted work invokes the full history of a food that, even from its earliest known use, was thought to have medicinal, magical and even divine properties. It was used as currency, fashionable drink and in ritual ceremonies including those of human sacrifice.

Vianne, the heroine of CHOCOLAT, introduces us to the titular confection – which, with its fascinating past and continued strong influence on our culture, acts as the catalyst for change and overall healing in the story.

Jacobs’ creative materials, which can now be seen by request in the Foundation archives, document his writing process, starting with extensive research and outlining. You can watch, through notes in Jacobs’ handwriting, as the script unfolds and the history of chocolate is integrated into the story and the characters’ lives (and found literally on the page, as in this note with a chocolate stain in the lower right-hand corner).

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Hallstrom

Take the Comte de Reynaud. Far from the stereotyped “bad guy”, the Comte is a humanized and flawed antagonist who, in Jacobs’ words, “inherited a burden, this obligation, this noblesse oblige, that he’s got to be responsible for this village and he’s kind of tyrannical about it. And has certain standards he feels must be upheld at all costs.”

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Lent is one of the most prominent of these standards. Though the Comte’s resolve is undeniably strong, his body begins to physically weaken in response to the near starvation diet to which he subjects himself. In stark contrast to his abstinence is Vianne, her chocolaterie and in one specific comedic moment her attempt to sway him with truffles called the Nipples of Venus.

Nipples

And so in the Comte’s honor, I’ve chosen the Nipples of Venus as the first in the series of CHOCOLAT-themed recipes I’ve recreated. The history of this particular truffle dates far back into French history and often includes a delicate chestnut filling. For my version I chose an early and simple recipe (chocolate only, though varying types and consistencies).

Although I’ve worked in a professional bakery, this was my first attempt at chocolate in truffle form. What I discovered is that working with chocolate in this way is therapeutic for its neediness. It asks for concentration and allows little time to check your Facebook page – which can be a life-giving gift. I thoroughly enjoyed a day tempering, shaping and eating this aptly named chocolate incarnation. And found a bit of respite myself in the indulgence of chocolate.

(A huge thank you goes out to Garlic, My Soul for the fantastic food photography).

Be sure to check out the second and third installments in the CHOCOLAT series on the blog.

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Recipe:

Ingredients
6 3.5 ounce dark chocolate bars (70% or above)
1 3.5 ounce white chocolate bar
1 cup whole milk

Directions
1. Break your first 3 dark chocolate bars into small, manageable pieces.
2. Heat over a double boiler until it reaches approximately 115 degrees Fahrenheit or begins to melt, visibly.
3. Stir in ¾ cup milk, slowly. Mix until smooth.
4. Turn off burner and let cool until completely room temperature (up to 2 hours).
5. When cooled, using an electric mixer, beat chocolate until it forms stiff peaks.
6. Fill a pastry bag or a plastic bag with a 1 inch hole cut in the corner with your stiff-peaked chocolate confection.
7. On a tray lined with parchment paper, create chocolate kiss-shaped swirls.
8. Place in refrigerator.
9. In the same fashion as before, double boil and heat the second set of 3 dark chocolate bars.
10. Stir in remaining ¼ cup milk and mix until smooth.
11. Remove from burner and go get your kisses from the fridge.
12. With a spoon, set of tongs or just your fingers (whatever system works best for you) dip the kisses into the chocolate until full coated and replace on parchment paper.
13. Let stand until hardened. If you live in a hot climate, like, say Los Angeles, you may want to put them in the fridge again.
14. Double boiling for the last time, melt your white chocolate and stir until smooth.
15. Remove from burner and (again, in whatever method you find best) dip the very tip of the truffles into the white chocolate…to create the likeness of its namesake.

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