I love the Academy Awards. The clothes, the glamour, the red carpet, what is not to love?A few years ago, The Academy Awards took on a whole new meaning for me because I started attending the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF). Now I have the pleasure of viewing and discussing nominated films, forming opinions on directors and writers and actors, meeting some of the nominees, and learning a few of the ins and outs of film-making from the amazing and informative panel discussions. It gives me an appreciation of the Oscars that goes way beyond voting for best dressed.
My girlfriends introduced me to the Film Festival. It started with just a movie here or a party there. Then they enticed me with talk of lunches and happy hours and card playing and friendship all coupled with eye-opening, provocative, entertaining and informative films and a ton of laughing. They didn't have to work too hard to convince me that I should go all in with them and purchase a pass that allowed entrance to all ten days of events. Now I can't imagine kicking off a new year without the inspiration and excitement of the 10-day Film Festival.
But attending a film festival takes a lot of energy. Good energy, fun energy, but lots of energy. Some days begin in a theater at eight in the morning and don't end until after the last tribute party finishes near midnight. The SBIFF is ten days of enlightening, inspiring, moving, emotional, exhilaratingly exhaustive fun. My introverted self needs an energy boost to make it through.
A few full days of talking, walking, eating and emotional movie-watching and I was feeling the effects. I was going to need a little afternoon snack to keep me going through to the evening activities. Being bloated from popcorn or sugar-crashing from candy just wasn't working for me. I decided to take the movie snack issue into my own kitchen. I needed something with a bit of sugar, a bit of protein and a little kick. I found what I needed.
"For me, the cinema is not a slice of life, but a piece of cake." -Alfred Hitchcock
Film Festival Movie Treats
1/2 cup 100% cacao chips 1-1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips 3/4 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened 3/4 cup shredded coconut, sweetened 1 cup slivered almonds 1/2 tsp vanilla 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Put the cacao chips and the chocolate chips in a bowl sitting on a pot of simmering water. The bowl should be bigger than opening of the pot so that the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is smooth and melted. Remove bowl and set aside. While the chocolate is melting, you can mix together the sweetened and unsweetened coconut in a dry pan over medium low heat. Stir until lightly toasted and fragrant. Remove to a bowl to cool. In the same dry pan, lightly toast the almonds and set aside. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, salt and cayenne pepper to the chocolate and mix well. Stir in the coconut and almonds until everything is combined. Scoop out bite sized mounds and place onto foil or parchment-lined cookie sheets. Refrigerate for 15 minutes then leave at room temperature for at least 1 hour. Makes about 3 dozen. You can store in covered container at room temperature if they will be eaten within a week. I like to freeze them and take them out a few at a time to bring to the movies!
Note: This recipe was inspired by Valerie Rice and her Mexican Coconut Truffles. Thanks Val!