It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.
My idea of fun has two basic ingredients: movies and snacks. So take my word for it when I tell you that I’ve done quite a bit of research on the question of the perfect movie snack.
A perfect movie snack should be quiet; popcorn munching, while socially acceptable, is rather disruptive. And you shouldn’t have to look at your snack while you eat it, so say goodbye to nachos, hotdogs, and the like. Your snack should be easy to handle -- Junior Mints will fall and stick to your jeans -- and tidiness is imperative: Small chocolate treats inevitably lead to melted-chocolate fingers. Gummy treats? They're great until your jaw gets sore.
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But don’t worry because I have the answer: Pocky. The Japanese chocolate-covered cookie sticks are just right. They’re quiet. They’re neat (the bottom 1/4 is conveniently left chocolate-free!). And they’re easy to eat in the dark. I’ve been known to inhale them, one after another, like a woodchipper taking down miniature logs, without even registering that I’ve eaten twenty-two in two minutes. They feel light. And fun.
There's only one problem with the perfect snack: They don’t sell Pocky at movie theaters. Good thing it’s so easy to make at home.
Makes about 90 cookie sticks
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon almond extract or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup bread flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 teaspoons water, at room temperature
9 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
Preheat the oven to 300° F. Use a wooden spoon to stir the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until they're creamy and smooth. Add the egg and extract and stir to combine.
Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a #7 plain round (3/8-inch) pastry tip. Pipe the batter onto two parchment-lined baking sheets in straight lines, about 6 inches long and at least 1/2 an inch apart.
Bake the dough until the sticks are set and light golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Let the sticks cool on the sheets on cooling racks for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining batter. Save the parchment-lined sheets for the next step.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave in a narrow, microwave-safe vessel (I used a Pyrex glass measuring cup) in 15-second increments. One at time, carefully dip each stick into the melted chocolate. In order to get the chocolate up higher on the stick, tip the cup on its side and dip each stick in where the chocolate is the highest. Scrape off any excess chocolate and lay each stick on the prepared sheets.
Transfer the sheets to the refrigerator to set the chocolate. Store in an airtight container in the freezer or fridge. Alternately, you could temper the chocolate so that the chocolate is hard at room temperature.
Photos by Samantha Seneviratne