A Healthy Willy Wonka Treat? Here’s the latest Cook the Books post.

It is time again for a Cook the Books post!

Cook the Books is hosted by Rachel, Deb and Joand is a book club for the avid, ardent, impassioned, and zealous literary foodie.   Everything we have read has been an awakening for me on some level.    (Check out my older posts here.)   This selection brought back very fond memories from childhood with Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Some films from childhood stay with you.   In my case, these would have to be Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Dahl wrote the screen play for this as well), The Sound of Music, and of course, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.    I am referring to the 1971 classic with Gene Wilder not the Johnny Depp one—can you guess my age now?    Ding, ding ding:   You are correct—-I am 29!  (The Oompa Loompas are now singing the “face up to reality” song for the unrealistic, unruly adult.)

So it was an odd revelation that  I had never read Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory since I loved that film so much.   (We never missed that  annual re-run.How did I make it to adulthood without not having read this classic?

I borrowed the book from our school library and jumped in.   I love Wilder’s wild Willy Wonka from the film and as I read the book, I could see how well Wilder portrayed this eccentric confectionery genius.   In fact, I was very impressed with how all the actors nailed their characters, especially Grandpa Joe and Charlie.     They really made them come to life from the pages of Dahl’s book.

I always wanted an Oompa Loompa (just like Veruca Salt)

I was anxious to read the Violet Beuregarde “incident” because I so vividly remember the scene where Violet swells up like a big purple beach ball in the film.   (This of course after she swipes Wonka’s best held secret and newest invention.)

These are the tastes that selfish and gum-chewing brat discovers and relishes as she chews the ultra-secret and experimental Dinner Chewing Gum which ultimately leads her to the fateful blueberry balloon-like incident:

  • Tomato soup
  • Roast beef and baked potato
  • Blueberry pie
  • Ice cream

Any of these would have been fantastic recipes to play with for this CTB post, but I had to go for the ice cream.   And as I read through all the fantastical (and calorific) treats in Dahl’s book, I couldn’t help but wonder what Charlie might be doing with that factory today.    In fact, I kept reading thinking, “OMG, what about all the calories and refined sugar these kids were taking in!!!!”

How would Charlie “healthify” the Chocolate Factory?

If Charlie wanted to make his treats healthier (and if he shopped at Whole Foods), this is the dessert I think he would end that gum with today!    (This recipe is actually based on one I found on the Whole Foods website.)   Charlie would actually be an adult by now, so I added a bit of an adult twist to this treat.

 Frozen Dark Sweet Cherry Yogurt with Chocolate and Amaretto
Based on Whole Foods Cherry Frozen Yogurt

1 lb. dark sweet cherries, frozen
2 c. plain Greek yogurt
1/4 c. agave nectar
2 T.  fresh lemon juice (I used some Meyer lemons that I had on hand—nope not from our green house tree.)
2 T.  Amaretto
1 to 2 cups grated high quality chocolate  (I grated up an entire 9.2 oz. bar of  Scharffen Berger chocolate.   I used two cups but will use the rest in cookies or some other fine confection.)

How apropos is it that this fine chocolate came in a golden wrapper? (You can see I got it on sale too!)

Place cherries, yogurt, agave, lemon juice, Amaretto and 1 cup grated chocolate in a food processor and pulse to incorporate.   Place in ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacturers directions.   (At this point while it is freezing, you can add more chocolate if you desire.)

I love this color and you can make out all the chocolate flecks in this homage to Violet.

There is nothing better than getting to lick the ice cream paddles.

I could have done this with blueberries in true regard for Violet, but I really wanted to incorporate chocolate and what goes better with chocolate than cherries?  And the color—-the color reminds me so much of Violet’s demise as a purple balloon.

Actually, I guess she is a bit more BLUE than I remember!

As always, this ice cream was a hit with us.

Wonka, wonka delicious!  (And, it is good for what ails ya’!)

(And, since we are still purging our freezer, the cherries came out for our Clean Out.)

Please join CTB for the next round:

Jo from Food Junkie Not Junk Food will wind up our spring with her foodie history pick of United States of Arugula: The Sun Dried, Cold Pressed, Dark Roasted, Extra Virgin Story of the American Food Revolution by   David Kamp. From the author’s site: United States of Arugula is a book about one of the happiest developments of our time: the quantum leap forward in food choice, food quality, and culinary sophistication in America in the last sixty years or so. The book examines not only the social forces that effected this transformation, but the visionaries who changed American food for the better: among them James Beard, Julia Child, Craig Claiborne, and Alice Waters.” We should all find plenty of inspiration to cook from this fun look at the world of food.

The deadline for your entry for United States of Arugula is Monday, May 28th.

Thanks, Deb, for choosing this book.   I enjoyed revisiting my childhood.

15 comments to A Healthy Willy Wonka Treat? Here’s the latest Cook the Books post.

  • This would go over HUGE in this house.

    My foodie penpal (are you a foodie penpal?) just sent a dark chocolate cherry candy bar that disappeared within minutes and I only got a taste!

    P.S.~ LOVE Willy Wonka anything. As long as we’re talking the original. I found Johnny Depp sorta scary in his version. LOL!

  • No matter what I will make this one day – I love the recipe and photos and am kind of very very hungry now 😉
    Awesome post and a healthy chocolate factory? You actually did it 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  • What a fun post for a fun book and film. Now I’ll have to try that delicious sounding frozen yogurt.

  • Great looking ice cream. Ice cream is always welcome in our house.

  • OK, this is so lame, but I didn’t even know that was a book! I only knew of the movie. Same with Gone with the Wind, I just now read it for the first time a couple months ago. Took me many years to realize the book even existed, and I did see the movie first, which I’m usually against. I wonder how much it changes the books in our heads to see the movie first. Like your experience here, I thought that the actors really did well bringing their characters to life, but as I read, I imagined them exactly like I saw them in the movie, with the same voices and expressions. If I’d read the book first, how much different would it be? No way to tell, and that’s why I hope to never do that again. I much prefer coming up with my own version in my head before a director gets ahold of it and bends it to his own-lol.

    The ice cream you came up with is fabulous!!! Those poor children certainly could have used a lighter and healthier treat like this. I love that you used Greek yogurt as a base-something I’ve been planning to try. Just fab, girlfriend!

  • I am glad that you enjoyed revisiting your childhood too. 😉 I love this frozen yogurt–certainly a much healthier option but no less a delicious treat. I am running close to deadline with my post tomorrow but I also have a somewhat Violet-ish inspired creation–she was a favorite part of the book and the original movie for me too. Thanks for joining in Cook the Books this round!

  • Though it’s healthified, I think your frozen treat still looks decadently good. Glad you enjoyed reading the book.

  • I remember reading the book and charlie talking about eating the candy bars, in vivid detail. Gosh I loved that book and the movie. Your ice cream looks wonderful and I think Charlie would have approved.

  • Love this ‘healthified’ version! Dark cherries, amaretto, quality chocolate… yes please! Sounds amazing.

  • love this post! and that frozen yogurt sounds AMAZING!! i need to make this!!

  • Dan

    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is one of my favourites as well.

    That ice cream looks incredible. I wouldn’t have been able to wait to let it freeze.

  • Yep, showing your age. There isn’t a kid in the world who would have healthified a Willy Wonka dish 😉 I agree that cherries and chocolate are made for each other. Didn’t you find the book a bit scarier than the movie?