If you are like me, you are anxiously awaiting the final Harry Potter movie to come out on DVD so that you can marathon all eight of them together. In one sitting. Possibly two, because lets face it, they are looong and there are eight of them. But there is one thing you will need for this marathon: snacks! And who doesn’t enjoy some theme snacks for a movie marathon? If you want some sweet snacks aimed specifically for the Harry Potter viewing party, you may want to check out The Unofficial Harry Potter Sweet Shoppe Kit.
Before I get to my review, a brief note. While the box says 8+ for the ages, most of the recipes definitely require someone who is familiar with the kitchen. Preferably someone who is comfortable working in sweets. I personally could not actually make many of the recipes because I do not have two of the items: an ice cream maker or a candy thermometer. I’d love an ice cream maker, by the way. (Feel free to send me one)! And the special ice cream recipes in here sounded delish (Brown Bread Ice Cream and Apple Crumble Ice Cream, for example) so I’m tempted to shell out the cash. But since that is not happening today, I had to skip it. As for the thermometer, I do have a cheap one, but I’ve seen enough Food Network Challenges to know when making chocolate or sugar based candies you don’t want to use just an “okay” thermometer. But I want to get a better one because the kit comes with molds and reusable sticks to make chocolate broomstick lollipops. How cute!
Here is what I did make:
One of the recipes was based on the famous Butterbeer that Harry, Ron and Hermione would enjoy on their trips to Hogsmeade. The kit called it Butterscotch Brew. There were two variations – one was slightly more complicated and involved actually creating a soda with seltzer and several kinds of flavorings. It was good, but honestly, the kids like the other version better which was basically a root beer float, but using cream soda and a few extra fix-ins. It may have been because it was 90 degrees outside, but that one definitely caught their interest. There is also a slushie version, which I did not make, but plan to if I get that ice cream maker. Bonus for all these drinks: if you want to make them “adult beverages” I would just switch out the rum flavoring for, you know, rum!
What is interesting about the first one you make yourself is that it can be served warm. This sounds sort of gross to me because it is a soda based drink, however I bet it is soothing on a cold and rainy day.
Speaking of drinks for a cold and rainy day – there is a hot chocolate recipe which is great for chocolate lovers as it includes pieces of bittersweet chocolate melted in. Here is my issue with the recipe: one of the ingredients is instant coffee. If you have kids, you are probably not surprised I balked at the inclusion of this in a kids recipe. However, you can find it decaffeinated. I personally just left it out and still felt it tasted good. If you are making a separate batch for adults, add it in! (By the way, if you are wondering why I chose to make hot chocolate on a 90 degree day… I didn’t! I waited til the sun went down and then it was about 50 and breezy.)
One recipe that didn’t go over as well was the lemon drops (a favorite of Professor Dumbledore). I probably made them wrong, but I didn’t think they set well. Also, the only source of the lemon flavor was lemon extract, which tastes fake to me. I’m not a fan of artificial flavoring. If you want a yummy lemon treat from this book, go with the Triple Power Icy Lemon Drops (a nod to the treat the Dursley’s begrudgingly gave Harry at the zoo). These are easy fruit ice bars to make and are mostly natural flavoring. (You can probably make them all natural and leave out the extract) The kids love them. And they are easy to turn into Icy Orange Drops or Icy Lime Drops or probably any fruit you have on hand.
I ran out of time (and patience for cleaning up messes) to do the next two myself, but I have made them before – Dark Chocolate and White Chocolate truffles. Yum. It’s easy enough to figure out how to do Milk Chocolate as well. They are time consuming and messy, but they are a lot of fun to make with the kids and so very very tasty.
My overall feeling on this: If you like to spend time in the kitchen with your Harry Potter loving kids and are comfortable with medium to difficult recipes, this is worth it. If you aren’t so great with a candy thermometer and tempering chocolate or you don’t have an ice cream maker, well, this might not be for you. It’s a cute idea, but probably a little outside the reach of the average cook. The easier recipes are great, but they are few and far between.
You can find the Kit on Amazon: Here
Written by Melissa Miller. Find her on Twitter: @serrae
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Disclaimer: This item was sent for review purposes.