Thank you to Disney for inviting me to a The Nutcracker and the Four Realms press screening #DisneysNutcracker
Rich and delectable Chocolate Hazelnut Snowflake Pastry, inspired by The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. It goes perfectly with a cup of Hot Cocoa!
Lots of my memories are tied together with food. Vacations, holidays, special people, are all intertwined in my brain with the food we ate. Maybe that’s why, for me, the food I serve around the holidays and special occasions is so important. It helps me remember all my favorite people.
For many families seeing The Nutcracker is a family tradition. I remember my Mom taking me to see a performance of the ballet when I was younger. With three boys I’m afraid taking them to the ballet was not a tradition that I pursued. Which is why I was so excited when I first saw the trailers for The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. A bit of the beauty of the Nutcracker story, but easier to watch with my own family. Because I was curious, the original story was written in 1816 and titled “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King”. That story was adapted by Alexandre Dumas and later turned into the ballet with music by Tchaikovsky. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is a new re-imagined version of the classic Christmas story.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
The movie was just as beautiful as I hoped it would be. The attention to detail is exquisite. The costumes are beautiful. Clara, the main character, changes into several different outfits throughout the film, and I think my favorite costume that she wears is one that resembles the uniform of a Victorian toy solider.
Several of the characters are homages to ones you will remember, including Sugar Plum Fairy and the Nutcracker, Captain Phillip Hoffman. The portrayal of the Mouse King is fun and unique. You’ll recognize a few faces, including a former Mr. Darcy, Matthew Macfadyen, as Clara’s father.
In The Nutcracker and the Four Realms we are introduced to Clara and her family at Christmas. All except her mother, who has passed away since the previous Christmas. The family is struggling with continuing their holiday traditions without her. Those traditions include a holiday party at Clara’s godfather Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) annual holiday party. As her Christmas gift Clara’s mother has left her a box, but a box without a key. At the holiday party, Drosselmeyer gives gifts to all of his guests. Clara follows her golden thread to find her key and unlock the precious gift her mother has left her.
Clara’s journey to find the coveted key leads her into a strange and mysterious parallel world. It is in this world that she encounters a soldier named Phillip, a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. Clara and Phillip must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara’s key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world.
When Clara arrives in The Four Realms she is treated to a ballet performed for her, sharing the story of the Four Realms through dance. The Land of Flowers is colorful with bursting flowers. The Land of Sweets looks like gingerbread houses come to life. The Land of Snowflakes is a stunning winter wonderland. Make sure to stay through the end credits to see more of Misty Copeland dancing!
For Parents: There are a few scenes that could frighten younger children. While the CG effects to create the Mouse King and Tin Soldiers make them look fantastical, they could also seem a little scary. The Fourth Realm, where Mother Ginger lives, is little like a spooky forest. Once known as the Land of Amusements, things have fallen into disrepair. Here is where the Mouse King lives alongside an abandoned carousel and wayward polichinelles.
Chocolate Hazelnut Snowflake Pastry
I don’t know if sugar-plums were dancing in my head, but I was having visions of snowflakes and sweets after watching the film. Put those together and what do you get? The sweetest snowflake you ever tasted. I did mention how much I like pairing food with traditions, right? I forsee many future holidays celebrating with The Nutcracker and the Four Realms along with this Chocolate Hazelnut Snowflake Pastry.
My snowflake pastry is layers of dough, filled with chocolate hazelnut spread. Four layers of dough to be exact. While you could make dough from scratch, you could also pick up 4 containers of crescent roll dough. Spread out each piece of dough and cut into 10 inch circles. (Use a 10 inch dinner plate and sharp knife to cut out each round layer. Chocolate hazelnut spread gets placed in between each layer of dough.
To create the snowflake shape you will need a glass and a sharp knife. Place the glass in the center of the pastry. Cut your dough into 16 equal sections. It’s easiest to start by creating four sections, then cut each of those in half and each of those in half. Then you end up with 16!
Once you have all the segments made it’s just a little twist to make the snowflake shape. Hold two segments at a time and twist them outward, away from each other. Two twists and then tuck and pinch the ends together. Once you’ve twisted your 8 groups, 16 segments total, your snowflake is ready to go into the oven.
I just love how the layers of dough and chocolate hazelnut spread look!
What does a holiday dessert need? Some snow! Or some powdered sugar sprinkled on top.
This snowflake pastry is easy to serve and is basically just a holiday pull apart bread.
Chocolate Hazelnut Snowflake Pastry
- 3/4 cup chocolate hazelnut spread
- 4 cans (8 oz each) refrigerated crescent dough sheet
- All purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Prepare a baking sheet with cooking parchment paper and lightly sprinkle with all purpose flour.
- Warm chocolate hazelnut spread slightly to make it smooth and spreadable
- On a cutting board sprinkled lightly with all purpose flour, unroll the first crescent dough sheet. Roll into a 12×11 inch rectangle. Use a 10 inch dinner plate (or cardboard circle) and a sharp knife to cut out dough. (Reserve leftover dough for another use.)
- Place cut out dough onto prepared baking sheet. Spread 1/4 cup chocolate hazelnut spread over the dough.
- Repeat steps to cut 2nd and 3rd layers of dough and chocolate hazelnut spread. Top with final layer of dough.
- Place a glass in the center of the pastry. Cut your dough into 16 equal sections.
- Twist sections, two at a time, away from each other to form snowflake shape (see photo above)
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar and serve warm.
I definitely have a new holiday tradition to look forward to!