Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies and Christmas Traditions

Traditions keep us connected with each other and with memories that keep us going.  We have lots of holiday traditions, as I'm sure you do.  Some of our traditions we brought together when we got married, some we let go of as it didn't fit our new family, and some we stumbled upon as our family grew.  One of our traditions is a game we play with our Christmas Village.  
Dave got this for me our first Christmas together.  I love it.  There is a little school, a museum, a church with a steeple, several stores and a hotel and restaurant.  The people are all busy bustling about the village, stopping to talk to each other, singing Christmas carols, shopping or watching the puppet show.  The buildings all light up and snow blankets the streets and walkways.  There is this one little man, sitting by the Christmas tree minding his own business and peacefully reading a newspaper.
One day I  walked by and the man was gone, I searched high and low for him.  I found him sitting on the steps behind the church.  I put him back on his bench.  The next time I walked by he was missing again.  This time I found him on the roof of the restaurant, calmly reading his paper.  The game was on.  I placed him on the steps of the school house and for the last 12 years, that poor man has not been able to read his paper in peace.  He is found upside down, balanced on the top of the church's steeple, under the bridge, hidden in the gazebo and in every other possible place in our little village.  One of the boys covered him under a big pile of the fake snow, gathered all the villagers in a circle around the mound and had the little minister at the head as though they were having a funeral service (thanks Mason).  I don't know which of our boys started this game, but it has become a tradition.  Every friend that stops by has to look for the newspaper man and move him.  If he ever is on the bench, Dave will hide him so I don't feel sad and cry that we don't have kids home any more.  This is a tradition we all look forward to.

Chocolate crinkles are another Christmas tradition I look forward to.  I love these cookies!  One year when I was in college, in about a three month time period, I made these so many times, by boyfriend at the time asked me to stop!  I've learned some moderation, not much, but some.  So I save these cookies for this time of year.  They are fudgy with crisp edges, sweet and oh so good.  These are always one of the first to go on my cookie platter.  I hope you enjoy them with your holiday traditions.

Chocolate Crinkles
(I've made these so long, I don't know where the recipe came from)

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. espresso powder
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1.5 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Add the unsweetened chocolate and butter to a microwave safe bowl.  Heat for 1 minute on high.  Stir. Heat for 15 seconds and stir, repeat this until chocolate and butter are melted.  Stir in espresso powder until smooth and let cool.
Combine eggs, sugar and vanilla.  Using an electric mixer beat until the mixture is light in color and thick, about 3 minutes.  Add the melted chocolate mixture and stir or mix on low speed until blended.  Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.  All the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and beat on low speed until blended.  Add the chocolate chips and stir with a wooden spoon.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours.  The dough should be firm enough to roll into balls.
Preheat the oven to 325ºF.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl.
Roll a rounded tablespoon of dough between your palms into a ball (I use my #40 scoop for this).  Roll the ball in the powdered sugar until completely coated.  Place on prepared cookie sheet.  Repeat for all cookie dough, spacing them about 3 inches apart.  Bake for 15 minutes until the cookies are puffed and cracked looking and feel firm when touched on the edges.  Let cookies cool on the baking sheets.
Makes about 30 cookies.

What are some of the holiday traditions you look forward to?

December 14,  2011,     Daylight  3 hours,  51 minutes,  21 seconds     Current Temp.  1 ºF

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