Thursday, December 18, 2014

Chocolate Fudge Cookies by Candlelight


Ever since I've been back from Phoenix I've been working like a dog to get everything put away. Just like a dog who searches for the best place to bury his bone, I've been looking for the perfect place for that certain picture or piece of furniture. This is good in the sense that I love cleaning out and throwing away. I also love new arrangements of knickknacks and other common hoi polloi. I'm one of those that arranges according to the season. Please, no rolling of the eyes.

What I don't love is all the mess that this creates. Who knew that moving one piece of art would create reasons to move three more? And how does all that damn dust ever get behind those hanging paintings? And I never knew that nails could rust if they are pounded into a wall. I don't like things out of place. I need to feel a certain sense of order around me. Even in college I couldn't study unless there was a sense of neatness around me. There are a few that would say that was just an excuse; but we won't name names.

So, between getting everything put away and bringing out all of my menorahs and other important artifacts of the holidays, I am going crazy. For example, I love candles. My friends that know me well, know that my house is lit by candlelight in the winter. OK. Not to see by, but to be seen by. I love the feeling of warmth that is created when a house is lit by candles. It is this feeling that makes a house decide to become a home. I can honestly feel the thermostat rise, when all are burning.


Now one might think that finding candles is easy. Trust me on this. I am picky about my candles. I do not like scented candles. I do not like weird colors, though I do like some colors. I tend to like pure colors; not wishy washy ones. I do not like to spend a fortune on candles, so I am careful where I shop. I have good luck with tapers from Hobby Lobby. Sometimes I can find them at Cost Plus. Pier One? No. Expensive boutiques always have candles, but not always tapers. Or reasonably priced cylinders.And usually they all smell. Some good; most not. Michaels has really cheap candles, but I don't like them. They are an ungodly shade of red and just like bright red lipstick makes many a tart-well that is what the wrong shade of red candles does to a house/home. 

And what's with all this LED crap? These are not candles. They are high tech fakes. Really, have folks forgotten how to light a match? They spread no warmth; they have no wax to clean up and they always have batteries that need replacing. Using them means there are no leftover candles to start a fire with. I just want  a few blue shades of tapers. Maybe some cylinders. I don't want aqua or navy. I love Vance Kittera candles but his blue is so faint, I think it is gray. So this year, white it is. And maybe a few off white. I've already bought 18 tapers and still need at least 4 more. I've totally given up on finding pillars. I am tired of venturing out to at least 6 stores, just to find candles.

So I'm going a bit overboard, you might say; Manservant does say. He tells me just to go get expensive ones because time is money. Well, if that was the case, I'd be rich! And besides I haven't even found any of those I like. But when a girl is on a mission, failure is not an option. I've been so crazed that I showed up at the doctor's a day early. Who does that?


Well, tomorrow Salvation Army comes to pick up our STUFF. We have a lot of STUFF. It served us well and I will not be sorry to see it go. I am so not sentimental about STUFF. They, however do not take big old TV's. I've had numerous inquiries on Craig's List for said TV, but no one ever follows through. Hopefully, with all this gone, my head will clear and I will be able to focus on candles. 

In the meantime, I'm just going to offer the Salvation Army truck driver some cookies. That is if he'll take my TV. Really, these cookies are so worth it. They were a first for me. I clipped them out of the paper long ago and they are attributed to Maida Heatter; Queen of baking. I don't know what took me so long to try these. Manservant wondered the same. These are a perfect cross of fudge and brownie, but all in one perfect cookie shape. I'm not telling you they are pretty, but for anyone that loves a chewy brownie or a glorious piece of fudge, they are truly a thing of beauty.

And don't forget.They are best eaten in front of a roaring fire, with white candles to light the room. Just as candles make a house a home, well, we all know that home baked cookies do the same!


Chocolate Fudge Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen
Time to make: About 15 minutes
Time to eat: about 2 seconds
Time to bake: About 7 minutes

Ingredients:
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips or a mixture of bittersweet and semisweet
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 t vanilla extract
1 T bourbon (optional)
1/2 t salt
1 c flour
2 1/4 c toasted pecans, broken into large pieces
Maldon Salt flakes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Melt chocolate and butter on low setting, in 1 minute intervals in microwave, stirring at each interval with wooden spoon, until fully melted. Stir until smooth. Stir in condensed milk, vanilla and bourbon. Stir in flour and toasted pecans.

Using a rounded teaspoonful, place dough on parchment or Silpat lined sheets.  Sprinkle with salt, if you'd like. Bake 7 minutes. These will look glossy and wet and totally unbaked. Don't worry. Let them cool completely. Transfer to wire rack until bottom is dry. I keep them sealed in a giant Zip-Lock and they have tasted great for 5 days. Give some to your Salvation Army truck driver in hopes he will take your TV.

More December Food:
Gingerbread Waffles
Liege Waffles
Not My Mamas Chicken Pot Pie
Chicken, Artichoke, Mushroom Casserole
Spritz Cookies
Shortbread Cookie Cut Outs

British Scones
Chocolate Krantz Cake or Babka
Double Chocolate Mocha Macadamia Bark
Browned Butter Cream Cheese Apricot Rugelach
Soft Chocolate Crackles with Mint M and M's
World Peace Cookies
Latke 1 or Latke 2
Sweet Potato Latkes
Sweet Family Favorites