Tag Archives: chocolate

What NOT to give someone for Christmas

I received a beautifully wrapped gift a few Christmases ago from someone who shall not be named. (Don’t worry–this is an acquaintance, and there is NO WAY he or she reads my blog. Um, I hope.) It had some heft to it, and based on the rectangular shape I figured maybe it was an awesome board game. Or a carved tray. Or something cool.

Then I opened it.

And it was . . .

. . . yes. A larger-than-life bar of chocolate.

But how great is that!” you may be thinking.

Let me clarify–these weren’t individually sized pieces of chocolate, ideal for consumption. This was one bar. Many, many pounds of chocolate, forged together into an unbreakable, un-bite-able plank. Entirely impractical for the following reasons:

1) You need special equipment to cut this thing. No ordinary knife was going to do the job.

2) How do you store it? Er . . . with a whole roll of plastic wrap?

3) Breaking off pieces would result in mess, mess, mess, with tiny chocolate shavings festooning the whole area.

4) It weighs a ton. And doesn’t fit easily in a cupboard. Or in any Ziploc bag I’ve ever seen.

5) Who eats that much chocolate???

Anyway, it was going to take way too much work to deal with this thing. Way too much trouble–and yet I couldn’t throw the thing away, because then I’d have guilt all over my face next time I saw this person. All I could think of was how to get rid of this thing as quickly as possible. Our next social event was a little Christmas party for our Bible study, at the home of Joe and Kathy. Joe and Kathy also happen to have 5 kids. I quickly hatched a plan to foist this bar of chocolate on them. Either directly, or by hiding it in the pile of presents under their tree.

I showed it to our small group and David, our Bible study leader, examined the monster.

It’s bigger than his head!

Way bigger.

We soon determined that someone needed to try to take a bite. That special someone was going to be Carrie.

I don’t remember if she was willing, or if my aggressive side came out and forced her hand.

Go Carrie go!

That girl is fearless.

And she has nice teeth.

Why can’t I have nice teeth like that?

Anyway, if she keeps gnawing on that chocolate she ain’t gonna have nice teeth for long.

So the conclusion of this little piece of Christmas history is this: unless you know that the giftee is planning a fondue party for 50 the following day, please think twice before purchasing a bar of chocolate of this magnitude for anyone.

Turtle Cookies

I am the only girl that works in my office. My boss is a dude; the guys in the factory are all, well, guys. So when the time came for us employees to put together a Christmas present for our boss last month, I was called upon.

I think many men assume that females have that magical present-creating touch, so on a Tuesday I was told in no uncertain terms to come up with a present by Thursday. I knew there was no wiggling out of this, so I quickly concoted a plan that has generally pleasing results and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg either: baking. Everyone appreciates a homemade gift, and what do you give to the man who has it all?

Well, chocolate is a start.

Add some pecans and caramel bits, and even better.

Wrap them up in pretty tissue paper, stick them in some cute packaging, and you have a winning gift that everyone is happy with, givers and receiver alike.

Hence, from this recipe by the lovely baking wonder Veronica, an appropriate gift was created, a card was signed, and much happiness reigned. I think I’ll just pop in a quote from Veronica’s blog which accurately describes how great these cookies are: “Soft, crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, gooey with caramel and studded with chocolate & pecans.” Thank you for summing it up so concisely, my dear.

And now let’s make ’em!


(Makes 36 cookies)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1TBS vanilla extract
½ tsp white vinegar
2 large eggs
1 ½ tsp baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup caramel bits
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 F and cover the baking sheets with parchment paper (if not, the caramel bits will stick to the bottom).

Spread the pecans on a microwave-safe plate and microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring with your fingers in between, for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant and toasted.

Chop up the nuts.

In a stand mixer, cream together the softened butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and vinegar for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs and baking soda, and beat until combined.

Add the flour, mixing until just combined.

Like so!

Feel free to lick your fingers at this point, unless raw eggs wig you out.

Stir in the chocolate chips, pecans, and caramel bits, until evenly mixed.

If you seek perfection in sugared confection . . .

Portion the dough in balls onto the baking sheets, leaving an inch between the cookies.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are just starting to get golden brown around the edges. Remove the sheets from the oven, and let the cookies sit for 5 minutes.

Remove the cookies to a cooling rack.

And that is that, mes amis!

Consume, or give them to your boss for maximum boss-pleasing. Chances are he/she’ll offer you one anyway–and maybe even a raise in the rush of sugar-induced euphoria that’s bound to follow.

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