Snowflake-Top Chocolate Cookies
• 4 squares (4 ounces) of unsweetened chocolate
• ½ cup of shortening
• 3 beaten eggs
• 2 cups of sugar
• 2 teaspoons of baking powder
• 2 teaspoons of vanilla
• ¼ teaspoon of salt
• 2 cups of flour
• 2/3 cup of sifted powdered sugar
Place chocolate and shortening in a small saucepan.
Cook and stir on low heat until melted.
Let cool for 15 minutes.
Combine eggs, sugar, baking powder, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl.
Add melted chocolate.
Gradually add flour, stirring until thoroughly mixed.
Cover and chill for 2 hours.
Shape the dough into 1-inch balls.
Roll them in powdered sugar or coat generously.
Place 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until edges are set.
Transfer to a rack and cool.
This recipe makes about 60 cookies. Happy baking!
Source: Family Recipe
Pairs Well With
Christmas Afternoon at Grandma’s
“Here, take some bags,” my mother says to me as she’s unloading the back of our green minivan. It’s Christmas of 2011 at my grandma’s house again. I can’t wait to play with all of my cousins! I groan and roll my eyes, eager to get inside to see my happy family members. I snatch up a big red present with a huge bow on it and race inside, where Joe and my dad have already entered. A wave of warmth and noise washes over me as I step into the threshold, and hugs and greetings are exchanged quickly. Placing the present on the kitchen table, I streak towards the playroom. The beautiful Christmas tree in the sunroom makes me skitter to a stop, and I take in all of the lights, ornaments, and presents that are placed under it. The green background of the tree compliments the gold star at the top perfectly. I can’t look for long, though, because my cousins all shriek contrasting variations of “Hello, Irene!” We’re mostly different ages, so it’s kind of funny to hear our atypical ways of pronouncing our names.
My cousin Katherine pats a place on the chair next to her, and I go sit next to her. She’s exactly my age, so we always have loads of fun together. My youngest cousin waddles over to me, looking to play with the MyLittlePony that grandma keeps in her closet, special for her. Anna just turned one this year, so she’s at that age that wants have fun and be ready for a nap at the same time.
Before I get the chance to help find the pony, my 12-year-old cousin, Andrew, strolls in. Sean and Emma, the other twins in the family, trail in behind him with their sister, who’s my age, marching along slowly. Another cousin of mine, Timothy, is six years old. He’s Anna’s big brother, and he comes sprinting in, pushing everybody aside, screaming, "It’s stocking time! Come on! Grandma says it’s time to open the stockings!” he shouts. “LET’S GO!”
Everyone makes a mad dash for the living room. I scoop up Anna and race Katherine into the room, who wins (again!). All of the adults are smiling and laughing, and my grandmother claps her hands loudly and says, “Alright, is everybody here? Where’s John?” she asks.
“Johhhhhnn!” All of us cousins start yelling for John until he finally appears in the doorway, shaking off snow. “I’m here!” my 15-year-old cousin announces.
“Good, good, John,” my grandma says, “now go and sit down with your cousins.” He shuffles to the floor. “Okay, kids, I’m going to hand out your stockings only if you’re sitting quietly and nicely.” My grandmother pauses for a second, evaluating our postures, then says, “Timothy, come on up!” My little cousin races up to the railing like he’s just won the lottery. He eagerly tears open his stocking and gasps with delight at the new matchbox car he found inside. When my grandma calls up the rest of the cousins, similar reactions happen. All of the boys get tiny magnets that are different shapes. They also get other small knickknacks and huge candy tubes. All of the girls receive little “dabbing” bottles of Justice perfume. Also, we are given tiny compact hairbrushes that pop out when you push up the bottom. That was the Christmas that my grandma gave me the compact that had a cursive L on it. She thought that it was the letter I! I never mentioned it to her, though.
After we finish oohing and aching over what the stockings held, all of us start begging our grandma to be able to open our presents under the Christmas tree. We finally wear her down after ten minutes of pleading, so we all cheer with delight and tumble to the tree in the sunroom. I take in the crisply wrapped bright presents, searching for one that says Irene. Katherine, Andrew, John, Thomas, Joseph, Emma, Sean, Rachel, Anna, Timothy… Irene! It takes me ages, but I finally spot my white-wrapped present. It’s thin and hollow-sounding, like an empty box. I trace my fingers around the swirly, sparkly snowflake pattern. My heart is thudding in my ears, and I take a deep breath. Then, I rip open the paper like icicles cutting through a blizzard, and I find just what I wanted: the JustDance3 video game. I screech with delight and sprint over to where my grandmother is standing in the doorway. “Thank you so much, Grandma!” I cry. “It’s exactly what I wanted!”
My grandma hugs me tightly back and says, “You’re welcome, honeybunches,” I smile. After that, all of us cousins troop downstairs to the basement to raid the mini-fridge for soft drinks and get comfy on the two huge beds in the backroom. The basement is complete with a small living room, a little bedroom with a TV, a tiny bathroom, my grandpa’s office, and a sliding glass door that leads outside. After we grab our sodas, the nine of us scamper up the stairs, snatch up our coats, and jog outside to play capture the flag. The rest of the night flies by in a flurry of yummy dinner, snow-top cookies for dessert, games, trying out gifts, and family. This is one of the best Christmases I ever had, and I can’t wait for next year.
Submitted by: "Irene R."