There is something delightful about Fall craft projects. It’s the bell that rings in my house before the mad rush of the holiday season. Homemade gifts….holiday decorating with Christmas lights that shine so bright my electric bill almost doubles (its awful but it’s worth it)….Handmade candy…cookies…pies oh the pies!!!! Don’t even get me started on the music! I actually have 4 hours worth of Christmas music on my iPhone. Full disclosure, my Mother-in-law adores Christmas music and would be sad if we didn’t fully embrace it. Luckily for us her love of Christmas was fully infectious all those years ago and now we truly adore the entire season as much as she does.
My Mother-in-law comes to visit with us soon. She usually comes in November and stays with us until early January. We have a grand time together while she’s here. She comes in time for Thanksgiving so we get two of the best holidays to enjoy together. There is eggnog…evening cocktails (I would hang my head in shame but we have so much fun!!!) We decorate for Christmas together…and the kids get to spend real quality time with my Husbands Mom. My parents live 15 minutes away so my kids are very lucky to have access to them every week. Family together at the holidays…the best thing in all the world! I am that dork that actually loves Christmas shopping, I get so excited when I find the perfect gift for someone on my list. I honestly do! I don’t even mind waiting in line to have the kids sit for pictures with Santa. It’s all part of the tradition. We wait for an hour (sometimes longer) and then we don’t get a picture of my youngest because she loves Santa until it’s her turn…then she screams and throws herself on the ground. Like I said, it’s tradition!
So, today I hand painted Fall leaves to decorate my oldest daughters classroom windows.The packages of cardstock leaves are sold in packages of 12 at Michael’s craft stores. I use Martha Stewart crafts paints which are inexpensive and have some pretty great colors. I paint the leaves for school but I buy several extra packages of the leaves and my mother, my kids and I paint them together then we affix them to the windows all over the house. We may live in a place where not one leaf changes color (sadly) but we have gotten pretty good at painting our own. I make mulled cider and light our Fall scented candles to enjoy while we paint. My Mother hates mulled cider but she humors me. It’s a really nice time spent with the kids…and my Mom.
Here, have a look at the leaves I painted today for school…before I attach them tot he windows of the classroom I write each child’s name on a leaf. I take it as an opportunity to make the kids feel special.
But, when I was done with these leaves I felt like a cup of tea and a bite of something sweet. I had nothing sweet…nothing!! Well that just won’t due. You may think because I bake so much that we actually eat all this stuff, but we don’t. We share. We somehow shared so much that I had not one thing to sit beside my tea.
With that I fired up the mixer…Dutch Fudge Cookies are a huge hit with the family…and the neighbors….and anyone who stops by…
Homemade Dutch Fudge Cookies ~ Tamatha Mavraides
1 cup of butter (2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs (my lovely hens take such good care of us! We haven’t purchased an egg in almost 3 years)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups of all- purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder (best quality please)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Here we go….
Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.
Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of your standing mixer.
Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after adding each.
In a separate bowl combine all of the dry ingredients. Then combine the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.
Next add the chocolate chips. Mix them in but don’t over mix.
Scoop the dough into balls (I use a cookie scoop) and then roll the dough in the sanding sugar. Place the dough balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet. These cookies spread so please only put 6 cookies on a tray. With the palm of your hand lightly flatten the balls down. NOT FLAT just evenly pressed down to encourage proper baking.
Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes (for medium size) 8 minutes for small and perhaps 12 minutes or so for large. Cool the cookie on the tray for about 5 minutes then move them to a rack to finish cooling.
At this point you may have kids holding onto your leg, begging….whining….get milk, sit kids down….give cookie….enjoy silence.