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

sanding sugar

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.

This cookies was snatched from my hands by a giddy child who later sweetly requested milk to go with my stolen cookie. Sigh.

At this point you may have kids holding onto your leg, begging….whining….get milk, sit kids down….give cookie….enjoy silence.



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28 Responses to Dutch Fudge Cookies and a Fall craft project…Happy day had by all!

  1. Charlotte Moore says:

    Welll, I am worn out from just reading about all you do at the holidays. I use to bake, bake, bake, but not much now. I am much older and it wears me out. I do need to make those cookies though. My hubby loves dark chocolate. He will eat brownies with chocolate ice cream and chocolate syrup if he gets a chance. Haha!!

    I will be going to the school tomorrow I retired from to make applesauce for the kindergarten teacher I worked for. The kids are so cute when you do things like that.

    • Tamatha says:

      LOL, I make myself tired too! Doing all of this make me truly happy so I find the energy to start again the next day…and the next. You are so kind to go back to school even though you retired to help out. I hope they realize how lucky they were to have you when you worked there and how lucky they are to have you still.

      I made an error in the recipe that I went back and corrected. If you copied the recipe please adjust to only 2 cups of flour total. See…I was tired when I wrote my post. I always make a mistake when I type tired. :)

  2. Alyssa Ozzi says:

    The leaves look awesome! Can not wait to see them in person! Let me know when you are decorating so I can help:) I love the holidays too. Wecall Dylan father Christmas, if he could he would keep the lights and blow ups up all year LOL Hence, my house too looks like the Griswald house! FPL loves us around the holidays.

    • Tamatha says:

      I am so glad you like them! I think I will start decorating the classroom next week. I would love to have you join me. We have box tops to count next week too! Aren’t you glad you volunteered to work with me? I use up all the free time anyone has. I never seem to sit still. I am decorating my house over the next 10 days. Come and see it when it’s all done. :)

  3. Pam says:

    I loved the leaves! You are a most amazing woman!! The cookies look good but I have a question. The recipe calls for 2 cups of flour then the cocoa and then 2 cups of all purpose flour. Does the recipe use 4 cups of flour? I’m confused about that. Anyway, I wish I had the energy and creativity you have. Pam

    • Tamatha says:

      Thank you so much, I didn’t realize I made that mistake! I fixed it right away. No the recipe is just 2 cups of flour. My gosh I hate it when I make a mistake. I appreciate your help with that. Oh, to be honest I run out of gas sometimes but I just love this stuff so much it keeps me going. The leaves were nothing more than a way to have what I missed about living up north.

      To get your leaves to have the same look if you decide to make them use a fairly dry brush. Too much paint wont blend in a natural pattern. Thank you very much for such lovely encouragement. You made me feel really good. :) You helped me and made my evening all in one comment!

  4. Susan says:

    You are truly an energized bunny! The leaves and the cookies (oh, those cookies!!) are so inviting and I bet made a big impression on your family, XOXO

    • Tamatha says:

      LOL, yes…I had a bunch of happy cookie dipping (in milk) people on my hands this evening. Seeing them enjoy them makes me truly so happy. Painting the leaves is actually kind of relaxing. I love doing it. I have so much more to do! I love this stuff!!! :) Hugs

      • Susan says:

        Tamatha, do you know that both Ranger and Jenny Bolin have out paint daubers that would have worked well too?

        • Tamatha says:

          You know, I actually hadn’t thought of it. That is a great idea! I tend to get and idea and just wander through the craft store figuring it out. What a great idea you have there!!! I bet those would work really well with stencil projects…I love stencils. :)

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  6. Pat says:

    How do you do all that you do???? I’m exhausted just reading! :) Seriously, you seem to accomplish so much. I think it’s wonderful that you have such a great time with your mother-in-law. Family at the holidays is such a blessing!

    The leaves are beautiful ~ and I love that each child has their name on one. All children need positive recognition I think.


    • Tamatha says:

      Thank you very much :) I am not really sure how I get so much done….I know I am really tired by the end of the day! I enjoy keeping so busy. It make me happy. There is nothing more important than family. Nothing at all. We love spending the holidays together. It’s wonderful for the children to have all their grandparents here to love them up!

  7. I love the painted leaves, Tamatha! Very pretty. The cookies remind me of my grandma :)

    Have a good day, Nancy

  8. Miz Helen says:

    I sure wish I could just be still with a couple of these great cookies, it would just be awesome! Hope you are having a great weekend and thanks for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  9. What fabulous holiday traditions you have. And isn’t it great having a wonderful relationship with your mother-in-law? My MIL and I are practically best friends!

    • Tamatha says:

      I was married years ago to a my first husband…his mother was awful to me. When I say awful it’s an understatement. Being treated well by the family can make or break a marriage. I am so thankful to have my mother in law. I adore her. We have enjoyed each other from the day we met.

      A good mother in law is a gift. I think I was rewarded after my first experience :)

  10. Teresa says:

    I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog. I made your Dark Chocolate Brownies to take on a beach trip with friends and they were a huge hit. One bite and everyone swooned, I have also made your Double Dark Chocolate Cookies, another huge hit. Yes, I love chocolate! You have so many recipes that sound awesome. I also own a small flock of hens with a friend of mine and your stories are all so true. We are trying to merge two flocks right now and, no, it is not easy. No success here so far. Keep writing and I will keep reading and baking.

    • Tamatha says:

      Thank you so much for your kindness. It really means so much to me. :) As to the flocks. Have you tried putting the flocks together at night? I am told that when the hens wake up together it may help. I too find merging flocks to very difficult. I wish you such good luck. It was a mess here for a while there. Finally the flocks are fine with each other. Whew!

  11. Your leaves turned out gorgeous but not as gorgeous as those chocolately cookies. (I am a total choco-holic!) Thanks for sharing on Tout It Tuesday! Hope to see you tomorrow.

  12. Debra says:

    Lovely leaves and yummy cookies, thank you.

  13. Mcelhannon says:

    Lee was disappointed the name is not Lee’s BBQ Rub but the corporate majority vote was in favor of using Dan’s moniker! What actually got them excited was the reaction from the more than four,000 who tasted the rub on chicken, ribs, brisket, tri-tip, frog legs and corn on the cob at the 2011 Houston Livestock & Rodeo Cook-off!”

  14. Linda Billingsley says:

    Can’t wait to try these Dutch chocolate cookies! They look awesome!

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