Is your tree up? Lights strung and garland draped? Candy canes hooked and ornaments placed just so? The angel tree topper straight or is there a red bow with its red tails cascading down your tree? Do you string popcorn and cranberries or perhaps marshmallows? Have you named it? It is a thing…people naming their trees.
Are you a family that pulls on wool socks and boots, layers coats and scarves, and traipse out to the evergreen forest (ok, fine, tree farm) with axe in hand and a thermos of hot chocolate thrown over your shoulder and chops down a yearly Christmas tree? My mental image of this is a tad skewed…a tad too Norman Rockwell. Because in my head Christmas carols are being sung and the kids are happy and rosy-cheeked and walking hand in hand merrily with their siblings – ha! Maybe I have seen too many Bing Crosby Christmas Specials or watched one too many ABC Family Christmas movies…because I also picture snow lightly falling ever so carelessly from the frosty night ski. Twirling to the ground, carefully so. Perfectly white and fluffy snow that gently coats the trees and ground and the ever so cheerful family. The snow being a crucial part of the magic…
Too many movies? Perhaps. Because this doesn’t happen…well it does, but only in my head…and dear Lord help you if you find yourself in there.
I have never traipsed anywhere (not sure I even know how to traipse, quite honestly), let alone into an evergreen forest, to cut down a Christmas tree or any tree for that matter. However, I am 98.76% sure that the annual family tradition of cutting down a tree isn’t all bright and cheery. More Griswold than Crosby. But, hey, that is real life. The kids are, I am sure, bickering and complaining and throwing snowballs into the back of each others heads or stuffing handfuls of snow down the back of their sisters sweatshirt. There are runny noses and hat hair. Toes are numb and it is most likely raining and not snowing. And there is no forest. Just a field with trees growing in rows.
I didn’t come from a cut your own Christmas tree family. We drove the minivan to a local nursery and bought one that was hanging from the rafters. The one with the crooked trunk and random hole in the back that wasn’t noticed by anyone until it was in the tree stand and in the house. Mom always saying the branches hadn’t fallen completely … the rest of us just turning the tree so the hole was in the back.
Hole or no hole, straight or crooked trunk…it was our family Christmas tree. And boy did I love it when it was lit…how it would make the whole room glow. Magic I tell you. Magic lives in those trees.
After the lights are strung and carols sung, refreshments and refueling comes in the form of cookies this time of year. I come from a long line of chocolate lovers and these were a crowd pleaser…a few times over. With an almost brownie like consistency, they are fudgy and rich and the hint of coffee just deepens the intensity of the chocolate. Add coconut if you wish or leave it out…100% up to you. Add slivered almonds instead. Make them minty with a bit of peppermint extract. But please enjoy them with a glass of milk or hot chocolate, because there is no such thing as too much chocolate.
- 6 ounces Bittersweet Chocolate, roughly chopped
- 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- ⅓ Cup All Purpose Flour
- ¼ Teaspoon Baking Powder
- ¼ Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1 + ½ Teaspoon Espresso Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- ½ Cup Chocolate Chips
- ¾ Cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut (optional)
- Set chocolate and butter over a double boiler and let melt, stirring occasionally. Once melted, remove from heat and set aside to cool. (you can melt via microwave...use a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second periods, stirring between each period.)
- In a small bowl, whisk together salt, baking powder, and flour.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, sugar, espresso powder, and vanilla and beat until batter is light and fluffy and falls from the paddle (or beaters) in a thick ribbon, about 5 minutes.
- With mixer on low, slowly add the cooled chocolate and mix until just combined.
- Fold in the flour mixture followed by the chocolate chips and shredded coconut.
- Chill in fridge for about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop cookies on to baking sheet about 2 inches apart (they will spread a tad). Bake in preheated oven for about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Let cookies cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
- Store in air tight containers. These also freeze well!