When you just need a cookie…

I’m a book nerd.  One of my boxes of Christmas crap is half-filled with a red and white basket of books that I put out each year – a vintage copy of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, a gorgeous paper cut-out pop-up book that illustrates the story of Jesus’s birth, a version of The Night Before Christmas illustrated by one of my favorite children’s illustrators, Gyo Fujikawa, and, for the adults, a copy of David Sedaris’ Holidays on Ice.  At some point during the holidays, I find time to read through a few of these books.  I have the hope that having this basket out for just these few weeks each year will spark my kids’ curiosity and maybe they will spend some time reading through a couple of them, too.  But, really I put these books out for me and I’m definitely the person that enjoys them the most.

With four “big kids” this year, we got through the decorating pretty fast.   Once the kids had each hung their favorite ornaments and eaten a few cookies, they all scattered back to their phones and video games and movies.  And in that moment, I had a choice.  I could have whipped up a round of hot cocoa and dragged them back in to the living room to “be together”.  Or I could have used that time to order holiday cards, start my Christmas shopping or clean up the kitchen.

But I didn’t do any of those things.  I sat down in my favorite reading chair, I picked up Holidays On Ice and I joyfully read the stories,  “Dinah The Christmas Whore” and “Santaland Diaries”.  And I chuckled and sipped red wine and nibbled the best Christmas cookie to pair with your red wine – The Merry Mallow Fudgie.  It’s a chocolate cookie that you stuff with a marshmallow so that when you bake it, the marshmallow turns the inside of the cookie into ooey, gooey fudginess (I’m pretty sure fudginess is a word and, if it’s not, it should be).  It was a really lovely way to get me into the Christmas spirit – much better than the hour I spent fishing tiny metal hooks out of the corners of the ornament storage boxes.

This year, I hope you steal a few moments for yourself in between the activities.  Take a tea break while you’re writing your holiday cards; sneak off to the backyard with a glass of wine, take a deep breath and look up at the sky while the kids make those salt dough ornaments for the grandparents – claim whatever time you can to make sure that you aren’t just making a special Christmas for everyone else, you are also enjoying the holidays yourself.

And here’s the recipe for the best Christmas cookie to pair with your red wine:

Merry Mallow Fudgies

*This recipe is a product of its time.  It was created in the 1960’s, probably with the goal of using as many Kraft products as possible.  It contains gluten, refined sugar, animal products, dairy and hydrogenated fats  – in other words, it is not a good choice for those with food sensitivities.  If, like me, the only thing that upsets your stomach is the idea of eating a vegan cookie – this might be the cookie for you and your wine.   They also make an excellent breakfast, paired with coffee.

Bake at 400 Degrees for 5-7 minutes

Whisk these dry ingredients together:

3 cups flour

2/3 cup cocoa

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

Mix these wet ingredients with a mixer until smooth and then add to dry ingredients:

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup shortening

Form into balls of about 3 tablespoons each, using your thumb stuff a mini-marshmallow into the center of each ball and cover the hole.  The dough is a bit drier than the usual cookie dough.  Roll the balls into granulated sugar and bake. They should be set but not crispy or browned.

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