Adam plays Rudolph with a lazer pointer up the nose
while we go to deliver Christmas goodies.
Eh-yup. That's my boy.
Three days before Christmas I was excited to attend my very first "Cookie Exchange" hosted by my hubby's co-worker. If you have never heard of one, the point is that you make a booty load of one type of cookie, and trade all around with other folks so that by the end you have half a dozen different kinds cookies for your holiday-googie-tray giving. I got a late start at making my goodies (my fabulous Toffee Bars that are more like candy than cookies), but even so, I decided it was more important that I go, than to have everything perfect. I spread the melted chocolate topping on the bar cookies that were still warm in the pan, Googled the directions and headed out. I was hungry for the brunch that would be served, and as I drove I tried to imagine how a Cookie Exchange goes down. I suddenly got stage fright. I imagined myself entering a room full of gorgeous strangers who were all tall, slim and tan, wearing flowing, trendy clothes and holding adorably packaged bundles of cookies with hand crafted tags and elegantly stamped recipe cards that matched. I glanced at my old jelly roll pan and photo copied recipes and got a lump in my throat.
Fast forward one hour:
I am still driving. A certain road had split and become two. Thanks for the warning, Google. You're a peach. Phoneless (has anyone seen my phone? It' been missing for 2 months. If I have been to your house, will you check in your sofa?), I asked directions twice (I swear the first guy I asked was just makin' crap up) and was now driving on several streets that showed up in the directions as intersecting. However, apparently while no one was looking, some madman rearranged these streets to all run parallel to each other. And in the scariest place I've been in since I took my last late night jaunt to the local Walmart. Seriously, Freaky People, do you all have to shop at Walmart? There s a creepy little Kmart not two miles away. Go there.
You know how some stories have a last straw? Well here it comes: upon finally reaching a street with the name of the street I was supposed to be on, and two blocks later hitting a dead end on said street just two blocks from the house number I needed, I flipped a U-turn - at which point my un-lovely recipe photo copies, along with my dang Google map and ultra-helpful directions, gracefully slid across the dash and landed in my semi-melted semi-sweet chocolate topping.
Just for kicks, let's fast forward a little more, saaaaay... one half hour?
Here you see a sad, sad girl driving aimlessly through the city, seeing the freeway just above her and not being able to find the blankety-blank on-ramp. There are tears streaming down her cheeks. There is chocolate smeared on her hands from the recipe rescue. She is yelling. Oh, yes, my friends, yelling at the top of her sad little lungs. Oops, look away; she is wiping her nose on her sleeve. Well, lookie there! A two-year-old temper tantrum, complete with steering wheel pounding! I hope, as she drove along, she landed on someones surveillance tapes along the way. Just for kicks.
Good times. Good times.
Shall we time travel one more time?
Two hours from the time I left the house, I kicked the door open, chocolate coated papers in one hand, cookie bars in the other. Oh, yeah, and hungry. So, so, hungry.
My hubby hugged me. He listened to me rant. He watched as I dramatically threw the recipes into the trash and grabbed a knife to cut into the cookie bars.
I stuffed one into my mouth.
They were finally cooled off.
I, however, would not be for another hour.
Chocolate Toffee Bars
Make your favorite shortbread crust recipe and press it into an ungreased pan. Bake at 350 til just golden.
While that is baking, in a saucepan simmer: 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 2 tbsp. butter, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. vanilla until it gets thick and starts to turn lightly golden. Spread out on crust and then bake again until the top is a bubbly dark golden brown. Remove from oven, spread a bag of chocolate chips on top and leave them to melt. Spread melted chocolate evenly with a spatula or your Google directions.
Then get lost for two hours.
Yes, that is part of the recipe.
They will be cool when you get back.
Cut and serve. But not to the kids. Give them the junky dollar store cookies.
Save these in your secret hiding place.
Dang, I said too much.