Here we are in the no-man’s land that is the middle of December – that time when we are “almost” finished shopping; when we are trying to desperately to not cookie ourselves out of fitting into our little black dress; when we’re promised a Holly Jolly Christmas, but we just know Grinch is poised to steal it. It’s the time of year when everything smells of cinnamon, cloves, peppermint, and parking lot exhaust fumes; when anticipation peters out and “Can we just get this s#^t over with?!” sets in.
Can I get a “Bah, Humbug!”
Nah, with all its conflicting emotions, logistical nightmares, diet-busting delights, and scheduling disasters – not to mention cranky strings of lights, tippity trees, and tipsy relatives – I still wish you a Merry Christmas. We miss our beautiful Jessie, but we have wonderful memories of Christmases past to share and wonderful memories yet to be made with our family and friends this year.
Don’t spend what is left of your 2010 fretting about presents not wrapped or cards not sent. Spend the time with people you love. Wrap them in your kindness and send them into 2011 sure in the knowledge they matter to you.
Punctuating holiday well-wishes with cookies always improves the message, so here is my gift to you – one of my favorite holiday cookie recipes for the serious chocolate lover – Viennese Raspberry Brownies.
Viennese Raspberry Brownies
6T butter 3 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 ½ c sugar 3T confectioners sugar 2 large eggs
1C flour 3T cocoa powder ½ t salt
½ t red wine vinegar 2T seedless red raspberry jam
½ c blanched almonds, chopped
Glaze (recipe follows)
Icing (recipe follows)
Grease a 10” springform pan. Melt butter and chocolate; cool. Mix flour, cocoa powder, and salt in small bowl and set aside. Process sugar and powdered sugar in food processor for 3 minutes. Beat eggs with sugar mixture until thick and pale. Add jam and vinegar and beat one minute. Fold in chocolate and butter, then dry ingredients. Fold in almonds. Bake in prepared springform pan at 325º for about 32 minutes, until tester inserted in center comes out almost clean. Spread glaze immediately over hot brownie. Cool completely. Make icing and cool about 30 minutes, until cool, but still pourable. Spread over cooled glazed brownie and let stand at least 2 hours. Cut into 16 pieces – this is rich as can be!
GLAZE: Stir together ¼ c raspberry jam + ¼ t red wine vinegar
ICING: Melt together:
2 oz. bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, 2T butter ,3 T seedless raspberry jam, and 1/8 t red wine vinegar