I don’t know why, but something about a big winter storm makes me want to cocoon where it’s safe and warm. Something deep inside tells me that I need not only to stay safe, but to produce nourishment to weather the coming storm. And so I always seem to end up in the kitchen.

It’s been a long tradition that my mom would make cookies or cake (preferably chocolate) on a snow day from school.
I grew up in a Cleveland suburb, and you would think that we had plenty of snow days – not so! But the few we had seemed better than a gift at Christmas.

Years later I worked in downtown Cleveland. There were times when the wind came off Lake Erie so strong that you had to grab onto the ropes on the sides of buildings so that you didn’t fall – especially on icy days. Of course, we were young and would never wear hats or boots – we had to look good!

During one blizzard, my good friend and roommate, Paula, and I managed to get home after a long bus ride. We both headed to the kitchen where, typical twenty-somethings, we had just enough provisions to make one chocolate cake. And we proceeded to eat the entire thing for dinner.

Of course, as I grew older I became much more sensible. I now pull up my hood when I feel any little chill. I now own all sorts of sensible boots. And, being sensible, I first make some kind of soup or stew….then I make something with chocolate.

Some traditions are destined for eternity.

Here’s a great recipe to keep you busy during the next storm. Our snow is just starting and they are predicting 12 – 18 inches. WOOHOO.

I think that half the fun of a big snow is the anticipation. You can almost smell the snow in the air….or maybe that’s chocolate…..

This is a recipe we submitted from The Artist’s Inn for Cinnamon Mornings and Chocolate Dreams by Pamela Lanier. Printed in 2003, it is probably still available from Lanier Publishing.

Chocolate Melt-Away Cookies

The thinner you can roll the dough, the better these cookies will taste.

3/4 cup soft butter
2 1/3 cup unbleached flour
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 6 oz. package (1 cup) semisweet chocolate pieces – preferably Wilbur
Powdered sugar

In a large mixer bowl, beat butter. Add half of the flour, sugar, eggs, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and almond extract. Beat thoroughly. Beat in remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover, chill 1 hour or until firm. On a lightly floured surface roll half of the dough 1/8 inch thick. Keep remaining dough in fridge until ready to use. Cut into shapes with 1 ½ to 2” cookie cutter – stars, rounds, hearts. Place on ungreased cookie sheets (or use silpats). With small cookie cutter, cut out centers from half of the unbaked cookies. Bake in a 375 degree oven about 7 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are very light brown. Cool. Repeat with remaining dough. Melt chocolate pieces in a microwave at half power for about two minutes. Spread chocolate on bottom of each cookie. Top with cookie half that has the center cut out of it. The chocolate will show through. When cool, dust with powdered sugar. Makes about 40 cookies.

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