I remember my grandmother lovingly making those buttery-chocolaty good cookies called "Church Windows" every year (which always were gluten-free by the way;). My mother carried on the tradition, and influenced by my father's potty humor, I would often exclaim the "log" (which you would cut into the beautiful church windows) really resembled something that should be out in the lawn after Fido did his business.
Later, I would expound on those thoughts and create a delectable treat with an unappetizing name. I give you, "The Christmas Turd."
The Christmas Turd
Stuff to grab:
Non-Butter Butter - (No pun intended) - You'll need about 1/2 cup. Good butter substitutes include palm kernel oil, coconut oil, Earth Balance (we use the "soy free" version). If you use coconut oil, use a bit less since it's melting point is so low.
Salt - Just a pinch, and not really necessary if you have a salt added to your butter substitute.
Chocolate Chips - Be sure they are the non-dairy kind. Look closely on the bag for milk fat, milk, milk powder. It may also be within another ingredient's ingredients. For instance, the ingredients may list "chocolate," then beside it "(cacao, milk fat, sugar, vanilla)." The items in the parenthesis are the chocolate's ingredients. Oh... by the way, use the whole bag (12 to 16 oz.), unless you got the club store size.
Vanilla - 'Cmon use the real kind! Your family will thank you. One teaspoon should do it.
Mini Marshmallows - Any color, including white, will do for this recipe. Choose the multi-colored if you want to make it festive, AND you don't mind ingesting the red dye #5. You'll need the whole bag, so make these after the kids are asleep. Darn those little snack snatchers! Since I try really hard to avoid corn syrup, I try to get the Elyon brand of mini marshmallows when I can.
MARSHMALLOW UPDATE FOR CHRISTMAS 2015! - I am always looking to make healthier food options for my kiddos, and I can honestly say that the old church window recipe threw me for a loop since there are ZERO commercially produced colored marshmallows. So like I have had to do for the last 7.75 years, I improvised with white marshmallows.
If you are longing for the old multi colored window, I found a perfect recipe on brittanyangell.com. She used freeze dried fruit pulverized in a coffee grinder, well washed before hand! Here is what you can substitute for the traditional colors:
Freeze Dried Strawberries - Pink
Freeze Dried Mango - Orange
Turmeric Powder - Yellow
Spirulina Powder - Green
You could even try freeze dried blueberries for blue which is not even normally in the mix if you are feeling especially artistic.
I have used turmeric and spirulina in frosting (Color Me Natural) and the colors have turned out fantastic and they tasted even better! I'd also use a larger pan, dust, cover with a piece of parchment, and roll them out using a small rolling pin to create a smaller marshmallow. You'll also need to cut them with a starch covered pizza cutter, and let them dry a day. Then toss them in a bowl of starch all together and shake off the excess.
Is this a lot of work? Yes, but can you put a price on re-creating a memory? ;) If you are not the sentimental type, just skip that last part, buy a bag of 'em, and keep reading.
Flaked or Shredded Coconut - This is for the "snow" that your turd will lay on, so one small bag should do it. Bob's Red Mill has an all natural version that doesn't have the anti-freeze in it. YES I DID SAY ANTI-FREEZE!! Sorry guys, the "regular" coconut has propylene glycol in it, which is just another form of the chemical you don't want your dog drinking out of your car's radiator. If you are wondering why you shouldn't eat the stuff, Dow said in the safety data sheet for propylene glycol
"Effects of Repeated Exposure: In rare cases, repeated excessive exposure to propylene glycol may cause central nervous system effects."
Unfortunately the data sheet has been pulled. Yeah internet police for protecting me from myself. Still, the quote was taken directly off their data sheet, and my central nervous system is taxed enough with 4 kids. I don't need any more "effects," thank you.
The awesome news is that more and more people are reading labels and leaving the crap on the shelves! There are tons more options as far as coconut is concerned. My new favorite is dried coconut from Aldi which comes in chunks. I can grate it any way I want, including with my Pampered ChefTM Micro-plane which makes fluffy little snow like curls, and there is no funny stuff! If you want crunchy "snow," pick up Let's Do Organic's brand of dried coconut. It has a crispy texture and is a little bigger than the grated kind. You could even make candied coconut, if you are so inclined, which is similar to making candied ginger.
Large Double Boiler - Or just be VERY careful with a bigger saucepan
Large Mixing Bowl and Large Spoon - Grab the biggest one you have, you won't be sorry you did.
Wax Paper - for forming your, um, gift...
Wrapping Paper and Ribbon
Printer and Paper - Unless you are really good with penmanship.
You made me get a boatload of stuff, Now What?
Ok, take your "butter" and melt it over a VERY low flame, or a double boiler. Add the chocolate and stir occasionally as it melts. ...IN THE MEANTIME ... Get your coconut "snow" on strips of wax paper about a foot long. sprinkle a 6 inch scat trail right in the middle of the wax paper. This recipe makes about 6 to 8 healthy, um, logs.
Now take your melted chocolate off the burner for a few minutes to cool enough so that it does not feel like it's going to burn your skin if (I really mean WHEN) you take a taste. This is so the chocolate doesn't melt the marshmallows. Remember, you want the little marshmallow lumps in the "gift" to add texture! They can't do that if they are melted into a gooey mess. If you are using homemade marshmallows this step is especially important since these tend to melt really fast!
Fill your large mixing bowl with the marshmallows and then take your chocolate mixture and dump about a 1/4 cup of it over the marshmallows. If they look like they are melting, take 5 and let the chocolate cool. When it is ready, pour the whole thing in and stir until they are coated. Plop the mixture by the spoonfuls on your trail and squeeze the log into the perfect poo shape. Sprinkle with a little more coconut "snow" and wrap the wax paper around the "gift" and chill it in the fridge.
Now head over to your printer and print out multiple copies of this poem. You can use it as many times as you would like (freely distribute), as long as you don't modify it and also include my name and websites. ;)
|This poem has been updated and is now copyright 2015|
Take your log out when it is hardened and wrap a copy of the poem around the wax paper, then wrap it in festive Christmas paper. Tie each end with ribbon and trim the extra paper and place it in a large zipper bag and put it back in the fridge. Then on Christmas morning watch your family's shocked faced as they realize what they might have sitting on their laps. Don't let the gag go too long, you don't want to create any family feuds. :)
Now, let's go make some Christmas cookies!!