Stranger In The Dark Chocolate – Chocolate Crackles- 18 eggs, 11 cups of sugar, 9 1/4 sticks of Butter, and 13 1/4 cups of flour used so far- 165 recipes to go!

March 24, 2010


Martha's Chocolate Crackles

André's Chocolate Crackles

WARNING: Today’s post may contain language and content not suitable for younger readers.

Today I completed my tenth recipe from Martha Stewart’s Cookies. I had promised myself that I would bake something with chocolate in it,  so to mark this most auspicious of milestones, I did.

As you can tell from the photos, Chocolate Crackles are aptly named. These sweet and chocolatey cookies are first formed into balls, then rolled in a coating of granulated sugar and then rolled again in powdered sugar. As they bake, they flatten and form crevices in their exterior. They look crackled, hence the name.

Are they good? My partner, Dan, loves himself some chocolate and was practically giddy when I told him what was being thrown in the oven tonight. He’s made this recipe before and despite the fact that you have to melt chocolate, refrigerate the dough for two hours, roll the dough into balls, and dust them with two kinds of sugar, they are relatively easy to make and well worth the effort.

Friends have been asking me if  I’m tired of baking cookies yet. I just chuckle and say, “I’m forty-two. I’m tired of a lot of things.” Other friends have remarked that this endeavor is quite a financial commitment. Again, I chuckle and say, “It’s a lot cheaper than having children.” I’m a bit of a smart-ass. It’s part of my inimitable charm. Did I also mention that I’m a closeted narcissist? I think this is true of most people who write blogs.

That said, my self-image has been shaken a bit as of late. My friend, Alysson, had sent me a couple of fun videos from YouTube. These videos featured people commenting, making fun of, and generally bashing a new website called ChatRoulette. Really funny stuff.

I was intrigued. ChatRoulette was a website of which I was not acquainted. Using this site is quite simple. You go to the website and two screens appear. One screen is for you and the other is for a random stranger with whom you engage in webchat.  For those of you not familiar with webchat, it is best described as a video phone call. You can see and hear them and they can see and hear you. You know, like on The Jetsons? How cool is that?

On ChatRoulette, if you do not want to webchat with the person who appears on the screen you click NEXT and you move on to another stranger. This is referred to as being Nexted.

Now, before all of you go running off to this website, read this cautionary tale.

This is my ChatRoulette experience.

I only recently purchased a computer that had a webcam built in. I had never really used webchat before, but thought ChatRoulette with its ability to connect me with random strangers in exotic lands such as Norway, Budapest, and Rhode Island, would be a terrific and possibly educational experience.

I went to the website and began.

The first screen sprang to life. A young guy was reclining on his bed wearing earphones. Then nothing. I had been immediately Nexted. Ah, well. The screen went blank and the chat text box read-

Your partner disconnected. Looking for a new random stranger. -Connected.

The sound of heavy metal blared and the screen displayed the naked torso of a gentleman behaving in a not so gentlemanly manner. I knew that I was bound to see this sort of thing on here. Honestly, people get a little carried away with the anonymity thing on-line and apparently like to flash their junk around the world.

I will say that ChatRoulette does offer a Report button to report people engaging in this sort of thing on-line but I don’t like feeling like a snitch, so I just Nexted them. Over the course of the next ten minutes I probably saw more naked male torsos than my entire four years of college. It was like a degenerate IHOP- International House of Phalli.

A few people did pause to chat with me, however.

There was the young British university student who typed the word “Fag!” in the chat box.

I hate that word. I heard it a lot growing up and it still makes me cringe. The first use of this word in a derogatory context dates back to the monastic texts of the fifteenth century. It was used metaphorically. A faggot is a bundle of sticks or kindling used to start fires. A fag is one of those sticks. You perhaps have heard a Brit refer to a cigarette as a fag? Those fifteenth century monks used it to describe the monks of a rival monastery. They accused them of engaging in sodomy and described them being ripe for the fires of hell, a clutch of fags. It’s just an unpleasant image. Whenever I hear it used I feel like I’m being called a degenerate.

In addition to using that unpleasant word. She typed it!  She never said it. Webchat works like a video telephone. You can hear each other. One thing I noticed is everyone types on this website. No one speaks to you. I think it allows them an even stronger sense of anonymity. I think they believe if people can’t hear their voice or see their hands then they can type anything they want.

Seriously, a lot of those who looked like honest, caring, thoughtful, guy and girl-next-door people, saw me and typed the word “Fag!”  I was getting really pissed and finally clicked out of the chat room.

I then noticed my image on the screen, frozen in time. I could clearly see what people from around the world had seen on their screen.

My partner, Dan, has a collection he started as a child and it has grown over the years. He collects DC Comics’ Wonder Woman memorabilia. In fact, he has collected enough Wonder Woman memorabilia to fill our computer room. There are shelves filled with action figures and every wall features a poster of Wonder Woman in dramatic poses.

I could see it now. I’m a young student in Madrid hoping to meet a lovely Brazilian woman on-line and up pops a pink, chubby, bald guy with a greying beard, wearing a flowery print shirt, surrounded by dolls with a huge Wonder Woman poster looming behind him. As wrong as his choice of word might have been, I understand where he was coming from.

I ran downstairs and changed into a solid black T-shirt and grabbed a baseball cap. I dimmed the lights so no one could see Wonder Woman peering over my shoulder and the plethora of figurines on the shelf behind me.

I clicked on the website and a young guy wearing a soccer jersey waved to me. I waved back and flashed  him the peace sign.

He began to type.

I looked at the chatbox.

There was only one word.

“Pedophile!”

I’m done with ChatRoulette.

Why did this look like so much fun on The Jetsons?

So, there you have it. If you would like to view penises from around the world or risk being insulted in a foreign tongue, ChatRoulette is for you.

If not, try baking a batch of Chocolate Crackles.

Cookies won’t judge you-

no matter what shirt you’re wearing.

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4 Responses to “Stranger In The Dark Chocolate – Chocolate Crackles- 18 eggs, 11 cups of sugar, 9 1/4 sticks of Butter, and 13 1/4 cups of flour used so far- 165 recipes to go!”

  1. Carol Says:

    Andre, you are such a delight! I love reading of your adventures.

  2. Russ Says:

    Wow. Just wow. Who knew Wonder Woman was so divisive? I always thought of her as a uniter… a sexy uniter.

  3. Susan Says:

    Chocolate crinkle cookies make everything better!

  4. sherry Says:

    Andre The chocolate crackle cookies should be called “CRACK” cookies. We could eat the whole batch as soon as they come out of the oven. LOVE THEM!


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