Tying The Knot With Martha!- Chocolate Pretzels- 62 eggs, 49 cups of sugar, 41 sticks of Butter, and 45 3/4 cups of flour used so far- 142 recipes to go!

June 9, 2010

Martha's Chocolate Pretzels

André's Chocolate Pretzels

Here’s a cookie with a twist! (insert groan here) Chocolate Pretzels are a fun and easy cookie to prepare. Just a handful of ingredients are needed. In addition to the usual suspects: flour, sugar, eggs, and butter, there is the fun addition of Dutch processed cocoa powder and instant espresso powder. The actual dough has only 1/4 cup of sugar.

In place of salt, these pretzels are given a bath in egg wash and sprinkled liberally with course sanding sugar. They are then baked at a low temperature until dry and crispy. The texture is remarkably pretzel-like. The taste… well… they are chocolatey but not very sweet. They are good with coffee or milk but I don’t think they stand on their own very well. I don’t imagine kids would like them very much. They’d get a kick out of the familiar shape but ultimately they’d be disappointed in the lack of sweetness.

I baked these for my friend, Michelle who is quite proud of her German heritage. I thought she’d enjoy a nod to the fatherland.

I have an aunt from Germany. Her name is Renata. My sisters and I call her Aunt Nazi. Not because we’re trying to be mean or anything. It’s mostly because the woman really is a nazi.

Some of my favorite quotes from Aunt Nazi:

“The only thing wrong with Hitler is they stopped him too soon.”

“The holocaust wasn’t as bad as everyone says it was.”

“He died happy with the woman he loved. We should all be so lucky.”

…and my personal favorite…

“The Jews had it coming.”

Aunt Nazi is a real gem. Tall, with long blonde hair. Deep sunken eyes on either side of a long (but not too long, mind you)  nose. Her accent is thick and clipped. As a child I heard such vitriol spew forth from this woman’s sneeringly thin lips. I knew what she was saying was absolute insanity, and that really made it all the more fun for me to pretend to listen to.

Besides the chosen people, she wasn’t huge a fan of Hispanics, Asians, African Americans, or Middle Easterners. I have to hand it to her, she embraced diversity when it came to her own bigotry. Honestly, can someone who hates everyone equally be considered a bigot?

Aunt Nazi was married to my Uncle Dudley who passed away a few years ago, and they had four children. All had German names. They lived out in the country near where my paternal grandmother lived. The name of their tiny hamlet is Hamburg, Louisiana. My sisters and I often joked that this town probably had a French name until Aunt Renata showed up.

Renata and Dudley had a large home, kind of a demented version of the Von Trapp’s without all that pesky singing.  My Uncle’s work allowed him to travel extensively and he was quite proud of his large game room. Cajuns have hunting and fishing in their blood and Uncle Dudley was a Cajun with a passport and an expense account. He traveled far and wide and met many interesting people of all cultures and creeds. He saw animals great and small from Africa to India and took it upon himself to put a dent in their population in order to fill  his living room with stuffed corpses.

I’ve never understood the appeal of taxidermy. They call these animal corpses “Trophies.” It’s all too Serial-Murderesque for my taste.

In a previous post I commented on my maternal grandmother’s bigotry being the result of just not knowing any better. I think as far as Aunt Nazi’s bigotry goes, it’s really the result of refusing to know any better. After all, there’s plenty of information out there to support the idea that Hitler might not have been such a swell guy.

I feel entitled to talk about racism in candid terms. As a child I was an ignorant little bigot, myself.  I grew up with the “N” word and used it frequently. In fact, it was the only word I knew to use when referring to the black community. I’m not particularly proud of this fact but it’s true. At age five, I simply didn’t know any better.

I distinctly remember the moment when I first learned that word was unacceptable. I was playing in the den of my Aunt Dottie’s home in Metairie, Louisiana. Aunt Dottie ran a beauty parlor å la Steel Magnolias inside her home. She was teasing up a customer’s hair while I watched. I was fascinated. I didn’t know how all those Southern women were able to make their hair that big. It was like watching a secret ritual. The customer looked down and saw me staring at the mound of teased hair floating above her scalp. She asked me how she looked.

“You look like a N—-r!”- I exclaimed.

The salon went silent. One lady covered her mouth as to not let me see her laughing. My aunt rolled her eyes, uttered a few disparaging words about my father, and grabbed me by the arm escorting me to the other room.  I thought I was going to get a beating and I began to cry softly. She kneeled down so that she was eye-to-eye with me and held my shoulders tightly so I would listen to what she had to say. Very calmly she explained that wasn’t a very nice word.

“But daddy says it.”- I proclaimed in my defense.

“Yeah, well your daddy says a lot of things you shouldn’t. Now go outside and play on the street and think about what you’ve done.”

I was so embarrassed but also thankful. I look back at that moment as the one that set me on a different path. I could very well have grown up completely unaware of my own bigotry and ignorance but my aunt took a moment to give me a life lesson I would not forget.

I don’t tolerate the use of the “N” word around me. This was a point of contention between my father and myself for quite awhile. He, of course, grew up using it without the benefit of someone pointing out its inherent bigotry.

After many years of me and my sisters riding him about his racial slurs and ignorant excalimations he no longer uses the “N” word. Well, at least not in our presence. He’s found a substitute, though.

Looking out my front window during a recent visit he turned to me and said, “My God, there sure are a lot of ‘Democrats’ in this neighborhood.”

I just sighed and thought to myself, “baby steps.”

One Response to “Tying The Knot With Martha!- Chocolate Pretzels- 62 eggs, 49 cups of sugar, 41 sticks of Butter, and 45 3/4 cups of flour used so far- 142 recipes to go!”

  1. Russ Says:

    I once drew peace signs and wrote”black is beautiful” on one of my dad’s trucks. I was just picking up the post-hippie phrases from Tv and my mod sisters. Dad wasn’t happy.

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