Saturday, January 29, 2011

Warm Chocolate Sauce and Elf Elbows

Once a year the accounting firm of Duffee and Wiles comes to the North  Pole.  Their two representatives, Gigi and Jan, are serious elves who mean business.  They come in their candy cane striped suits with briefcases full of sharpened pencils and calculators.  My kitchen records have to be in perfect order for them when they come.

I’m a little afraid of Gigi Elf and Jan Elf.  They are diminutive but they don’t mess around.  One misplaced receipt and…well, I don’t really know what would happen because I’m too afraid to misplace a receipt.  Last year when they came, they told me that they would be putting me on a 3 month visitation rather than a yearly visitation.  I wasn’t sure why because my records were perfect and they didn’t find any errors, nevertheless, I am expecting a visit from them today.
For this visit Gigi and Jan requested my private conference room next to the kitchen.  They are insisting on a closed kitchen.  I told them I could accommodate them if they came between breakfast and lunch.  The bread would have already been made and there is a one hour lull while the brownies are baking and cooling. 
Right on schedule, the two little elves arrived in their black sedan sleigh.  Accountants don’t have flashy sleighs at the North Pole.  They jumped out of the sleigh and marched in to the kitchen.
“Is our room ready?” Gigi asked as she pulled off her driving gloves and looked around.
“Has everyone been cleared out?” added Jan. 
“Everything is ready.”  I responded walking them to the conference room.  “I put a plate of cookies on the table for you.  Do you prefer cold milk or hot cocoa?”
“Neither,” Gigi interrupted.  “We’re here to work, not to socialize.”
“All right,” I said a bit disappointed that they wouldn’t be trying my cookies. “I’ll just close the door for you.”
I left my kitchens and headed over the North Pole Tea Room to wait for them.  I figured I could check on the elves working there this morning and see how many cookies we needed for this afternoon’s cookie break.  I got half way to the Tea Room and then my curiosity halted my steps.  What could those elves possibly need with a closed kitchen?  They were accountants, for crying out loud.  Accountants need extra pencils not extra locks on the door. What was the big secret? 
They weren’t interested in my cookies, so I didn’t think they wanted to steal any of my secret recipes.  Besides, they were tiny, skinny little elves and it didn’t look like they ate a lot of sweets anyway.  What were they doing in my kitchen?  I had to find out.
I decided to go back and poke around for myself.  I went to the rear of the kitchen in the sleigh delivery area.  All the doors were locked and the windows were shut.  I climbed up the candy cane fire escape and found that one of the windows was unlocked on the landing of the fire escape.  I silently pulled it open just enough to peek inside.
Gigi and Jan were putting some papers inside their briefcases and standing up.  Gigi looked at Jan and said,
“Are you ready?”
“You betcha!” 
The next thing I knew the two little elves were dashing over to the machinery in the corner.  They tugged at a few pieces of equipment until they came to the largest piece of kitchen machinery.  It was covered in a protective dust tarp.  They wheeled it to the center of the room and squealed with delight as they uncovered the chocolate fountain.
“Plug ‘er in, Gigi!” Jan commanded.
“You got it!  Should I set it for Tea Party, Dance Party, or Psychedelic Rave?” Gigi asked with an unaccountant-like gleam in her eye.
“Why, Gigi dear, shall we have the rave today?”
“But, of course, Jan dear.”
With that, all traces of sophistication left the pair as they started dancing around the fountain as it gushed great spurts of warm, gooey chocolate.  They dipped a few cookies in it, dunked some fruit, and then abandoned all sense of propriety and began sticking fingers, arms, and elbows in the fountain for maximum coverage.  Soon Jan started taking great gulps of chocolate straight from the streaming flood with Gigi copying her enthusiastically.  Then as a finale to the act of unsanitary kitchen disgrace, they plopped a miniature cream puff on each finger and made confectionary claws out of their hands as they dug into the fountain of chocolate once more.
Then as if on cue, Gigi and Jan looked at each other, dabbed their lips daintily on napkins and quickly put the fountain away in the corner of the kitchen from where it was first discovered.  They picked up their briefcases and headed for the door.  I scrambled down the candy cane fire escape and dashed to the front to meet them.
Gigi spoke first, “Your kitchen records are in good order, however, I think it will be necessary to keep you on the 3 month schedule for the rest of the year.”
“We just want to be sure you don’t get into any trouble with the ERS (Elf Revenue Service),” Jan added thoughtfully.  I was too shocked to mumble more than a “thanks” as they jumped in their black sedan sleigh and took off down the lane.  I staggered into the kitchen and prepared for a Duffee and Wiles double decontamination session!

Warm Chocolate Sauce

4 squares semisweet baking chocolate
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt chocolate in a double boiler.  Add the butter and milk; stir.  Slowly add the sweetened condensed milk and stir until well-blended and warmed through.  Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.  Serve warm over ice cream, cream puffs, or elbows!! Keep leftover sauce in refrigerator.

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