Tag Archives: Holidays

Chocolate Mint Cookies Redux

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I’m not a holiday baker. I think a few years ago when I initially posted about holiday baking, I said something stupid like, “I love it! I should really do it more!” or something equally lame.

I’m not being a scrooge either. I just prefer cooking over baking. The thing with baking, for me, is that the majority of it is all precise and has to be. That seems kind of silly to me. I don’t like math and I don’t like using math excessively in the kitchen.

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However, there are recipes that I make all the time. Especially cookies. Like this one. I’ve made these chocolate mint cookies almost every Christmas. It started a few years back when one of my best friends and I decided to make them. It started out as a baking disaster, but over the years, we’ve sort of perfected the whole thing.

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I should also mention, I never make cookies for myself and REB. These little tasties aren’t allowed to stay in the house. We might enjoy one or two…ok maybe four or five, but then they go to people outside of our home. In this case, my parents got a few to take on their 28-hour flight overseas.

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In any case, I revisited this recipe of chocolate mint cookies, and decided to change a few things. I had first started with white chocolate, and then was informed by REB that white chocolate “isn’t really chocolate” when the cookie dough (which really looked like batter) turned into goop. I wish I had known this before. Again, I never bake so would I know this? The kitchen disaster went into the trash after a horrible batch of flat, gloopy cookies came out of the oven.

After that, I decided to keep to the original recipe, but changed four things: adding peppermint extract and chopped up Andes mints to the dough, and topping them with a different Andes mint and candy canes. The different Andes mint didn’t melt too well on a lot of the cookies because again, they were white “chocolate” with candy canes in them. BUT I was all, “Tis the season” so decided to go with the seasonal variety. I’ll probably refrain from this next time. Although, REB did say they tasted better to him than the norm.

Either way, they did turn out OK and I think these slight changes made a world of difference. The mint flavor was taken to the next level and the added surprise of biting into a chocolate mint as you eat the cookie made them soft and full of flavor.

I’m bummed the white chocolate didn’t work out. Oh well. Lesson learned. Only use white chocolate to make bark ;)

Chocolate Mint Cookies Redux
 
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A twist on the original chocolate mint cookie. A staple during the holidays!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert, cookies, sweets
Serves: 36-42 cookies
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1½ light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chip
  • 2 eggs
  • 1¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2½ cups flour
  • ¼ cup chopped Andes mints
  • 24 individually wrapped Andes mints, cut in half
  • 6 whole candy canes, crushed
Instructions
  1. Start by adding butter to a large saucepan over low heat.
  2. Add the brown sugar and water, and stir until butter and sugar are melted.
  3. Next, add the peppermint extract and stir well.
  4. Add the chocolate chips and stir until mostly melted.
  5. Remove the pan from heat and continue stirring until all the chocolate is melted.
  6. Pour butter mixture into a bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment. Leave to sit and cool for 10 minutes.
  7. When the mixture has cooled slightly, turn onto medium speed and add the eggs, one at a time until combined.
  8. Next add the baking soda, salt and slowly add the flour until dough forms.
  9. Turn the mixer off and scrape the whisk with a rubber spatula to get all the batter into the bowl. Fold in the chopped Andes mints until combined.
  10. Put dough in fridge, uncovered for at least 1 hour.
  11. Preheat oven to 350°F
  12. Scoop a tablespoon or so of dough into your hand and roll into a ball.
  13. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and arrange balls about 2 inches apart.
  14. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cookies have spread out a little and are slightly cracked on top. If they feel soft, this is OK.
  15. While they are baking, unwrap the Andes mints and break in half, set aside in a bowl.
  16. Place candy canes in a ziploc bag and crush with a glass or rolling pin.
  17. Remove cookies from oven, and carefully remove from hot sheet to cooling rack.
  18. Top each cookie with ½ a Andes mint and wait 5 minutes until they are melted. Use a spoon to help smooth the chocolate over each cookie. While the melted chocolate is still warm, sprinkle with crushed candy canes.

Happy Birthday America!

Hello hello! I hope everyone had a really fun and safe Independence Day! We had a really fun time with our friends Amber and Richard; we invited them both over for some dinner. It all started with them bringing one of their dogs so Gryff could meet him. The four of us are renting a cottage in Northern Michigan for the last week of summer, so we thought it might be good for our dogs to meet and make sure they get along!

It should come as no surprise that Andy and Gryff got along wonderfully! Now we just need to have him meet Dex, the other pup, and we’ll be all set! Anyway, so we had them over for dinner and we bought a grill so we could grill up black bean burgers and corn! Mmmm grilled corn is probably one of my all time, favorite foods of summer! We ended the night with some vino, beers, sparklers, drunk “golfing” on the golf course, and watching stand up on Netflix!


So anyway, onto the other parts of our dinner. I wanted to make potato salad. I love potato salad, but I hate gloppy, disgusting mayonnaise-based potato salad. REB and I are not a pro-mayo household. It’s unhealthy, tastes like pure salt and has the texture of mucus. Sorry to anyone out there who has the Jones for it. Point blank: it ain’t our cup of tea. So I made my own version with a mustard vinaigrette.


Lookie how patriotic we are! It was REB’s idea to use the red, white and blue potatoes, too. Glad he decided to do that! I was going to be happy with just redskin potatoes.

Perfectly roasted and vinaigretted, this salad turned into a huge hit. We also have leftovers, which is good because any holiday food that is saved for the day after the holiday is always a good thing. Speaking of holidays, how many people thought Thursday felt like Monday again?? I had the hardest time getting my butt to work. It didn’t help that our power went out from a freak thunderstorm at 3 a.m., and I had shower and get ready in the dark thereby making myself look like the world’s hottest bag lady. Keep your hands off. I’m all REB’s! Poor guy.

I hate the humidity that comes with thunderstorms. It makes my cute blow-dried, straightened, Aveda’d hair turn into a frizzy ball of dry nast. Sexy, I know.

Heat and humidity aside, we had a fun July 4 and I hope the rest of you did too!

So, happy birthday America!! Here’s to you and your big 236! Can’t wait to celebrate again next year! :)

Roasted Potato Salad
 
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Recipe type: roasted potato salad, rosemary, mustard vinaigrette
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • POTATOES:
  • 2 pounds baby potatoes; half or quarter the bigger ones
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE:
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon French’s yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (3 stalks) celery, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, drizzled in
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F
  2. Half or quarter the baby potatoes, leave the small ones alone, and spread onto a baking sheet in a single layer
  3. Drizzle olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary on the potatoes and coat well
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until slightly browned and fork tender
  5. Once the potatoes are done, let them cool completely for 15-20 minutes.
  6. In a small bowl combine the mustards, vinegar, celery, shallot, salt, pepper and stir. Then whisk in the olive oil until it’s smooth. Taste and add more pepper if you need more oomph.
  7. Transfer the potatoes from baking sheet to bowl and pour enough dressing over the top to coat well without being too heavy. Combine and give a potato a taste. You can add more dressing as needed. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 hours so the flavors really sit. Enjoy!

How did you spend America’s Birthday?

Gingerbread cookies

We made gingerbread cookies today! Mostly because we were bored. We followed a recipe from a book my future brother- and sister-in-law got me for Christmas. They turned out pretty well! The only thing we noticed after the first batch came out, was that they were incredibly hard! We both prefer cookies that are on the softer side (call us old haha), so we shortened the time by one or two minutes so they came out soft but were still cooked.

Here’s what you need:
•3 3/4 cups flour
•2 large eggs
•2 teaspoons ground ginger
•1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
•1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
•1 stick unsalted butter (at room temperature)
•3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
•1/2 cup molasses

In a large bowl, combine the flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, cloves and ginger. Set aside.

Using your electric mixer (or a separate large bowl), cream the butter and brown sugar together on low speed until combined. Next add the eggs and molasses until combined and smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients until the cookie dough is formed.

When it’s all combined, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and cool in the fridge for up to 1 hour or until firm.
After an hour, let the dough sit for about 15 minutes so you can work with it.

Preheat your oven to 350ºF.

Take a 1/2 cup of dough at a time, roll it out until it’s about 1/4-to-1/8 inch thick, then cut out what ever shapes.

Place the cut outs on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Like I said earlier, we baked them for 10 minutes, but they were too hard for our taste. So we ended up baking them for 8 minutes or so, and they turned out perfect!

Transfer them to a cooling rack and let them cool completely before you decorate them.
The recipe said it would make 18-24 cookies, but we easily got about 30 cookies out of the dough. We weren’t making big shapes though and we also made them a little thicker than what was probably called for…so do what you want! That’s half the fun.

Happy holidays!

A Very Corgi Christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

This year, I became an avid follower of Corgi Butts, a site administered by the lovely Kelly and her Corgi, Gibson. Naturally, I love the site and Gibson! Corgis are cute and I was very happy to find other people out there who loved their Corgis as much as we love Gryff.

Kelly started a secret Santa gift exchange through Elfster and I decided to take part in it! Something I hope we can do every year, or ever other year or something.

We got the package a few days and since it’s Christmas, we let the four legged one open his gift a little after midnight.

We tried to get Gryff to come sniff the card and the packages inside the box, but he was kind of skeptical of the whole thing and kept his distance.

YAY! Thank you Emily and Wrigley! By the way, this card was so gorgeous! <3 <3 Gryff sniffed at it and seemed to approve too ;)

SUCCESS!! He was super curious and excited to open his gifts!!


…Or maybe not…

WOW!! Thank you SO much, Emily and Wrigley!! Doggles and a Nylabone. Perfect!!

Of course as soon as it was out of the packaging, Gryff got super interested…


Wait! Come back! You have to try on the Doggles!

Can I just say how awesome our dog looks? Because he looks like the coolest dog ever! A lot of people think Doggles are silly, but it’s actually a safe way for dogs to have their heads out the window in a car and not get doggy pink eye ;) The more you knoooow!!! Gryff is prone to allergies in his eyes every Spring and getting dust in his eyes when he sticks his little nose out the window of the car on our way to the dog park. He also likes to swim in the river, and well, this way his eyes are protected. Best. gift. ever!

He. Is. SO. Cool!

He wasn’t a fan at first, but I think they grew on him. He started chasing the laser pointer around the house with them on. He’s special :)

Thank you so much Emily and Wrigley. You guys are the best! I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Mint Chip Cookies

The holiday season brings out the Holly Homemaker in me. Well OK, not really, but I seem more inclined to bake during the holidays. REB and I have wanted cookies for a few nights now. I realized I had everything in my pantry to make cookies, so why not?

This is based on the typical chocolate chip recipe, but has a few little twists. The end result was perfection.

Sorry Santa. These cookies are not for you ;)

Here’s what you need:
•2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
•3/4 cup granulated sugar
•3/4 cup packed brown sugar
•2 sticks butter, softened
•2 large eggs
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•1 teaspoon baking soda
•2 teaspoons vanilla extract
•2 teaspoons instant espresso
•3/4 cup chopped walnuts
•1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
•1 1/2 cups Andes mint chips

Preheat oven to 375ºF

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside. In a large bowl, or in your stand mixer, cream the granulated sugar, brown sugar and butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time, the vanilla and espresso. Beat until smooth. Slowly add in the dry mixture until the entire batter is smooth and combined.

Turn the speed up to medium and add the walnuts. Then turn off the mixer and fold in the chocolate chips and mint chips until combined.

Let the batter chill in the fridge, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes.

Scoop a tablespoon of batter onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 9-to-11 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool completely before serving. Enjoy!