THE Peppermint Mocha Cookies

What is the best thing about this time of year? Decorations? Friends? Snow? Family? Traditions? Holiday episodes of your favorite shows (Chrismukkah, anyone…)? I love them all but my favorite is that I can bake my little heart out. Cookies for gifts, cakes for parties, all are greeted with festive open arms. For the past few years I’ve been trying to perfect a peppermint mocha cookie (see attempts one and two). I think I finally nailed it. This cookie is cake like and packed with the delicious flavors of a peppermint mocha. So here’s my gift to you, a recipe that’s sure to spread holiday cheer. (For when singing loud for all to hear just isn’t working.)

The Peppermint Mocha Cookie

Peppermint Mocha Cookies

Ingredients

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon instant espresso
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup teaspoon peppermint peppermint crunch baking chips (I use Andes)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.

2. Cream together the butter and brown sugar. (I use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.) Add eggs one at a time and then mix in vanilla and peppermint extract.

3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, instant espresso and flour.

4. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet until just mixed. Fold in chocolate chips.

5. Scoop tablespoons of batter on to baking sheets and top each with peppermint chips.

6. Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes. Allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes before moving to cooling racks or lay out sheets of parchment paper for them to cool on.

7. Enjoy!

This recipe makes 15-20 cookies.

Happy 2014!

Happy 2014! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. I think this December was one of my best. I’m so glad I was able to spend time with the important people in my life, especially those that live far away. A few highlights:

  • Took a cooking class at Faire La Cuisine and ate so much I could barely move.
  • Made Christmas cookies with my mom. These included my grandma’s peanut butter cookie recipe and trying out a new marzipan bar recipe. Oh, and sugar cookies, of course!

xmascookies

  • Spent several days in a row laughing with friends over snacks and wine. Oh, and discovered Heads Up!
  • Created a recipe for Peppermint Mocha No Bake Cookies! If you’re like me, you’re surrounded by snow and cold weather, so enjoy these as a treat this week.

Peppermint Mocha No-Bake Cookies

DSCN2705

Ingredients

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon instant espresso
1 teaspoon peppermint extract

1. Combine sugar, milk, cocoa and butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil for 90 seconds, constantly stirring.

2. Remove from heat and quickly add the remaining ingredients.

3. Drop by spoonfuls on wax or parchment paper.

Do you have any New Year resolutions?
I don’t typically make resolutions, but I have few goals for the month. Since Thanksgiving I haven’t been sticking to my five day vegetarian plan so I’m planning to jump back on the wagon. Last year I took part in Apartment Therapy’s January Cure and really enjoyed it so I’ll be taking part again. Apparently, I tend to get sloppy in the last months of the year. I’m excited to have some free weekends this month so I’m planning to tackle some Pinterest crafts. Here’s a start:

photo 2

Cranberry and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Or as I named them, KYP Crunchies! These cookies kicked off my holiday baking for a cookie exchange with Columbus Komen Young Professionals. Breast cancer has been a cause close to me since high school and I’ve been volunteering with this group for a few years. To jazz up our usual meeting we decided to include a cookie exchange, but with a twist. The cookies had to include an ingredient recommend for a healthy diet to prevent cancer.

Here were some of the possible ingredients:

Green Tea (epigallocatechin gallate, polyphenols and catechins)
Berries (ellagic acid, vitamin C, fiber and polyphenol antioxidants)
Spinach (powerful antioxidants)
Beets (powerful antioxidants)
Ginger and Turmeric (anti-inflammatory properties)
Dark Chocolate (antioxidants and catechins)
Grapes (resveratrol)
Walnuts (polyphenols)
Winter Squash (carotenoids, vitamin A, fiber, vitamin C)
Flaxseed (magnesium and fiber)
Cherries (vitamin C, fiber, potassium)

…but we all made oatmeal cookies with cranberries or cherries. Great minds! These cookies are crunchy and are a great companion with a cup of tea.

Cranberry Cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 and mist baking sheet with nonstick spray.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and egg until smooth and creamy.

3. In a separate bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients–cinnamon, flour, oats and baking soda until well-combined.

4. Gradually add ingredients in with the butter mixture (may look dry).  Stir in cranberries and chocolate.

5. Drop on cookie sheet by teaspoonfuls and bake 10-12 minutes.

If you’re in Columbus and interested in becoming involved with Komen Columbus, please let me know!