joyeux cuisine

a blog about good food, family, friends, and life.

peppermint crinkle cookies.

Right now there’s a blizzard outside my house. Well, not quite a blizzard but there’s snow flying everywhere and it’s super windy. I think it counts. What’s the best way to ride out a blizzard? Let me give you my three top choices: knitting, baking, and watching Christmas movies. We’ve already watched Santa Claus is Coming to Town, The Little Drummer Boy, and we just started Elf. My favorite Christmas movies are the old-school ones. Like White Christmas. Love it. My absolute favorite is The Year Without A Santa Claus. I don’t know why but it is.

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We’ve been doing a lot of baking these last few days because my mom always gives out cookie trays at Christmas but I found this recipe and wanted to give it a try. Peppermint is one of my favorite things especially during the winter. It just makes sense. Crushing peppermint is even better because you get to take out all your aggression on something and it makes everything better.

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There are so many good Christmas cookie recipes and we have a ton in our family, but it’s always okay to add a few more. There can never be too many cookie recipes. At least that’s how I feel. These are great because the powdered sugar on the outside gives them an extra kick of sweetness. Plus when they come out of the oven the peppermint is a little melty and delicious. These are soft and chewy which makes the best kind of cookie.

DSCN0438So I encourage you to make some cookies, have a cup of tea, watch your favorite Christmas movie, and enjoy a snowy day. Make the most of today.

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Peppermint Crinkle Cookies

recipe from Lauren’s Latest

makes 2 and 1/2 dozen cookies

3 candy canes, crushed

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1 and 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Cream butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg and mix until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients slowly until just combined. Stir in the crushed up peppermint. Put the powdered sugar on a plate. Roll the dough into balls using a cookie scoop to make sure they’re mostly the same size. Roll the balls in the powdered sugar and place on the cookie sheets. Repeat until all the dough is used. Bake for 9-11 minutes. You want the cookies to be barely browned on the bottom. They shouldn’t be shiny, just have a matte finish look to them. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

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getting back in the kitchen.

Well, hey there everyone. I’ve been absent for a little while (and by little while I mean about 3 weeks…). Once we got back to school from Thanksgiving Break everything got super crazy. Every year we do a performance of Handel’s Messiah and rehearsals for that started right away. The next week we had rehearsals for our annual Sounds of the Season concert. And then the next week we had finals. So…there was no time for anything except studying and practicing and rehearsing. But that’s a normal week, so I guess there’s more reasons than that for not writing or baking in a while.

It’s so weird to think that I only have one semester of college left. Not only weird but terrifying. I don’t know how to be an adult or live in the ‘real world.’ I guess that’s kind of a learn-on-the-go type thing huh. That’s what cookies are for.

Thankfully being at home and not having homework to worry about (just practicing for a recital coming up pretty quickly…) gives me more time to bake things. Also thankfully, my mom has a whole list of things to bake for cookie trays and family gatherings. Most of which are family recipes that have been around forever. We’ve already made a ton of pretzel chocolate treats, candied nuts, pecan tassies, and this morning I whipped up the dough for candy cane cookies. That, my friends, are a sacred recipe. And my favorite Christmas cookie. I am terrible at making them look like candy canes, but my mom is the master. I’m the master at eating them. Not even kidding.

So, the real reason for this post is to tell you that I’m baking soon. Promise. Until then; don’t forget to love the people around you. And play in the snow if you have some.

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pre-Christmas goodies.

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching which means lots of things. I get to go home on Tuesday. The yearly eye doctor appointment is coming up. I get to go to the yarn store. Green bean casserole. Mashed potatoes. Chocolate chip pecan pie. And, at work, we decorate for Christmas. We always decorate the music building the Sunday before we leave for Thanksgiving break. (I know you aren’t supposed to decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving is over, but it’s the best time to do it.) I’m in charge of snackage. Always.

Last year I went way overboard with food and we had way too much. I toned it down this year and made a few things. Somehow I still managed to spend all day on Saturday baking. Oh well. I (not so) secretly love it.

This year I made:
Red Velvet Cookies with White Chocolate Chips
Sugar Cut-Out Cookies with Homemade Frosting
Pretzel Kiss Thing
Peppermint Bark
Oreos Dipped in White Chocolate and Crushed Peppermint

Some of these things are not so complicated to make. Example: dip oreos in melted almond bark and dip in crushed candy canes. Put on wax paper and let harden in fridge. Easy as pie. Heck, easier than pie. Peppermint bark is also super easy. Melt almond bark and stir in crushed up candy canes. Spread on wax paper and harden in fridge. You can jazz it up a bit by doing a layer of dark chocolate first, but it’s good either way. If you add more chocolate that means we can be friends.

I wish I had a picture of the pretzel things I want you to make. But…they all got eaten. They’re really popular. They’re also super easy though. And the perfect balance of sweet and salty. Like trail mix but waaaaaaay better.

Make some goodies. Watch an entire season of Downton Abbey in one night. Decorate a tree. Be thankful.

Chocolate Pretzel Bites

makes as many as you want

Preztels

Chocolate kisses

Regular M&Ms (or peanut butter ones, I won’t be picky)

Preheat the oven to 150-200 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spread pretzels out on the cookie sheet. Unwrap the chocolate kisses and put one kiss on each pretzel. (This is best done while watching a movie.) Put the sheet in the oven for about 2-3 minutes or until the kisses are melty. Test this by pressing one M&M into the kiss; if it sinks down all the way they’re ready. If not, leave them in the oven for a couple more seconds. It doesn’t take long. When the kisses are melty, remove from the oven and smush one M&M into each kiss. (Also, best done while watching a movie.) Chill in the fridge until firm. Eat by the handful.

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