Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Red Velvet Peppermint Crinkle Cookies

These cookies are amazing! I love discovering new things (which is probably what spawns my love of cooking) and this is a new discovery of a mixture of lovely things (peppermint, red velvet, cookies). Such a beautiful, delicious, holiday-rific treat! This is another one that would be perfect for a cookie exchange. 

Makes about 30
Prep Time: about 30 minutes
Bake Time: about 30 minutes
Total Time: about 1 hour


1 box red velvet cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
6 Tablespoons butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy or candy canes (about 6 large candy canes)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt the butter and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, crush the candy canes. (I find it easiest to use the mini candy canes that are individually wrapped...keep them in their packaging so you don't make a big mess. If you only have big candy canes, unwrap them and place them in a plastic bag. Then use a meat mallet and whack away!)

In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, cooled butter, eggs, and peppermint extract. Add in the crushed peppermint and stir. The dough should be very thick. 

In a shallow dish, mix together the powdered sugar and cornstarch with a fork. 

Form dough into balls and cover with powdered sugar mixture. Place on a cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake for 9-11 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. 

Plate up and serve or give away as gifts.
Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gingerbread Cookies with White Chocolate

I think I've mentioned my love of white chocolate before. It makes everything better. And who knew it was such a great complement to gingerbread? This is such a great recipe for the holidays: soft, chewy gingerbread with a little extra candy on top. It would be perfect for a cookie exchange. Or for Santa Claus.

Makes about 34 cookies
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Waiting Time: 4 hours*
Bake Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: about 5 hours (or about 90 minutes if you follow my tip at the bottom)

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips


Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Beat butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. 

Add molasses, egg and vanilla. Beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. 

Place dough on plastic wrap and form into a flat, thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, roll in granulated sugar, and place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets

Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges of cookies just begin to brown. Immediately press about 5-6 white chocolate chips into center of each cookie. Let cool on wire racks. 

*I was impatient, so instead of waiting 4 hours for the dough to cool in the fridge, I put the dough in the freezer and let it cool for 30 minutes. It worked just fine. Just don't forget about it!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Nutella Hot Chocolate

Do you want to know a confession? I hate winter. Yes, I love the holidays and the traditions and family all that. But I hate being cold and sick. (Has anyone else been 'kinda sick' for the last 2 months?) Anyway, there is one thing that always cures my winter blues. Hot drinks. Hot chocolate, tea. These things make me happy and they make my body feel good. So I leave you one of my go-to recipes of the season: Nutella Hot Chocolate.

Serves 1
Total Time: 5 Minutes


1 cup milk
2 Tablespoons Nutella
Pinch of cinnamon (optional)


Heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly to avoid scalding. Whisk in nutella and stir until fully incorporated. Once heated through, stir in cinnamon (if desired) and pour into a mug. 

Add marshmallows and/or whipped cream as desired. Be warm.