Jazz up winter and the holiday season by sipping on a sassy peppermint white Russian.
I adore the holiday season, that is not a surprise. When I was a kid, I never understood why my mom would be so stressed or why we couldn’t just spend all of our time baking and making candies and singing carols. As an adult, I understand why that is not so realistic. Despite my intense love for everything Christmas, this year I’m feeling just a little burned out. I’ve made so many cookies and platters and gifts and candies. I love it but I’m really looking forward to just relaxing on Christmas morning. Or Christmas evening.
Because in the evening, it’s ok to have a cocktail. I mean, you could have a cocktail in the morning but that might earn you a side eye or two from relatives. Wait until the evening and then grab one of these peppermint white Russians. They are similar to traditional white Russians but with a fun, festive peppermint spin. It’s the kind of drink that can get you in trouble, since it tastes so sweet and sassy. I lined the rim of the glass with some crushed peppermints for a really special holiday treat. I think that’s my favorite thing about it, that little extra peppermint kick you get with every sip.
So if you’re feeling burned out from playing Santa or just want to kick back, grab one of these!
4 to 6 starlight mints, crushed into a fine powder
Spread the crushed mints onto a plate. Use your finger and lightly wet the rim of your martini glass. Turn the glass upside down and press into the mints, coating the rim as if it were a margarita in salt.
Combine Kahlua, vodka and milk in a shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled. Divide between the two glasses.
Shortbread cookies are a perfectly versatile cookie that can take on any number of dips, glazes and additions. Chocolate whiskey dipped shortbread cookies are a great, grown-up option for the holidays.
Leaving out cookies for Santa is tradition in many a household. But sometimes, let’s all admit it, the big guy may need a more grown-up treat. It’s a long trip for him, bouncing around from house to house and delivering presents. Those of you who have seen the Santa Clause, you know. Dogs, small fireplaces, big presents in a little sack. And then, the cookies and the milk. Do you think he ever gets tired of all the chocolate chips and spritz cookies? He may just need a different kind of pick-me-up.
This year, try leaving out these chocolate whiskey dipped shortbread cookies for the big guy (or, you know, the parents who are forced to eat the cookies to keep up the ruse). The cookie itself is a perfect, buttery shortbread. Slightly sweet, crispy but flaky. It is probably my favorite cookie, so versatile. Make them plain and dip them in coffee. Toss in a bit of lemon zest and top it with jam. Or do what I did and dunk them in some chocolate whiskey spread. As soon as I started thinking about these cookies, I knew I wanted to do a grown-up version with something a little different. I mixed some chocolate with a bit of whiskey for a nice kick. Santa needs a little kick in the pants at the end of a long night. And these cookies are just the right choice for him.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar until smooth. Add in vanilla and salt and mix until combined.
Add in flour and mix on low until just incorporated. Turn the mixture onto a flour-dusted surface. Knead gently until the dough comes together.
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to ¼ inch thick. Use a cookie cutter (shape is your choice) and cut out shapes, laying the cut out cookies on the baking sheets. Repeat until you have no more dough.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly golden. Remove to a cooling rack.
Once completely cool, prepare the glaze. Heat the chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second increments until melted completely.
Stir in whiskey and a splash of heavy cream until smooth. Dip the cookies into the glaze then lay flat on parchment until hardened.
Gingerbread is a classic holiday flavor. Jazz it up a little by adding some white chocolate and throwing together these gingerbread white chocolate thumbprints.
This is the first year that Santa won’t be coming to our house. Not that presents won’t be there, but Santa is more of an “in the heart” presence than someone who drops gifts. And you’d think that since I don’t have to leave out a special plate of cookies for the big guy, I’d be less pressed to make cookies. That, however, is not the case. For some reason, the pressure is on even more than normal. I have to make. all. the. cookies. I’ve woken up at 6:30 both Saturday and Sunday to get in a little extra baking time. Don’t ask me why but I can’t stop.
And while I’ve made some of the classic Christmasrecipes, I’m also branching out and changing things up a bit as well. That means putting new spins on some of the old classics. Gingerbread is so standard for the holiday season. We all flip when the gingerbread latte comes out and love to decorate those adorable gingerbread men. I thought about those but really, I adore the idea of the thumbprint cookie. And the idea of something sweet paired with the spiciness of the ginger. Enter, white chocolate. It gives these cookies just a kick of sweet. I think they will really be the star of my office cookie platter. What about you? What’s your star cookie? I think you’d have a hard time keeping these around long enough to give out to family and friends!
In a large bowl, combine flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt.
Cream butter, brown sugar and sugar in the bowl of a mixer until fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla and mix until combined.
Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix on low until well combined. Turn the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, wrap into a disc and chill for 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Use a cookie scoop and scoop out the dough, rolling it into a ball and placing it on the parchment. Using your thumb, a spoon or a wine cork, press a circle into the cookie dough.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes until cookies are set and browned on the edges. Remove from the oven and cool on a baking rack.
Once completely cool, melt the chocolate in a bowl in 30 second increments until fully melted. Use a spoon and spoon white chocolate into the well of each cookie. Use a knife to smooth it out. Allow to harden.
Chocolate chip cookies are obviously a holiday classic. But this version, loaded festive chocolate chip walnut cookies, are overloaded with festive and colorful chocolate chips. If we’ve got to eat cookies, they might as well be pretty!
The holiday season means chocolate chip cookies are absolutely imperative. I know Christmas is really overloaded with cookies everywhere. But chocolate chip cookies are the most classic, the most desired, the first to disappear from every plate. You can’t go a holiday season without whipping some up. It’s just fact.
But even the most traditional of cookies and treats can use just a little tweaking now and again. For years, we used the recipe straight from the package of Nestle Tollhouse. It never failed, was always good and was easy enough to accomplish. But lately, we’ve been playing around with some cookie recipes in our house. A well-intentioned science fair project spurned this quest to find the ultimate in chocolate chip cookie ingredients. Batches were tested with cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and any mixture of the three. It was a hard experiment but someone had to do it.
What we’ve found is one leavener alone doesn’t do the trick. The baking soda yielded some crispy cookies, perfect for those who love the crunch. But it didn’t stand the test of time. The cookies were hard two days later. Cornstarch alone left our cookies fluffy but a bit dry. Baking powder worked out better than the rest, giving us cookies that were soft and long-lasting. But once we started playing around with the cornstarch/baking powder combo, we were wowed. These cookies were our favorites, by far. Soft and fluffy, a little chewy, perfectly tasty three days later. This is the recipe we’re using now and it doesn’t fail.
Of course, it’s Christmas so we had to go a little nuts with these. We tossed in some chopped walnuts for a great textural difference. And instead of standard chocolate chips, we used festively colored ones in red, green and swirls. But that’s not where the craziness ends. We made sure these cookies were packed to the absolute brim with chocolate chips. It is not the season for moderation, after all. And so we went with two cups of chocolate chips, plus additional swirled chips to stud the tops. Every cookie is filled with a ton of chips, allowing for maximum chocolate. What more could you really ask for at Christmas (well, except a Matthew Mcconaughey Dazed and Confused t-shirt)?
These put to bed cookies absolutely must make your Christmas baking list. They are simple, no-fuss and low-calorie. So you can eat more without feeling guilty!
There are a few good things about going to a small Catholic school for 8 years in grade school. First, you already know all the teachers and they know you. They had your older brother/cousin/friend and already know your name. Second, you already know your way around, having gone to countless PTA meetings with your mom. And third, you form these weird and lasting friendships that start based on lack of other options and build from there into long, loping friendships. The kind where you can text someone and say “Hey, we haven’t had a chance to catch up for months but what is that cookie recipe your mom used to make in high school? You know the one.” And you don’t even need to explain which recipe you are talking about because they know you mean the cookies that were so irresistible, you’d stuff the entire box into your face on the bus before you even got to school.
These cookies – put to bed cookies, if you will – are those cookies. My friend Lorraine, who I’ve known since first grade, used to have her mom make them. And when were in high school, she’d bring them to school and we would eat them all. Down to every last tiny crumb. My mom never totally understood the fascination, they were just so simple. And really, they are. That is why they are so perfect. A simple meringue, some chocolate chips and a long sleep in the oven overnight is all you need for these babies. Eating one is like eating a bite of a fluffy, soft cloud that’s been pumped up with some sugar and dotted with chocolate chips. It’s no wonder we would stuff these in our faces, no shame.
The good part about these cookies, I’ve realized now that I’m an adult, is they are low-calorie. I’ve done the math and for one cookie, it’s only 40 calories. I’m not saying it’s healthy to sit around, noshing on cookies all day. But if you must indulge in sweets (and you know I must), these are certainly a great option to choose. I made two big batches to include in my holiday gift platters and can’t wait to see what people think. I hope they love them as much as I do!