Peppermint White Chocolate Cookies

Who else is ready for some levity from this heavy and strange year/pandemic we’re living through? Cookies can help, simple as it sounds. Since I’ll be baking this week with my kids who are on their winter break from school, I decided to dust off this cookie recipe from the archives. It needed new pictures and also, I cannot stop baking these every single holiday season. In fact, these cookies are always requested by my friends for our annual holiday cookie decorating party/cookie exchange. Enjoy the (slightly) updated recipe!

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This Christmas season, my new obsession is all things peppermint. I’ve been drinking peppermint tea (only Celestial Seasonings will do!) like it’s going out of style. I wish I could say I’ve been burning peppermint candles but I haven’t allowed myself to step near a Yankee Candle or Bath & Body Works.

Thankfully, this obsession hasn’t led me to try and eat my toothpaste or drink some mouthwash – that would be weird. (But if you’re into that sort of thing, no offense.) Instead, it has simply manifested itself into one of my favorite wintertime activities, baking. Y’all know I love any excuse to bake cookies.

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The first time I made these, I didn’t change a thing from the recipe. I did find them a bit too sweet for my taste (shocker, right?!) but if anything, that’s clearly built in self control in the form of a cookie. Anyhow, that first batch went to my husband’s office for his holiday luncheon, which I ended up dipping in melted dark chocolate and topping with sprinkles. Yes, they are as decadent as they sound and I’m pretty sure my husband said there weren’t any cookies leftover.

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For my adaptation, the coconut oil is the perfect substitute for butter. While there is certainly a time and place for butter, these cookies didn’t leave me with that “I just ate too many cookies” feeling. In fact, there were three things I thought were improved. First, they weren’t flat! I love puffy, soft cookies and the coconut oil was perfect for achieving that. Second, using coconut oil instead of butter actually helped cut down on the “too sweet” taste they originally had. Finally, using some brown sugar gave these cookies the perfect amount of chewiness.

Don’t take my word for it. Go and bake them now.
p.s. They go perfect with a cup of coffee or peppermint tea.

Peppermint White Chocolate Cookies
adapted from here
Yield: about 32 two-inch cookies
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Bake Time: 12 minutes

Ingredients
2 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 C coconut oil*
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 C granulated sugar
1 C light brown sugar, loosely packed
2 eggs
1 tsp peppermint extract
1 C white chocolate chips
1 C peppermint crunch baking bits (I used Andes)

Directions
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Set aside.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer cream together the coconut oil, cream cheese and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time and then the peppermint extract mixing until combined.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the wet ingredients along with the chocolate chips and peppermint crunch bits. The dough will be on the soft side. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 1 hour to chill. It’s okay to let the dough chill overnight, which is what I did.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350F degrees. Remove bowl from refrigerator and scoop out 2-inch balls using a cookie scoop or spoon. Place dough balls two inches apart on prepared baking sheets. You don’t need to press them down.

Bake for 12 minutes. They should be light golden brown around the edges. Remove pans from oven and let cookies sit for 2-3 minutes on pan as they cool down. Use a spatula to take off pan and place cookies on a cooling rack. Enjoy! These cookies stay fresh for 1 week, if stored in an airtight container (such as a plastic or glass container with a lid) and will freeze nicely, in a freezer safe storage bag. Make sure to separate the cookies from each other by placing wax paper between layers (for fresh storage) or freezer paper for freezing them.

*Whether your coconut oil is liquid or solid, the consistency you’re looking for here is similar to that of room temperature softened butter. In my pantry, the coconut oil is more of a liquid so I popped it in the fridge for just a few minutes (after I measured it for the recipe, just to make it easier on myself) to solidify. If the coconut oil is too solid, just pop it in the microwave until it becomes the right consistency. Bottom line: you want the consistency of softened butter.

Update 12/30/13: If you are using crushed peppermint candies or candy canes (like the white, minty hard candies you get at a restaurant after a meal), I would caution you that the cookies will turn out much thinner and chewier than these made with the peppermint crunch baking bits, also spreading a lot more than these.

My seemingly insatiable craving for peppermint has been temporarily satisfied.
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Four years, two (more) kids.

The cursor is steadily blinking at me, silently begging my fingers to give in and start tapping away. It takes some time, perhaps because it has been so long and my thoughts now feel so scattered. Fingers finally follow suit and thoughts begin to spill out like water released from a kink in a hose. 

Much like muscles used for running or fingers trained to adeptly move over piano keys, writing habitually was a comforting partner whose strength I took for granted. As weeks, months and eventually years passed me by, writing slipped lower on the list of priorities and eventually lost all its strength.

After so many years, why bother flexing my writing muscles again, I ask myself. I have not picked up a writing utensil for much else other than to jot down a quick grocery list, to-do list or help a child with learning words and numbers. These writing muscles are atrophied, no doubt. They are not beyond repair, however hopeless it may feel. They are simply languishing beneath layers of sleepless nights, filled-to-the-brim days, and old Cheerios silently trying to decompose underneath the car seats. (Spoiler: Cheerios last forever, truly.)

When I think back to how often I wrote creatively, one word that keeps coming back to mind for why I stopped is melancholy. Melancholy is “a gloomy state of mind, especially when habitual or prolonged.” (Merriam-Webster), which sounds like I was having a terrible time the last four years. Life changed drastically, covering the spectrum of wonderful to awful.

Melancholy is closely entwined with grief. It is perfectly fine to simultaneously be content in the present and grieve the life you once had. I know, because the past four years of adding two more children to our family have reflected that constant paradox. Writing from a state of melancholy is sacred. Writing during a pandemic, racial unrest and natural disasters feels trivial. Writing is cathartic.

I make no promises, save one. That I will continue to strengthen these weak writing muscles, always valuing quality over quantity.

In case anyone else besides my spouse is reading this, thank you for coming on this winding journey with me.

Jesus Inspires Me: children’s activity & coloring book

*Although I’m no longer blogging (read more here), this post was part of a prior commitment that was scheduled to publish today. Thanks for letting me share!


In just a few short days, my firstborn will be 3 years old. He has been here 156 weeks or 1,096 days or 26,304 hours. We seriously cannot believe how lucky we are to be his parents and have a front row seat to seeing him grow up!

I’ve mentioned this many times before and now that we have another toddler in the house, it stands out even more – our son truly loves reading books. Our daughter? Sadly she is really breaking my heart right now because she just isn’t into reading at all. I often question myself if it’s all those early months where I wasn’t dedicating hours a day on reading to her, like I was able to with our son. #secondchildproblems #momguilt

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when it’s time to move on

I have started writing this post many times over. The hardest part was hitting the little blue publish button, but now that you’re reading this that means I did it.

Will you take a walk down memory lane with me? I started this blog on March 15, 2010. I decided on a domain name (livefaithfully at blogspot, for those who’ve been reading that long) and migrated over to this space in June of 2014. That all seems like an eternity ago and so much has happened both professionally and personally since that time.

Life in 2010 personally was so different. I was a newlywed (barely 2 years at the time!), worked full-time in the investments industry, and trained for triathlons among other things that only newly married couples without kids can make time to do. We lived in Florida.

Life in 2016? We will be celebrating 8 years of marriage this fall, I work more than full-time as a momma to two kids under 3 years old. Yes, I make time to exercise but it looks a whole lot different these days and we have lived in Texas for almost 4 years.

When I first started blogging 6 years ago, I had no idea what was in store for me. All I wanted to do and have done, is simply throw my thoughts out into the huge universe that is the blogosphere.

Blogs were different back then, too. If you’re new to the blogging scene, this might now make sense but if you’ve been around a while you know exactly what I mean. I simply don’t care about clicks or SEO or Pin-able images.

So blogging looks completely different now than it did back when I started. To a certain extent, blogging is what one makes it be, right? After all, I could have chosen to pursue it and make it my full-time job. It’s not what I wanted, though.

Deep down, I knew it would always be one of my hobbies.

Writing has always been a cathartic practice for me, whether it has been publicly on this blog or privately in my journals.

This much I know, I will never stop writing.

Yet.

The time has come to move on.

Will I miss blogging? Sure. I have enjoyed not only the things I write and share about, but I also know that if I’m not putting my heart and soul into the writing, then I won’t bother. I’m a 100% all-in kind of girl and when I can’t give my 100% to this blog, I won’t do it.

What about all the connections and friendships that have come out of blogging?
You guys, this was one of the reasons why it has taken me so long to finally write and publish this post. I will miss each of you. You know who you are and chances are, we will still be in touch because after all, this isn’t a goodbye but rather a see you around!.

Will I leave my blog site up? Right now, I don’t plan on taking down any content so the short answer is yes. There will be one more new post (from a previous commitment) in the next month but otherwise, no other new content will be published. Feel free to browse the archives and recipes!

What about other social media? For the time being, I’ll be leaving my accounts active.

If you have other questions, please feel free to drop me a comment or send me an email. I always love hearing from you!

Again, I cannot thank you enough for reading along. Whether you’ve been around since the beginning or just started, I am ever grateful for your support.

Until we meet again.

Sick days 

 
This has been a winter for the books. Not the weather. No, it has been milder than years past. I’m talking about seemingly never ending rounds of sickness that have been cycling around in our house since Thanksgiving.

First we started out with mild colds. Then it was a lingering cough. During the cough weeks, there were also cedar allergies for momma. Another cold, sinus infections this time. Then it was a stomach bug. And now it is a sore throat that makes it hurt when you speak. 

I’m obviously highlighting the negative parts of our winter, but believe me — there were so many positive, sweet days in there despite the sicknesses. 

Winter isn’t officially over until next month, but just yesterday I noticed our neighbors Mexican redbud tree starting to burst forth pretty pink blooms. 

Never has a blooming tree filled me with hope for the warm, humid days of spring that are to come. 

Isn’t life like that though? So often, I can be so quick to stay focused on the negative stuff. To solely focus on the things that go wrong or that can’t be fixed in a snap, instead of looking ahead to the promise of a new season. 

So I’m writing this post as a reminder to myself on a day when I feel like I just can’t take yet another bout of illness. 

Remember to look ahead. See the changing of seasons unfolding very my very eyes. Feel the warm days and bright sun on my face. Yes, I might be taking all the vitamins,drinking apple cider vinegar tea and sucking on cough drops like candy…but try to remember that it won’t always be this way. 

Nothing is so beautiful as Spring. – G. Hopkins