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Monday, December 11, 2023

My new favorite cookie!

Last week, a co-worker had the idea that we should all bring in cookies for another coworker who has been going through a hard time lately.  It was a lovely idea but I tend to have Grinch-like qualities when I feel like I have too much to do and not enough time to do it - like right now, since it's Christmas.

But I took a step back and decided it was a very nice thing to do (a very Christmasy thing to do, in fact) and I could find the time to make some cookies.

Once I put myself in the right frame of mind (more kind and giving and less grumpy and frowny), I had to decide what kind of cookies to make.  Chocolate and peppermint are my favorite holiday flavors so I knew that was the route I wanted to take.  Google led me to the Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprint Cookies.

They did not disappoint!  They were easy to make and so delicious and I knew I had to share the recipe  here.  I did make one minor tweak which I'll list below.  I will definitely be making these again and every time I make them, I will  always remember that I did a nice thing when I felt like I didn't have time and somehow ended up with plenty of time.  Isn't that how it usually works?


  • 1 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c.unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp.baking soda
  • 1/2 salt
  • 1 1/4sticks (10 tablespoons) salted butter, softened
  • 1 c.sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp.vanilla extract (I used 1 tsp. vanilla and 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract)
  • 3/4 c.semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 oz.milk chocolate, chopped
  • Crushed peppermint candies, for topping


    1. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl; set aside.
    2. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined.
    3. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in two batches, beating until just combined after each addition. Mix in the chocolate chips.
    4. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough and roll into smooth round balls. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
    5. Preheat the oven to 350 ̊. Bake the cookies until just set, 9 to 11 minutes. (Don’t over bake!) Let cool slightly, then press the handle of a wooden spoon into the center of each cookie to make a small indentation. Remove the cookies to a rack to cool completely.
    6. Meanwhile, melt the milk chocolate in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon melted chocolate into the center of each cookie and top with crushed peppermints. Let set.
The chocolate in the center made these extra yummy!  If you like chocolate and peppermint, you must make these!!!!!

Friday, December 1, 2023

Our Thanksgiving

 Better late than never is my new blog motto! Now that it's Advent, let me tell you about Thanksgiving...

The kids both made it home for Thanksgiving. Sarah rolled in on Monday evening and Peter rolled in on Tuesday afternoon (I think. That seems like ages ago.)  Joe joined us for dinner on Wednesday and that was really nice. I like it when my dinner table is full even though I don't necessarily like to cook especially for non-family members.

Both kids brought with them head colds in addition to Peter's allergy to our cats.  So there was lots of sneezing and hacking and general malaise.  But we still managed to have a nice time.  

We celebrated Thanksgiving at my mom's with my brother and Jennifer and her family.  Again - I love a full table so it was really nice.  Before lunch, we took our Christmas card photo and I think it turned out very nice considering it was kind of a last minute thing.  For the last couple of years, we have gone to Old Salem on Sunday after Thanksgiving with my brother as photographer.  But Peter had plans on Saturday at school so we had to do them on Thursday.  Sometimes you have to pivot.  (And now you are all thinking about Ross and that's leading you to think about Matthew Perry, may he rest in peace.)

We were up bright and early (for us anyway) on Friday morning and headed to the mountains.  We went to Long's Tree Farm.  We went there last year and were pleased with the selection and the speed with which we can get the tree. Some of the tree farms have Santa, hot chocolate, horses, etc. and those are usually packed.  We don't need those frills - just a nice fresh tree. We found the perfect one and were putting it on top of the Pilot in no time!

After we got the tree, we headed to New River Brewing and Smokehouse in nearby West Jefferson. There was a 45 minute wait so we did some shopping in the cute little shops on Main Street until I got the text that our table was ready. The beer was tasty and the food was delicious and then we headed home and started to decorate the tree.

We ate dinner and then watched "Plains, Trains, And Automobiles" with the kids and then I went to bed because I had to work Saturday morning. :( That's really the worst part of my job honestly.  I don't like working on the weekends.) Peter headed back to school because he had tickets to see NC State play UNC.  They won!  Yippeeee! 

Sarah hung out with her Basement Crew on Saturday night while Dan and I went to church when I got off work.  Then we had lunch on Sunday with mom and my brother and Sarah who was still feeling under the weather stayed until Monday morning.  That's the  nice thing about being an hour from your school.  She feels better now but I have whatever she had!  Oh well.  From what I can tell, it's going around.

I've been keeping busy with work and online shopping and I'm trying not to get too far behind with my Christmas list. Considering it's only December 1st, I feel like I've got a good start on everything.  So maybe in the next week or so I can get everything wrapped up.  But I do believe if you go back and search the annals of this blog, you will see that I say something similar to this every year.  I'm nothing, if not predictable!

I did remember to order new Advent candles and I have my wreath up and ready to light at dinner this evening so that's making me feel like I'm prepared and can do anything. 

I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving and I hope your Advent is blessed.