The older I get, the more I realize I am so much like my mom. Goofy, often inappropriate, family oriented, caring (well, she’s sweeter than I am), always freezing, usually hungry. Though her footsteps may be bunion-ed, I am so lucky to follow in them.
Perhaps what I am most proud of inheriting, other than my mother’s ageless looks and dazzling personality, is her knack for Christmas cookies, a tradition she learned from her mother, my grandmother, Gra.
Each Christmas, my mom and Gra make a boatload of cookies to be distributed to family, friends, and neighbors. But as my grandmother has aged, it’s become more of a production. Last year, I came home from New York to find total chaos in my Virginia kitchen. It looked like World War II in there. Flour everywhere, recipes scattered, my mom and grandma grumbling about whose crescent moon forming skills were better. By the end, my mom was doing my grandmother’s taxes while I finished baking. It was a circus. The cookies are always delicious but the process can be total pandemonium.
After three types of cookies are made in mass quantities, tins packed, the kitchen is cleaned, and Gra delivered home safely, you think the last thing my mom would want to do is start the process all over again.
But every year, she saves one special recipe for just the two of us to make, her Mint Snow Top Cookies. These cookies are special because they are our Christmas thing, just the two of us. Plus, they are my personal favorite. They are so soft, delightfully minty and deeply chocolatey. They make the whole house smell like the holidays. Whenever I think of them, I imagine my mom in her Christmas apron decorating mantels while my dad makes tea and starts a fire. My brother and cat are curled up in the living room watching the snow fall behind our huge sparkling tree. Always my favorite time of year.
So while Christmas can be chaotic, especially if you’ve got a family like mine, remember to do something relaxing with the ones you love and to be thankful for family, friends, neighbors, moms and chocolate cookies.
Chocolate chips, melted chocolate, butter… I mean what more do you need? Okay… you need a few more things – list below.
Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs and cream until incorporated.
Add the melted chocolate.
Add the dry ingredients.
Fold in the chocolate chips. Place the dough in the refrigerator and chill until firm. This will take about 30 minutes.
After the dough has chilled, roll into 1 inch balls. Coat those balls with powdered sugar.
Place the cookies about 2 inches apart on a cookie tray lined with parchment paper. Place in a 350° F oven for 10 – 12 minutes, rotating halfway through the cooking time.
The cookies should be crackly and still look a little underdone. They are supposed to be very soft in the middle. Don’t over bake!
Pour some milk out for the homies, get the christmas decorations ready and eat these cookies with the people you love. I shared this batch with my mom, brother (pictured here) and dad (filling his face somewhere off camera).
Oh and the Merriest of Christmases (or whatever holiday you celebrate) to you!
Merry Mint Snow Top Cookies
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips, minted and divided
1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract
1 cup of granulated sugar
6 tablespoons of butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 large eggs
To make minted chocolate chips, place the chocolate chips in a ziplock bag with the pepper mint extract. Let sit for at least an hour or overnight. (My mom does overnight.)
Preheat your oven to 350° F.
Divide your minted chips. Leave 1/2 of them whole and melt the other half in the microwave. Let the melted chips cool.
Whisk together the flour, baking powdered and salt in a small bowl.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add both eggs and mix until incorporated. Add the melted chocolate and mix until completely distributed.
Add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix until just combined. Fold in the remaining chocolate chips.
Cover the dough and place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
Once the dough has chilled, roll out 24, 1 inch balls. Toss the dough balls in powered sugar.
Place the sugared dough onto lined cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.
Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, rotating your plans halfway through the baking time.
The cookies will look slightly undercooked and crackly. You want them to be crisp around the edges and very soft in the center.
Let the cookies cool and enjoy!