December nights are my favorite kind. Cold and frosty on the outside and warm & fuzzy on the inside. Holiday classics on the TV, a whistling kettle, and a flickering flame. Candles take on a whole new meaning in December. They bring comfort, warmth, and sweet holiday scents.
There is always something to do. After dark I turn into one of Santa's elves.
There are so many things to do it's easy to become overwhelmed with the stress of it all. I try to keep myself calm by slowing down and doing just a little at a time. That way there is no rush and I can actually enjoy the process. I'm happy to say that this year is sailing along just fine. Whew!
Right now I'm in the "did I get enough?" stage. I keep asking myself if I should "get a few more things". I'm fighting the urge to make another trip to the mall. I'm still undecided at this point weather or not it's a good idea. Everything that needs to be done is done, all that's left are extras. But aren't extras the best part? I always find the best things when I'm not looking for them.
The other night I set myself up at the coffee table to do our Christmas cards.
I'm so happy with our picture this year! It was taken at Santa's Village in NH over the summer.
I can't do anything "Christmas-y" without hot chocolate! I added a big spoonful of marshmallow fluff to boot. Marshmallows are good, but some December nights call for fluff : - )
Everywhere I turn there is a happy face. Weather it's a child, snowman....
or a caroler. They are in every corner. During the day they are bright and chipper, and at night they make us feel loved and keep us company as we drift off to sleep. I could really get used to these guys.
Outside, all is aglow. While out shopping one day I couldn't resist getting this little tree for our stoop. I added lights, tinsel (of course) and some pine and winter berries underneath. During the day he's cute and charming, but at night we have our own little Charlie Brown Christmas tree!
Now all we need is a dusting of snow and my winter scene will be perfect.
I hope you all are enjoying these December nights as much as I am. Yes, I am tired but we are all in this together. Just think how bored we will be in March. Ha, ha....
Yesterday I promised you a new cookie recipe so here goes.
I made these over the weekend and they didn't last long. If you like chocolate and mint you will really love these.
Funny story about these cookies ** they were accidentally created in a failed attempt to make whoopie pies by forgetting to add milk to my batter. Truth be told, good things CAN happen as a result of failure **
Chocolate-Crackle Mint Sandwich Cookies:
1 2/3 cups flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbs butter
4 tbs shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Beat together butter, shortening, and brown sugar until fluffy and smooth - about 3 minutes.
Add egg and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes.
In a separate bowl sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
Add half of the flour mixture to the batter and beat on low until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides and add the remaining flour mixture. Beat until completely combined.
Drop tablespoon size balls onto a greased cookie sheet, spacing them at least 2 in apart. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet for a minute or two before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.
To make the filling you need:
1 1/2 cups Marshmallow Fluff
1 1/4 cups shortening
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tbs vanilla
1 tbs peppermint extract
Beat together the Fluff and shortening. Start on low, increasing to medium speed until mixture is smooth and fluffy. About 3 minutes.
Reduce speed to low and add the sugar, vanilla, and peppermint. Beat until incorporated. Increase speed back to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 more minutes.
Once the cookies are cooled you can make your sandwiches.
You can add as little or as much filling as you want. Enjoy!
This batch made about 2 dozen cookies/1 dozen sandwiches. You could always get more by making the cookies a little smaller (and not eating so much cookie dough : )
I wish you all a very relaxed, cookie-filled, December night ~