December 2012 | chicago foodie girl


Recent Foodie Finds

Welcome back! I hope everyone had a fabulous Chrismahanukwanzakah, filled with an abundance of good cheer, awesome presents, decadent cookies, and strong alcohol. :-)

I've had a fabulous two weeks of vacation; I spent the first two days of break cuddled up in my pajamas on the couch and then entered into a whirlwind holiday extravaganza that included some last-minute shopping, dinners with friends, and a massive cookie bake-a-thon. I know that I need to start planning for the next semester eventually someday very soon, but for the moment I'm just trying to enjoy not having to get up at the crack of dawn and actually having some free time to indulge in some of my favorite activities (the DVR is almost empty! My fun-reading book pile is rapidly decreasing! I've been able to see my friends on weekdays!).

Here's a bit of what happened during the last two weeks...

Shedd Aquarium 



White Chocolate Peppermint M&M Cookies

*Tap, tap, tap* Is this thing on? Ahem. I'm finally poking my head out after two insane weeks of student conferences, meetings, and grading. I spent about nine days or so buried under piles and piles of final portfolios. I didn't intend to go on a blogging hiatus, but the mountains o' portfolios won out and sapped all of my energy (I have a love/hate relationship with portfolio assessments - while I greatly enjoy reading my students' writing, I kind of hate reading mass quantities in a short amount of time).

The good news is that I am now officially done with the semester and am SO ready to commence the holiday excitement! Woo-hoo! Yesterday, a few of my colleagues and I kicked off the season at Duke's with celebratory tater tots and Winterruption (sooo delicious) and later today Mario and I are riding the CTA holiday train (in the thirteen years I've been in Chicago, I've somehow never managed to catch it). I also dug into our remaining stash of White Chocolate Peppermint M&M cookies for breakfast this morning (all in the name of celebrating what my wonderful friend has deemed The Eating Season).

I came across the recipe for these cookies on Pinterest a few weeks ago and immediately knew that I had to try them. Holy deliciousness!! I am in love with these cookies (and so is everyone else that tried them - I've already received several requests for more). After I made the first batch (following the original recipe from two peas & their pod), I did find that I had to make a few adjustments as the cookies weren't as soft as I wanted them to be, nor was there a good M&M to cookie ratio. A few small tweaks resulted in what is now my new favorite holiday cookie. If you are a peppermint lover, these cookies are a must-try!

White Chocolate Peppermint M&M Cookies
Yield: 2 1/2 dozen cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (this is my favorite brand)
1 cup white chocolate chips (I used these)
1/2 cup crushed candy canes
1 bag White Chocolate Peppermint M&M's (found at Target)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper and set aside.

2. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.

3. Using a mixer, first cream butter and sugars together until combined. Then add eggs & vanilla and beat until smooth. Finally, slowly mix in the dry ingredients.

4. Using a wide silicone spatula, stir in the white chocolate chips, candy canes, and M&M's (this can also be done by hand).

5. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough on prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the center. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire rack and cool completely.

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