Happiness Project #43: Peppermint Surprise Cookies!

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Huzzah! November is here and so is a rather beautiful Fall! With gold and green leaves, crisp nights and stunning moons! An absolute favorite season of mine! Despite the sad fact that I’m no longer able to withstand wearing some of my favorite fuzzy sweaters. Menopause. No fun. But even though my Fall wardrobe is suffering, my Daughter’s however is ridiculously cute! With purple birds and striped leggings and adorable animal beanies. Seriously people, if adults were able to look just as cute in clothing as Toddlers, I’m positive that this sometimes dreary world of ours would be a much merrier, happier place.

But since this is not always the case, what’s the next best thing to a guaranteed happy day? Cookies. Bright, crunchy, merry cookies! With the taste of fresh peppermint bursting upon one’s tongue. And chocolate. Because, well, chocolate. So in light of what I’m now officially dubbing “Cookie Season,” my sister found this fantastic recipe on Pinterest that was a MUST BAKE NOW kitchen adventure. In which my 20mo Baby Girl gleefully helped us with. And by “help,” I really mean by indulging in. A little too much, in this Mama’s opinion. And yes, I blame her Auntie. Anyhow, after catching both my sister and Baby Girl ecstatically stealing far too much of this cookie dough, this lovely, crunchy, fragrant cookie is what we came up with. Just like the original recipe, though with a few minor adaptations. Ready for some guaranteed holiday cheer? Here you have it!

1 box white cake mix

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

pinch of kosher salt

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon peppermint oil (or extract)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup crushed Oreo Cookies

1 cup crushed Peppermint candies

1/2 cup M&M’s or mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

*Optional: Can’t have chocolate? Instead of adding in Oreo cookies and M&M’s, add in 1 cup of pecan chips instead! Or drizzle with a vanilla frosting glaze. Therefore, you’ll still get that extra crunch and added bit of sweetness.

Firstly, preheat the oven to 350F. Line up two baking sheets with Silpat mats or parchment paper.

In a stand mixer (or easily by hand held), combine the cake mix, melted butter, salt, egg and both extracts. Beat at medium speed until a soft dough forms. Add in the cream cheese and mix until gently combined. With a wooden spoon, gently stir in the crushed Oreo’s, crushed Peppermint candies and M&M’s. Pop your dough into the fridge for 30-40 minutes to help the texture stiffen up a bit before rolling.

Once you’re happy with the dough’s stiffness, firmly roll the dough into 1-1/2 inch balls and place them onto your lined cookie sheets. Bake for 10-11 minutes until the cookie bottoms are slightly browned. Once removed from the oven, you’ll notice that the crushed peppermint candies have liquified and oozed out a bit from each of the cookies. With the edge of a metal spatula, gently scrape the edges back into a circular (cookie) shape. Well, unless you like a messy (but still pretty) cookie. Transfer your soft cookies onto a wire rack & let cool for a few minutes before either serving or storing (covered).

Ridiculously easy. And very festive. Oh, and let’s not forget, super Toddler friendly. Since my Daughter ended up sneaking in a good 4 or 5 of these little munchies while I wasn’t looking. Which, I do not always recommend for a 20mo Toddler, by the way. Unless, of course, you’re totally okay with watching your little one go through a rather hysterical sugar high.

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