Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Cookies and Cocoa

     Today I am enjoying my first official day off of school in about 3 months.  I just ended another trimester, so that makes 3 down, and 3 more to go.  Monday I start studying Labor and Delivery and Pediatrics, which are the two subjects I've been looking forward to since the beginning.  I'm not sure which field I want to go into, but I know it's going to be one of those two, and that excites me.  In the mean time, however, I've been catching up on a bit of housework.  Yesterday, Monkey brought home a 100 A on her big sight words test that covered all the words they've been learning since the beginning of the year, so we celebrated by turning some of her Halloween candy into yummy cookies.  So here's a recipe that is a classic:

M&M Cookies
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups All-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 cups M&Ms, plus extra for topping

Preheat oven to 350.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper, or grease the baking sheets.

In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a KitchenAide mixer, blend both sugars, shortening, eggs, and vanilla until mixture is well blended and fluffy.  Add flour, baking soda, and salt.  Mix until well incorporated.  Add M&Ms, and gently stir.

Gently roll dough into small balls, and press onto the prepared baking sheets.  Add a few M&Ms to the tops of each pressed dough ball.

Bake at 350 9-11 minutes, or until edges are golden and middles are set.

     Now, what goes better with cookies on a chilly November evening than a nice warm mug of hot cocoa?

World's Best Hot Cocoa
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup white sugar
1 pinch salt
1/3 cup boiling water
3 1/2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup half-and-half

Combine cocoa, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan.  Blend in the boiling water.  Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring continuously.  Once it begins to boil, simmer and stir for 2 minutes.  Don't let it burn.  Stir in milk and hear until hot throughout, but don't bring mixture to another boil.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Distribute evenly among 4 mugs.  Add 1/8 cup half-and-half to each mug.  Top with mini marshmallows if desired.  Enjoy!

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