Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's funny how sometimes we stumble across the best recipes when we're hardly expecting it. Normally when I bake something, it's planned out pretty far in advance. I have an ever-growing "to bake" list of recipes that I want to try. For instance, right now Chai Cupcakes, Chocolate Ginger Cookies, and S'mores Cookies are next up to bat. I usually know a few days ahead of time when I'm going to bake and I hardly ever bake on a whim. But the other night I found myself with a few hours of free time and as we were sitting on the couch relaxing I declared to Ross "I'm going to bake some cookies."

I didn't want to have to go out to get ingredients so I wanted to make something with ingredients I had on hand. This ruled out all of the aforementioned to bake items. I found this recipe for Mint Chocolate Chip cookies on Lovin From the Oven. (If you haven't check our her blog, go now, it's awesome!). I wasn't expecting much from the cookies because she actually said that she didn't like them...actually I believe she said she hated them. She didn't like the peppermint extract in the cookies. I was prepared to hate them. I wasn't even planning to blog about them. BUT, the second I took a bite of one (about 11:00 PM on Sunday night) I had to grab my camera immediately and start taking pictures (albeit pretty bad ones, but the cookies make up for it, I promise). You, yes you, need to make these cookies.

I actually made 2 batches because I was little scared about the warning that came with the original recipe. One with peppermint extract as stated and one with a teaspoon of vanilla extract instead. They were both amazing, but everyone preferred mint ones more. The mint was not overpowering at all; it was just right. Even if you don't like mint make these cookies with vanilla because they're sooo good. They are thick and chewy and they have a perfect, slightly crispy exterior. And do you know what the best part is? They are EASY. No need for 2 kinds of flours, no extra egg yolk, no chilling for 36 hours, no gourmet chocolate that's $10/lb. Just plain old delicious chocolate chip cookies (with a little bit of mint).

Recipe: Adapted from Lovin' From the Oven
  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. of baking soda
  • 1/2 cup of butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1/4 tsp. of peppermint extract
  • 1 cup of chopped dark chocolate (I used 1/2 c. semi-sweet chips and 1/2 c. bittersweet)


  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a larger bowl, beat the butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). On low speed, slowly add the beaten egg and peppermint extract. Beat to combine, scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add the flour mixture and beat just until there are no more streaks of flour. Stir in the chopped dark chocolate by hand. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop out well rounded tablespoonfuls of the dough and roll them into balls. Leave about 2 inches between each ball. Bake for 10-12 minutes. If you prefer crispier cookies increase the baking time by 1-2 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Buttercream & Chocolate Buttercream

Ok I know it's been a while since I blogged. Things have been a little crazy lately. First there was finals which is busy season for me since I run a tutoring company. Then I was on vacation in Miami for 3 weeks (I know, tough life) and while I did do a little baking, I didn't take any pictures. Now I'm finally back home and starting to settle into routine again. So I bring you these...

We had some friends coming over the night to play board games and I really wanted to try out a new decorating tip that I got so I figured I'd whip up a batch of cupcakes. To me, finding the perfect cupcake recipe is sort of like finding the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. Everyone has their own favorite and even when you find one that you think is the best, you just can't help yourself from trying other ones. Well, I'm glad I kept trying new recipes because this one is amazing.

The cupcakes came out perfect. I've made cupcakes that have sunk in the middle, that have been dry, that have a top that's too domed, etc. And while they all taste good, I want one that tastes good AND looks good. Really, is that too much to ask? Well this is it. The cake was flavorful, moist, and it rose just the right amount leaving a perfect canvas for frosting.

For the frosting I made a Vanilla Bean Buttercream. I always use Magnolia's Vanilla Buttercream recipe which is simple and delicious. However, I had been seeing a fair amount of recipes with shortening in them lately so I decided to add about a tablespoon of shortening to the recipe. This really gives the buttercream some stability. I took half the buttercream and added a vanilla bean and I took the other half an added a few spoonfuls of cocoa powder. The vanilla buttercream was amazing. I could (and perhaps did) eat that stuff by the spoonful. The chocolate? Eh. I don't think cocoa powder is the way to go for chocolate buttercream. Next time, I'll be less lazy and actually use melted chocolate.

I got the recipe from My Baking Addiction who got it from Baking at Home with the Culinary Institute of America. Be sure to check out her blog because she turns the cake into Cinnamon Swirl Cupcakes which look divine! The original recipe is for a an 8" cake, but if you want to make cupcakes just fill the cupcakes about 2/3 full and bake for 18 - 20 minutes. (Note: I cut the recipe in half and got 16 cupcakes)

Recipe: Yellow Butter Cake from Culinary Institute of America

  • 3 ½ c cake flour
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 c (2 sticks) butter, unsalted, diced, at room temperature
  • 1 c whole or low-fat milk (divided use)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Coat two 8” cake pans lightly with cooking spray
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and ½ cup of the milk. Mix on medium speed until smooth, about 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  3. In a separate bowl, blend the eggs, egg whites, the remaining ½ cup milk and the vanilla extract. Add to the batter in 3 additions, mixing for 2 minutes on medium speed after each addition. Scrape down the bowl between additions.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake until the layers spring back when touched lightly in the center, 35-40 minutes.
  5. Remove the layers from the oven and cool completely in their pans on wire racks. Release the sides and bottom of the layers from the pans with a narrow metal spatula or a table knife before unmolding and finishing with fillings and icings.