Mint and Honey Tea

tea1

As much as I would like to be, I’m not really a tea drinker. I love the idea of tea but my life never really lives up to the dream of a lazy morning spent relaxing in a spotless home reading a book while drinking tea. My reality of tea is more like “DONT TOUCH MOMMY’S HOT MUG!”

That being said, everyone in my house is sick right now. I will spare you the details but nobody feels like eating anything. Well, thats not exactly true–my son was asking for pancakes with ice cream and sprinkles at 3:30 am but, considering that request was bookended by tylenol and doing yet another load of dirty sheets and blankets, I didn’t give it much weight.

Mint tea is one of my go-to things while I’m sick. It calms an upset tummy and helps me feel a little more human. Plus, its dead easy to make which is a serious bonus when I’m feeling generally like crap. I keep a pot of mint in my yard and I highly recommend it to everyone. It is pretty much impossible to kill, comes back every year, and looks lush and green for the majority of the year. Keep it in a pot rather than planting it in the ground though. Mint spreads and propagates by sending out runners beneath the surface of the soil and can take over a garden pretty quickly.

mint

This pot used to be two varieties of mint–a chocolate mint and spearmint but mint crossbreeds and now it all pretty much tastes the same. If you find a mint you love, keep it in its own pot away from other varieties.

I cut off two tops–about 8-10 largish leaves. Microwave a mug of water for about 2 minutes, squirt some honey in and then drop in the leaves. Stir with a spoon, kind of smooshing the mint leaves. Let it sit for a while to steep and then drink.

tea

I’ll be on the couch with tea and knitting until a kid calls me again. Then I’ll probably be doing more laundry.

Chocolate Peppermint Balls

Peppermint Balls

It is no secret that I love cookies. Chocolate, peanut butter, oatmeal, butter–I’ll eat any kind of cookie. You can’t go wrong with a classic chewy chocolate chip or a peanut butter with the little fork crosses but you can get those anywhere. The best cookies are those family treasures that seem to only come out and make the rounds at holidays and family events.

I have a few from both sides of my family but Chocolate Peppermint Balls is my clear favorite. They are chewy, chocolaty, fudgey, and totally indulgent–the forbidden child of a brownie and cookie. Perhaps best of all, they are fast, easy, and use a cake mix! Talk about easy! You can make them in a single bowl and, even better, the kids can help form the cookies.

CPB Dough

I have no idea where this recipe originated in my Mom’s side of the family. My Mom and her sister often talk about the days before “super moist deluxe” cake mixes when the cookies would be hard to form and crumble before they got to the oven. Thankfully, we live in the future these days and moist cake mixes are easy to find.

CPB Baking

The name must come from the forming stage since the finished cookies have zero resemblance to a “ball” of any sort. The pre-baking stage though…well…its an unfortunate color and shape combo.

After baking, these cookies are dredged in powdered sugar with sanding sugar mixed in for festiveness. Since these were often only a holiday thing when I was growing up, the colors were always red and green but I make these all year long so I mix up the colors. Blue is my personal favorite but if you must do another color, I won’t judge you.

Sugaring

Voila. Amazingly chocolaty cookies with a fun peppermint twist. They freeze really well (and are delicious straight from the freezer if you have a chocolate cookie emergency to satisfy). Since they are soft, they also ship well. I put them back to back and wrap the two cookies in cling film. Layer with bubble wrap and ship priority to someone deserving.

Chocolate Peppermint Balls

1 package devils food cake mix (look for one that says something like
“extra moist”)
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1 egg
2-4 egg yolks

1 cup powdered sugar
sugar crystals (optional)

Mix butter, extract and 2 yolks until smooth. Stir in cake mix. If the mix doesn’t come together into a thick frosting like texture, add egg yolks one at a time. It depends on the size of your eggs as well as the brand of cake mix you have. I ended up using 4 yolks and a whole egg. Form into 1 inch balls (your hands work best). Bake 15 minutes at 300 or until just set. Move to a cooling rack and allow to mostly cool.

In a shallow container, combine powdered sugar and crystals (just enough to make them festive). While the cookies are still slightly warm, coat with powdered sugar mix.

CPB inside