Monday, December 15, 2014

Peppermint Mocha Cookies

Fellow peppermint mocha lovers: this is the cookie for us!! I don't know about you, but personally the peppermint mocha is my favorite drink that Starbucks has all year (I know people go nuts over the pumpkin spice latte, but I hold out for the red cup...). This year, I decided I needed to make a cookie out of it. These turned out so well- definitely approved by all the taste testers in my house.

The cookie part of these has a nice texture, a bit crunchy around the edges and chewy in the center, with cocoa as well as dark chocolate melted in the dough, plus espresso and peppermint extract. Since you sometimes need to go a little overboard at Christmas, I topped them with more chocolate and crushed candy canes. You definitely get all the flavors of the drink in every bite of these.

Peppermint Mocha Cookies

Makes about 30 cookies
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons brewed coffee, cooled
6 candy canes, crushed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Melt the dark chocolate chips in heatproof bowl over a double boiler (or in the microwave). Set aside to cool.

3. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir 1 tablespoon of the espresso powder into the melted chocolate; beat chocolate into dough. Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions.

5. Drop tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, for 14 to 16 minutes, until edges are crispy. Cool completely on wire rack.

6. Combine the semi-sweet chocolate chips and coffee in a heatproof bowl. Melt over double boiler (or in microwave), then stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons of espresso powder. While chocolate is still hot, drizzle with a spoon over the cookies. {You may have to warm the chocolate a bit if it starts to cool too much before you're done drizzling.} Top with crushed candy canes and let set completely before storing.

I'm not sure there will be any of these left for Santa so I'd better get baking; I have a few more types of cookies I'm planning to try this year! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Allie's Christmas Room


Hi! Today I'm back sharing my some pictures of Allie's room all decorated for Christmas! Allie is almost three and she's very into Christmas this year! It's been so much fun doing little projects with her, singing Christmas songs, visiting Santa, etc. Now that she's older, I wanted her to start to help pick out things and decorate her room; I'm planning likes everything to be pink, so I did a pink Christmas in here, with lots of little vintage-y and handmade touches.

I didn't change much on this side of the room, just hung some angel wings over the bed for a fun little touch.

My mom made this doll for Allie's first birthday.


On this side of the room, we hung a garland of pinecones that Allie painted pink and we strung on yarn over the picture frames.



The tree is topped with an angel we bought for her on her first Christmas, and then decorated with some pink pom pom trim and wooden snowflakes. I left it just how she decorated it herself.

The wreath over the frame is made from some large cupcake liners, then I added pink glitter and some little pastel colored glass ornaments. My mom and I found the pink glitter house at Home Goods and I knew Allie would love it.
This gorgeous needlepoint stocking was made by my mother-in-law. Wow, right?!!


In the window, we hung wax paper and melted crayon ornaments that Allie helped to make.

A very pink Christmas!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas House Tour 2014
I'm linking up here for Jennifer Rizzo's Holiday House Walk.
Hi, welcome to our Christmas home! If you haven't visited my blog before, I'm Hayley. I'm a native Texas gal now making my home with my family outside of Philadelphia. I'm a stay at home mom to our two little girls, Allie, who is almost three, and Claire, who is 14 months old. Christmas is my favorite time of year, and I look forward to decking our home out for the holidays all year long! I also love all the gorgeous home tours in blog land at this time of year and I'm thrilled to share mine and link up with Jennifer Rizzo's Holiday House Walk link party today. I wish I could offer you a cup of coffee (with 2 kiddos under 3 we always have a pot going around these parts)...
Come on in to our entryway. This year, I really wanted to keep the decorations simple, fresh, and bright, with lots of greenery, wreaths, and flowers. I take full advantage and cut tons of greenery from the yard to use throughout the house; nothing makes the house feel Christmas-y like fresh greens; plus, it's free!
I hung an old window frame here and topped it with a fresh boxwood wreath and this sheet music banner I made last year. I kept the tabletop simple with a pretty white poinsettia in a basket.


The entryway leads up into the living room. This is more of our "adult" space {although let's be real, the kids have taken over the whole house at this point}, I decorate a little more formally in here. I mostly used green and white and mixed sparkly & silver with more rustic elements.


I am in love with this wren pillow, it goes so well with all bit of a bird theme I have going on in this room (it's by Lucy of Craftberry Bush).
We live right next to a beautiful park where we spend so much time, and also close to lots of green space, so we spot quite of a few wild animals,  and those outdoor elements inspired this tree. It has pinecones we collected, faux bois animal ornaments (find my tutorial here), and clear glass balls filled with reindeer moss. I've had the bead garland for forever; it used to be bright red but I spray painted it. It looks a little rustic in spots, which I kind of like. I added the glitter letter garland too- you need at least some glitter on a Christmas tree! Phil and I bought the angel topper on our first Christmas tree together and I used it every year.
I didn't change much in the bookshelves, just tucked some fresh cedar and pinecones.
 On the other side of the living room tucked under the stairs is my little desk area.
The living room opens into the dining room. It's pretty simple in here,  just a boxwood wreath on the window and some fresh paperwhites in a wood caddy on the table.

These smell amazing!!

 This is one of my favorite spots this year, a little village with a German glitter church, school, and house and few trees.

I added another fresh wreath and two little potted Cypress trees by the kitchen window; I really hope I can keep these trees alive so I can have them here all year!

We are definitely enjoying our little hot chocolate and mocha bar!
Allie and I made this gingerbread village last week. She took so much time and care making it and is so proud. I think it's just perfect.
On the opposite kitchen wall over our kitchen cart,  I swapped out the artwork in this frame for this gorgeous chalkboard print from Dear Lillie. I think the nativity fits perfectly with it. My grandmother gave me this nativity years ago and it's one of my most treasured decorations.


Next up is our family room/playroom where we spend most of our time. As you can see, our dog Max usually takes over this couch as his napping spot of choice :) Since this room is a bit separate from the rest of the downstairs, I used a different color scheme here and added some pops of red in with the green, white, and cream. I love how it turned out!
I shared more about my mantel in this post.

On this side of the room is the girls' play area. I hung the envelope Advent calendar that I shared in this post over the chalkboard; Allie has loved opening it up each day to see what fun activity we have planned and Claire has managed to not rip it down yet!
The main ornaments on the tree in here are my husband's silver sleigh bells that his grandparents have given him every year (his parents are now continuing the tradition with the girls). I had grand plans to do an entirely different, more whimsical tree down here with a sleigh/snow theme, but I just ran out of time for projects so I ended up re-using what I had from past years. I made the silhouette ornaments I made a couple of years ago (I shared the tutorial here), and also used the embroidery hoops in past years, I just switched out the fabric with some different scraps I had on hand. I also added some birds and cableknit ornaments I had. I actually really love this tree!

  I placed some wire baskets under the tree to hold gifts.

Now let's head upstairs... I do decorate our bedrooms for Christmas. The girls' rooms are probably my favorite rooms to decorate in the whole house!

Here's a few little peeks at Allie's room. Allie's favorite color in the whole world right now is pink, so we went with that in here. I actually love pink for Christmas and it's so fun to have a spot to use it!

I have a bunch more pictures of her room that I'm planning to share in another post later this week.
Next door is sweet little Claire's nursery. I did a post about her room last week. I wanted the room to feel very peaceful, with silver and white, and soft decorations, like the pom pom garland and a felt wreath.
Finally, our room is pretty simple. Just a garland, a poinsettia, and a silver tree and some greens.

 While I really enjoy making our home beautiful at this time of year and working on creative projects, what is most important to me is that making memories for my girls, making Christmas time as magical for them as my mom and grandmothers did for me, and most importantly, working together to prepare our home and hearts for the birth of Jesus.
If you made it through this post, thank you so much, it was the longest post ever :) I hope you will stop by again soon and happy holidays!
I'm linking up with