Tag Archives: peppermint

White Chocolate Peppermint Scones

white-chocolate-peppermint-scones-nancycI like making at least one peppermint-flavored recipe each year for the holidays. This year, I decided to try scones. These White Chocolate Peppermint Scones have crushed candy canes both in the batter and sprinkled on top. White chocolate chips are mixed into the batter too. They might be a little too sweet for early in the morning, but they’re perfect for a holiday brunch, a holiday tea, or a dessert –with a scoop of ice cream on top…make that peppermint ice cream! 🙂

WHITE CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT SCONES by NancyC

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup crushed candy canes or peppermint candies
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

PEPPERMINT GLAZE:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Half & Half
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 Tablespoons crushed candy canes for sprinkling on top
  • Optional: 1/2 Tablespoon coarse sugar for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In large bowl, blend the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the cold butter using a pastry blender until the flour/butter mixture is crumbly. Stir in the crushed candy canes and white chocolate chips.

In medium bowl, mix yogurt, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Blend yogurt mixture into the flour mixture, stirring until clumps of dough form (dough will be a little sticky).

Sprinkle some flour over the dough in the bowl to make it less sticky, and with floured hands, knead a few times and shape dough into a ball. Place dough on your parchment-lined baking sheet and pat into an 8-inch circle, about 3/4-inch thick. Use a knife to score into 8 wedges, then bake at 375˚F on your center oven rack for 18 -20 minutes, until golden. The scones may puff up as they’re baking, but they’ll settle down as they cool.

Cool scones for at least 20 minutes, or cool completely, and then add the glaze and topping.

To make glaze, mix powdered sugar, Half & Half, and peppermint extract until smooth. Drizzle glaze over scones with a small spoon, then sprinkle some crushed candy canes over the glaze. Let glaze set, then cut scones into wedges where scored, and serve.

Peppermint-flavored goodies are great for the holidays–they’re so fun and festive. Plus, it’s a great way to use those extra candy canes. Have you made any peppermint recipes this year?

Wishing you a blessed and joyful Christmas!

Linked to Fiesta Friday.

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Peppermint Tea Tree Bath Salts and 25 Other Uses for Epsom Salt

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There’s nothing like a relaxing soak in the tub with bath salts to make you feel revived and refreshed! The challenge is finding the time to do it! I decided a few months ago to start making time, at least once every few weeks, and it is something I really look forward to. It really feels wonderful to take time out and pamper yourself this way.

I thought it would be fun to make my own bath salts and came up with these Peppermint Tea Tree Bath Salts. They are very easy to make…you just need some Epsom Salt, Peppermint Essential Oil, and Tea Tree Essential Oil (you can find essential oils at your local health food store). I did not add any food coloring to the salts, but you can add a drop or two if you want–I prefer to just keep them the natural white. The peppermint scent is really refreshing, and the tea tree oil is good for your skin, so these two oils make a great combination!

I also discovered that soaking in Epsom Salt has health benefits because it’s rich in both magnesium and sulfate. Magnesium plays an important role in many bodily functions like muscle control, energy production, and the elimination of harmful toxins. Sulfate plays an important part in the formation of brain tissue, joint proteins, and also helps detoxify the body of environmental toxins. So, soaking in an Epsom salt bath is an easy way to increase your body’s levels of magnesium and sulfate. No wonder it’s so refreshing! Your body and muscles will be relaxed, toxins will be flushed out, and the salts also help reduce the swelling of sprains.

Here’s how I make my bath salts…

PEPPERMINT TEA TREE BATH SALTS by NancyCreative

Makes enough for one bath (I multiply this recipe by 4 and keep it in a large jar)

  • 2 cups Epsom Salt
  • 5 to 7 drops Peppermint Essential Oil (depending on how strong of a scent you want)
  • 3 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
  • 1 gallon-size zip-loc freezer bag (I like using freezer bags because they’re thicker than regular storage bags)

Put Epsom Salt in zip-loc bag and add the drops of Peppermint and Tea Tree essential oils; mix oils into the Epsom Salt by squishing ingredients together in the closed bag for several minutes. You can use it right away or store salts in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. To use, add 2 cups of the bath salts under the running warm or hot water in your tub. To get the maximum benefit from this Epsom Salt bath, you should soak for at least 12 minutes. And you can do this 3 times weekly, if you have the time! 🙂

I like to make larger batches and keep it in a jar in my bathroom; that way I don’t have to make it so often. These bath salts make a great homemade gift, too–you can make a double batch and put it in a jar tied with a pretty ribbon.

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Here are some other uses I found for Epsom Salt, if you’re interested in trying some of these out. The first one I try will probably be the skin cleanser. If you try any of these out, let me know!

  1. Skin Exfoliator–Add a drop of essential oil (or a Tablespoon of olive oil) to a handful of Epsom salt and massage over wet skin. Or just use the Epsom salt by itself. Rinse thoroughly. Makes your skin smooth and silky. Can be used on face as well as the whole body.
  2. Olive Oil Epsom Salt Scrub–Mix 1/2 cup Epsom salt with 1/4 cup olive oil; scrub skin in the shower and rinse thoroughly for soft, smooth skin.
  3. Skin Cleanser–Mix 1/2 teaspoon Epsom salt with your regular cleansing cream. Massage into skin and rinse with cold water.
  4. Bath Crystals–Mix 2 cups Epsom salt with a few drops of fragrance or 1/2 teaspoon glycerin. Store in airtight container until ready to use.
  5. Blackhead Remover–Add 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt and 3 drops of iodine into 1/2 cup boiling water. Apply mixture to blackheads with a cotton ball.
  6. Hand Wash–Mix  equal parts of Epsom salt and baby oil; put in a dispenser by your sink to clean and soften hands.
  7. Hair Volumizer–Combine equal parts deep conditioner and Epsom salt and warm in a pan. Work the warm mixture through your hair and leave on 20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
  8. Remove Hairspray Buildup–Combine 1 gallon of water, 1 cup lemon juice, and 1 cup Epsom salt. cover mixture and let set for 24 hours. The next day, pour mixture onto dry hair; leave on for 20 minutes, then shampoo.
  9. Itchy Skin Remedy I–Mix 1 Tablespoon Epsom salt into 1/2 cup of water until completely dissolved. Spritz on itchy skin or bug bites with a spray bottle, or dab on with a cotton ball to help relieve itching. Or use as a compress on the skin area. Can also use on minor sunburns.
  10. Itchy Skin Remedy II–For mosquito bites, bee stings, mild sunburn and poison ivy, make compresses by soaking a cotton washcloth in cold water that has been mixed with Epsom salt (2 Tablespoons per cup). Then apply to skin.
  11. Foot Soak–Mix 1/2 cup  to 1 cup Epsom salt in a large pan or plastic tub of warm water and soak feet for 10 to 20 minutes–soothes achy feet, softens skin, smooths calluses and removes foot odor.
  12. Epsom Salt Pedicure–Mix 1/2 cup of Epsom salt with warm, soapy water; soak feet to soften skin; remove polish, cut and file nails and calluses; then soak feet in an Epsom salt bath for 5 minutes (use another 1/2 cup of Epsom salt in a large pan of water).
  13. Toenail Fungus Treatment–Soak affected toes in hot water mixed with a handful of Epsom salt three times a day.
  14. Splinter Remover–soak area in concentrated Epsom salt water to draw out splinter. Or, add enough water to 1/8 cup of Epsom salt to form a paste. Apply mixture to injured area and let sit for 10 minutes. The magnesium sulfate in this paste works to gently pull the splinter to the surface so you can pull it out easily.
  15. Bathroom Tile/Grout Cleaner–Mix equal parts Epsom salt and liquid dish soap; apply on dirty tiles and grout; scrub and rinse well.
  16. Slug Remover–Sprinkle Epsom salt on areas where you have a slug problem–on floors, patios, or garden beds–the salts will help deter slugs. It’s supposed to help keep raccoons away, too, if you have a problem with them!
  17. Fertilizer for House Plants–Add 2 Tablespoons Epsom salt per gallon of water and stir to dissolve. Fill a spray bottle with mixture and use this to feed plants once a month.
  18. Keep Lawn Green–Use same mixture as above, 2 Tablespoons Epsom salt per gallon of water, and sprinkle on your lawn to keep grass healthy and green. Or another tip says you can use 3 pounds of Epsom salt for every 1,250 square feet. Apply with a spreader or dilute the Epsom salt in water and use a sprayer.
  19. Natural Insecticide–Mix 2 Tablespoons of Epsom salt per gallon of water and spray onto your plants to safely and naturally get rid of insects like cabbage worms and spider mites. For roses, just use 1 Tablespoon per gallon of water to help discourage pests.
  20. Prep Garden Soil–Sprinkle up to 1 cup Epsom salt per 100 square feet, then work it into the soil before seeding or planting. This helps seeds to germinate better and helps mature plants transition when replanted. Note: If you’re growing the herb Sage, do not do this–sage does not like Epsom salt!
  21. For Tomato Plants–Add 1 to 2 Tablespoons of Epsom salt per hole before planting your tomato seeds or small plants. As plants mature, work in 1 Tablespoon per foot of plant height around the base of the tomato plant every 2 weeks.
  22. For Fruit– Mix Epsom salt with water at a ratio of about a quarter-cup of Epsom salt per 500 square feet when you irrigate your plants. Epsom salt supposedly reduces the amount of fertilizers you need and makes the fertilizers you use more effective in growing fruit.
  23. For Rose Bushes–Soak unplanted rose bushes in a mixture of 1/2 cup of Epsom Salt per gallon of water before planting to help roots get stronger. When planting, add 1 Tablespoon of Epsom Salt per hole before planting each rose bush. After planting, you can spray the bushes each month with the same liquid mixture (1/2 cup per gallon of water), or work into the soil at the base of each plant 1 Tablespoon of Epsom salt per foot (in height) of each plant. Another tip says to add 1 Tablespoon Epsom salt diluted in a gallon of water per foot of plant height every 2 weeks.
  24. For Trees–Work in 2 Tablespoons per 9 square feet into the soil over the root zone (or dilute in water and apply) three or four times a year, at the beginning of each season–this helps prepare the trees for the change in weather.
  25. For Shrubs (evergreens, azaleas, rhododendron)–Work in 1 Tablespoon per 9 square feet into the soil over the root zone every 2 to 4 weeks (or dilute the same amount of Epsom salt in water and apply).

The name Epsom comes from a bitter saline spring at Epsom in Surrey, England. It’s not actually salt, but a natural pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate.

I think I’ll be using Epsom Salt a lot more now that I know about the benefits it has…have you used Epsom salt for any of your beauty, household, or garden needs? Do you have any tips of your own for how to use it?

Sources: Epsom Salt Council and several other sites linked to within the post.

Linked to Inspire Me Monday, Anti-Procrastination Tuesday, Create and Inspire.

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookie Bars

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I was wanting to bake something that I could use my extra candy canes in, so I modified a chocolate chip recipe of mine, using dark chocolate chips and adding in some crushed candy canes. I decided to make these into cookie bars, so they’re really easy to make and bake. The dark chocolate and peppermint flavors combined with the cookie dough is a really yummy combination! The bars are nice and thick…they’re chewy on the inside, but also a little crispy on the outside. These are a great treat, whether you make them during or after the holidays…and if you don’t have any extra candy canes, you can use peppermint candies instead. Have them with some hot cocoa or coffee!

DARK CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT COOKIE BARS by NancyCreative

Makes a 9×13″ pan of cookie bars

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1 cup granulated (white) sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag (or 1 3/4 cups) dark chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup crushed peppermint candy canes (about 6 to 7 regular size) or peppermint candy
  • parchment paper, for lining your pan

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a 9×13″ baking pan with parchment paper; set aside.

In large bowl, cream butter, granulated (white) sugar, and light brown sugar until well blended. Beat in peppermint extract, vanilla extract, and eggs, blending everything well.

In medium bowl, stir together flour, salt, and baking soda. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, blending well. Stir in the dark chocolate chips and the crushed peppermint candy canes or candy, blending so these are evenly mixed into the dough. Note: The dough will be very thick and even crumbly, so it’s easier if you  use your hands to work the chocolate chips and crushed peppermint candy into the dough.

Pat dough evenly into your prepared 9×13″ baking pan. Even though the dough is crumbly, it will press together nicely in the pan. Bake at 350˚F for 20 to 22 minutes, or just until very lightly browned. Let bars cool completely in pan (or, if you want to eat these warm, cool for at least 10 minutes). Remove from pan by picking up edges of parchment paper and placing on a cutting surface. Cut into large or small  squares or bars.

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From the top, clockwise, here’s the dough… (1) patted in the pan before baking, (2) baked and fresh out of the oven, (3) lifted out of the pan by the parchment paper edges, and (4) being cut into squares.

You can cut these into squares or bars, big or small.

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It’s a great way to use those holiday candy canes or peppermint candies! Do you have a favorite candy cane recipe?

Linked to Christmas Cookie Swap at Katherine’s Corner.

Chocolate Peppermint Muffins with Peppermint Glaze

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Chocolate and peppermint is a great combination for the holidays! I was wanting to make a Christmasy kind of muffin, so I thought I’d experiment a little with chocolate and peppermint and I came up with this Chocolate Peppermint Muffin recipe. It’s very rich and chocolatey, with some mini semi-sweet chocolate chips added in for good measure! 😉 And it has a nice, mild peppermint flavor. Topped off with a peppermint glaze and crushed candy canes, this is more of a dessert muffin than a breakfast muffin…but if you want one for breakfast, go ahead…it’s Christmastime, after all! 🙂

CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT MUFFINS by NancyCreative

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 (6-ounce ) container plain or vanilla yogurt (or about 2/3 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s®)
  • 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Peppermint Glaze (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners; set aside.

In medium bowl, blend flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the yogurt, then add the vanilla and peppermint extracts, mixing well. Add the cocoa powder and blend everything well.

Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture, half the amount at a time, until well blended. Fold in the mini chocolate chips and stir just until the chocolate chips are evenly distributed in batter.

ncChocPepMufs1Spoon mixture into the 12 muffin liners (the muffin batter is thick, so you won’t be able to pour it!). Bake at 350˚F for 22-24 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (your toothpick may not come out totally clean because of the mini chips being in there–you may want to poke your muffin in a couple of places). Let muffins cool in pan for about 5 minutes, then remove to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

When these are completely cooled, you can add the peppermint glaze…

PEPPERMINT GLAZE

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons half and half (or milk)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
  • 3 regular-size candy canes, crushed (about 1/4 cup)

In medium bowl, blend the powdered sugar with the milk or half and half, stirring until smooth. Add the peppermint extract and blend well. This will be a thicker, creamy glaze. Top each muffin with a spoonful of glaze, then add the crushed candy canes on top…as much or as little as you want.

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There…don’t these look like Christmasy kind of muffins? It’s one of my new favorite flavors now…you just can’t go wrong with chocolate and peppermint!

Do you have a favorite holiday muffin recipe?

Peppermint Hot Cocoa

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This is a quick, easy treat you can enjoy on a cold day or evening during the holiday season. It’s always fun to use candy canes in recipes, too…they make everything seem more festive! This recipe is made with a packet of your favorite hot cocoa mix. Only you make it with milk instead of water, which gives you a hot cocoa that’s really rich and creamy. This recipe makes 1 mug of hot cocoa.

PEPPERMINT HOT COCOA

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 packet of your favorite hot cocoa mix (I used Nestle® Rich Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa)
  • a drop or two of peppermint extract (you don’t need much!)
  • a small candy cane, for garnish

Heat milk in microwave-safe mug for about 1 1/2 minutes or until hot. Remove from microwave and stir in packet of hot cocoa mix. Add a little drop or two of peppermint extract and blend well. Top with whipped cream and hook a little candy cane over the rim of your cup–you can stir the candy cane while you’re sipping the hot cocoa for some extra sweet, peppermint flavor!

Linked to Motivate Me Monday, Mouthwatering Monday, Tuesdays at the Table.