Monday, December 16, 2013

Chocolate Peppermint Mini Whoopie Pies

My fiancé and I finally finished our Christmas shopping this weekend. Well, we have a few tiny things to do last minute and we have to cross our fingers that the mailing gods are smiling upon us so that our nephews' toys arrive in a timely manner. But other than that, we are done! Either way, it got me to thinking it might be fun to share some last minute gift ideas for people like me.

Last Minute Gift Ideas for the Cyclist (or Outdoor Enthusiast!) in Your Life

Face mask: It gets cold out there and research shows that windburn can age your skin just as much as sunburn! Well, you get the wrinkles, but not the cancer. Either way, you can avoid this by covering as much skin as possible on the bitter days.

Heavy Duty Lotion: Same idea as the first one, except to help their face recover when they come indoors. Good face cream is expensive though, so it makes a great gift! You could also go with gifting some coconut oil, which is a great skin protector. I haven't gotten windburn once while wearing it!

Neoprene Booties or Socks: Every cyclist north of the Mason-Dickson line, or heck... even the tropic of cancer can use a good pair of neoprene booties! If they already have one pair, chances are they are ripped somewhere or your friend has been hoping for the chance to double-up. Yes, two pairs are really better than one! If you're buying for a runner/ rower/ skiier, I have and highly recommend these neoprene socks. Especially for the booties, choosing at least 3mm thick neoprene will give optimal warmth.

Coffee/ Tea Thermos: Having a hot beverage around is a game changer for long days in sub-freezing temperatures. My personal favorite is this one, which keeps the coffee hot for hours and can be purchased at Walmart for <$10. (Mine broke a month ago. Just as it was getting cold, sad!) Some of my friends swear by this one, that fits in a water bottle cage and features a one-finger trigger to open, which means that warm coffee can be consumed while you're rolling.

Gloves (for cyclists or runners), a sweat-wicking winter hat, and good wool socks will all also be appreciated!

Anyways, back to business... remember these Gluten-Free Oreos? Well, I revisited them with some peppermint. I was going to do my Christmas cookie tins this year as standard chocolate chip, but these turned out so well that I changed my plans and decided to pass this goodness along instead. The number of chocolate peppermint recipes in December is still trailing the number of pumpkin recipes I posted in November, but I am trying hard!

Chocolate Peppermint Mini-Whoopie Pies

Chocolate Cookies

1c quick cook rolled oats
1T cornstarch
1/3c cocoa powder
1/4c brown sugar
1/2t baking powder
1/2c vanilla almond milk
1/4c canola oil
1/8t vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F. Food process rolled oats and cornstarch to make a fine powder. In a large bowl, mix oat flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, brown sugar, and baking powder. Add the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. Drop spoonfuls onto a grease baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes, until cookies are set through (i.e. the middle of the cookie is solid to the touch).

Peppermint Icing

1/4c Earth Balance soy-free buttery spread
1/8t vanilla
1T peppermint schnapps (or 1t peppermint extract)
2 candy canes, finely crushed in a coffee grinder
1 candy cane, coarsely crushed
2c powdered sugar
2T vanilla almond milk

Cream earth balance, vanilla, and schnapps using an electric mixer. Add candy canes, then sugar in half cup increments miming thoroughly after each addition. After last 1/2 cup of sugar is added, add the almond milk to thin it out. 

Put it Together: Don't be impatient... let the cookies cool! Then spread one cookie with a generous amount of icing and top with a second cookie. Enjoy immediately, or wait a few hours to let the icing set.

Final point of business...  the winner of the Chocolate Cinnamon Sunflower Seeds is...

Commenter #4, Becky! Thanks to everyone who participated, I hope to give you something soon!

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