With Christmas around the corner and Santa coming in town, these delicious and decadent, with a sophisticated flavor, Peppermint Hazelnut Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, would be a great treat for you and people around you!But first of all, I’d like to say that you guys seem to have great Christmas memories. It’s been really a pleasure to read your recent posts. Unfortunately, I do not have so many charming stories.
But first of all, I’d like to say that you guys seem to have great Christmas memories. It’s been really a pleasure to read your recent posts. Unfortunately, I do not have so many charming stories.
That is probably because I grew up in Russia where the main winter holiday was New Year. Orthodox Christmas which takes place in January is a more religious holiday, and we would never really celebrate it.
All right. I might have some memories – most of them are vague, though. I remember one visit of a Russian version of Santa Claus (Compared to our Santa, Russian used to visit children at daylight. Weird, isn’t it?) Besides, the Russian version of Santa in the 1980th didn’t treat himself with cookies and milk. I bet he would sample some vodka or other strong alcohol. Otherwise, I cannot explain why Russian Santa stopped by our house a couple of times being….mmmm…not really sober. Damn, I love our Santa snacking on cookies and milk. At least, it’s kind of cute. And at least, if Santa is stuffed with the treats, and won’t grab my biscuits, I could eat them. I don’t like vodka.
I remember another chapter of my life. That was mid of the 1990th, and my parents, their friends (a family couple), and myself were having a tradition for a few winters. We went to our country cottage either in the beginning of December or beginning of January. But don’t get this world, “cottage”, twisted, my friends. That wasn’t exactly that thing you might have just imagined. First of all, that village didn’t have the electricity. Secondly, it didn’t have water in winter (except the lake which was located 10 minutes walk). Enough said.
Oh, did I mention that even though we had a car, it was absolutely useless in winter? The roads around (and by “around” I mean few miles) weren’t being cleaned at all. Needless to say, 20 years ago we weren’t experiencing so strongly all these climate changes, and those winters were real, with the harsh weather, snows, and whiteouts.
So we needed to take a train and then walked for about 5 kilometers. Could you imagine the road covered in the crystal clear snow and surrounded with the dark forests? The snow was so immaculately white and sparkling that paired with the moon, it was the great source of the light.
Silent night. Just sound of the creaking snow. And howling of the wolfes.
But the idea was to have another Christmas time. It was called a rehearsal of New Year (if in December) or Farewell to the holiday season (if in January). They were real little holidays, with a Christmas tree, fireworks, sparkling wine being chilled in the snow, candles (not because of the romantic ambiance but cause of lack of power), some delicious treats, snowballs, and snowman. Cold nights, crispy snow, clear night sky, and beautiful stars. And importantly, no other people around. Oh my goodness, I might have loved those moments even more that New Year!
Am I being too romantic? There’s one legend in my family. I call it a legend because I was too small to remember it and thus, I cannot fully agree on that it really happened. Those years most of the Russian families used to have a tradition to hang some fresh mandarines on the low branches of their trees. I don’t know the reason. That might have been related to the old tradition to have some edible ornaments due to luck or costliness of the Christmas ornaments. Besides, in the 1980th mandarines weren’t a ubiquitous thing in the USSR. Actually, the people could find them just a very few times in a year if not only around New Year. So mandarines were kind of the desired product in each family, and they were totally associated with New Year and a Christmas tree. Besides, the aromas of a spruce and citruses fantastically go well together. Not to mention the idea that ideally those mandarins were supposed to be on the trees up to New Year.
Anyways, our family used to have that tradition as well. However, one year it was almost ruined by an anonymous. Once my family noticed that one or few mandarins were damaged – squeezed and chewed, with a discarded peel. Kind of work of an orange vampire if they existed. My older sister was questioned and decided she wasn’t guilty. And I do believe in that cause she has always been a very accurate person to leave the peels.
That situation repeated few times. Basically, the family was about to celebrate New Year without any mandarins! Then, all of a sudden, according to the
official version legend the culprit was caught. Believe it or not, that was me. I didn’t walk yet, and once they saw the whole process of the crime. I slid down from the sofa to the floor (the sofa was low) and crawled to the tree where I grabbed a mandarine with my hands and dig into its skin with my teeth (I wasn’t very advanced to peel it yet). Then I squeezed it to get the juice and the flesh spitting out the peels.
Well, I hardly can imagine myself doing that. It might be just a legend.
By the way, I really like mandarines:)
All right, you are probably tired of all these stories so I won’t be too long describing these fabulous chewy Peppermint Hazelnut Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. When Andrey was picking the Christmas recipes, he opted for the chocolate crinkle cookies but asked for a more vibrant flavor. Peppermint, sure. However, while making the dough, I found the bottle of the hazelnut emulsion which I had never used. Perfect! That’s one of the most favorite Andrey’s combos. He often orders coffee flavored with both these aromas. Needless to say, the cookies turned out great!
You should definitely try these Peppermint Hazelnut Chocolate Crinkle Cookies as soon as possible. They’re magical. I mean, if my parents had hung them on our tree those years, I might have started to run really quickly:)
What’s your favorite Christmas memories from your childhood? Have you ever tried the combo of peppermint and hazelnut? And the most important question, do you believe I was guilty of eating those mandarines?
And lastly, Merry Christmas, my friends!