I wanted to do this last year but decided against it, for many reasons. This year, in my own kitchen, I wanted to do it again. I figure there’s nothing stopping me this time.

Over the next month, I intend to make twelve delightful and (hopefully) delicious Christmas treats. Cupcakes, cookies, candies – all will be included. It’s just my little way of celebrating the winter holidays. A lot of these are holiday traditions for my family – things like sugar cookies, peanut butter balls, and red velvet cake. Others are treats I’ve enjoyed making in recent years, like the gingernut cookies Heather and I love so much. And still others will be traditional favorites that I’ve never tried before, like gingerbread cake and some new cupcake flavors. (eggnog, anyone?)

I’m starting with these little cream cheese mints, which aren’t necessarily seasonal but can be festive-looking with a little effort.

They’re so green! I’m considering calling them “Grinch mints.”

With a lot of effort, they can be really festive, but a little was all I was willing to do. Also, I’d have to use a lot of red food coloring to get past the pink stage. I stuck with green. And I didn’t want to mess with any candy molds, so I just rolled them into little balls and squashed them with the bottom of a shot glass. Like I said, a little bit of effort is all that’s needed.

I’m getting ahead of myself again.

I know I’ve made these before, back when I was in high school or college, back when I was obsessed with making Christmas treats that took a lot of work, like hard candy and marzipan. (which I now totally want to make again, why did I even bring that up?) There really isn’t much to them. They’re a soft, creamy mint, and they don’t actually have to be mint-flavored. You can use whatever flavoring you want. Mint just happens to be a pretty common choice.

3 oz of cream cheese + 1 tablespoon of butter + 3 cups of powdered sugar + some peppermint extract. I used about a half a teaspoon of extract, but the nice thing about these is that you can adjust the flavoring as you like it. Mix it all up until it’s smooth and pliable.

I added a few drops of green gel food coloring. And then a couple more. I didn’t want them too pale. Mix all that in, and then you can get to rolling and smooshing! Or whatever.

I probaby made mine a little too big, but that’s okay. They can be whatever size. I think I got about 50 mints out of it, which is plenty for us. They’re a nice little treat after meals, though I can’t say that actually do much for your breath. They aren’t that minty (mine aren’t, anyway).

Let them harden for a couple of hours, and then you can stick them in the fridge, where they’ll keep for several weeks. Instead of smooshing them with something, you can stick the little balls into candy molds, which I’m sure is cute and adorable but requires cleaning candy molds, which I do not like to do.

Yeah, it’s a simple treat, but I feel that’s the best way to start this endeavor. Also, it’s still November, and I don’t want to get too deep into the Christmas-y stuff before December arrives. I am planning to make cupcakes this week, but I’ve been making weekly cupcakes for a long time now, so I’m okay with that. I’m continuing with the mint theme, but with a slight twist. I’m hoping all goes way and the result is a tasty, tasty cupcake.

A happy start of the holiday season to all of you. Whether you’re making holiday preparations now or waiting a few more weeks, I hope the season is a joyful one for you and yours!