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Baked With Love

Letting Traditions Create Lasting Memories To Be Cherished

Article by Desiree Gustafson

Photography by Allyson West of Ally Dee Photography

Originally published in Windsor City Lifestyle

Traditions, especially during the holidays are often some of the things that create lasting memories, showing us that the seemingly small things sometimes carry the most weight. Passed down from generation to generation, these traditions create a ripple effect and become cherished memories and activities with enhanced meaning. Much like Mamaw’s green chili recipe, Papaw’s advice for aiming your bow, or a hand-made quilt; they offer a comfort in home, connection, and a sense of belonging that we so often find peace and solace in.

One such tradition for the Chapmon family is baking. Baking has long been a holiday tradition for their family for as far back as they can remember, from their Mamaw in her eighties to her teenage granddaughters.  Every holiday, no matter how small, features an abundance of desserts and treats big enough to rival the main course full meal. To them, baking, cooking, and sharing food is a way to express their love and enhance the quality time spent together.

Focused on baking, every season they organize an annual cookie exchange. Varying from year to year, it can encompass a whole day of baking cookies together, decorating sugar or gingerbread cookies, or sometimes it includes a little bit of both. Typically, each family member will make 2-4 types of cookies, brownies, or truffles and one big batch of cut-out sugar cookies. They set a date and time and spend one whole day together decorating all the sugar cookies. Their aim is to make this day about laughter, creating, and spending quality time with the ones they love the most. They then put together cookie boxes with a mix of all the cookies each family member brought and baked to share, coupled with the sugar cookies they decorated together. Baked, decorated, and boxed with love and community, they then share the treats with their families, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. The focus for this event, centered around quality time, is characteristic of how they approach life, celebration, and family. 

Finding the traditions in even the small things can ground us, bring us back to our center, and remind us of where we come from. We learn to focus on the things that really matter to us and as we head into the holiday season, we pray you will aim at creating memories in all the moments you’re offered, being present with the ones you love, and viewing those traditions as something special to be revered.



  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, (scoop and level to measure)  
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (scoop and level to measure) 
  • 1 tsp baking soda  
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened about halfway (It should be fairly firm still) 
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 16 oz. white chocolate, broken or chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely crushed peppermint bits  


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with silicone liners or parchment paper.

2. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt for 20 seconds. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until well combined. 

4. Mix in eggs one at a time then blend in vanilla extract and peppermint extract.

5. With mixer set on low speed slowly add in flour mixture and mix just until combined.

6. Scoop dough out by a rounded tablespoon (about 25 grams each) and shape into balls (if dough is sticky, you can chill as needed but mine wasn't sticky at all).

7. Space on cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Flatten cookies slightly. 

8. Bake one sheet at a time in preheated oven about 8 minutes (cookies should appear slightly under-baked). 

9. Let cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes then transfer to an airtight container to fully cool. 

10. Once cookies are cool, melt white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl on 50% power in 30 second increments, stirring between intervals until melted and smooth. 

11. Dip half of each cookie in white chocolate then transfer to parchment paper and sprinkle with peppermint bits. Chill to let chocolate set about 10 minutes. 

12. Store cookies in an airtight container.

  • Family enjoying tradition
  • Decorating Sugar Cookies
  • Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
  • Tying Cookie Boxes
  • Kiera Chapmon decorating her Maple Cookies