Peppermint Crunch Chocolate Chip Cookies {for Sandy Hook}

December 21, 2012

This post is in honor and support of the victims of Sandy Hook.  Bloggers unite on this day in support of the Newtown, Connecticut community after the tragic elementary school shooting one week ago, 12/14/12.

There's probably not a soul on the planet who hasn't heard of the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School one week ago today.  And, like many, I want to help.  If even in just a tiny way.  So I join forces with a group of bloggers who decided to unite on this day with 'Cookies & Crafts for Sandy Hook.'

While this post is but a small tribute to the victims and their families, it's big in heart.

When I first sat down to write this, I was at a total loss as to what to say.  Quite honestly, most of what I would like to say are ugly words directed toward the perpetrator of this completely senseless act.  But ... I guess that's not really productive.

So, I'll leave my personal reaction at this ...

I am sickened by the shooter's taking of 26 innocent lives.  I am heartbroken for the families of those who lost loved ones at Sandy Hook that day.  And I am angered by the stealing of the innocence of those beautiful children left to deal with what they witnessed and experienced that day in their school.

As a first grade teacher in a small town in North Carolina, I will, instead of sharing my own perspective on the shooting, share with you today the reaction through the eyes of my first graders.

Our students arrived at school on Monday after the shooting, as did the majority of students across our nation, to police presence on the school grounds and to a planned practice of lockdown procedures.

As I always do on days we have planned lockdown or fire drill practice, I set aside a few minutes of our 'morning meeting' to let my students know about the practice and to 'refresh' our memories about our procedures.  But today's discussion was different.  Today, I was nervous.  Today, I was nervous as to what their reaction to the shooting would be.  Today, I was nervous about what their questions would be.  Today, I was nervous about finding the right way to respond.

I decided to let their 'chatter' drive the direction of the discussion.  And I decided honesty ... without detail .... was the 'right' way to respond.  I affirmed their understandings of the tragedy.  I assured them we were safe.  And we framed our conversation around the tenets of our classroom culture ... showing respect, showing kindness, and making good choices.

"Mrs. Harrelson, did you hear that someone shot some people in a school on Friday?" the conversation began.  "Yes, I did sweetheart.  We teachers actually had a meeting about it Friday after school."

"Did you know they shot first graders, just like us??"  they continued.  "Yes, sweetheart, I did.  That wasn't a good choice, was it?"

"No!" they responded in unison.  "That was mean!"

"That person was being a bully," another chimed in.  "Yes, darling, he certainly was being a bully.  Was he showing respect?"

And out came another resounding "No!" from my adorable, sweet students.

"Should we ever make a choice like that one?"

"No!  We should be nice.  We should be respectful to everybody."  {They warm my heart every day.}

"That's right.  We absolutely should.  Unfortunately, sometimes there are mean people out there.  So, just like we have before, we need to practice what we would do if there was a mean person at our school ... which there wooooon't be," I say in my overly-dramatic kinda-funny way that makes them laugh and breaks any 'tension' or worry ... "but we need to still know what to do juuuuuuuuust in case, right?"

"Right!" they say, enthusiastically.

And as I looked out at them sitting criss-cross-applesauce on our classroom carpet in their neat little semi-circle rows in front of me, I couldn't help but think that an entire class ... just like them ... had just senselessly been taken from this world.

We proceeded to 'play hide-and-seek from a mean person,' as our class refers to a lockdown.  And then .... they were ready to move on.  No more questions.  No more mentions.  No worry.

And I so wish we could all join them.  In moving on.  With no more questions.  And no worry.  But, alas, I don't think we can.

The community of Newtown, Connecticut, continues to be in my prayers.  Please hold them in yours, too.

Peppermint Crunch Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source:  A merging of Peppermint Crush Cookies from and Peppermint Crunch-Milk Chocolate Cookies from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody
(Printable recipe)
1 c. unsalted butter
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 3/4 c. self-rising flour*
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. Andes Peppermint Crunch baking chips (if you can't find the baking chips, crush Andes Peppermint Crunch candies; about 12 candies make 1 c.)

1.  Combine butter, sugar, and brown sugar; beat until combined.  Add eggs and vanilla extract; beat until just combined.

2.  Add flour and salt; mix until just combined.  Stir in chocolate chips and Andes Peppermint Crunch.

3.  Scoop dough with a small cookie scoop, or drop by small spoonfuls onto a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until puffy and light golden in color.

Makes approximately 3 dozen, depending on the size of your cookies.

*If you don't have self-rising flour on hand, here's how to make your own using all-purpose flour.



  1. Thank you for being one of our hero educators. My best to you, your family and your students this Christmas. Peace, joy and love to all.

  2. It absolutely breaks my heart that you had to have that conversation. Thank you for all you do!

  3. Hugs to all the kids and YOU!!!!!

    1. Come visit and give the kids that hug LIVE! :-) (Oh, and me, too.)

  4. Once again, I am in tears, but not tears of sadness. Tears of hope! Thank you for what you do!

    1. Well, Brianne ... If I'm going to make you cry, I'm glad it was at least in a little bit of a 'good' way. Loved the tribute you did on your blog.


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