Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

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Chocolate Peppermint Cookies Recipe Courtesy of HarrisonHouseSuites.com, Friday Harbor WA

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies Recipe Courtesy of HarrisonHouseSuites.com, Friday Harbor WAMakes approximately 36 3-inch cookies

 

½ lb Dark chocolate, chopped

1 cup European unsalted butter, chopped

2 cup Brown sugar

2 Eggs

½ cup Heavy cream

2 tsp Peppermint extract

3½ cup All-purpose flour

1 tsp Baking powder

½ tsp Finely ground sea salt

1½ cup White chocolate chips

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place chopped chocolate and butter in a metal bowl over a pot of just simmering water. Make sure the bowl is not in contact with the water. Stir periodically until the chocolate and butter are melted.
  2. Cream brown sugar and eggs with the paddle attachment of a standing mixer until smooth and pale in color. Add cream and peppermint extract; mix well, scraping the bowl as needed to ensure the batter is evenly combined.
  3. Add the chocolate butter mixture; mix until just combined, scrape the bowl.
  4. Add the flour in increments, mixing and scraping between. Stop when fully incorporated.
  5. Add white chocolate chips and mix until combined.
  6. Refrigerate dough until firm enough to handle, about 1 hour. Portion into desired size, and bake at 350 degrees 9-12 minutes until edges are set. Err on the side of underdone as the cookies will continue to bake on the cookie sheet after being removed from oven.

Triple Chocolate Variation: Substitute 1 tsp vanilla extract for the peppermint extract, and use a combination of white and semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Gluten Free Variation:  Substitute your favorite GF flour blend and add 1 tsp xanthan gum.

Suggested Do-It-Yourself Gluten-Free Blend: 2 parts sweet rice flour, 1 part brown rice flour, 1 part quinoa flour, 2 parts sorghum flour, and 1 part oat flour. Make a large batch to keep in your pantry. We do not recommend including the xanthan gum as part of the GF mix, as different doughs require different amounts.

For our other cookie recipe this month, see our blog post Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies with Pecans and Cherries. Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal & Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Christmas Soaps Back In Stock

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Christmas Ornament Soap Cropped

Christmas Ornament Soap CroppedBack in our Gift Shop, just in time for the holidays: Christmas ornament shaped soaps. These cruelty-free large soaps are hand-crafted by our private soap maker, in seasonal scents of Winter Thyme and Winter Tide. These make nice gifts when you want “just a little something” for someone: co-worker, postal carrier, salon stylist, neighbor, favorite ferry ticket taker – you know who they are.

We have a limited supply on hand, ready to ship. Each soap weighs 4 ounces and sells for $4.95 plus tax.

To order, contact Beth, our Guest Services Coordinator, 360.378-2783 or Beth@TuckerHouse.com.

A Peek Behind the Scenes of a Friday Harbor B&B

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A Peek Behind the Scenes of a Friday Harbor B&B

A Peek Behind the Scenes of a Friday Harbor B&B

Head Housekeeper Elsa Lopez guides a tablecloth into the old mangle.

At the Inns, sometimes it seems like we are all on stage, trying to ensure that we do our best for the many guests who visit us in Friday Harbor. More than not, unbeknownst to guests, there is a lot of thought, discussion, trial and error that goes into each little facet of our service. Here is a rare peek behind the curtain for you:

We like starched sheets, but it seems we’re in a minority. Responding to feedback from guests, we decided to forgo the starch, but that created a new problem: how to get the sheets perfectly smooth. Head housekeeper Elsa Lopez, who’s been with us for nine years, came up with the brilliant solution of pulling the sheets from the dryers when they are still just slightly damp. That gives the fabric enough moisture to lay flat and crisp up a bit when going through the mangle.

A Peek Behind the Scenes of a Friday Harbor B&B

Sisters Elsa Lopez and Janeth Lopez demonstrate how to run an over-size tablecloth through the mangle, folded to fit it’s width.

Ah, the mangle! Now that’s a canterkerous piece of equipment, though I suppose anyone would be at that age. Parts are hard to come by, and belts snap more than we’d like, but we can’t seem to part with this venerable machine. After ironing the pillowcases by hand for two years, a used mangle seemed like a good purchase in 2006 when the neighborhood dry cleaner wanted to replace it with a larger model.

At about eight feet long, it takes two people to run it, one on each side carefully feeding the cloth over the belts. The cloth rolls back over the upper belts and comes through to the front on the lower belt. The process takes about a full minute per item, but the item may have to be run through several times, depending on how wrinkled it is. With full Inn capacity at 65 beds (top sheets, fitted sheets, pillowcases), plus tablecloths and napkins for both the Garden Room Cafe and Coho Restaurant, the housekeepers make ironing a twice-daily priority in summer and once-per-day in winter. The mangle gets turned on when they first arrive in the morning, allowing it time to heat up; then they can do the ironing while guests are having breakfast, so that fresh sheets are available when housekeeping staff tends to the rooms.

A Peek Behind the Scenes of a Friday Harbor B&B

Weaving a pin through the belt clasps for a tight fit.

This behemoth mangle requires propane to operate, and it heats up the room rapidly; after two hours of ironing, the room gets too hot and housekeepers need to move on to other projects. They have become adept at repairing the ancient belts, weaving a pin through the clasps at the ends of the belts to ensure a tight fit, and they know its quirks and sounds like some long-married couples.

A Peek Behind the Scenes of a Friday Harbor B&B

Old and new belts intermingle.

The old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be, but we’ll keep her, just the same. We are grateful to our housekeeping staff for keeping the old girl going, and our quest to reduce, reuse, recycle as much as possible continues in every phase of the business, seen and unseen. A Peek Behind the Scenes of a Friday Harbor B&B

Other than in commercial use, mangles are rarely seen these days. Have you used a mangle? Do you remember your mother or grandmother using a mange?

Friday Harbor B&B Uses Guest Comments to Plan Winter Projects

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House Repair Tools

Friday Harbor B&B Uses Guest Comments to Plan Winter ProjectsHousekeepers, Innkeepers, Office staff – we all read those feedback forms that you, our guests, kindly take time to complete. It is from these forms that we learn what we’re doing right, where we need to tweak, and occasionally some great ideas to implement.

During the busy summer months, Friday Harbor is awash with visitors and it’s all we can do to keep up with the daily comings and goings of houses full of visitors. So winter is our time to focus on your suggestions and improvements that we want to make.

On this years line-up for Harrison House Suites:

  • Full length mirrors have been added to all rooms and suites
  • Frosted glass has been installed in several rooms of the San Juan Suite
  • Lopez Suite will also get a new shower/tub combination
  • Roche Harbor Suite is getting a new fireplace next week

You may be aware, Friday Harbor is full of old houses, and some of our buildings are well past the centenarian mark. As in all old houses, one seemingly minor change typically leads to deeper corrections such as old pipes, electrical wires, walls, and even foundation sometimes need to be fixed as well. So these are just a few of the things we’ll be working on this winter.

But we wanted to thank you for bringing these items up on the feedback forms, and for your continued referrals and positive reviews. We’ll keep working for you!

Beth’s Helpful Household Tips: Cleaning Hard Water Stains without Caustic Substances

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Pomice StoneSince the Town of Friday Harbor installed a new carbon filter system in the town water reservoir, the quality of the water has improved dramatically. They no longer need to douse the supply with high amounts of chlorine and chemicals. As a result, the water seems “softer” than before, and certainly tastes much better.

At the Inns, all the drinking water is run through reverse osmosis systems, and the building in which the Garden Room Cafe is located is served by a water softener system. So hard water stains are never a problem.

Not so for those on wells in the surrounding countryside of San Juan Island. Unless they have a water softening system in their home, the minerals in the water can create stains within just a couple of weeks, requiring diligent scrubbing.

Beth, our Guest Services Coordinator, is the Queen of Clean, so I sought her advice to tackle the hard water stains in our toilet bowls. Beth says she uses a pumice stone, the same type you’d use on your feet, knees, elbows, or other dry body parts. There are other stones that are labeled as scrubbing sticks, but they are more coarse and harsh, and they disintegrate rapidly.

First, soak the pumice stone in a bowl of hot water for 15 minutes; this will soften the pumice, making it work in a few minutes. Concentrate your scrubbing on the stain itself; this should not scratch the porcelain bowl. You can use baking soda, or lemon juice if there is still a stain from well water. Using reduced vinegar may work also. To sanitize the stone after cleaning, Let the stone sit in a bowl of boiling water for five minutes.

The vinegar is a good way to rinse every couple of months, to keep it looking clean, and you may like to use an old toothbrush under the toilet rim around the holes.

Voila! No more ugly stains!

The hard-working trinity of baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar have become standard staples in many San Juan Island homes, as more and more people become attuned to the effects of harsh chemicals on our environment. But we’re curious, are there other non-chemical solutions that you’ve tried? If so, our comments are open; we welcome your input.

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275 C Street Friday Harbor WA 98250 | 360.378.2783 or 800.965.0123 © Harrison House Suites | Photography: Michael Bertrand Photographer & Others
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