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What to Watch, Read, Listen to, and Eat Over Christmas Break

From podcasts to Christmas albums, inspiring messages to delicious recipes, here are a few Bethel-related recommendations.

By Cherie Suonvieri '15, content specialist

December 22, 2020 | 9:30 a.m.

Cookie recipe from Bethel University alumna Stephanie Wise '08

Add the ingredients for these double-chocolate peppermint crunch cookies to your shopping list! Recipe and photo provided by food blogger Stephanie (Green) Wise ’08.

Christmas is nearly upon us, which for many means there’s a little more downtime on the horizon. Wherever you are this holiday season, we have some Bethel-related recommendations about what to watch, read, listen to, and eat over the holiday break.

 

What to Watch 

Bethel’s 64th Annual Festival of Christmas

The pandemic led to a unique opportunity for all who love Festival of Christmas. Instead of packing out Benson Great Hall this year, all were invited to watch the performance from the comfort of their homes—for free! The event aired on December 4, but is available for viewing online through December 31.

Chapel

In another positive spin on this season, because of the pandemic, all Bethel University Chapel services are streamed live and available for viewing after they air. Check out our latest series about the incarnation on Bethel University Chapel’s Vimeo page.

Roundtable Discussion on Seeking Truth in a “Post-Truth” World

A little bit of a throwback, as it was recorded in late 2017, but this roundtable discussion featuring six Bethel University faculty members discussing truth-seeking is as relevant as ever. Hear from experts in biology, philosophy, history, theology, and journalism on what it means for Christ-followers to live in a “post-truth” world.

What to Read 

Bethel Magazine

Check out the latest issue of Bethel Magazine for a comprehensive look at the Called to More campaign, self-care tips for life during a pandemic, a “get to know you” feature on President Ross and Annie Allen, alum news, and more!

An Advent Reflection

In the anticipation of Christmas at the end of a uniquely challenging year, take a moment to read this Advent reflection from Jeannine Brown, professor of New Testament at Bethel Seminary. Her words encourage readers to consider how waiting can change us for the better. 

Hello Goodbye

This one’s actually a read, watch, listen to combo. Hello Goodbye is a process of meaningful review and reflection on the past year, led by Stephanie Williams O’Brien, adjunct faculty member at Bethel Seminary, and author Jo Saxton. Visit the Lead Stories Media website to purchase the resource, watch the free online event, and listen to the podcast to guide you through Hello/Goodbye.

Bethel Seminary podcast logo

Bethel Seminary Whole & Holy podcast

What to Listen to

“Whole & Holy” Bethel Seminary Podcast

Through the “Whole & Holy” podcast, Bethel Seminary experts provide ministry leaders with knowledge and insight on current events and relevant topics. They speak into immediate concerns like a high-profile leadership failure, an act of violence, or a hot-button ministry topic that emerges seemingly overnight. 

“MistleFlow” by the Sota Boys

Almost anyone who was a student at Bethel in the early 2010s remembers the Sota Boys. The band featuring alumni BJ Skoog ’12, Brent Haglund ’10, and Jesse Johnson ’10 was popular across campus and beyond. Whether you’re looking to lean into some nostalgia or freshen up your Christmas playlist, check out their EP “MistleFlow” on Spotify.  

Channel 3900 Podcast Network

Check out the Channel 3900 podcast network which features professors from a variety of disciplines in the College of Arts & Sciences. They cover politics, literature, pop culture, spirituality, and more. 

“It Must Be Magic” - Christmas Single

To round out your Christmas playlist, add “It Must Be Magic” by alumni Brent Haglund ’10 and Chris Mason ’11. This catchy, heartfelt new single is available on Spotify.

Cookie

This chocolate dipped peanut butter sandwich cookie (center) is a twist on the classic peanut butter blossom cookie. Recipe provided by Megan Greulich Schoonover ’06. Photo courtesy of Groundswell.

What to Eat

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies

Recipe by alumna Megan Greulich Schoonover ’06, owner of Groundswell

For the cookies:

  • 1/2 lb. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups rolled oats 

For the frosting:

  • 1/4 lb. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • Generous 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Pinch of salt

To finish:

  • 1 bag good quality dark chocolate chips
  • Gold sugar sprinkles, or Christmas colored sanding sugar 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until its fluffy and pale in color (about 5 minutes). Beat in the peanut butter until well combined, stopping once to scrape the sides with a rubber spatula. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat in about half of these dry ingredients, stop and scrape the bowl, and beat in the remaining half until well combined.
  4. Beat in the rolled oats into the dough.
  5. Scoop dough using a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop. These cookies need to be as uniform as possible since they will be sandwiched together, so I highly recommend using a cookie scoop.
  6. Bake at 350°F for about 10 minutes. The edges of the cookies should appear set and golden brown. Set aside to cool.
  7. While the cookies are baking and cooling, make the frosting. Cream together the butter, peanut butter, powdered sugar, and salt in an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the heavy whipping cream and beat until it is pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  8. Flip half of your cookies upside down, and using your cookie scoop, scoop a generous dollop of frosting onto the center of each upside down cookie. Top with the other half of your cookies, pressing down gently until the frosting squeezes out onto the edges. If the edges of the cookies are messy with frosting, gently wipe clean with a rubber spatula or butter knife. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes so that the frosting sets, which will make them much easier to dip in chocolate.
  9. Once your cookies are chilled, melt your chocolate chips over a double boiler, or in short batches in the microwave at half power, until smooth. Dip half of each cookie sandwich in chocolate, place on parchment or wax paper, and immediately sprinkle with sanding sugar.

Double-Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies

Recipe by alumna Stephanie (Green) Wise ’08 of Girl Versus Dough

For the dark chocolate cookies:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the white chocolate buttercream frosting:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, divided
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips, melted and cooled slightly

For the topping:

  • Peppermint crunch sprinkles or crushed peppermint candies/candy canes
  • Sparkling sugar (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. First, make the cookies: In a large bowl using an electric hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on high speed 2 to 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Beat on high speed for another 3 minutes.
  3. In a separate large bowl, sift or whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt until well combined. Gradually stir flour mixture into butter mixture until just-combined.
  4. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour, but no longer than 24 hours.
  5. Remove dough from refrigerator; let sit 5 minutes, then use a cookie scoop or a spoon to roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls (1 1/2 tablespoons each). Place dough balls on prepared cookie sheet spaced 2 inches apart (you’ll have to bake in batches, so refrigerate extra dough while cookies are baking). Press down dough balls to flatten slightly.
  6. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges of cookies are dry and tops begin to crack. Remove cookies from oven; press down with back of a cookie spatula to flatten tops of cookies. Cool cookies 5 minutes on cookie sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  7. Next, make the frosting: In a large bowl with an electric hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and 1/2 cup powdered sugar on high speed 4 to 5 minutes or until very light and fluffy. Gradually beat in melted chocolate on medium speed until just combined. Beat in remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar on high speed 1 to 2 minutes or until frosting is fluffy and smooth.
  8. Finally, decorate the cookies: Use an offset spatula to frost each cookie with approximately 1 tablespoon of frosting. Top with peppermint crunch and sparkling sugar as desired. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.

Edited for length. Find the full recipe and blog post online.

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