Forever’s Holiday Celebration Blog Tour
‘Tis the season to celebrate! Five of Forever’s authors with brand new Christmas romances are sharing their favorite holiday recipes and memories.
CAROLYN BROWN’S PUMPKIN BREAD
This makes 2 loaves and 8 muffins; Or it makes one Bundt cake
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup shortening
- 2 2/3 cups of sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups canned pumpkin (one 15-16 ounce can)
- 3 ½ cups flour
- 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons soda
- 1 cup pecans (optional)
- 2/3 cup of cold strong black coffee
1. Cream first four ingredients.
2. Add canned pumpkin.
3. Add dry ingredients alternately with coffee
4. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour for loaves or bundt cake, 25 minutes for muffins, or until they test done in the center.
5. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.
6. Cool completely before frosting with Harvest Moon Frosting (below).
HARVEST MOON FROSTING
- 3 egg whites
- 1½ cups brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons water
- Pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Find out more about Carolyn Brown at her website.
PAULA QUINN’S CHRISTMAS COOKIES
My dad used to live across the street from us. Every year, when my kids were little, he would dress up like Santa, climb out his window on the second floor, and hang Christmas lights on his fire escape. My kids would watch from our window with wonder in their eyes, unaware that it was grandpa. He would turn and wave to them, sending them into little fits of breathlessness. Later, we would visit grandma and grandpa’s for homemade cookies (left there for them by Santa). The house was always fully decked out with every Christmas decoration imaginable with Alvin and the Chipmunks on repeat while the kids hunted down little “pre-Christmas” gifts he’d hide for them. I loved witnessing the magic of Christmas and love through their eyes. Now grown, my kids will sometimes still look out the window at his fire escape and smile, remembering a grandpa who loved them beyond measure.
GRANDPA’S CHRISTMAS COOKIES (A favored Italian recipe)
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3½ cups flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
2. Cream butter and sugar, beat in eggs; add vanilla and dry ingredients.
3. Knead and add flour as needed to keep dough from sticking to hands.
4. Pinch off dough, roll in your hands to form a log and then twirl into shape.
5. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.
- 2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 teaspoons water
Find out more about Paula Quinn at her website.
DEBBIE MASON TREE TRIMMING PARTY
One of my family’s favorite holiday traditions is our tree trimming party. We’ve held one every year for the past thirty years. Though I don’t know if it qualifies as a party seeing as it’s just the immediate family. But we do make a thing of it with our favorite carols playing in the background, fire on (mostly for ambiance), hot chocolate served in festive mugs, lots of holiday treats, and a special ornament for each of the kids and grand-kids to open before the tree decorating gets under way.
But I think the most fun for all of us isn’t decorating the tree, it’s unpacking the ornaments. I’ve always tried to buy an ornament that’s uniquely suited to each of the kids, whether it was a sport they were into that year or a movie, book, or hobby they loved, so unwrapping each one brings back a lot of special memories. Here’s a peek at just some of the collection. I don’t think it will be long before we have to break from tradition and let the kids take some of the ornaments home to decorate their own trees. Either that or we’ll have to put up another tree.
And this one in my office doesn’t count☺ Every year, my family gifts me with an ornament too. This year they gave me these three adorable ornaments to celebrate the release of the first book in the new Harmony Harbor series, MISTLETOE COTTAGE, and the short story, CHRISTMAS WITH AN ANGEL.
Find out more about Debbie Mason at her website.
HOPE RAMSAY’S GINGERBREAD COOKIES
Every year for the last quarter-century, or possibly longer, I have set aside the Saturday closest to Christmas to bake gingerbread cookies with my children, and now, with my grandchildren. These are the only cookies I make at Christmas time, and the activity is more about family fun than turning out a perfect cookie. Usually I do most of the rolling, cutting, and baking. And the rest of the family does the decorating.
The magic is in the royal icing. The white icing is a snap to make, and it can be divided up into small bowls and colored with food dye, creating pots of colored cookie paint. I give each child (or adult) a watercolor paint brush and let them paint the icing onto the cookies. The kids have a blast, and the cookies always come out looking wonderfully homemade.
To me, cookie baking embodies everything I love about Christmas: kids, family, baking, and yummy desserts.
GINGERBREAD COOKIE DOUGH
Makes about 6 Dozen
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Dutch cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- 1 egg at room temperature
- ½ cup unsulphured molasses
2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and beat thoroughly.
3. On low speed, add the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined.
4. Cut the dough into thirds, pat into disks, wrap in plastic and chill until firm – 2 hours or overnight.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough about 1/16 inch thick and cut cookies with cookie cutters. Transfer the cookies to an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the edges of the cookie turn brown.
6. Let cool on sheets and then transfer to a wire rack. Decorate with royal icing.
- 2 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 pound confectioners sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup water
Find out more about Hope Ramsay at her website.
OLIVIA MILES SNOWFLAKE COOKIES
In my newest release, CHRISTMAS COMES TO MAIN STREET, my heroine owns a cookie bakery. As this story takes place over the holidays, I thought hard about a signature cookie she might make, and eventually I settled on charming snowflake cookies. Of course these are not just any old cut out cookie, though. No, Kara makes them by the dozen, sure to keep each one in the batch distinct in shape and decoration, because no two snowflakes are ever the same, after all! And it’s these snowflake cookies that she delivers every day to the inn in Briar Creek…where a Christmas visitor falls in love with more than just her cookies.
I hope you all enjoy these snowflake cookies as much as Nate does! ☺
KARA’S SNOWFLAKE COOKIES
(sugar cookie cut-out and royal icing recipes courtesy of Martha Stewart)
- 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Divide dough in half; flatten each half into a disk. Wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds. Let one disk of dough stand at room temperature just until soft enough to roll, about 10 minutes. Roll out dough between two pieces of plastic wrap to 1/4 inch thick. Remove top layer of plastic wrap. Cut out cookies. Transfer cookie dough on plastic wrap to a baking sheet. Transfer baking sheet to freezer, freeze until very firm, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet from freezer and transfer shapes to baking sheets lined with nonstick baking mats. Roll out scraps, and repeat. Repeat with remaining disk of dough.
4. Bake, switching positions of sheets and rotating halfway through, until edges turn golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.
- 2 large egg whites, or more to thin icing
- 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar, or more to thicken icing
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3 drops glycerin
Find out more about Olivia Miles at her website.