May the new year find you healthy, wealthy, and wise. Happy New Year and have a wonderful 2018!
Most of these (with the exception of the Candy Cane Cookies) are kid-friendly when it comes to baking and cooking, so give them a try!
And if you are reading this before December 31, 2017, don’t forget to download your free copy of 12 DATES FOR CHRISTMAS for over a dozen family-favourite holiday recipes, and sneak peeks at twelve holiday romances – including DECKER AND JOY and HOLLIS AND IVY.
So far we’ve made two batches. I don’t know how they disappear so quickly. Fortunately, they are very easy (and kid-friendly) to make.
Boiled Chocolate Drops AKA Chocolate Haystacks
1/2 cup butter or margarine (125mL)
1/2 cup milk (125mL)
2 cups granulated sugar (500mL)
1/2 cup cocoa (125mL)
2 1/2 cups rolled/quick oats (625mL)
Put first 4 ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 5 full minutes.
Remove from heat. Stir in rolled oats. Drop by teaspoon full onto trays covered with waxed paper. Let harden. Makes 4 dozen.
Coconut fans can replace 1/2 cup of oats with 2/3 cup of coconut.
These harden quickly, so get them onto the tray ASAP.
(The recipe books says is great for first-time cooks, and they are. Easy and quick to make – there is no downtime to get bored.)
1 cup soft butter (salted)
1/2 cup icing sugar (confectioner’s/powdered sugar)
1 1/2 cups flour (sifted)
1/4 cup cornstarch
Maraschino cherries or slivered almonds
Put butter in mixing bowl. Sift other ingredients every top. Beat at high speed until creamy*.
Drop by teaspoon full on to tray and decorate with a piece of cherry or almond.
Bake at 325 F for 12 minutes.
Notes from Elle
* My recipe actually says “Beat at high speed until consistency changes. You’ll know it when you see it.” It sounds like terrible instructions, but if you are beating it and say “nope, it looks the same” then it hasn’t changed. For some reason, I think it takes 20+ minutes of beating (my mom used at hand mixture.) When the texture goes from cookie dough, to like whipped cream, you’ve got it! I’ve had it happen once. This year my mixer started heating up so much, the beaters got hot and started melting the butter. Folks, that shouldn’t happen! Creamy tastes just fine, and that’s usually where I stop because I don’t have the patience.
Only a week until Hollis and Ivy will hit your e-reader. Is December 11th circled on your calendar? I thought I’d tease you a little with a snippet from this sweet romance.
There were numerous chain coffee shops in the village, but Hollis preferred to try independents when he travelled. A food truck with “Coffee Run” painted on the side, set up on the street beside the main parking lot had caught his attention. It was brilliant marketing for a town built on ski slopes.
He wasn’t the only one with caffeinated intentions. Sunlight was barely peeking over the mountains, signifying the beginning of the ski day, and the line was trailing off after the morning rush. Hollis found himself standing next to a tall, gangly man with a red and white striped hat and matching sweater. A woman in a wool coat—obviously not a skier—fell in behind him.
The service was quick, the drinks were steaming, and the sugar was on the ledge beside the order window, beside a wide-mouthed jar of biscotti. Hollis took a deep whiff of his coffee before setting his cup on the counter. As he tucked his gloves in his pocket, he took a step to the side to make room for the next customer.
“Good morning. The usual?” the man in the truck asked.
“Make it a double, Joel. Thanks.”
Something about the woman’s voice made him smile. Clear and light and a little husky, like she was used to speaking quietly. He noticed it had the same effect on the food truck worker, who offered her a big grin. “One of those days, huh? Don’t worry, Ivy, we’ve got you.”
Then she directed that voice his way. “Excuse me, please.” She pointed at the biscotti container, and Hollis sidled sideways two more steps. He wasn’t about to come between a woman and her cookie. She grinned, and it hit him twice as hard as her voice. She was gorgeous. Her long, dark brown hair matched her eyes, and her friendly but anxious “Coffee, coffee, yay coffee” whisper made him laugh. A puff of wind brought the scent of spring, a reminder of it even though winter had barely begun.
She used the tongs to pull a long, chocolate-topped cookie from the jar. He wasn’t sure of her next move; it happened too quickly to see. But after that, he saw her arm jerk, and watched in amazement as the cookie went up, executed a perfect backwards, double twist, and splashed down in his coffee.
Nobody spoke. Until she gave a horrified gasp and said, “And I’d like to buy the handsome man in the tan jacket a biscotti.”
Unfortunately, these can’t be sent to school because they do contain nuts (I’ve heard of a Wow-butter version but have not tried it myself.) They are fine – and always popular – at home and work potlucks.
Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares
1/2 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
1-300 gram bag of butterscotch chips
1-200 gram bag of mutli-coloured mini-marshmallows (you can use white but why be plain?)
Melt the butter, peanut butter and butterscotch chips over a low heat. Remove and let cool a little as to not melt the marshmallows. Pour in marshmallows. Coat thoroughly. Press into a 9″x13″ pan. Chill in fridge for 1 hour. (You can line the pan with parchment paper for easier removal.) Cut and serve.
Jaded P.I. Decker Harkness must track down a missing prototype if he wants a shot at a corporate security contract.
Sexy cat-lady Joy McCall has her own investigation running after someone breaks into her animal shelter.
When they cross paths during a triple kitten-napping, they’ll have to work together to close their cases. Will everyone make it home to celebrate a merry Christmas together?
Only Santa knows.
(An earlier version of this novella appeared in the limited-release Crazy Cat Lady anthology in fall 2016.)
Want even more Christmas spirit – and Christmas books? Check out the 12 Dates of Christmas Facebook group page. We have a free book available, plus lots of holiday posts, Christmas romances, recipes, and more!
Decker and Joy is coming soon. The only thing better than a holiday romance is a holiday romance with kittens! To celebrate the launch of my new North Pole Unlimited series, this sweet romance is only $0.99 until New Year’s Day.
Is that what a bed of nails felt like? Decker had been examining the store’s merchandise, looking to see if E.L.V.I.S. was misplaced behind any of the massive bags of dog food, when an unknown assailant jammed a dozen knives into his back. He was ex-police and a private detective; nobody should have gotten the drop on him. He’d scanned the store when he entered. He was the only person in it, aside from Joy. She was unnervingly pretty with her auburn hair and brown eyes, but she hadn’t registered as a cold-blooded killer.
The razors trying to sever his spine moved. Decker tensed his thighs, preparing to spring backward and crush the attacker against one of the metal shelving racks, when a warm hand fell on the back of his neck. He stilled instantly.
“Don’t move,” Joy whispered.
Decker felt a slight pressure, and then the needles were extracted from his skin, one by one. He slowly stood and wondered if he’d get to the emergency room before he bled to death. One of the blades may have hit an artery.
“Are you okay, sweetie?” Joy asked.
“I’m not sure.” He wasn’t light-headed, and he was moving okay. There was surprisingly little pain. He might make it.
“I was talking to the cat.”
LEADING MAN is one of 75 free books available today only (some sales may go longer but I make no promises.) Check out the OMG READS Treat Yourself sale and click away!
For the first time ever, LEADING MAN is *free* on all platforms, but only for a limited time, so grab it while it’s hot! (Don’t forget, SCREEN IDOL is also free, so you can be on your way to getting the whole series.
Nick needs a dance instructor to help him with his new role and Ashleigh seems perfect. Their relationship quickly heats up … on the dance floor and between the sheets. But when Nick learns about Ashleigh’s connection with his ex-girlfriend, he wonders if their relationship is real or staged.