No Bake Coconut Christmas Trees

(This recipe is also available as part of the free 12 Dates for Christmas cookbook).

½ cup butter or margarine*
2 cups icing (confectioner’s) sugar
3 tbsp milk
3 cups shredded coconut (medium or long strand)
½ tsp vanilla or mint flavoring**
Green food coloring*  **
3 oz white chocolate for melting (chopped up baking squares or wafers) *  **

 

Melt butter or margarine in a large saucepan or microwave. Remove from heat if using stovetop. Add icing sugar and milk.

Mix in coconut and flavoring. Add enough food colouring to tint mixture green.

Roll into 1” balls. Pinch tops to make into cones.

Place in refrigerator, uncovered, for at least 2 hours – preferably longer – to dry and firm.

Melt chocolate in saucepan or microwave. Dip tops of “trees” to give make them “snow covered”. Return to fridge until chocolate re-hardens.

Makes about 3 dozen treats.

Elle’s Notes from experience

* You can get fancy and leave your trees “white”. They look great with brown chocolate topping (melted chocolate chips work fine.) Or leave them as snow balls with white chocolate on top (see photo).

** If you want to go retro to the 80’s, you can make pink Christmas trees (remember those?).  Tint the coconut pink, add cherry flavoring instead of mint, and dip in white or regular brown chocolate.

 

Hollis and Ivy – Sneak Peek

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.

You can pre-order it now from Amazon, Amazon.ca, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, iTunes and Google Play.

**

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.”

Candy Cane Cookies

These cookies taste like a pepperminty dream. Making them is a … less pleasant dream.  Unlike other recipes on my blog, DO NOT MAKE THESE WITH CHILDREN.  As a grown-up, I get exasperated trying to roll and shape the delicate cookie dough. With kids, it will be an exercise in frustration.

But I promise you they are worth every single fiddly minute.

Candy Cane Cookies

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup icing (confectioner’s) sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla flavoring
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp almond flavoring
¼ tsp peppermint flavoring
½ tsp red food coloring

Mix first 4 ingredients together well. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well.
Divide dough into two equal portions. To one half, add almond flavoring. To the other half, add the peppermint flavoring and food coloring. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP)

Roll 1 tsp of each color dough into ropes about 5-6 inches long. Lay side by side. Pinch ends together. Twist to form a spiral. Keep dough and rolling surface cool. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and shape to form a cane. Bake at 350F for about 10 minutes until pale gold. Cool on baking sheet 2-3 minutes then remove. (Transfer with care; these cookies are delicate.) Makes about 2 to 3 dozen, depending on how big you make them.

Based on recipe from “Company’s Coming: Cookies” by Jean Pare, 1988

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares

Christmas isn’t Christmas without holiday baking, so let’s start with something easy to make, and a good way to get the kids involved in baking.

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.

12 Dates for Christmas

 

I have an early Christmas present for you!

Several of my fellow romance writers and I have come together to make 12 Dates for Christmas. This is a free recipe book download, stuffed full of Christmas recipes.

Each recipe is inspired by a Christmas romance, and we’ve also given you sneak peeks at a dozen Christmas stories.  Including Decker and Joy, and your first look ever at Hollis and Ivy!

Here’s the link.

And for more Christmas fun, I hope you join the 12 Dates for Christmas group page on Facebook to find all things Christmas.

41 days to Christmas!

 

Introducing DECKER AND JOY

Introducing the first book in my new sweet holiday romance series “North Pole Unlimited”.

**

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.)

Now available at Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, and Google Play.

**

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 – Sneak Peek

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.

You can pre-order your e-copy at Amazon, Amazon.ca, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, and Google Play.  The book goes live everywhere on November 13th.

**

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.”

Happy Hallowe’en

 

Illustration of Pumpkin Characters Posing Happily

I hope all you boos and ghouls have a spooky Hallowe’en.  Don’t forget to sample the candy before you give it to trick-or-treaters. Quality assurance shows you care!

CAPTURE is out!

The hunt for the Calendar Killer wraps up in this final book of the trilogy.

If Constable Brendan Booker wants his temporary assignment to the Homicide Division to become permanent, he needs to up his game. He knows he can play a bigger role in catching the Calendar Killer, but it would be easier to approach his inspector if he weren’t sleeping with the man’s daughter.

Rookie EMT Audrey Holland is tired of having to prove herself: to her new teammates, to her empty-nester father, and to her new boyfriend. The sooner they all learn she can take care of herself, the sooner she can do her part in taking care of her city.

With the net closing on Winnipeg’s most prolific murderer, the killer grows more desperate and unpredictable. Neither of them can afford any distractions, or they risk letting the Calendar Killer take them both out in his final blaze of glory.

Available at Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, iBooks and Barnes and Noble.

Capture is Book 3 of the Calendar Killer trilogy. The romance is stand-alone but the series is best read in order.
Book 1: Pursuit
Book 2: Entrap