Bestselling author Kale McKinnon is a modern Scrooge – eccentric, misanthropic and reclusive, made bitter by the coldness of his wealthy family. But when optimistic Canadian graduate student Molly Gillis visits Oxford and invades his space, he realizes Christmas is about to change for him forever. But can he make her stay, and force himself to un-Scrooge enough to be the right man for her?
For more info, see my holiday website: http://annehollyholiday.webs.com/christmastales.htm
Anne Holly is a Canadian writer of romance and erotic-romance, as well as a mother and teacher. She is the author of the novel Strings Attached, which was described by The Romance Reviews as “a classic contemporary romance.” She has been published by Wild Horse Press, Decadent Publishing and Rebel Ink Press, and in 2012 by Pink Petal Books. Anne’s work is characterized by its unusual heroes, sweet/spicy balance, witty dialogue, responsible citizenship, and its positive, optimistic nature. She has found a particular niche in holiday romance. You may visit Anne at her blog or website, or find her on GoodReads, Facebook and Twitter (@anneholly2010). Sign up for her newsletter here. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And today, Anne gives us a family recipe for the holidays:
A Family Favourite: Shortbread
Part of the December holidays for me growing up in rural Nova Scotia was my mother’s delicious, coma-inducing shortbread biscuits (cookies, in other parlance).
Nova Scotia is a wonderful mixture of German, Loyalist, French, Native, Scots-Irish, English, etc, etc, cultures, which has evolved in a very distinct local cuisine, in which carrot pie sits beside lobster, grape nut ice cream and seaweed stew. In my family, we had significant British/Irish influences on the things we ate, especially at the holidays.
Shortbread is a pretty English thing, and always made an appearance at Christmas – we were not the richest folks, and I think the rich cookies cost too much in butter to make all year around.
In my books, foods always make an appearance, and in my Decadent Publishing novella, Unwrapping Scrooge, the heroine, Molly, a good Nova Scotian girl, eats shortbread during her Christmas in England, bringing back memories of home.
So, try this one out. Especially wonderful with a glass of cider or eggnog, or a nice cup of hot cocoa!
1 cup soft butter (unsalted if you’re health conscious, though my mum used salted)
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 190*C (375*F), while you furiously stir up that butter - or whip it with an egg beater. Stir in the sugar, cornstarch, and flour as you go, keeping it smooth and even. It should become like a fluffy, lumpless, paste. Spoon dollops of the dough on an ungreased cookie sheet, about two inches apart. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. The cookies should stay white, with maybe some toasted colour at the edges, but they need to be somewhat hard. Cool on racks before storing. This recipe should make about twenty cookies, but this will depend on your dollop size.
Now, these are clearly not the best of diet foods, but you can adjust the nutrition and sinfulness by choosing your butter carefully. However, barring any major health issues, I say live a little and enjoy a full-fat, full-flavour cookie. It’s only once a year, and if you offer a dish of these up at a gathering it’s unlikely you’ll be able to steal more than one!
Thanks to my mum for the recipe.
Enjoy, and happy holidays!