Guest post by Ann Brodeur
In my novel SNOWBOUND IN WINTERBERRY FALLS, cookies and Christmas treats abound! There’s almost as much snow as there are goodies (not really, but it’s a fun comparison). The B&B owner is known for her Christmas baking and happens to be the cousin of my hero, Jason. He is the regular recipient of his cousin’s batches of Christmas treats, which naturally are shared with his newspaper staff.
Stephanie and Jason attend a gingerbread house building competition as part of the town’s annual Christmas festival. As reporters, they’re there to record the event, but Stephanie stumbles upon yet another Christmas item gone missing from town. It feeds her drive to get to the bottom of the Christmas Caper of Winterberry Falls.
Christmas Creations in real life
Each year my girls and I prepare batches of cookies for teachers and close friends. Unfortunately, we won’t be doing that this year due to COVID restrictions in our area. Gingersnap cookies, three different shortbreads, rice cereal squares (or as my mom calls them, Sweet Marie Bars), chocolate bark, peppermint meringues and sugar cut out cookies usually make the list. Sometimes we’ll add chocolates or mini candy canes to complete the ensemble.
The best part? Letting the kids decorate the cut out cookies for their teachers (okay, and then eating the other batches of cookies with a glass of milk after the kids have gone to bed).
Another cookie tradition we have in our family is to construct and eat a gingerbread house on Christmas Eve. Yes, you read that correctly. We construct AND eat the gingerbread house all on the same day. It’s a tradition I started years ago with my niece and then when my kids came along we just continued it. My kids haven’t let me forget it yet. In fact, our gingerbread ingredients are already bought for 2020.
I’m happy to share two favourite cookie/square recipes from our family to yours this Christmas (and by the way – they’re perfect to snack on while reading Snowbound in Winterberry Falls or your favourite Christmas novella).
Grandma Lil’s Shortbread Cookies
½ cup cornstarch
½ cup icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup softened butter
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Sift together the first three ingredients in a bowl. Blend butter into dry ingredients with a spoon or clean fingers until soft, moist dough is formed. Shape into 1 inch diameter balls. Place on ungreased baking sheet about 1 ½ inches apart. Flatten cookie with lightly sugared fork.*
Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes or until cookie edges are lightly browned.
Makes 3-4 dozen cookies
*Garnish with maraschino cherry quarters, decorative sugar crystals or dried cranberries before baking. Also yummy plain.
AUNT ANGIE’S SNOWBALLS
1 cup of peanut butter (you could probably substitute another nut butter/spread)
1 cup icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar + extra for rolling
1 tbsp butter
1 cup rice cereal
1 cup finely shredded, sweetened coconut (though if you like less sweetness, use unsweetened coconut)
Prepare baking sheet or a tray with waxed paper and set aside.
Cream together peanut butter, icing sugar and butter until well mixed. Add rice cereal (best mixed by hand, although you can use a spoon to accomplish the same thing too). Shape into 1 inch balls, roll ball in icing sugar and then in shredded coconut. Place completed balls on prepared sheet. Put tray in fridge to keep snowballs cool.
You can freeze this recipe too and the snowballs are quite delicious partially thawed.