Shannon here: Contemporary romance author, Valerie Comer shares her recipe for gingerbread cookies, plus a chance to win an e-book copy of her latest release, Merry Kisses. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing. Deadline: Dec 12th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Valerie:
Gingerbread Cookies and Merry Kisses by Valerie Comer
Can a Christmas romance be complete without gingerbread cookies to decorate? I suggest not. In my new release, Merry Kisses, Sonya has never baked Christmas cookies. The horror, right? Thankfully, she turns to her friend Kelly, mom of two seven-year-olds, for instruction. The little girls, Sophie and Elena, are popular recurring characters throughout the Riverbend Romance Novellas series, of which Merry Kisses is the final installment. Each story is a stand-alone, though, so don’t worry if you haven’t read the others!
In this short snippet, Sonya’s boyfriend, Heath, has just arrived for supper and decorating.
Excerpt from Merry Kisses:
“Daddy is going to carve the roast,” said Kelly. “Can you two help Miss Sonya put the cookie cutters in the sink? After we’ve eaten, all of us can decorate the cookies.”
“Is Mr. Heath going to help?” Sophie glanced at him from under her eyelashes.
Heath knelt beside her. “Do you mind? I really like decorating cookies. I especially like adding lots of coconut.”
She nodded. “I like coconut, too.”
“It’s a deal, then.”
Later, after the meal was cleaned up, Heath took his place back at the table between Sonya and Sophie. He helped the little girl spread butter icing on an angel-shaped cookie then watched as she carefully arranged tiny silver ball candies. At the other end of the table, Elena doused an entire cookie with multi-colored sprinkles in three seconds flat.
Heath caught Sonya’s gaze as she grinned at him. The two children were so different, yet somehow this blended family seemed to work. “What can I pass you?” he asked Sonya.
She reached up and touched his nose. “Oops. You have some icing there.” Her eyes glinted.
This was the Sonya he loved best. The flirty, playful one, like the evening of their first date. Without breaking their gaze, he found the icing bowl with his fingertip then touched her cheek. “Oh, no. You do, too.” He kissed it off, and it tasted deliciously like peppermint and Sonya.
“Hey, you two.” Kelly’s laughing voice held warning.
Heath glanced at the little girls, both of whom were watching with wide eyes. “I’ll get even with you for that later,” he whispered in Sonya’s ear. “Now be a good example for the children.”
Her eyes danced. “I didn’t do anything. You really did have icing on your nose. You still do.”
“You do, Mr. Heath,” Elena said decisively. “Miss Sonya, can you help me with an angel? I want one like Sophie’s.”
“Sure.” Sonya turned to spread icing on another cookie while Kelly moved several completed confections to the counter.
“This is the Mount Everest of cookies.” Heath added a chocolate chip belt to a gingerbread man. “Who is going to eat them all? I’ll do my best, because I wouldn’t want Sophie or Elena to get sore tummies.”
Gingerbread Cookie Recipe
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons ginger
3 teaspoons cinnamon
5 cups flour
Chill dough for one hour, then roll out evenly, cut into shapes, and bake for 8 minutes at 350. If your cookies are too thin, they’ll be done quicker, so keep an eye on the first batch. I can’t say how many this will make as it depends totally on how big your cutters are. I get about four dozen, and my cutters are large.
Use your favorite butter icing recipe and decorate however makes you happy. Many people assume it’s hard. It can be, if you insist on perfectionism. I happen to think homey is fine, especially if you’re spending time with the young ones!
Several years ago I enjoyed making these Christmas cookies with my oldest granddaughter. I hope I can all three little girls together this December for more cookie fun!
About Valerie: Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local foods movement as well as their creation-care-centric church. She only hopes her creations enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.
About the book – Merry Kisses:
Fired from her retail position for saying Merry Christmas to a customer, Sonya Simmons chafes at the over-commercialization of the season and the difficulties of finding a new job. If only she’d actually said Merry Christmas instead of Merry Kisses to the tall, good-looking man buying enough toys for at least a dozen children. How embarrassing!
It was fun to fluster the pretty toy store clerk, but Heath Collins, the mall’s volunteer Santa Claus, hadn’t meant to get her fired. When his elf assistant comes down with a bad cold, Heath offers Sonya a few days’ work, only to discover she believes Santa is nothing but a liar and a fraud instead of an opportunity to make a difference in children’s lives.
Can Sonya and Heath embrace each other — opinions, traditions, and all — in time to share merry kisses for Christmas?
Can’t wait for the drawing? Purchase now: http://valeriecomer.com/merry
Question for readers: What is your favorite Christmas baking memory?
Come back Dec 4th for Candee Fick!