A little over a year ago, three friends were skyping and talking about a love of Christmas stories. And now here we are, celebrating our first novella together in our fictional Christmas Town, Maine, where local myth has it that a kiss under the mistletoe in the town square gazebo means wedding bells in the new year. One of our characters runs The Tea Pot, where you can buy homemade treats, hot coffee and tea.
Here are some of our favorite holiday treat recipes.
Jam Tarts from Anna Adams
My daughter loves these tarts so much we make them every holiday season, and often, we make several batches, while we're promising ourselves "just one more."
8 oz. Butter
8 oz. Cream cheese
2 cups flour
Scant pinch of salt.
Jam (or spreadable fruit)
Let butter and cream cheese stand at room temperature a few minutes (not until cooled to room temp--just to make them easier to handle.) Heat oven to 375. Cream butter and sugar. In a separate bowl, mix flour and salt. Add flour and salt to creamed butter and sugar. Turn onto a floured surface, and knead until dough is smooth. (Light knead.) Refrigerate until dough is firm. Take out the amount you plan to use. We use a quarter for just the three of us. If you have more assistance in eating your cookies, you might use half the dough. This tarts will be easiest to form if the dough is chilled. Take out enough for one batch at a time. Leave the rest in the fridge until you're ready to start the next batch. Again, on a floured surface, roll out the firm, cool dough. Use a cookie cutter (or turn a glass upside down) to cut out circles in a size you want. Crimp the edges. Spoon jam onto the center of the tart. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until jam bubbles. (The jam will be extremely hot. Let the tart cool so you don't burn your mouth or fingers on this yumminess.) Sprinkle confectioner's sugar over the tarts. (I do that last step while the tarts are still warm, but not volcanic.)
PB&J Cookies from Anna J. Stewart
I can just imagine little Eliza Galloway, the daughter of my hero in THE CHRISTMAS WISH coming home to these after a day of school...or bringing them in her lunchbox. So easy, quick and delicious, sure to appeal to any child or anyone who's a child at heart.
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup raspberry (or any flavor) jam
Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl, cream together butter, peanut butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Mix well. Add egg and vanilla; mix until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl with rubber spatula. In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking soda. Stir into butter mixture until completely blended. Form dough into 1-inch balls and smooth with fingers or drop by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet; flatten with thumb, making a small well in the center of each one. Drop about 1/2 teaspoon of jam into the center of each cookie. Bake cookies until lightly browned around the edges, 10 - 12 minutes. Let cookies cool 1 minute on baking sheet; transfer to wire wrack to cool completely. **Alternative for those with a peanut allergy: although I haven't tried it myself, this recipe should work just fine with soy nut butter or almond butter. Feel free to experiment and then let me know!
Chocolate Peanut Buddy Bars by Melinda Curtis
I wrote about Gina, her love of baking, and her fear of relationships in THE CHRISTMAS DATE. While Anna's recipe seems somewhat healthy. This one is not.
1 cup peanut butter
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 11.5 oz. package chocolate morsels (chips, okay, chocolate chips!)
Here's to a wonderful holiday season from Anna Adams, Anna J. Stewart, and Melinda Curtis! What are some of your favorite holiday treat recipes?
Don't forget - a comment here puts you in the running for a holiday ornament - shown below. (HW authors may post, but aren't eligible to win - lol). To increase your chances to win, you can backtrack to Saturday and Sunday's posts. And look for Anna J. Stewart's Wednesday post for your last chance to enter.