Monday, November 3, 2014

Christmas Treat Recipes from Christmas Town by Anna Adams, Anna J. Stewart & Melinda Curtis

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."

Ingredients: 
8 oz. Butter
8 oz. Cream cheese
2 cups flour
Scant pinch of salt.
Jam (or spreadable fruit)
Confectioner's sugar

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. 

Ingredients: 
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
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 11.5 oz. package chocolate morsels (chips, okay, chocolate chips!)

Preheat oven to 350. In large mixer bowl, beat butter and peanut butter until smooth.  Add sugar, eggs, and the vanilla extract; beat some more until creamy smooth.  Blend in flour and salt.  Stir in 1 cup (not the entire thing!) of the chocolate chips.  Spread into ungreased 13x9 pan. Bake 25-30 minutes or until the edges begin to brown (don't let it get overly brown). Immediately sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top. Let stand 5 minutes until chips become shiny and soft, then spread melted morsels evenly over top (like frosting). Cut into bars. (Mine don't look this pretty.)

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.

37 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing. Each treat promises to be delicious!

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    1. And highly caloric, Kate! :) Happy early holidays!

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  2. Okay, you guys--it's so wrong to tempt me with such fantastic looking/sounding goodies at this hour of the morning. They all sound so yummy. I miss working at the college where everyone brought in treats for the break room over the holidays. Then again, my waistline is better off where I am. Happy Monday everyone. Looking forward to the Christmas books.

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    1. Roz, I completely agree! The one thing I miss (besides idle chit-chat) about working in an office is the random goodies people brought in. Oh, and maybe the Starbucks runs, but I hear they're going to deliver starting in 2015!

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    2. Mmmmm, the days of my boss's brownies at Coca-Cola. Best brownies I've ever tasted. And wouldn't they be perfect with a delivered cup of Starbucks Verona blend? Mmmmmmmmmm.

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    3. "tis the season for expanding wastelines! Yay! LOL. SO glad I work at home now .

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  3. Let's hear it for calories! The jam starts sound wonderful, I make PB&J cookies all the time and everyone loves them, but the cookies are new and must-try. I'm imagining myself on my computer in the Tea Pot. My Christmas treat is White Trash - using all the Chex Mix things you would for the savory Chex Mix treat - peanuts, pretzels, - but instead of adding the Worcestershire, you mix it in melted white chocolate. You could rub it in your hair, it's sooo good. Fun recipes, Guys! Great way to start the week.

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    1. Muriel, you had me at white chocolate. Yum!

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    2. Muriel, my daughter makes the same thing with milk chocolate! I love your white chocolate idea more!

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    3. Mmmm....white chocolate. LOVE! And that hot pot of tea sounds wonderful Muriel. :)

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  4. I actually don't eat a lot of sweets during the holidays. I like to save my calories for my sister's broccoli casserole, stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy. I'm not much of a meat fan so I eat a lot of veggies and fruits.

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    1. Linda, except for the unfortunate addition of chocolate covered cherries, those are my choices, too! Yum!

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    2. Cannot beat a good stuffing or mashed potatoes! I have to remember the fruit. Yes, note to self. remember the fruit. :) Thanks for stopping by, Linda!

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  5. I don't buy junk food, but I will bake it occasionally. The jam tarts are on my list.

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    1. Hey, Shirley, since my kids went away to college, I've lost my excuse to bake. :(

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    2. Shirley, they are unbelievable! I just want to clarify, when you add the flour and salt to the creamed butter and cream cheese, you'll want to blend them before you turn them onto a floured surface. I could use some jam tarts right now!

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    3. Baking treats is one of the perfect parts of the season. The house always smells so yummy!

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  6. Ladies you're killing me! I have a dress to fit into in two and a half weeks lol:)

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    1. Jen, I tell myself they're healthful if I use spreadable fruit instead of jam. :-)

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    2. Mwaaaahaaaa!! Love Anna A's plan. That should solve all your problems, Jen

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  7. Oh wow these all look so good. Thanks for sharing them with us!

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    1. Just remember, if you bake some of these we want a sample! LOL!

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    2. Oh, yes! Sample. One of my favorite words! ;-)

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  8. Okay, I want a peanut butter chocolate bar to arrive in the mail :)

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    1. Hahahaha! I'm sort of relieved that won't be happening. I'd take too much advantage of that opportunity! ;-)

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  9. I love recipes...can't wait to make all three!

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    1. Mmmmm. I'm not much of a cook, but I do love to bake!

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  10. These sound so good! Trying to think of a way to make some. My husband is gluten sensitive so no flour. Hmmm. Guess I'll have to eat them all myself! (Grin)

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    1. Oh, my. That's a lot of temptation, Leigh! ;-)

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  11. These sound so good! I just gained twenty pounds reading through the recipes!

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  12. The thing that I enjoy baking most during the holidays is Jello Cookies. They're a spritz cookie (the jello gives them a beautiful color) and I love that I can press out several dozen in each batch. I remember making them with my mom & sisters when I was younger. Back then we used the copper cookie press. Now, my kids & I have the newer Wilton press & we spend hours making (and eating) these bite sized treats.

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  13. And the winners are.... Dianne Wagner, Darlene Holley, and Denise Stout Holcomb! Congratulations! We will be in touch with you soon to get your contact information. Thank you everyone who participated! :)

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