And for even more exciting news, I've signed a contract with Dreamspinner for the third book of the Chronicles of Tournai, The Scholar's Heart, which is Etan and Tristan's story. If you read The Prince's Consort, you probably knew this story was coming, Some of you assumed it would be coming sooner, but Etan and Tristan had to wait a while, and Cathal and Flavian demanded their story first. I hope you'll find it worth the wait.
So since over the next couple of weeks I'll be bombarding you with promo for The Artist's Masquerade, how about something unrelated first? You know by now that I enjoy baking very much, and the holidays are a great time for baking sweet treats to share. Even Santa gets into the act, or at least my Santa baker tree ornament does. (He's not the only food-related ornament on my tree either. I have a little copper colander and a bundt pan and a toaster, among others. They are also not the strangest ornaments on my tree!) So I thought I would share a favorite holiday cookie recipe with you. I shared another one for struffoli on the Dreamspinner blog in early November, when no one was thinking of the holidays, but you can find it here if you'd like to check it out now. Struffoli are a traditional Southern Italian dessert at the holidays, and they're delicious and easy to make.
Today I'm going to share another Italian cookie recipe for cranberry chocolate biscotti, though this one isn't a family recipe. I'm actually not sure where I got the recipe originally, but I've been making it for years. I always make them at the holidays because the cranberry/chocolate combination seems holiday festive to me, but you can make them other times of the year too.
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350.
Combine flour and the next five ingredients in a large bowl. Combine oil, extracts and eggs. Add to the four mixture, stirring until well-blended (dough will be dry and crumbly). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 7 to 8 times. Divide the dough in half. Shape each portion into an 8 inch long roll. Place rolls 6 inches apart on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; flatten each roll to 1 inch thickness.
Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Remove rolls from baking sheet, cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Cut each roll diagonally into 15 (1/2 inch) slices. Place the slices cut sides down on a baking sheet. Reduce oven temperature to 325 and bake for 10 minutes. Turn the cookies over, bake for an additional 10 minutes (cookies will be slightly soft in the center but will harden as they cool). Remove from baking sheet and cool completely on a wire rack.
The recipe makes about 36 cookies. It's a bit of a process, but the results are delicious, and they make great dessert or snacks or something to dunk in your hot beverage of choice.
Now that you have a cookie and a hot beverage, how about a few more holiday reads? Just so you have something to curl up with while you eat your cookies. Because what's better than hot chocolate, Christmas cookies, and a holiday romance while you sit by the tree?
What Happens at Christmas by Jay Northcote - A sweet, fun friends to lovers romance with snowed in trope and fake boyfriends. Her novella Cold Feet is a good holiday read too.
When Love Flue In by Lillian Francis - A sweet, sexy holiday romance between a newly divorced man and the chimney sweep he's had a crush on for years. Definitely has the warm fuzzy holiday feel.
A Fortunate Blizzard by LC Chase - Another snowed in story (such a great trope!). I really enjoyed this, though it made me cry before it got to the wonderful HEA.
Do you bake around the holidays? Even if you don't, what are your favorite holiday treats?