Showing posts with label candy canes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label candy canes. Show all posts

Friday, December 18, 2015

And More Christmas Cookies

by Sheila Connolly

You might have noticed that we at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen like cookies. My philosophy is, you can’t have enough cookies—and they’re all wonderful. 



We always made cookies for Christmas at my house—the same standard Fanny Farmer sugar cookie recipe, every year. Since then I’ve tried a variety of ginger cookie recipes, but I still haven’t gotten that recipe quite right. Never fear: I’ll keep trying.

I inherited most of my mother’s cookie cutters, and I keep adding to that collection because I can’t stop myself. I might have stopped, but not after I found Stock, the amazing cookware store in Dublin, where I keep picking up more. They’re unusual, well made, and easy to slip into a suitcase.

And there were always sprinkles.

Earlier this year I discovered that simple cookie recipe that has a bare minimum of ingredients (lots of butter, confectioner’s sugar, flour and vanilla) and that you roll it out in a plastic bag, which makes life so easy. I’ve already given it to you in both sweet and savory varieties. But now it’s the holidays, and I’ve been hoarding really cool sprinkles for the past year, and I have some new cookie cutters (again), and I really want to see if I can push the envelope with the recipe. Chocolate! Candy canes! Red and green coloring! And lots of sprinkles!!!

Remember the basic recipe?

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

Warning: the batter has to chill for at least two hours before you cut out the cookies, so either allow plenty of time, or refrigerate overnight.

With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium for about 3 minutes or until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and the salt and beat.

With the mixer on low, beat in the flour until it just disappears into the butter mixture (do not overbeat, or the cookies will be tough!).

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Cover your cookie sheets with parchment paper. Cut out your cookies (whatever shapes you choose) and place on the covered sheets. Decorate to your heart’s content, then bake for 18-20 minutes, turning the pan once so the cookies bake evenly. (They won’t brown.)

That’s the basic recipe. Then I started experimenting:

Peppermint Stockings: take maybe six small peppermint-flavored candy canes (I suppose you could use any other flavor, but I like tradition), break them into another handy plastic bag, and whack them until they’re reduced to small pieces—not powder, but if the pieces are too big they’re hard to cut out. Swap out the vanilla for peppermint extract, decorate as you like (look! I had candy cane sprinkles!) and bake as above.





Chocolate Snowflakes: Okay, I know it’s not logical that snowflakes be dark, but I wanted to show off the pretty snowflake sprinkles. For this recipe, I substituted 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa for the same amount of flour. You can use whatever cocoa you like, although I think this works best with the less sugary varieties. Then follow the rest of the recipe.





Green trees and red bells: I bought the tree cutters at Stock last month. I like them because they’re irregular, like a real tree. Plus I had these nice large multi-colored nonpareils (okay, big round sprinkles) that kind of look like tree ornaments. I added 1 Tblsp of green food coloring to the mix, and added a bit more flour (remember that the original recipe didn’t include any liquid, and I didn’t want them to be too gooey).




For the red bells, I used 1 Tblsp red food coloring instead of the green. [I had plenty of the red for Red Velvet Cake; why I have a pint bottle of green coloring mystifies me.] Then I added some mixed red and green sprinkles, and baked.





And there you have it! Three flavors, two different colors, and lots of decorations. Enjoy! And feel free to experiment yourselves—there are plenty of options to try.






To celebrate the holiday season, I’m holding a giveaway: a copy of A Gala Event, which includes a December wedding, plus a framed picture (not a print!) of (surprise) apples, in honor of the Orchard Mysteries. Just leave a comment—cookie- related if you like, but anything that says “Christmas” to you will be fine.

You’ll have until Sunday to respond (I know a lot of you wait until Saturday to look at the blog).






Tuesday, December 23, 2014

How to Turn Candy Canes into Peppermint Syrup and a Tote Bag Giveaway via Cleo Coyle



Got extra candy canes? Then you can make this excellent pink peppermint syrup. It's delicious stirred into hot cocoa, coffee, and tea; drizzled over ice cream, cookies, and cupcakes; and splashed into Christmas cocktails. 

And speaking of Christmas, as a little Christmas gift to you this week, I'm giving away a Coffeehouse Mystery tote bag and autographed copies of my latest release Once Upon a Grind, now a bestselling hardcover from Penguin. More on the giveaway at the very end of this post...



Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here or here.

Whether you're new to the Coffeehouse Mystery series or have been reading them since the first book was published (circa 2003), my husband and I extend our sincerest thanks for supporting our work. 

Enjoy the recipe, everyone, and have a very Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year!

~ Cleo








How to Turn Candy Canes
into Pink Peppermint Syrup

A recipe from...
A Coffeehouse Mystery

Click here to see the 
book's free Recipe Guide.

This sweet potent syrup is delicious licked right off the spoon, but you may want to serve it over ice cream, drizzle it over sugar cookies, stir it into hot chocolate, or use it the way my amateur sleuth (coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi) doesto make delicious Candy Cane Lattes and Cappuccinos. Here's how to put your own leftover candy canes to good use...

Ingredients:

1 cup water
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
8 large candy canes, broken up


Directions: Pour the water and sugar into a large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the candy cane pieces to the mix and continue stirring and heating. When the candy canes begin to melt, the mix will turn a milky pink. Keep cooking and stirring until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil and continue stirring for 3–4 minutes, until
 the mixture begins to thicken up. Test it by coating the back of a spoon (see my photos below). Remove from heat. Allow the syrup to cool in the pan before transferring to a storage jar or plastic bottle. To speed up the cooling process, I pop my plastic squeeze bottle into an ice water bath (or the freezer). Unused syrup should be stored in the refrigerator. When chilled, this peppermint syrup will thicken up quite a bit. To re-use, simply put the squeeze bottle or jar of syrup into a warm water bath or microwave for ten seconds. 




Click here for this
Recipe as a free PDF.
To download this recipe in a free PDF document that you can print, save, or share, click here.













F o o d i e 
p h o t o s










Recipe PDF

Click here for this
Recipe as a free PDF.

Looking for a
Christmas-themed
mystery this week?



If you're looking for a Christmas-themed mystery this week, I can suggest two in my Coffeehouse series: In Holiday Buzz, coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi caters a glittering New York holiday party and finds the murdered body of a young baker's assistant, a crime that she vows to solve. In Holiday Grind a kindly sidewalk Santa is slain, and Clare is on the case, not only to find his killer but rekindle the meaning of Christmas...







May your
holidays be bright!


~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries


Friend me on facebook here. * Follow me on twitter here
Learn about our books here
 

Now a Bestselling
Hardcover!


"Fresh and fun...clever" ~ Booklist
"Charming, vivid, memorable" ~ RT Book Reviews
"Wicked good" ~ Library Journal


Delicious recipes are also featured in my
14th 
culinary mystery, Once Upon a Grind, including...

* Black Forest Brownies * Cappuccino Blondies
* Shrimp Kiev * Dr. Pepper Glazed Chicken
* Silver Dollar Chocolate Chip Cookies
* Fryer Tuck's Ale-Battered Onion Rings
* Poor Man's Caviar * Caramel-Dipped Meltaways

...and many more recipes, including
a guide to reading coffee grinds...


See the book's
Recipe Guide (free PDF)

* * * 

Book and
Tote Bag Giveaway






Enter to win this custom-made Coffeehouse Mystery
tote bag and an autographed copy of Once Upon a Grind
by visiting my Christmas Week guest post at
Mason Canyon's Thoughts in Progress blog.
Simply leave a comment on the post over there,
and you are entered to win!

Click Here to visit.
See you there!

~ Cleo




More Christmas Giveaways!

If you are a subscriber to our Coffeehouse Mystery
newsletter, Marc and I invite you to enter more
holiday giveaways linked in our recently
sent newsletter.

If you are new to us and would like to subscribe
to our n
ewsletter, click hereYou will receive an
auto-reply with 
a link to our most recent editions.
Look inside for more holiday contests.

Thanks and good luck!
~ Cleo



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How to Turn Candy Canes into Peppermint Syrup + a Giveaway for Gourmet Hot Chocolate from Cleo Coyle



Got extra candy canes? Then you can make this excellent pink peppermint syrup. It's delicious drizzled over cookies or stirred into hot cocoa. In fact, as a little Christmas gift to you, I'm giving away a canister of gourmet hot chocolate (classic or "wicked") from Jacques Torres


I'll tell you more about this tasty giveaway after the recipe below from my new culinary mystery, Holiday Buzz, now a Top-10 New York Times bestseller. Yes, we're popping champagne this week, and also sending thanks to you. Whether you're new to the Coffeehouse Mystery series or have been reading them since the first book was published (circa 2003), my husband and I extend our sincerest thanks for supporting our work.


Cleo Coyle, who is thrilled 
that she was able to add 
New York Times bestselling 
author to her Twitter profile 
without having to co-author 
a celebrity diet book. 
(Yeah, that felt good.)
Enjoy the recipe below, everyone, and have a very Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year!



~ Cleo

(Friend me on facebook here.)




To see more of the recipes 
featured in Holiday Buzz,
click here to open the
illustrated Recipe Guide.
How to Turn Candy Canes into Pink
Peppermint Syrup


A recipe from... 

Cleo Coyle's
Holiday Buzz:
A Coffeehouse Mystery 


This sweet, potent syrup is delicious licked right off the spoon, but you may want to serve it over ice cream, drizzle it over sugar cookies, stir it into hot chocolate, or use it the way my amateur sleuth (Clare Cosi) does--to make delicious Candy Cane Lattes and Cappuccinos. Here's how to put your own leftover candy canes to good use...

Ingredients:

1 cup water
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
8 large candy canes, broken up

Directions: Pour the water and sugar into a large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the candy cane pieces to the mix and continue stirring and heating. When the candy canes begin to melt, the mix will turn a milky pink. Keep cooking and stirring until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil and continue stirring for 3–4 minutes, until
 the mixture begins to thicken up. Test it by coating the back of a spoon (see my photos below). Remove from heat. Allow the syrup to cool in the pan before transferring to a storage jar or plastic bottle. To speed up the cooling process, I pop my plastic squeeze bottle into an ice water bath (or the freezer). Unused syrup should be stored in the refrigerator. When chilled, this peppermint syrup will thicken up quite a bit. To re-use, simply put the squeeze bottle or jar of syrup into a warm water bath or microwave for ten seconds. 


F o o d i e 
p h o t o s











May your
holidays be bright!


~ Cleo Coyle, author of 




Holiday Buzz:
A Coffeehouse Mystery

Now a Top-10

New York Times
bestseller...


A Mystery Guild
Featured Alternate
Selection



Kirkus Reviews:
“Jingle bells, beautiful displays, scrumptious treats:
Holiday season in New York City has it all,
including murder…Coyle’s coffeehouse series
captures the New York experience,
from high-society parties to gritty back-street deals.
The fine mystery is followed by some holiday
recipes that will even pack the pounds on readers
who are only browsing them.”

RT Book Reviews
"A fun mixture of family, romance, cooking and...
a perfect Christmas mystery. A treat..."






Enter to win
gourmet hot chocolate
from Jacques Torres
(classic or "wicked")!


To enter, you must jump over
to Babs Book Bistro.

Babs is a follower of this blog and a longtime reader of cozy mysteries. She posted her thoughts on Holiday Buzz and was kind enough to run our Christmas giveaway this week. Enjoy her review and good luck on the giveaway!

Click here to jump
to Babs' blog and...




Check out a Holiday Buzz book 
giveaway at King's River Life,
(an online California magazine),
by clicking here.



Good luck, everyone! 
~ Cleo