Sunday, November 25, 2018

Gratitude Gingerbread Hearts -- Welcome Ellery Adams!

LESLIE: You meet the most wonderful people in mystery-world, and one of my favorites is Ellery Adams, author of more books than I can count, including the new Secret, Book & Scone Society in Miracle Springs, North Carolina, whose members help the community in unexpected ways.

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of THE WHISPERED WORD, out Nov 27, and a set of heart cookie cutters!

Welcome, Ellery!

Of Thankfulness and Gingerbread

November tends to make us consider what we’re grateful for. It’s a month of colder, darker nights. Of fires in the hearth. Of bountiful meals and hands held around a table. It’s also a time for nestling under a blanket and reading.

The Whispered Word, the second book in the Secret, Book, and Scone mysteries, opens with bookstore owner, Nora Pennington, discovering a strange girl hiding in the Fiction section after closing. The girl is waif-thin, pale, and wearing an ill-fitted housedress and a hospital ID bracelet.

Nora’s offer to help the girl opens a door to an array of secrets, lies, and violence. Fortunately, The Secret, Book, and Scone Society members are there to see Nora through it all. These four women with shadowy pasts meet to discuss books, solve crimes, and pack Kindness Totes for neighbors in need.

One of the book club members, Hester Winthrop, owns the Gingerbread Bakery. On occasion, Hester bakes a custom scone that can instantly transport a person to a powerful memory. At other times, she bakes pillowy-soft rolls or flaky, buttery biscuits to put in a Kindness Tote. I thought this was the perfect time of year to share the generous spirit of The Secret, Book, and Scone Society women by creating a heart-shaped gingerbread cookie to make and give away. 

Who'd love a spicy, rich, aromatic gingerbread cookie? Almost anyone. But consider wrapping up a few of these as a way of telling people you might not know that you’re grateful for them. Take a platter to your local fire or police department. Drop some off at your post office or an animal shelter. Think about the people who take care us behind the scenes. And make sure to slip in a little note with your cookies. People can taste love. If you don’t believe me, just ask Hester. 

Have you ever given a gift to a stranger? If so, post a comment to earn the chance to win a hardcover of THE WHISPERED WORD as well as a heart cookie cutter set. (Be sure to include your email address. US addresses only. Winner will be chosen Tuesday, Nov. 27.)

Gratitude Gingerbread Hearts

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 8-10 minutes


½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup brown sugar
2/3 cup molasses
2 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon orange juice
4 cups all-purpose flour, divided in half
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cloves
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
Raw sugar for sprinkling


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until smooth. Ass molasses, eggs, vanilla, and orange juice. (You won’t taste any OJ in the finished product. It serves as a boost to the overall flavor, similar to coffee in chocolate cake). Combine 2 cups of the flour with baking soda, salt, and spices. Beat in wet ingredients. Add in remaining flour until you have a stiff dough. This could take as much as 2 cups or as little as 1 ½ cups. Use your best judgement.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. It’s easiest to do this in two batches. Use a cookie cutter or a cookie roller like the one pictured (from Pampered Chef). Place cookies one inch apart on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool.

Tips – Did you know that you can keep brown sugar from turning hard by transferring it from its original packaging to an air-tight container?


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Ellery Adams, has written thirty-five novels and can’t imagine spending a day away from the keyboard. Ms. Adams, a Native New Yorker, has had a lifelong love affair with stories, food, rescue animals, and large bodies of water. When not working on her next novel, she bakes, boxes, gardens, and spoils her three cats. She lives with her husband and two children (aka the Trolls) in central North Carolina. For more information, please visit

The Whispered Word, which comes out November 27th, can easily be pre-ordered at the following links:  
or at your local bricks-and-mortar bookstore!


  1. For 10 years I lived around the corner from a fire station. Every Christmas my little girl and I baked for them. They were very kind men and worked so very hard, so it was a small way for us to show we appreciated them.
    I adore gingerbread in any form! I am also very intrigued by that cookie cutter from Pampered Chef! How very clever! Thank you for sharing the recipe.
    I really enjoy this series and I am looking forward to reading this next book.

    1. So sweet -- and a lovely bonding time for you and your daughter, too!

    2. Our fire station is a mile down the road. We just got our Christmas tree there!

  2. I have never given a “gift” to a stranger. I have donated new wrapped toys to be gifts, but I’m not sure that counts. I would love the opportunity to win this book! I own the first and can’t but this one right now so it would be awesome to win!

  3. I have often given gifts to people I don't know personally. In fact, I am about to go shopping this morning to buy Christmas presents for a little boy and girl on the Pine Ridge Reservation in SD. I believe we are all in this together and should help each other whenever we have an opportunity to do so. :-)
    Donah42 at aol dot com

  4. I was just thinking about making gingerbread something-or-other, and this sounds perfect. I'm glad to see you use a generous amount of spices!

    1. I've read tons of recipes calling for 1/2 teaspoon o each and I think the flavors are lost without more robust spices. Happy baking!

  5. Honestly don't think there is any greater joy than to give something to someone (whether you know them or not) in a manner that the giver (you) is anonymous and you expect nothing in return - no thank you, nothing.

    We do give to strangers, especially at Christmas, when we see a need or a desire that otherwise wouldn't be attainable. One thing I love to do is do something special for a veteran. My Dad served proudly in U.S. Army for 29 years serving in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. As an Army brat with many fond memories of both my Dad and my time as a military dependent, I makes my heart happy to spread a little happiness to one of our military veterans - especially the elderly ones.

    Gratitude Gingerbread Hearts sound delicious and right up my alley. My Granny use to fix me gingerbread when I helped her either with mowing the yard or around the house after my Dad retired and we moved closer. So gingerbread anything brings back sweet memories to me. I will be saving this recipe and giving it a try very soon.

    Appreciate the wonderful chance to win a hardcover of THE WHISPERED WORD and a set heart cookie cutters. If I were the fortunate one selected, I'd be all set to read a great book and bake those Gratitude Gingerbread Hearts.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. Gingerbread brings back memories for me too - all family ones - which are the best!

  6. We are accustomed to giving gifts for strangers in toy drives that happen around this season. And some time back, a group of friends and I were making quilts for sick children in the hospital. We chose a simple pattern, since a couple of us were novices, and each of us were responsible for making a square. The compiled squares were sewn together into a quilt and given away. It was great fun!

    I really enjoyed The Secret, Book and Scone Society. Had heard of it through a work colleague that I talk books with and am so glad that I did. Loved Nora's living space!

    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

    1. Lil, those quilts sound so warm and sweet -- just what the little ones and their families need. I have fond memories of shopping for the toy drives with my parents -- it was a lesson in generosity as much as a family charitable contribution.

  7. When I was teaching at least one of my classes every year would chose a child to make Christmas for. It was usually anonymous. One year we were even able to give a kid his biggest wish, a Xbox. Is that what they are called? I sound like an old foggie. I also give toys or other things every year. surfoster109 at gmail dot com

  8. I’ve never made gingerbread.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

    1. It's easier than it may look, Sandy! I bet yours would turn out great!

  9. There is something about gingerbread that says friendship and thank you, and these cookies would be wonderful gifts to give to the people who take care of us and help make our lives easier, but often don't get the thanks that they deserve. I'm so golad that you could join us at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen and share your recipe and new book with us!

  10. I always kept a few fleece blankets, gloves, and some other odds and ends in my car to give to people on the street.
    I miss doing that since I no longer have my own car.


    1. That is an amazing idea. I drive around with pet food in case I run into feral animals, but I might have to add blankets, hats, and gloves to that basket.

  11. The best feeling is giving to others. We donate to our local Blessing Box and donate to strangers through our favorite charities.
    donnaing1(at) gmail(dot)com

  12. Gingerbread is one of the scents of Christmas to me. That along with a fresh wreaths and pies in the oven. I am looking forward to your upcoming release and would love the cookie cutters. Thank you! meg85242(at)gmail(dot)com

  13. A couple of years ago, I was at Salvation Army after dropping off donations and saw a little old lady crying because she didn't have enough money to buy Christmas dishes that she wanted . After finding out the price I paid for the dishes which prompted a couple other people to give her money.
    I have also bought lunch for military personnel and members of the police department.

    Becky Prazak

    1. Becky, that doesn't surprise me at all. You are such a kind and generous person!

  14. Giving to people makes my life meaningful and gives me a good feeling. I give of myself and gifts to many. I assist and bake, cook and give gifts so that many are surprised and happy. What is important is that others are looked after and feel cheered up. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  15. I’ve given gifts to strangers, like when we adopted a family for Christmas at work. Great recipe and ty for the giveaway.

  16. Every year we donate wrapped gifts to our local nursing home. Our church puts up names and sizes of the residents. We choose from those names, buy and wrap gifts and bring them to the nursing home a few days before Christmas.

    1. We had an angel tree like that in our local YMCA. I no longer go there, but I really enjoyed picking an angel and fulfilling their wish list.