Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Celebrating National Cookie Day with @LeslieBudewitz #recipe

LESLIE: Admit it, you didn't know there is a National Cookie Day, but the news is putting a smile on your face and making your mouth water.

Is there anyone who doesn’t love Christmas cookies? No matter what our religious or holiday traditions, we all turn into Cookie Monsters this time of year.

Since my newest mystery, AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES, came out last summer, I’ve been talking cookies with readers. The top two faves, by my unscientific survey of taste buds across the country, are sugar cookies, cut and decorated for this most wonderful season, and the classic known as Russian Teacakes, Snowballs, or Mexican Wedding Cakes. In fact, Russian Teacakes are a key to solving the mystery in AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES.

There are as many variations in the cookies themselves as in the names. This recipe is the classic shaped cookie, a ball rolled in powdered sugar. But sometimes I like to make them as roll-and-slice cookies—skip the powdered sugar and dip or drizzle the cooled cookie in melted chocolate. A reader suggested the Dirty Snowball—add a little cocoa powder to the powdered sugar when you roll the cookie. A delicious idea, especially since a snowball plays a crucial role in the climactic scene, where my amateur sleuth, intrepid shopkeeper Erin Murphy, confronts the killer and lives to tell the tale.

Whatever you call these scrumptious little treats, I know they’ll be popular with everyone you see this holiday season—even the Grinch and Mr. Scrooge.

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES and a set of Christmas-themed cookie cutters. 

Merrily’s Russian Teacakes 

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1/2 cup powdered or confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/3 cup additional powdered sugar, for rolling

optional:
2-3 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, for dipping
1 tablespoon cocoa powder, for Dirty Snowballs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, ½ cup powdered sugar, and vanilla. Combine the flour and salt and stir into the creamed mixture. Stir in pecans. Chill up to an hour.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes. Pour the additional powdered sugar into a flat bowl or on a plate; for the dirty snowball, add the cocoa powder. When cool enough to touch but still warm, roll cookies in the powdered sugar. Cool, then roll in the sugar again if you’d like.

For slice-and-bake cookies, shape the dough into two logs, about 2 inches wide, and wrap in waxed paper, plastic wrap, or parchment paper. Chill about 20 minutes. Slice and bake 18-20 minutes. Cool cookies on a wire rack.


Melt the chocolate and dip one end of each cookie in the chocolate, or drizzle a bit on the end with a spoon. Return to rack to allow chocolate to harden.

Makes about 4 dozen.

How are YOU celebrating National Cookie Day? Leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES -- your choice of the paperback or a set of audio CDs -- and a set of Christmas-themed cookie cutters. (Include your email address so I can reach you. US addresses only. Winner to be chosen Thurs, December 6.) 

"Budewitz's finely drawn characters, sharp ear for dialogue, and well-paced puzzle make Jewel Bay a destination for every cozy fan." --- Kirkus Reviews


From the cover of AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #5 (Midnight Ink,  available in trade paper, e-book, and audio):  

In Jewel Bay---Montana's Christmas Village---all is merry and bright. At Murphy’s Mercantile, AKA the Merc, manager Erin Murphy is ringing in the holiday season with food, drink, and a new friend: Merrily Thornton. A local girl gone wrong, Merrily’s turned her life around. But her parents have publicly shunned her, and they nurse a bitterness that chills Erin.

When Merrily goes missing and her boss discovers he’s been robbed, fingers point to Merrily—until she’s found dead, a string of lights around her neck. The clues and danger snowball from there. Can Erin nab the killer—and keep herself in one piece—in time for a special Christmas Eve?

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. A past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

49 comments:

  1. Growing up, I called these cookies Snowballs. They were only made at Christmas time, so they were a very special treat. I love baking cookies, even though it is just me now. My favourite ones are Gingersnaps. There is something about them that says comfort to me!
    Thank you for this lovely giveaway!
    I hope to be making some cookies today!
    debprice60@gmail.com

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  2. Taking this to the 'next level' I have a recipe for this, but wrapped around a Hetshey Kiss chocolate candy. My favorite cookie is a toss up between gingerbread and sugar cookies.
    sharonquiltsat yahoodotcom.

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    1. Oh, another fun variation -- thanks for sharing the idea!

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  3. My mother was never particularly fond of sweets, but we always made sugar cookies for Christmas. I inherited all the cookie cutters. (Hmm, I'd better go buy some more butter . . .)

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    1. Mr. Right occasionally razzes me about all the butter in the freezer, but I note that he never hesitates to use it!

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  4. Hi Leslie! The Russian Teacakes sound delicious, especially dipped in powdered sugar. I look forward to making them for something a little different. I can't celebrate National Cookie Day today as we have just moved and the kitched is far from being unpacked, but I'll just celebrate it at a later date. Happy Holidays! bobandcelia@sbcglobal.net

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    1. Ooh, a challenging time of year to move, but I know you'll celebrate as soon as you can -- good luck with the unpacking!

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  5. I didn’t know it was national cookie day today but I already had plans to bake some cookies this afternoon
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

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  6. My go-to cookie lately is a quick and easy coconut macaroon with mini-chocolate chips. I have at leasst one friend with gluten issues - these work SO well for her, and everybody else just scarfs them up.

    pjcoldren[at]tm.net

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    1. They sound yummy -- and I love that they are easy on our friends!

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  7. You're right, I didn't know about National Cookie Day! What a grand idea, I adore Russian Teacakes and had forgotten how easy and pantry friendly the ingredients are for this season. If my day get truly, horrificly, busy, I will resort to Nutter Butters from the package. Otherwise, I will whip up a batch of the Russian Teacakes and introduce them to my mother-in-law. I don't believe she is familiar with them.
    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

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  8. My favorite currently is lemon with lemon glaze. I also live soft ginger snaps. suefoster109 at gmail dot com

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    Replies
    1. Lemon cookies are so unexpected and refreshing, aren't they?

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  9. I am celebrating National Cookie Day in the Salt Lake City area by visiting my son for my granddaughter's birthday. Brookie Cookie (yes, that's her oh-so-appropriate nickname) is 9 years old today! Happy Birthday, Brooke!! bskts4unme@hotmail.com

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    1. Happy Birthday to Brookie Cookie! Let her know there's a darling little bakery and coffee shop in the real Jewel Bay called Brookie's Cookies!

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  10. I didn't know it was National Cookie Day until I read this post, so I have no plans. I will have to think of something! My favorite holiday cookie is pfferneuse. Yummy! Thank you for the giveaway! aut1063(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. One of my late mother's faves. I fondly remember one of her visits where we bought several varieties and made our own, then did a taste test. Amazingly, we still loved them afterwards!

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  11. I'm a peanut butter cookie monster have a reason to get some today.
    Clemmie.Jackson@yahoo.com

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  12. french buttercream cookies..........circa land o lakes and some real butter cookies.....................yum

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    1. ohmygosh, pass the cookie plate through the screen, would you, please?

      And do leave your email address to enter the drawing.

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  13. I just made some maple oatmeal bars. We decided that all they need is a layer of fig jam.
    I love these cookies, whatever you call them. They literally melt in your mouth!
    I already have your wonderful book, so no email address.

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    1. Maple oatmeal fig? I'm in!

      So glad you enjoyed the book!

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  14. Since I'm running around to appointments today I won't be celebrating by baking cookies. But I will eat a couple of Swedish ginger cookies in honor of the day!
    patdupuy@yahoo.com

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  15. You're right I didn't know it was National Cookie Day. No baking today, So I'll have to pick some up from the bakery.
    turtle6422 at gmail dot com

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  16. We always called them Russian Teacakes growing up. I loved them so much! I'm going to try a gluten free version and see how it goes! Thanks for the chance to win! ljbonkoski@yahoo.com

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    1. I bet they'll be a hit -- g-f baking has gotten so much easier with new flours and combos. Report back!

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  17. Growing up we had a cookie like this but it was a crescent... That was my father's favorite cookie! Mine is vegan oatmeal chocolate chip with macadamia🤗

    Cheers~
    Kelly Braun
    Gaelicark(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  18. I did know that December 4th is National Cookie Day! After all, how could a clown whose name was Cook E. Lady not know that. :)

    My husband's favorite dessert is cookies. I know that we wouldn't be home for today since we have come to Little Rock for a little reception to honor my husband and some other for their photographic talents SO two days ago I made him a recipe of my Granny's Old Fashioned Tea Cakes that he's been enjoying for the last two days.

    I will have to try your recipe for Merrily’s Russian Teacakes. Love the pecans in them. My Mom use to make Mexican Wedding Cookies at Christmas and now that you have reminded me of them, I will have to be hunting that recipe up to make soon too. As you know, my all time go to cookie is the Ozark Honey Oatmeal Cookie - which by the way won some awards this year at the local, county and state fairs.

    Thank you for the wonderful chance to win a print copy of "AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES" and cookie cutters. One would be read with enthusiasm and then shared with others in my circle who want to read it too and the cookie cutters would be put to great use for years to come.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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    1. Congrats to your honey for his photo exhibit and award or honor! Always so good to see our loved ones appreciated by others.

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  19. I guess I will celebrate National Cookie Day by having a cookie for dessert. My Mom had a similar recipe for Pecan Crescent Cookies that we made at Christmas and covered in powdered sugar. They're my favorite cookie.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  20. I just LOVE making cookies for Christmas. However I never have enough mouths available for all the kinds I want to make each year. As a result, I have decided to always make shortbread, as I have a recipe from a friend whose parents were born in Scotland, and these cookies, which I know as Mexican Wedding Cookies. I found a recipe just yesterday for a variation of these, which uses macadamia nuts and lime zest. I can't wait to try that version.
    I love reading all the series you write. I won't leave my email, though, as I live in Canada.

    Reply