Sunday, September 29, 2019

Please welcome guest Ellie Alexander + book & mug #giveaway

Ellie Alexander writes the bestselling Bakeshop Mystery series and the Sloan Krause Mysteries for Macmillan Publishing.

Ellie is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.

Take it away, Ellie.

I’m so excited to be in the kitchen with you today. I know that it’s still only September, but this year I’m breaking all of my holiday rules and embracing the season early in celebration of the release of the 10th book in my Bakeshop Mysteries, A CUP OF HOLIDAY FEAR.

Typically my rule has always been that nothing holiday can begin until after Thanksgiving, much to the disappointment of my husband and son. This year all bets are off. That means I’ve been baking a lot of sweet and savory dishes usually reserved for November and December, like these hot chocolate cookies. Although, to be honest hot chocolate is a constant staple in our house. We live in the Siskiyou Mountains in Ashland, Oregon where nighttime temps have been steadily dropping. Fall has been putting on a spectacular show here in the Northwest with a symphony of colors, brilliant sunshine dancing on the top of sepia-toned hills, and cool, crisp evening breezes.

There’s nothing better than curling up on the couch with a cup of cocoa and plate of hot chocolate cookies.

In A CUP OF HOLIDAY FEAR, Juliet, my pastry chef turned amateur sleuth, serves these rich and nostalgic cookies during Ashland’s annual Christmas parade, that culminates with Santa and Mrs. Claus illuminating the plaza with thousands of twinkling lights. But you don’t have to wait until the holidays to enjoy these cookies. Whip up a batch anytime of the year. Your tastebuds will thank you!

What about you? Do you have strict rules when it comes to the holidays? Will you save your holiday baking until December or start now?

Happy baking!


Hot Chocolate Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup cocoa powder
3 cups flour
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whip butter in a mixer until smooth and fluffy. Slowly incorporate sugars, vanilla, and eggs. Turn speed to low, and add salt, baking soda, cocoa powder, and flour.

Blend at low speed until the batter is well combined. Mix in mini chocolate chips and marshmallows by hand. Form dough into one-inch balls and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool and serve with your favorite hot chocolate.


I'm going to give away a copy of A CUP OF HOLIDAY FEAR
plus a holiday mug to one lucky commenter.  
Remember to leave your email so I may contact you. 
Tell me: what's your favorite holiday cookie?

You can find me online at:


  1. These cookies sound amazing! There are certain cookies I only bake in December for the holidays. My favorite are tricolor cookies. Cindy226(at)

  2. These cookies look so yummy! I mainly bake gingerbread cookies only in December.

  3. Yum! Rhose look awesome! I love Amish Sugar Cookies and Snickerdoodles! almaj80(at)suddenlink(dot)net Thanks for the chance!

    1. I never tried to bake Amish Sugar Cookies but I want to try them!

  4. My favorite is pizzelle. My mother always started baking for Christmas on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I loved helping. She knew I loved pizzelle and tea, and always sent me back to college with a can full.

  5. Looks delicious I want to make these right away! My favorite to bake is cherry wink cookies. My dad loved them. Thank you for the chance here's hoping

  6. My favorite is Snickerdoodles. Thanks

  7. Sorry forgot to add my email:

  8. I love peanut butter blossoms. Thank you for the chance! I love the cover of the book.

    1. Peanut butter blossoms are my husband’s favorite!

  9. I like frosted sugar cookies! lindaherold999(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. Yes, and they are so pretty on a holiday cookie plate!

  10. My mother's molasses sugar cookies! schmokercarol(at)gmail(dot)com

  11. If you haven’t read this series you need to start. It’s amazing.

  12. My favorite cookies for ANY occasion are my daughter's double chocolate, white chocolate, macadamia nut cookies. Although I'm not ordering any lately what with the High Holidays messing with my diet all by them selves.

  13. My moms fruitcake cookies. We have some that try the cookies that have hated fruitcake and love these cookies. They always disappear so fast.

    1. A friend just shared her fruitcake cookie recipe with me. I can’t wait to try them.

  14. Red velvet cookies -

  15. Oh those hot chocolate cookies look good! I loved my Mom's molasses cookies. Sadly, she has passed and I can't make them like she did so they're not the same. Also love just about anything with chocolate.

    1. I’ve struggled to recreate some of my mom’s recipes too, but I will say that being in the kitchen makes me feel connected to her.

  16. I bake a cookie with a graham cracker crust and a praline top. Yummy!

  17. I like snickerdoodles but don’t get them very often.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

  18. One of my favorite Christmas cookies has to be the cutout sugar cookies. They are not only delicious but they bring back so many wonderful memories of my brother and I spending hours decorating them when we were kids. As an adult, I realized how smart Mom was to create not only a bonding time with siblings, but she also had a time that she knew we were occupied, having fun and not arguing during school break which siblings often do.

    Also love my recipe for Ozark Honey Oatmeal Cookies because they are easy to package or ship for goody boxes to share with loved one, they don't get stale but rather taste even better with time and everyone seems to enjoy them.

    Another cookie would be one I somewhat invented with lots of goodies in them like white chocolate chips, dried cranberries and pecans. Love it because it has all the baking ingredients I loved in other cookies all baked into one cookie.

    The recipe for Hot Chocolate Cookies will definitely be added to my cookie file. Sounds wonderfully delicious!

    Since it's now just hubby and I, we don't stand on the after Thanksgiving rule that we once did. Now if we want what is considered holiday food or to watch a Christmas movie, we do it whether it's December or June. Life is just too short to put off the things we enjoy!

    Thank you for the fabulous chance to win a copy of "A CUP OF HOLIDAY FEAR"! I can't wait for the opportunity to read it.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net