Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Gingerbread Snowball Cookies for #Christmas by Cleo Coyle #ChristmasCookies

Looking for an easy holiday cookie that will look festive on your cookie tray yet won't require a rolling pin or cookie cutters? You've found it! More on today's recipe below. But first, a little update for our readers...

The new year will (at last!) bring two new releases from Marc and I, including our 7th Cleo Coyle Haunted Bookshop Mystery, THE GHOST AND THE HAUNTED PORTRAIT, and our 19th Coffeehouse Mystery. We'll be sharing more info soon on both books...

In the meantime, with December finally here, we're happy to tell our newest readers about our Christmas mysteries. If you're looking for fun, heartwarming culinary murder mysteries with bonus holiday recipes, we've got you covered. 

Marc and I wrote not one but two "Christmas in New York"-themed murder mysteries for our Coffeehouse series, and if you've never read them, this is the perfect time of year to dive in and have fun.

There's nothing cozier than a winter evening in Greenwich Village. Streetlights shimmer through icy flakes, cafés glow with welcoming warmth, and a layer of snow dusts historic townhouses like powdered sugar on holiday confections. Murder has no place in such a pretty picture, until now...

Holiday time is party time in New York City, but the celebration is over at The Great NYC Cookie Swap when coffeehouse manager Clare discovers the battered body of a young baker’s assistant. To catch the girl’s killer, Clare must investigate “Saint Nick,” crash a pro-hockey party, and dodge a pair of reality TV divas. Partly inspired by O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi,” this story recognizes the “holidays are murder,” yet ends with the spirit of Christmas at its heart. Includes delicious holiday and cookie recipes...

A Top-10 New York Times Bestseller

Clare has grown very fond of Alfred Glockner, the part-time comic and genuinely jolly charity Santa who’s been using her Village Blend coffeehouse as a place to warm his mittens. When she finds him gunned down in a nearby alley, a few clues convince her that Alfred’s death was something more than the tragic result of a random mugging—the conclusion of the police. With Clare’s boyfriend, NYPD Detective Mike Quinn, distracted by a cold case of his own, and ex-husband Matt investigating this year’s holiday lingerie catalogs (an annual event), Clare charges ahead solo and discovers Santa had a list that he was checking twice—and the folks on it were not very nice. So Clare better watch out, because failing to stop this stone cold killer may give her the biggest chill of her life.

A National and Publishers Weekly Bestseller

Now let's get our cookies on!

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

A Recipe Note from Cleo 

My Gingerbread Snowball recipe is really a kinder, gentler take on that classic German cookie known as pfeffernüsse. 

Like any culinary creation that's been around for several hundred years, there are countless variations of pfeffernüsse (aka "pepper nuts"), and I've made several. Some bakers, for example, put finely chopped nuts into their "pepper nuts." Some don't. Some bakers like to add a potent amount of black or white pepper into the cookie, giving them very peppery bite. Some add ground cloves. 

The version I'm sharing with you today is my favorite way to make it: soft on the inside but with a light crispness on the outside shell. No nuts to take away from the contrast of spicy, delicious gingerbread flavor with the sweet dusting of powdered sugar.

My version also takes a "kinder, gentler" approach to the spice aspect, using only a pinch of pepper and leaning more heavily on the ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice. Allspice, I find, delivers that ground clove flavor at a much lower price (happy news for the holiday baking budget).

BTW: Allspice is not a spice mix (like pumpkin pie spice). Allspice is actually a pea-sized berry that mimics the flavors of cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon. The berry comes from the evergreen pimiento tree, grown in South America and the West Indies, including Jamaica.

To download a free PDF version 
of this recipe that you can print, 
save, or share, click here
or on the image below.

Gingerbread Snowballs
by Cleo Coyle 


1-1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 generous pinch ground black pepper 
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons molasses (not blackstrap) or honey
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar (for finishing)

Yields: 3 dozen cookies

Mix the dough: Preheat oven to 325° Fahrenheit. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and ground spices. Set aside. In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the softened butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in egg, molasses (or honey), and vanilla. Now gradually add in the dry flour mixture, blending until the dough comes together. 

Chill: Pat the dough into a mound and chill for 30 minutes. (The dough is sticky, and the chilling will make it easier to work with in the next step.) At this point in the recipe, you can store the dough for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, but be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic to keep it moist.

Bake the cookies: When ready to bake, break off small pieces of dough and roll into small balls (3/4 inches in diameter). Bake about 13 minutes in your preheated 325° Fahrenheit oven. Do not burn bottoms. Insides of cookies will finish baking as cookies cool. 

Snow dusting: Allow cookies to cool on the cookie sheet. If you handle them while they're hot, they will lose their shape. Once they've cooled off and hardened a bit, roll them in the powdered sugar. These are the perfect treat to leave for Santa on a snowy Christmas Eve. 

Storage tips: Make sure your cookies are completely cool before storing in an airtight container. When cookies are stored warm, condensation can occur, turning your treats soggy. Of course, you can always serve them warm and...may you eat with joy to the world!

May your holidays be bright! 

New York Times bestselling author
of The Coffeehouse Mysteries &
Haunted Bookshop Mysteries 

This is us -- Alice and Marc.
Together we write as Cleo Coyle. 

Visit our online coffeehouse here.
And follow us at these links...

Coming April 2021...

Our new mystery!

Learn more or pre-order at:

Amazon * B&N 

Indiebound * BAM 

More Buy Links

"He is hardboiled in the tradition
of Philip Marlowe, and she is a genteel
Miss Marple; yet the two opposites
make an explosive combination..."

—Midwest Book Review

To learn more, visit our
Haunted Bookshop
clicking here.

Top 10 
New York Times 

A Coffeehouse Holiday Mystery

With Recipes for Holiday Cookies
and Festive food & drinks...

5 Best of Year Lists!

Learn more or buy at:

 Amazon * B&N

Cleo sent out her

Don't miss her bonus recipes, 
latest book news and ghostly
prize package giveaway!


Free Checklist of Books in Order

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark 
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
18 titles includes the added bonus of recipes.