Happy Holidays! Even though this year looks quite different from a typical holiday season, some things remain the same. Carols on the radio, sparkly lights around the neighborhood, holiday cards, a craving for cookies, and our annual Historical Romance Cookie Exchange Hop!
Thirty historical romance authors are sharing a favorite cookie/dessert recipe with you and a fun fact or tid bit about the holiday season. So hop from site to site to see what we’ve found while researching our historical books and choose some new cookie recipes to try.
Hop to all the sites for a chance to win a $150 gift card to the online store of your choice! Imagine how many books you could buy! Dukes, Highlanders, Pirates, and Warriors, OH MY!
That is another thing that has not changed… Books! When life is uncertain and full of stress, take a break and dive into a past world with thrilling adventures and golden-hearted heroes. With romance, you are guaranteed a happily-ever-after!
Here are the simple directions for the hop:
- Hop to each link (posted on 12/4), which will take you to a historical author’s FB page, web site, or blog. While you’re there please like, follow, or sign up for a newsletter if you wish to stay up-to-date on our new releases and author happenings.
- Learn a fun historical fact and discover a new cookie recipe on each site.
- Collect all the names of the cookies, paired with the names of the authors, and e-mail the total list to [email protected]. Make sure to put Historical Romance Authors Are Sweet in the subject line. The list must be turned in by 11:59 PM ET on December 12th.
- One grand prize winner, of a $150 gift card, will be selected randomly from those who collected and turned in the name of all the treats by the deadline. The winner must respond within 24 hours to claim the prize, and we will announce the winner hopefully by noon ET on December 13th. So authors will have their own giveaways and will post their own winners on their sites.
Easy, delicious, and fun! Thanks so much for hopping along!
Readers start your ovens. Three … two … one … Let the cookie collecting begin! And have a fantastic holiday season!
**No purchase or sign up necessary to enter. Participation is completely voluntary. Your e-mail address will not be shared or added to any lists unless you specifically sign up for a newsletter list. Winner must be at least 18 years of age and have an e-mail address to accept the gift card.**
N.B.: COOKIE HOP STOPS… Please return to the Historical Cookie Hop events page on Facebook to find all the other stops. CLICK HERE!
Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! I’m going to share a Christmas cookie recipe which is dear to my heart – Latvian gingerbread or ‘pepper cookies’ or piparkukas. My dearly departed mother was Latvian and I have fond memories of making these as well as Latvian bacon buns or piragi with her at Christmas time. I haven’t made these cookies for a while, so I thought I’d try my hand at them this Christmas.
- 1/2 cup golden syrup
- 125g unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
- 2 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for rolling)
- extra egg for egg wash
- In a large saucepan, heat golden syrup with the spices, sugar and butter until melted, then bring to the boil. Remove from heat. Cool for 30 minutes.
- While this mixture is cooling, sift flour and the bicarb soda together in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup of this flour mix to the cooling syrup, sugar and butter mixture. Stir until smooth.
- Lightly beat the egg then add to cooled syrup, sugar, butter, and flour mixture in the pot. Stir vigorously until well-combined.
- Add the remaining sifted flour, about half a cup at a time. Mix until combined. The dough will be slightly sticky but that’s ok. Gather together with your hands to form a ball.
- Place the dough on a bench liberally dusted with flour and gently knead until it forms a smooth ball.
- Press the dough into a flat disc shape, wrap in plastic wrap, then place in the fridge for an hour to rest. You can even leave it overnight.
- Before baking, take the dough out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature or until soft enough to roll out.
- Preheat the oven to moderate or 180 °C . Line two large baking trays with baking parchment.
- Sprinkle some flour on your work bench and then roll out the dough to a thickness of 5mm. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and carefully transfer to the lined baking sheets. I used hearts and star shapes.
- Whisk another egg and then lightly brush the tops of the cookies with the egg wash.
- Bake the gingerbread in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool before decorating. (I piped royal icing onto my star cookies to turn them into snowflakes and dipped the hearts in melted dark chocolate. Because, chocolate! You can also serve them plain. Enjoy!
As Christmas will soon be here – and because I also write historical romance – I thought I’d share a few tidbits about the history of the kissing bough!
I love including kissing boughs–wreaths or ball of mistletoe that are hung about the house–in my Regency era Christmas novellas. But how and when did this tradition of kissing beneath the mistletoe begin in Britain? And what’s so special about mistletoe?
Mistletoe is an evergreen plant with glossy leaves and white berries. It’s actually a parasite which commonly grows on apple trees and the branches of other species such as hawthorn, lime, poplar, and sometimes oak. It grows in abundance around London and in the south-west of England–the Midlands area in particular–and in Wales. While rare, it can also be found farther north in England and in Ireland and Scotland.
While researching the history of the kissing bough, I discovered that mistletoe was revered for its apparent healing properties and has long been a symbol of fertility and love. It was sacred to the Celtic Druids of Britain of the 1st century A.D. Because mistletoe still thrived during the depths of winter, the Druids viewed it as a sacred symbol of life and they administered it to both people and animals to restore fertility. Mistletoe also features in the Norse myth of the sun god, Balder. In this legend, Loki, the god of mischief, kills Balder with a spear fashioned from mistletoe. When Balder’s mother, Frigg, the Norse goddess of love, fertility and marriage, weeps over her son’s body, her tears revive him. In some retellings, a grateful Frigg then declares mistletoe to be a symbol of love and she promises to kiss anyone who passes beneath it.
Although there are accounts that kissing boughs were popular Yuletide decorations during the Tudor period, the custom of kissing beneath the mistletoe appears to have become all the rage during the eighteenth century. The kissing bough could be a simple arrangement of a mistletoe ball or posy tied together with ribbon, or quite an elaborate arrangement–mistletoe and other evergreen boughs such as holly, ivy, and rosemary were woven together and other decorations such as spices, nuts, apples, oranges, candles, and ribbons could be incorporated into the design. The kissing bough would then be strategically hung in places where people were likely to pass–for instance, any sort of entrance or doorway, or suspended from the ceiling or a chandelier–thus affording many opportunities for exchanging embraces or claiming kisses. A single sprig of mistletoe held aloft by a would-be suitor would also suffice. There were also varying beliefs about the kissing custom. According to one tradition, a berry had to be plucked each time a kiss was bestowed, and the kissing had to stop when all the berries were gone. Another tradition holds that a woman who refused a kiss would not marry within the next year.
In any event, it seems kissing beneath the mistletoe was a common Yuletide tradition during the Regency era. And because it’s so much fun–who doesn’t fancy sharing a heart-melting kiss with one’s romantic partner?–it’s one I quite happily include in all my Christmas stories!
I’m also going to offer a separate GIVEAWAY as part of the blog hop fun. Up for grabs are TWO of my Christmas novellas–the ebook choices are listed below, both sweet and spicy–(a bit like my Latvian cookies)–for one lucky winner. To be in the running to win, simply tell me who you would like to kiss beneath the mistletoe this Holiday season in the comments below! The giveaway will close at 11:59 PM ET on December 12th and the winner will be announced on this comment thread the following day (on December 13th). So, do pop back to see if you’ve won.
Happy Holidays to all and much love!
Amy Rose Bennett xx
You can find out about each novella on my ‘book page’. CLICK HERE!
N.B.: COOKIE HOP STOPS… Please return to the Historical Cookie Hop events page on Facebook to find all the other stops. CLICK HERE! You can also find all the other hop links below:
Alanna Lucas: www.alannalucas.com
Amalie Howard: https://amaliehoward.com/
Amy Jarecki: https://amyjarecki.com/historical-romance-cookie-hop
Amy Rose Bennett: https://amyrosebennett.com/historical-romance-cookie-hop/
Christina Britton: http://christinabritton.com/
Deb Marlowe: www.DebMarlowe.com
Diana Lloyd: www.DianaLloydBooks.com
E. Elizabeth Watson: https://eelizabethwatson.com/happy-holidays/
Elizabeth Langston: https://elizabethlangston.net/holiday-hop/
Eliza Knight: www.eknightauthor.com
Jacki Delecki: https://www.facebook.com/JDelecki
Jane Charles: https://www.janecharlesauthor.com/christmas-fun
Janna MacGregor: www.jannamacgregor.com
Jennifer Siddoway: www.jennifersiddoway.com
Jerrica Knight-Catania: www.jerricasplace.com
Jessica Clements: https://www.jessicaanneclements.com/holiday-hops
Kate Parker: www.KateParkerbooks.com/holiday-cookie
Kathleen Bittner Roth: https://www.facebook.com/Kathleen.bittnerroth.author
Liana De la Rosa: www.lianainbloom.com
Lori Ann Bailey: https://loriannbailey.com/rugelach/
Madeline Martin: http://www.madelinemartin.com/2020/12/wwii-carrot-biscuits/
Nadine Millard: https://www.facebook.com/nadinemillardauthor
Patricia Kiyono: http://www.patriciakiyono.com/post/historical-romance-cookie-hop
Renee Ann Miller: https://reneeannmiller.com/category/blog/
Samantha Grace: https://www.samanthagraceauthor.com/holiday-cookie-hop
Tara Kingston: https://www.facebook.com/TaraKingstonAuthor/
Tina Gabrielle: https://www.facebook.com/TinaGabrielle
Remember to email your completed list of author names, with their treat names, to [email protected] with the heading: “Historical Romance Authors are Sweet” to be entered into the $150 gift card grand prize random drawing.