Friday, November 30, 2012

Romancing The Holidays ~ Week Two

It's week two of Romancing the Holidays here at BIR and I'm having a blast reading all the free holiday books given away over the last week. Have you guys stopped by the Top 100 Free list from Amazon to get your copies? :) I much prefer shopping at B&N or ARE but even I admit that Amazon has better freebies.

Preparation for the holidays is in full swing here at my house. Christmas lights are up, the tree goes up tomorrow(it was delayed last weekend), and cookie baking kicks off this afternoon. I am particularly anxious to get my hands on some sugar cookies and gingerbread men. I love decorating those little guys up. They really bring home the holidays when enjoying a wonderful romance book. 

Which brings me to a confession and obvious obsession with the little cookie men. I broke down and bought Sheila Roberts Merry X-Mas. For some reason I over looked the outrageous price (and why are HER books so darn expensive in comparison to all other romance books anyway?) of the book all because I loved the cover and thought the blurb showed some promise. 

In all honesty though, it was the cover. So bright and cheery with the little garland in the corner. Have any of you already read the book? Picked it up and haven't started or are looking at it like I did for the longest, wondering if it's really worth the dough. If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

All this talk about gingerbread men I thought I'd pull up a recipe that I've used the past couple of years and really love. You can find the original here

The foundation:
1 1/2 sticks lightly salted butter, softened
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 orange, zested
The dry ingredients:
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup additional for rolling, if needed
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground dry ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
The wet ingredients:
2 eggs
1/2 cup dark molasses
1 lemon, juiced

Preheat oven 350°F
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, add the butter, sugar and orange zest and beat until smooth, 5 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, dry ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Whisk to blend. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, molasses and lemon juice.

When the butter and sugar are integrated, lower the speed of the mixer and add the dry ingredients. Add the egg mixture and when blended, remove the bowl from the machine. Divide the cookie dough in half. Press the first half of the dough in between 2 sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill for 15 minutes. Repeat with the second half. This step will make it easier to finish rolling out the dough when it has chilled. It will also mean you only have half of the dough getting warm as you roll it.

Lightly flour a flat surface. Use a floured rolling pin to gently roll the first half of the dough about 1/2-inch thick. Lightly flour the cookie cutter(s) and cut the shapes, making as few scraps as possible. Use a metal spatula to gently transfer them, cookie by cookie, (the cookies should be similar size) to a baking sheet. Repeat with the other half of the dough and transfer them to another baking sheet. A note about crowding the tray(s): these particular cookies can spread a little. Leave room between the cookies. Better to use 3 baking sheets with fewer cookies than to crowd them on 2 trays. Bake until brown around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes.

Form the scraps into a ball, press it flat and chill in the refrigerator. These cookies may be a little more "tough" because the dough will have been worked a little more than the others.

Jump in the comment section and share what you've been reading for the holidays. Any titles we need to check out? Have you decked the halls and set the tree or do you have other family traditions you'd like to share? I'd love to hear from you and please feel free to share this reading challenge with your friends. 

If you haven't already, swing by and pick up your free gifts to celebrate Romancing the Holidays by clicking the image below!

Read post from introduction and week one.


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