The week after Thanksgiving is when I begin to bake. I like to enjoy doing it and work it in between writing and other holiday preparations. The secret for me is freezing the cookies. Then when friends come or I'd like to give a dish away, I just go to the freezer and take cookies from each container. They make a beautiful dish for dessert even after New Year's.
One of our favorite cookies is an old recipe--Peanut Butter Blossoms. They are pretty as well as delicious. What better combination than peanut butter and chocolate? This is a small batch--about 30 cookies. Perfect for any family or gathering. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
PEANUT BUTTER BLOSSOM COOKIES
36 chocolate buds--I used Wilbur Buds because I didn't have to unwrap them! I use a mix of dark and milk chocolate
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons granulated sugar separate from above for rolling cookie balls
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. I line the cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Stir and set aside. In a large mixer bowl beat the shortening and peanut butter with an electric mixer until well-blended. Add 1/3 cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla and beat until well blended. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the peanut butter mixture on low speed until it's combined.
Shape the dough into 1 inch balls and roll in the granulated sugar. Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper about 2 inches apart. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. When you remove the cookies from the oven, immediately set chocolate bud into the middle of the cookie. Cookies will make blossom shape. Remove the cookies with a spatula to a wire rack to cool completely. They take longer to cool than most cookies because the chocolate softens in the warm cookie and has to harden again before storing.
Makes about 30-36 cookies.
If you enjoy Christmas stories, especially emotional ones about the power of love and forgiveness, you'll enjoy JAKE'S BRIDE. Here's an excerpt for a preview. This novel is available in print, ebook and audiobook.
When Sara appeared on the steps, Jake felt as if someone had smacked him in the solar plexus with a fist. She was a vision--lace, softness, innocence. What kind of marriage could they have when he felt such mixed feelings about her?
For the past four years, he'd thought about her--when his defenses were down, in the dead of night, when he came home to an empty house after a business trip. He'd thought about their months together, that one night....
Sara had been a virgin when they'd made love so he'd never had a doubt Christopher was his son. Christopher's birth date coincided with that night exactly. What Jake didn't understand was how Sara could have thrown away what they'd shared...how she could have run out on him...how she could have kept his son from him for so long.
Even though their courtship had been a whirlwind of emotions and passion, he'd thought he'd known Sara, despite their views of the world--hers slightly naive because of her age, his more cynical because of his age. At the time, the ten year age difference hadn't mattered. He'd fallen in love with Sara because of her fresh enthusiasm, her optimism. But now he realized he hadn't known her at all.
He was marrying a stranger.
His bride paused at the bottom step and took her son's hand, her smile saying she was not at all perturbed Christopher hadn't stayed in his spot beside Jake. Sara's smile did as much to arouse Jake as her curves subtly outlined by the lace. When she faced him, her smile faded.
Jake turned toward the minister, ready to listen to the words that would change his life.
The ceremony took mere minutes. A greeting. Vows. The exchange of rings. Sara's eyes glistened, and again Jake wondered who she was, what the future would bring. He wasn't thinking beyond a life with his son, beyond the chance to nurture and safeguard this little boy in a way he hadn't been able to nurture and protect
At the end of the ceremony, the silver-haired minister said, "You may now kiss the bride."
Jake looked down into Sara's sky blue eyes. Eloise, Nathan, Christopher and Gillian--who was cuddling her baby--waited expectantly. Sara's perfume wafted around him. Her soft skin beckoned him. Her dress asked for his touch. He pressed his hand against the small of her back as he bent his head. The brush of his lips on Sara's was fleeting, a heartbeat, but enough to shake the foundation of his control.
Straightening quickly, he stepped away. He would not give in to desire that could lead to heartache. He would not show Sara he was vulnerable where she was concerned. He would not give up his heart another time.
USA TODAY Bestselling Author Karen Rose Smith is an only child who delved into books at an early age. She learned about kindred spirits from Anne of Green Gables, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and wished she could have been the rider on The Black Stallion. Yet even though she escaped often into story worlds, she had many aunts, uncles and cousins around her on weekends. Her sense of family and relationships began there. Maybe that's why families are a strong theme in her novels, whether mysteries or romances. Her 91st novel will be released in 2016.
Readers often ask her about her pastimes. She has herb, flowers and vegetable gardens that help her relax. In the winter, she cooks rather than gardens. And year round she spends most of her time with her husband, as well as her four rescued cats who are her constant companions. They chase rainbows from sun catchers, reminding her life isn't all about work, awards and bestseller lists. Everyone needs that rainbow to chase.
Karen looks forward to interacting with readers. They can find her at the links below.