Not One but Three Favorite Sweets! #shortbreadcookies #mincemeat #fruitcake

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Wow, It’s November and the Holidays are looming. This month I thought we would talk about some of our favorite parts of the Holidays so you can learn more about your favorite authors and how they celebrate. You may even get a character or two! Today’s Guest is Luanna Stewart.

Cat: Thank for taking time out of your busy schedule to join us.

Luanna: Thank you Cat for inviting me. Today I have come to talk about my favorite holiday cookie, and to let your readers know about my newest book.

When I think of the coming holiday season, the first thing that pops into my head, after Santa, singing carols, and preventing the cats from the climbing the Christmas tree, is cookies. Cookies, plural, because I have many favourites. Yes, I know the definition of the word favourite suggests a singular thing, but saying I have one favourite cookie would be like saying I have one favourite child, or one favourite candy bar. Don’t get me started about my sweaters!

So, back to the cookies.

When I was a little girl, there were three traditional kitchen activities that told me Christmas was getting close. The first, in early November, was when my mum baked the fruitcake. Don’t scoff, it’s delicious. The cake would then be “fed” with regular doses of rum (or whisky), wrapped well, and allowed to mature in the cool basement.

The second clue that Santa would soon be leaving the North Pole was when Mum cooked her mincemeat. Again, don’t scoff. This isn’t the sickly sweet stuff in jars from the grocery store. This is real ground beef and apples and oranges and raisins and spices that’s simmered for hours – delicious! And full of fruit and protein so there’s nothing at all wrong with stealing spoonfuls – several times a day.

The third clue that gift-giving was imminent was when Mum baked shortbread cookies, cut in festive shapes like stars, bells and trees, and sprinkled with red and green coloured sugar. Tender and buttery with a hint of vanilla, they were and are always part of the dessert tray during the holidays, along with slices of that moist, slightly boozy fruitcake, and little mincemeat tarts.

I’m sharing the recipe for shortbread cookies with you today, and hope you have a festive season filled with good friends, good food, and good cheer!

Grammy’s Shortbread Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

½ cup icing sugar

2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cornstarch

½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 300F and place rack in centre of oven. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, and salt and mix well.

In bowl of stand mixer (or large bowl and using a hand mixer) cream butter until fluffy. Beat in icing sugar and vanilla until smooth. Stir in flour mixture until dough forms a ball. Working with half of the dough at a time, roll out on a lightly floured surface to approximately ¼ inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes and carefully transfer them to prepared baking sheet, spacing an inch apart. Sprinkle with coloured sugar if desired and bake for approximately 15 minutes, until slightly puffy but not browned. Allow to cool on pan for a few minutes then transfer to rack to cool completely.

Gather up scraps being super careful to not incorporate extra flour. Knead into a smooth ball and repeat. Repeat with remaining dough.

Makes approximately 30 cookies depending on the size of the cookie cutter.

Do you have a special cookie recipe that’s baked only during the holidays? One that brings back treasured memories from your childhood?

If you want to enjoy a little more autumn before the snow falls and the bells jingle, check out my latest book, released into the world earlier this week.

Title:  If I Didn’t Care      

Series:  MacLeod’s Cove, Book 1

Author:  Luanna Stewart

Publisher, release date:  November 25, 2019

Cover artist:  Covers by Karen

Pages:  309

Category, heat rating:  contemporary romance, steamy

Guess who’s moving in next door?

Nicole Bennett is used to bad luck—it’s kind of a family curse. She’s spent the past year stitching her life back together after losing her dream job. Well, it paid the rent. Now stuck working at her family’s grocery store while wrangling a demoralized dad and a spoiled-brat sister, the last thing she needs is for the man who wrecked her life to move in next door, even if it is for only three weeks. So what if he’s sexier than sin and makes her believe in fairy tale endings?

Ross Calvert’s life in the fast lane crashed when he lost his job and fiancée. All he’s got to show for years of hard work are a sleek sports car and a closet full of designer suits – minus the closet. Determined to salvage his relationship with his best friend, he trades in the corporate life for a brief stint as a caregiver. The decision was simple—until he discovers the tempting vixen he wronged lives next door. Maybe she’s what he needs to reboot his life.

What starts off as a no-strings fling soon veers into making promises that might be impossible to keep.

You can add it to Good Reads:

And BookBub:

How about a little teaser? PG

He propped an elbow next to the credit card reader and leaned closer. “How about you and I get a coffee?”

“Not happening.” She pressed a key on her register. “Thirty-nine eighty, please.”

“You must get a break.” He slid his credit card into the reader.

She leaned her hands on the counter. “You don’t remember, do you?”

“Remember what?” A tickle of dread stole the fun out of the little flirt session. Being asked if he remembered was never a good way to start a conversation with a woman, covering as it did a myriad of hidden death traps. A forgotten birthday, or anniversary, or first date, or worst of all, a one-night-stand. He doubted he’d forget a night spent with Nicole, but he couldn’t rid himself of a sick feeling, much like the sense of impending doom at the crest of a roller coaster track.

She slammed the cash drawer shut and handed him the receipt. “Halifax?”

“Yeah?” Shit, that word encompassed a hell of a lot of potential trouble. The city had a pub on every corner, to say nothing of the music clubs, restaurants, and casinos. Ample opportunities for a casual hook-up. Damn hard to remain lonely in Halifax.

“Dunstan and Woodville?”

What the hell? The tickle of dread became a punch in the gut. “That’s where I work—used to work.” Admitting the end of his dream hurt. All his work undone, all those long hours erased. Almost at the top of the ladder and he’d been knocked off. Stepped on a snake’s tail, and slid all the way to the starting line.

“Yeah, me, too.”

Shit. Oh, shit. His smile slipped and he knew he looked like a guilty son-of-a-bitch. “You were in the accounting department. Assistant office manager.”

“Ding, ding, ding. Give the man a prize.”

“Until you were let go.”

“Ah…no. Until you fired me. You.”

You can buy it here:

Meet Luanna Stewart:

Luanna Stewart has been creating adventures for her imaginary friends since childhood. She spends her days writing spicy contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and historical romance. When not torturing her heroes and heroines, she’s in her kitchen baking something delicious. She lives in Nova Scotia with her patient husband and two spoiled cats.

To stay up-to-date on all her book news, and receive tasty recipes from her kitchen, subscribe to her monthly-ish newsletter here.

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