Thursday, 4 December 2014

Christmas in the Kitchen by Aven Ellis

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I’m a big fan of food.

I love to cook. I drool over glossy cookbooks. I have tons of recipes pinned on Pinterest, I watch Food Channel all the time, and I can’t wait to catch an episode of MasterChef or Top Chef.

So it’s only natural that my heroines all have some kind of interest in food. Mary-Kate, my spirited blogger in Connectivity, loves to experiment in the kitchen and post recipes on her blog. Kylie, my heroine in Waiting for Prince Harry, adores sweets and has a fondness for sea salt in her treats. And Avery, my fashion obsessed heroine in Chronicles of a Lincoln Park Fashionista, has never met a cheesecake she didn’t like.

So when Simona asked me to write a holiday feature for her blog, I started thinking of my heroines and what treats they would prepare for the Christmas season.

Mary-Kate’s Christmas plans would involve lots of baking. She would do the traditional English Christmas cake for William. She’d make her own brandy butter. And I see her doing elaborate sugar cookies with piped designs for her niece and nephew. And because she has an apartment in Paris, I see some French influence in her desserts, such as adding a Buche de Noel to the Christmas dinner and nougat blanc to serve alongside her cookies. Mary-Kate and William would have a sophisticated dessert table, much like the couple themselves.

Kylie would make brownies and cookies the focus of her holiday dessert table. Like chocolate toffee with a dusting of sea salt. Gingerbread cookies, peppermint brownies, roll out sugar cookies and pecan pie bars would all have a place in Kylie’s kitchen during the season. She would be the one to do a cookie swap with family and friends, and have everyone to her house to exchange treats. And she would serve everything with Dunkin Donuts coffee, of course.

Avery, on the other hand, isn’t much for being in the kitchen. But she would definitely treat herself to a holiday cheesecake from a bakery. I see Avery indulging in an eggnog, red velvet, or pumpkin flavored cheesecake as dessert for the holiday dinner. Her drink of choice would be something with a little extra flair, like coffee with Bailey’s in it.

And I have two more heroines coming your way in 2015: Bree Logan in Surviving The Rachel and Kenley Hunter in The Definition of Icing (Dallas Demons #2.) I’ll tell you what they would make but you’ll have to read the books to see the connection (I know, I’m a tease.) Bree would make anything with apples, like a rustic tart or deep dish apple pie. Kenley would have an arrangement of artisan chocolates for tasting with wine and champagne. She would also have a selection of luxurious handmade truffles, with each one representing a flavor of the season: warm spices, roasted chestnuts, after dinner spirits.

So there you have it, my heroines and their holiday treats. And right now I want to go eat something sweet. With coffee.

Have a Happy & Flavorful Holiday,

Aven agreed to share a recipe with us:

Pumpkin Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup chopped cranberries (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices in large bowl. In another bowl, mix sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil and milk. Add wet ingredients to dry. Mix. Fold in cranberries. Pour in greased loaf pan and bake for 60 minutes. (Be sure to check as all ovens cook differently. If the top is getting too dark before the loaf is fully baked, cover with foil.) Cool for ten minutes on wire rack before turning out of pan.