Entangled for the Holidays: Favorite Holiday Recipe, Author Edition Part 1



It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Entangled Staff shared their favorite holiday recipes, now it’s time to find out what some of our authors love to cook up in the kitchen this time of year.

mkecdgch_400x400Adele Downs, author of Santa To The Rescue

Here’s an adult beverage that’s always a Christmas party hit. The combination of chocolate, peppermint, and tequila makes this specialty margarita my favorite holiday drink. It’s easy to make and tastes delicious, every time. Cheers!

Chocolate Peppermint Margarita
Ingredients: Serves 4
2 parts Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila*
1 part Peppermint Schnapps
1 ½ cups milk
4 tbsp. hot chocolate powder
2 candy canes
*If Sauza® Blue Silver isn’t available, try Sauza® Silver
To Make:
In a shaker filled with ice, combine all ingredients and shake. Pour into your most festive glasses and garnish with a candy cane.
Recipe and photo courtesy of ®Sauza Tequila. Used with permission.


img_8885_400x400Jennifer Shirk, author of Wrong Brother, Right Match

Hi, all, Jennifer here!

I’m a major baker in my family, especially at Christmas time! So when I sat down to write up a list of Christmas treats that I would make this year, I asked my daughter what her preference was. She automatically answered, “We have to do a gingerbread house from scratch!”

It surprised me, because she’s a freshman in high school and I only attempted this once last year. The results were pitiful ( as you can see) although really really TASTY.

The more I thought about it, the more I thought it was a sweet and nice tradition she wants to start, because although it is a lot of hard work, there are a lot of laughs shared too. It’s something we can do together in an afternoon even at her age, and in the end we enjoy eating the treat together as well.
And spending time together laughing and eating is the best part of the holidays. ☺

Here is the recipe I used and will be using this year too, because it is YUMMO.

Gingerbread House

• 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
• 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
• 1/4 cup light molasses
• 1 tablespoon cinnamon
• 1 tablespoon ground ginger
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons water
• For assemblage and decoration:
• Melted white chocolate or Royal Icing (recipe follows)
• Gumdrops, licorice and peppermint, as desired

• Royal Icing:
• 1 pound (3-3/4 cups) powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy
• 4 teaspoons packaged egg whites and 1/4 cup water
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• This recipe is by the Food Network

• In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and baking soda together until the mixture is smooth. Blend in the flour and water to make a stiff dough. Chill at least 30 minutes or until firm.
• Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
• Cut out the following paper patterns for the gingerbread house template:
• Two rectangles, 3 by 5 inches, to make the front and back of the house. Two rectangles, 3 by 5 1/2 inches for the roof. Two pieces for the ends of the house, 3 inches wide at the base, 3 inches to the roof line, and slanted to a peak 5 1/2 inches from the bottom. Four smaller rectangles, 1 1/2 by 1 inch for the roof and sides of the entryway. And one piece, 2 inches wide at the base, 1 1/2 inches to the roof line, and slanted to a peak 2 1/2 inches from the bottom for the front of the entryway.
• Roll gingerbread dough out to edges on a large, rimless cookie sheet. Place paper patterns onto the rolled out dough. With a sharp, straight edged knife, cut around each of the pieces, but leave pieces in place.
• Bake at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes until dough feels firm.
• Place patterns on top of the gingerbread again and trim shapes, cutting edges with a straight-edged sharp knife. Leave to cool on baking sheet.
• Place royal icing into pastry bag with a writing tip and press out to decorate individual parts of house, piping on decorations, windows, door, etc., as desired. Let dry until hardened.
• Glue sides, front and back of house together at corners using royal icing. Place an object against the pieces to prop up until icing is dry (it only takes a few minutes).
• Glue the two roof pieces to the pitched roofline of the house. Then, similarly, glue the sides and roof of the entryway together with icing. Attach the entryway to the front of the house.
• Continue decorating the house, glueing on gumdrops, licorice and peppermint, as desired.
• For the ICING:
• Mix all of the ingredients together using an electric hand mixer, until the icing is smooth and thin enough to be pressed through a pastry bag with a writing tip.

And don’t worry, if this looks like too much work, they make great Gingerbread men too!



zpgooczw_400x400Julie Hammerle, author of The Sound of U

Pumpkin Trifle

I love making trifles–not the traditional British boozy kind, but the kind where it doesn’t matter how my cake turns out because I’m going to chop it up anyway.

I started making this pumpkin trifle many, many years ago and it’s a family favorite. This trifle has something for everyone—Cool-Whip, pudding, pumpkin pie flavor, and a cookie crumble. Here are the instructions for assembly:

Step 1: Make the gingerbread. This is the variable. The original recipe for this trifle recommended using a boxed gingerbread mix, which is fine, but the easy way out. I like to make my gingerbread from scratch. This year I used a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, which used Guinness and fresh ginger in the mix. I’ve also used the recipe from Joy of Cooking, and, honestly, I remember that one going over quite well.

Step 2: Make the pudding. While the gingerbread is cooling, make some vanilla pudding, according to the instructions on the box. (Make sure you get the larger box.) Or make your own vanilla pudding from scratch, if you’re feeling adventurous. Dump a can of pumpkin into the mixing bowl and whisk the pudding and pumpkin together until smooth. Add a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. Whisk that in. Taste it to make sure the pumpkin flavor is where you want it. Add another half a teaspoon of spice if you’re a PSL kind of person and you can’t get enough.

Step 3: Putting it all together:

Cut the gingerbread in half. Cut the first half into one-inch cubes. Press the cubes into the bottom of a trifle bowl or another large glass bowl. Pour half of the pumpkin pudding mixture over that layer of gingerbread. Smooth the top, and wipe down the sides of the bowl. Make it pretty! We eat with our eyes first!

Spread half of a BIG carton of Cool-Whip over that layer of pumpkin. (Again, wipe down the sides.) Crumble up a handful of gingersnaps (or, my favorite, Archway’s anise flavored Jingle cookies; the decorative sugar on top adds a nice crunch) over that layer of Cool-Whip.


Then eat the leftover cookies and lick the Cool-Whip carton. You deserve nice things.


margo-photo-palm-treeMarcie Kremer, author of Torch in the Forest 

Marcie’s favorite holiday recipe is Cranberry Pudding, a delectable, decadent dessert that takes little preparation time, but lingers in everyone’s memory forever. While the pudding is steaming, the romance can be steaming, too!

1 c. cranberries, floured in 1/3 c. flour
1 c. flour
1/2 c. molasses
1/2 c. hot water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

Mix all ingredients and put in greased, floured  mold. Steam for 1 1/2 hours on the dot.
Hard sauce
Mix and boil for 15 minutes:
1 c. cream
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
Add 1 tsp vanilla and pour over pudding slices.


booksigningCynthia Breeding, author of A Rake’s Redemption, release August 2017
When my late husband and I had our sailboat, we would always make a huge pot of black-eyed peas at our boat slip for anyone who was at the marina spending the holiday. Sailors will use any excuse for revelry! (And we are also a superstitious bunch…)

Southern Black-eyed Peas
New Year’s Day Good Luck

Prepare one package (16 oz) of black-eyed peas according to directions.  Include one smoked ham hock in pot for flavor. Retain excess liquid.  When cooked, add the following:

1 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 jalepeno pepper, diced
1/3 of a fresh bunch of cilantro leaves, chopped
2 T. garlic powder
2 T.  cumin powder
1 24 oz can of diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 package of “Little Smokies” (or a ring of polish sausage), sliced
(De-bone ham hock and add meat to pot)

Bring to boil.  Cover and reduce heat to simmer for one hour. Add additional water as necessary to keep a thick soup consistency.

Serve with hush-puppies or cornbread.

sara-150x119Sara Hantz, author of There’s Something About Nik – releases February 2017 Teen Crush

No holiday is complete without our family chocolate biscuit cake. The trouble is once I start eating it I find it hard to stop. Which is why once it’s made I keep it in the freezer taped up in a tin. It might sound over the top but if I don’t there won’t be any left by the holiday.

8 oz of digestive biscuits – crumbled very finely (I use the end of a rolling pin)
2 oz of butter or margarine
2 tablespoons of golden syrup
4 ½ oz of plain (dark) cooking chocolate
Half an orange

Melt the syrup, butter and chocolate in a pan.  Stir in the biscuit.  Put the mixture into a greased tin.  Press down all over with the cut side of the orange.

Leave to set.  Cut in squares. Best kept in the fridge.


alicegainesAlice Gaines, author of Just One Week

I like to start a festive meal with soup, especially during cold weather.  It’s elegant and sets the tone for the banquet.  My favorite soup to make is clam chowdah, a family recipe.  I learned this from my Gloucester Granny when I was small.

I have to warn you I’m very opinionated about chowdah.  They make something in Manhattan they call chowder, but it has tomatoes in it.  It may be very fine soup.  I wouldn’t know as none has ever past my lips.  New England chowdah has milk in it.  It’s white.  Period.

Also, my chowdah isn’t thickened.  That’s how my grandmother made it.  I’m not against thickening as long as the soup tastes like clams and not flour.  If you have any thickening tips, please let me know at authoralicegaines@gmail.com.  But my grandmother’s chowdah is full of clams and potatoes, so I don’t feel the need to thicken.  That said, here’s the recipe.

New England clam chowdah

Traditionally, chowdah contains salt pork and is cooked in layers in a big pot.  My grandmother’s version used canned claims, making it very easy and quick to make.  I’ve substituted bacon for the salt pork to make it even easier.

2 small cans (or one large) chopped clams
1/2 medium onion
1 medium potato
three slices of bacon (or one or two thick slices)
clam broth, fish broth, lobster broth, crab broth, or water
milk, cream, or half-and-half

Drain clams, reserving liquid. Slice the onion-half thinly. In a heavy pot cook the bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels and discard all but about 1 Tbs bacon fat. Add 1 Tbs butter to the fat, melt, and then add the onions and cook until translucent. Don’t brown.
Peel and dice potato. Add potato to the onions and enough reserved clam liquid and/or broth just to cover. Cook just until potato is tender. Add clams and crumbled up bacon. Add “enough” milk or cream to make the chowdah white. Add another pat of butter and allow it to melt. Heat gently (don’t boil) until it’s the temperature you want. Check carefully for salt and pepper (clam broth is salty). Eat.

1941861Julie Rowe, author of Hide & Seek coming April 2017

Favorite holiday recipe – Aunt Maggie’s Whipped Short Bread

My great aunt Maggie’s whipped short bread recipe has been a family traditional treat during the Christmas holiday season for as long as I can remember. Aunt Maggie was Scottish, so these cookies were always served with tea (one lump of sugar and a dash of cream), along with stories about how she and her parents came over to Canada from Scotland. They’d intended to take the Titanic, but couldn’t raise enough money in time to obtain tickets (thank goodness!).


2 cups of butter

1 cup of icing (powdered) sugar

½ cup cornstarch

3 cups flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Beat ingredients with electric mixer until the consistency of whipped cream.

Use a cookie press, icing bag or roll in a ball and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for between 10 and 15 mins or golden brown on the edges.


We don’t know about you,

but our mouths are watering!


What yummy recipe do you look forward to trying first? Let us know in the comments.

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