Oh, the Sweet Choices… Kicking Off 12 Bandita Days of Christmas!!!

When I was growing up (back on the good ole days), sweets weren’t as common as they are now.  That sounds silly, doesn’t it?  But my memories of candy and my childhood revolve around Halloween and Christmas, and the occasional candy bar purchase with my allowance – which was rare because I was always saving up for new Barbie clothes.  It’s this perception (quite possibly a misconception –I’ll have to ask my mom *g ) that plays into my always overdoing the sweet treat creation binging during the holidays. 

I love to bake.  I love to make candy.  And this time of year, I can do both. And better yet, I can do both and not gain a ton of weight because I give away 97% of what I make.  SWEEEET!! 

So I’m totally getting into this part of the holiday fun. The scent of bubbling sugar and melting chocolate is wafting from my kitchen.  The refrigerator is too full of goodies for there to be room for food.   And the counters are lined with ingredients, all waiting to be mixed into something yummy (and hopefully, they’ll get that wish.  Sometimes my concoctions are a little iffy).  

This week it’s candy.  Next week it’s cookies.  Because I just can’t choose between the two!  I only make candy twice a year- Christmas, and a batch of almond toffee in the summer for my dad’s birthday gift.  So candy is a have to.  But cookies, those are a year-round thing. But there are types I do save for the holidays.  The time intensive ones, the fancy ingredient ones, or anything that requires I decorate them instead of my kids. 

I just can’t choose my favorite.  Do I like holiday candy better?  Or do I want holiday cookies more?  I’m so torn between the two, that I have two books out right now and one features Christmas cookies.  And (you saw this coming, right?) the other features candy. 

In NICE & NAUGHTY, my heroine’s opening scene shows her baking Christmas cookies with her sisters.  Here’s a peek:

Why don’t we take this into the dining room.” He covered his inward cringe with a big smile. “I was hoping for some cookies, and the table means fewer crumbs, right?”

The smile she flashed was bright and happy, as if he’d just answered the secret question and was about to be awarded his prize. Diego’s heart picked up a beat as his imagination flipped through all the prizes he’d like from her. Most involved bare skin and a few required feathers.

“I figured you’d be cookied-out after all the offers this afternoon. But just in case…” She gestured toward the living room again. He followed the wave of her hand. A tall tree, glistening in rich jewel decorations, was displayed in the window. In front of the couch was a low table that looked like a polished brass surfboard. On it were some magazines, a free-form glass bowl in brilliant shades of streaky blue, indigo and purple, and an old-fashioned holiday tin with a bright red lid. He glanced back at Jade in question.

“The cookies are already out,” she said. Then, taking matters into her own hands, she skirted around him. Not touching, not even close to making inappropriate contact. But the glance she offered through her lashes was as naughty as if she’d pressed her body against his . His body reacted as if she had, too.

“It’s comfier in here. And besides, if we have cookies here, Persephone will leave us alone. If we eat in the dining room, or even sit in there, she’s going to raise a ruckus.”

Diego gave the cat a doubtful look. It looked harmless. “A ruckus?”
“Yes,” Jade confirmed, sinking onto the couch as if the matter was all settled. When she curled her feet up to tuck them beneath her hip, he figured in her mind, it actually was. “In here, she’ll jump on the couch, check us out, then curl into a ball under the tree and nap. If we were in the dining room, she’d weave between our feet meowing, angry that she can’t get up on the bench or table to dismiss what we’re doing.”

Bowing to the inevitable, Diego crossed the room. A quick glance told him that the other seating choices weren’t optimal. One was a round footstool, about four feet in diameter and covered in furry leopard print. The other looked like a prop from a fifties movie, with its angular shape and retro polka-dot fabric. Safe enough to sit in, but made for a pixie-size woman. Reluctantly—at least that’s what he told himself—Diego sat on the couch with Jade. As far away from her as he could get. So far, their body heat didn’t even mingle. So far, he couldn’t reach out and trail his palm over the smooth line of her jaw, or comb his fingers through those silky strands.

Close enough, he figured, that if he kept a cookie in one hand and the cup of hot coffee in the other, he’d do just fine.

“Here,” Jade instructed, pulling the red lid off the cookie tin to show a variety of holiday treats. “Cookies fresh from my mom’s kitchen. And that shoe-shaped disk? That’s a coaster. Just set your coffee there.”

He glared at the bright red shoe with its glittery bow and glossy heel. A coaster. A sexy coaster. What better to lure him into temptation with.

Stop, he silently demanded. He was here to solve a case and get the hell back to his own life and his bright new promotion. Not to be led around by his shorts and quite possibly hurt what was probably the nicest, sweetest, sexiest woman he’d ever met.

“Have a cookie and tell me more about yourself, Diego,” she invited with a smile warm enough to melt the frosting off the holly cookie she’d chosen. She bit off a piece, the crispy cookie snapping. Her tongue, small and pink, slid over her lower lip, gathering the scattered sugar.

His mouth watered. She’d missed one glistening green crystal. It sparkled, tasty and tempting, inviting him to lick it off the corner of her mouth.

“How about we talk about the case instead.” He didn’t care if he sounded desperate. He knew damn well that the minute his coffee cup met that shoe coaster, he was in a whole lot of trouble.

 

And in SUGAR AND SPICE, my heroine needs a little magical help in her quest to seduce the hottie she’s crazy about.  And everyone knows magic goes down better in chocolate, right?  

Dedra gave the mirror another doubtful look. Sure, she looked a little sexier than usual. But was it enough to make Paul go crazy, jump h

er body and do all sorts of wildly sexy, semi-kinky things to her? Because that’s what it was going to take. There was no way she could seduce him.

“Oh, wait!”

Dedra winced. Had Anja read her mind? Oh please, please, please, don’t let this be a lecture on how to seduce a guy. That would be so humiliating.

“You’re going to need these.” Anja hurried into the tiny kitchenette and opened what looked like an ornate spice cupboard. She came back with a delicate red ceramic box.

“Here. This is all you need to convince Paul to show you a good time.”
A gun? Dedra squinted at the box. It must be an awfully tiny one.
“They’re chocolate. Truffles, with just a little bit of something extra,” Anja explained, giving the box an indulgent look.


“Drugs?” Dedra pulled her hand back in horror.


“Don’t be silly.” Anja drew the box back a little, her expression offended. “My Gramma made these. Let’s just call them magic.”


Riiiiight. Magic. Dedra wanted to scoff. Then she peered around Anja’s living room again, taking in the Goddess statue, the variety of crystals and the wreath shaped like a star over the door. Real or not, magic was something Anja clearly believed in. And it’d be horribly rude to mock the idea when the other woman had already been so helpful.

Dedra’s gaze landed on the cards, still laid out on the table. She bit her lip, wondering if she was the one who needed to adjust her beliefs.

“I guess it’s a good excuse for stopping by,” she mused, starting to actually feel more excited than nauseous. Maybe a little bit of magic would do the trick.

 As you can see, I’m a big fan of finding a way to have both treats I love.  How about you? 

To tempt you, here’s a quick and easy recipe I love whipping together this time of year. I call it my Pretend It’s Difficult Fudge.  But it’s insanely easy, and always turns out perfect! 

Tawny’s Easy Fudge

2 Cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 Snickers bars, chopped (I’ve made it with Peppermint Patties, HeathBars, etc)

1 can chocolate frosting

Line a pan with foil, then spray with cooking spray.  Melt chips, stir in frosting and candy bar pieces.  Spread in pan, then refrigerate until firm.  Cut into squares and enjoy!

 

So what’s your favorite holiday treat?  Are you a cookie gal?  Or do you go for candy dish?  Are there favorites that you only get at this time of year?   I’ll draw one name to win an autographed copy of NICE & NAUGHTY! 

 It’s the best time of the year….it’s the 12 Bandita Days of Christmas!! From December 13 to December 25th, every day there will be recipes and PRIZES on the blog, leading up to a HUGE Prize bundle of books and goodies on Christmas Day!! Come back every day. Comment. Have eggnog. Eat cookies, and laugh a LOT with the Romance Bandits!!

 

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Comments

138 thoughts on “Oh, the Sweet Choices… Kicking Off 12 Bandita Days of Christmas!!!

  1. 1
    Kaelee says:

    My favorite holiday treat used to be my mother’s fruitcake. Even though I helped her make it for years I cannot make it taste the same.

  2. 2
    Melody May says:

    I was born with a sweet tooth like no other ps business. If it has sugar I’m there. I love candies, cookies, you name it I will eat it. So, with everything that makes Christmas this is my favorite time of year. :D

    • 2.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Melody I’m right there with you on having a major sweet tooth, although only for certain things – anything caramel, anything with nuts and any really good milk chocolate. Those are always impossible for me to resist.

  3. 3

    Tawny, what a fun post. I”ve actually got Bandita Christina B and Denise Rossetti coming up for a writerly weekend and I’m giving them treats galore, including some apple crumble that I’ve got to cook tomorrow morning. This year, too, I’m doing baking for a lot of people as presents. I got a new oven during the year and it’s great for biscuits and slices.

    Hey, how cool the 12 Days of Bandita Christmas has started. This is always such fun. And there are prizes GALORE!!! Including a great big humungous one for the grand prize winner. Tell your friends, girls!

    • 3.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Ooooh – you lucky girl, you!!! Big big hugs to your guests from me, please :-) And ask that they hug you right back from me, too.

      I do love baking and candy as gifts. I’ll bet you’re going to have a fabulous time putting that new oven to work and baking up a storm.

      And YAY- yes, the 12 Days celebration is going to be so fun. We do rock the parties here in the lair.

  4. 4
    Jane says:

    Hello Tawny,
    I love shortbread and sugar cookies and we can decorate them with sprinkles for fun. I wish someone in my family knew how to make peppermint bark or toffee.

    • 4.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Yummmmm. I made shortbread for the first time this year and am going to have to do another batch this weekend because my husband gobbled it all up.

      I haven’t had peppermint bark before, but do love toffee. Its one of my favorites to make and to eat. I hope you get a lot to enjoy this season :-)

  5. 5
    Roslyn says:

    My boss brings into work treats his lovely wife makes. By far, my favourite treats are the individual plum pudding truffles. She scoops out plum puddings with a melon baller, dips them in milk chocolate, then the top in white chocolate so they look like plum puddings – only bite-size. OMG they are awesome.

    • 5.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Oh man, Roslyn, my mouth is watering just reading your description. The truffles sound amazing.

      Now I’m going to be craving those for sure :-) I hope you get to enjoy a LOT of them this year!

  6. 6
    Caffey says:

    Oh that fudge sounds easy and awesome! I learner to make a great frosting with Splenda since I can’t have sugar (Splenda has been awesome to cook with). Some things got to have the real sugar like my grandma’s White Christmas Pie which o ly a few of us can make it right (sadly not me) but my sister does and bet my daughter can. She loves to bake lots. You books sound and too will taste delicious Tawny!

    • 6.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Thanks, Caffey :-D

      And yes, the fudge is crazy easy. So much so that I always feel guilty if someone compliments me on it.

      I haven’t heard of White Christmas Pie. What’s in it, besides sugar? I’m glad you found a yummy Splenda based fudge. I used to make a few Splenda desserts for my Grampa because he was diabetic, but never found a lot of recipe choices (this was about a dozen years ago, though).

      And isn’t it great when our kids bake :-D I love handing that over, letting them do the work, then enjoying the delicious results.

  7. 7
    Janet says:

    I have to say one of my favorite candies is turtles but I like the carmel to be a bit chewy. They are not as good when they are soft. Oh and I love peanut brittle minus the peanuts, i pick them out. If I could just get my step-father to make be pecan brittle I would be in brittle heaven. I am not a candy cooker. Fortunately for the family he usually makes lots of candies. Hoping Mom’s banishing of sugar this year does not stop him from making LOTS and LOTS. There are more of us then the two of them. Lol.

    Enjoy all your sweets everyone.

    • 7.1
      Janet says:

      Oh and I forgot, speaking of fudge making I have seen this Chocolate Nutella with Sea Salt Fudge and I am SERIOUSLY thinking of making it. I have heard only good things about it. I found it elsewhere but I understand it is on Tasty Kitchen if anyone is interested. Just thought I would share.

    • 7.2
      Tawny Weber says:

      Banished sugar? Oh my… I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you still get yummy treats, Janet :-)

      I adore turtles-and just made a batch tonight *g* I’m making brittle tomorrow, but it’ll be cashew nut. Yummmmmm.

  8. 8
    Lucy says:

    Yum – all the food sounds great!
    My favourite Christmas food which is now my signature dish at Christmas functions/get togethers is Smoked Turkey and Camembert Vol au vents with Cranberry Sauce on top.
    I love having special food treats at this time of the year!

    • 8.1
      Janet says:

      Lucy, I had not thought of discussing a dish but about 5-6 years ago I found a super yummy and sweet like dessert Sweet Potato Casserole recipe which I now make for Christmas and Thanksgiving. It even makes enough for me to freeze it and only have to make one batch for both holidays. I stole this recipe from Watershed in GA before they revamped themselves.

      Enjoy your signature dish this holiday.

    • 8.2
      Tawny Weber says:

      Lucy that sounds like a lovely and special treat for this time of year!

      I have a funny Christmas Eve traditional dinner story :-) Everyone in my house except my husband are vegetarians and have been for years (about 23 years for me) so my husband doesn’t get a ton of meat at home :-) One year, early in our marriage, I decided to treat him by making a roast for Christmas Eve – and since everyone in both our families always had big plans on Christmas Eve, I invited them figuring they’d all say no, they were busy. Of course, the novelty was too much for them to resist so they all EVERY ONE OF THEM came to dinner. So, years and years later, I still make the roast for Christmas Eve. Thankfully, the novelty has worn off and the crowd is smaller *g*

  9. 9

    Hey Tawny, fun post! You made my mouth water with all that talk of candy and cookies. I simply can’t trust myself to make choc chip cookies any more. No matter how strong my willpower gets, I just can’t resist those. However, our summer holidays have just started so I’ll make some sugar snap cookies in Christmas shapes with my 6yo.

    Sugar and Spice was such a terrific read. Love the cover, too! Looking forward to Nice and Naughty:) Merry Christmas!

    • 9.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Thank you, Christina :-D I appreciate that so much. And I have a favor -when you see Fo this weekend, will you give her a hug from me please. I already asked her to give you a hug from me ;-)

      Oooh man, chocolate chip cookies rock. I actually can resist them if they don’t have nuts. If they do, I’m in trouble.

      We’ll be making sugar cookies and having the decorating fun next week. Isn’t that the best fun with kids. I can’t imagine doing them alone, its definitely a group decorating thing.

  10. 10
    Carol Cork says:

    I just love traditional mince pies but coated with soft icing instead of pastry.

  11. 11
    Helen says:

    Tawny

    Firstly I have to say I loved both of these stories WOW.

    I don’t make a lot of cookies but this time of the year I love Christmas Cake a rich fuit cake and I have made 7 so far I do make some of them for friends and family for gifts and Christmas wouldn’t be the same without Christmas pudding and custard yummo and I have made 2 of them as well. But I do have a sweet tooth and I will be trying your fudge receipe sounds great.

    Have Fun
    Helen

    • 11.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Helen, I’ve heard so many amazing things about your Christmas Cake -it sounds delicious! Add custard and Christmas pudding and your house must be so tasty this time of year. And your family sooooo happy :-)

      And thank you -thank you thank you thank you! You are so sweet and I appreciate your amazing support of my books so much.

    • 11.2
      Deb says:

      I am going to get around to making Helen’s Christmas (or as she calls it, Chrissy) cake this Chrismtas break. :)

  12. 12

    My favorite treat is my grandmother’s pumpkin pie and her jelly thumbprint cookies. So good!

  13. 13
    Mary Preston says:

    We made coconut ice & chocolate crackles on the weekend. My son’s favorites. I told him “See what happens when you ask nicely.”

  14. 14
    Barb says:

    I love Christmas cake…and they have to have mazipan and icing on …I make 3 one for DH amd me , one for my son and one for my grandson….. I loved sugar and spice and have Nice and Naughty on the ereader to read…..

    • 14.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Barb, you and Helen are making my mouth water over the Christmas cakes. Yummmmmm yum yum.

      Thank you for the Sugar and Spice love!!! :-) I’m so happy that you enjoyed it – and really hope you like NIce & Naughty, too. Please let me know what you think :-)

  15. 15
    Alisa says:

    I love cookies and fudge. But I would take cookies first. My daughters and I will be making cookies this weekend.

    • 15.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      I love family cookie making time, Alisa :-) Its always fun, isn’t it -especially with kids. Do you have a big cookie list of treats you’ll make? Or just a few faves?

  16. 16
    Nancy Sutphin says:

    Kaylee,
    My favorite holiday treat is definitely fudge with nuts in it. I have never been able to make it successfully, though. I can’t wait to try your recipe. It sounds easy enough that even I can make it. Thanks!!

    • 16.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Nancy, you can easily toss chopped nuts into this recipe instead of candy – and it’ll be awesome. I’ve done it that way quite a few times :-)

      Let me know if the recipe turns out for you!

  17. 17
    Dianna aka Hrdwrkdmom says:

    I am more of a cookie kind of gal. Peanut butter and chocolate gets my attention in a hurry. However, if I can’t have peanut butter cookies with chocolate and candy is the only option I want dark chocolate. I prefer rich to sweet, dark chocolate is just right.
    The only thing I have at holidays that I don’t get through the year is pumpkin treats and that is just because there are more people baking during the holidays making those delicious pumpkin rolls..LOL

    • 17.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Ooooh. Pumpkin rolls. Those are so good, Dianna. My MIL used to make them every year. I’ve done a few, but it’s definitely a group treat in my mind for some reason. While I can justify eating an entire cake with just my little family, a pumpkin roll seems to require guests LOL.

      Peanut butter and chocolate are the perfect pair. Totally yum!!!

  18. 18
    Maureen says:

    Christmas cookies are my favorite. Any Christmas cookie is wonderful from sugar cookies to M & M cookies that my sister makes.

    • 18.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Maureen, sugar cookies always make me think Christmas, even though we make and decorate them at Valentines and Easter here, too. I haven’t tried M&M cookies, though – they sound fabulous.

  19. 19

    What a sweet treat, Tawny -

    Here’s the problem – I have no will power. None. I succumb to each temptation of the culinary kind (…and maybe some others…) I’m afraid if we had homemade candy in the house I would eat myself sick. Cookies I can tolerate a bit better, however we have to make dozens and dozens and fairly close to Christmas if we expect to have any to leave for Santa. I’ve made all sorts of cookies – taken classes for that very thing – cut, shaped, dropped, frosted – you name it, I’ve made it. My favorite is a delicate cookie called a tuile. Love them – love even the crumbs – but they barely last a day once the family knows I’ve baked them.

    • 19.1

      Oops – I should explain. Tuiles are made primarily of ground almonds – no flour. A teaspoon of the dough is spread till it’s translucent on buttered parchment paper. They cook in a few minutes. The baking sheet doesn’t come fully out of the oven, but sits on the open oven door while each cookie is lifted from the sheet with a sharp edged spatula and draped over a rolling pin for a lovely curved shape. The cookie cools in seconds in a crisp, fragile, tasty confection. Yum…

    • 19.2
      Tawny Weber says:

      Oh Donna. You had to bring up tuiles. Worse, you had to bring it up and talk about how to make them.

      I’ve had tuiles, and my mouth waters at the memory of how delish they are. I’ve looked at recipes, and gotten intimidated by how complicated it seems. So I’ve stayed away. But now. Oh now…

      You know I’m going to have to try to make these now, right. I’m just gonna have to. I’ll think of you as I eat them, too.

      Because I’m right there next to you in the No Willpower line :-)

  20. 20
    Beth Andrews says:

    What a yummy post – and the cookies and candy sound good, too *g* Love both of these stories and am so glad readers will get to indulge in two new Tawny Weber releases this holiday season!

    In recent years I’ve cut back on the number of cookies I make in favor of other treats; peanut clusters, chocolate truffles, caramels and white trash. This year we’re adding fudge, pumpkin scones, cranberry bliss bars and possibly a mix for Mexican Mocha. I plan on having a baking/mixing/candy making marathon this weekend :-)

    • 20.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Awww, shucks, Beth :-D Thanks for that -and for always helping me make the books work.

      I love your baking/candy making list. Now I want pumpkin scones, too! Maybe I’ll make those for Christmas morning instead of cinnamon rolls :-) You’ll have to send me your recipe.

      • 20.1.1
        Beth Andrews says:

        My mom requested them for Christmas brunch *g* I figure I’ll make them to go along with my overnight French toast which the kids always gobble up.

  21. 21
    Caren Crane says:

    Oooh, it’s the most wonderful time of the year – sugar everywhere!! :D I love both candy and cookies (which will not surprise any Banditas!).

    As a teen, I began both baking and candy-making. I have not made candy in years (because I’ll eat if all), but my favorites were always homemade fudge (cooked the long, hard way) and penuche. I tried several times to make taffy, but it proved too much of a challenge. It made very tasty hard candy, but it wasn’t supposed to be hard! :)

    These days, my college-age daughters make most of the cookies in our house, but I still enjoy making the time-intensive ones like spumoni cookies and melting moments. Not sure those will happen this year, but I like to think they will!

    • 21.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Caren, I’m with you on wanting to eat all the treats! I’ve discovered that if I make them as gifts, though, I’m not likely to eat much because I don’t want to have to make an extra batch -plus I’m pretty burned out on it all by the time I’m done :-) It’s working out pretty well.

      I’m in awe of your long-cooking fudge abilities, btw. I’ve never been able to make it so its deliciously creamy like it should be. I probably don’t do the ‘long’ part as long as I should *ggg*

      I hope you get your cookies made this year!! They sound fab.

  22. 22
    Brenda Rumsey says:

    My favorite store bought treat is a box of chocolate covered cherries. This is the only time of year that I buy them and enjoy. As for home made, I love making an apple sauce-graham cracker cake where you mix apple sauce and jello together, layer it between sheets of graham crackers, then cover the whole stack with dream whip. Delicious…and so easy to make.

    • 22.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Brenda, aren’t those ‘holiday only’ treats fabulous. Almost as fabulous as super easy, deliciously good desserts like your apple sauce graham cracker cake sounds to be.

  23. 23
    Betty Hamilton says:

    Our family favorite cookie for Christmas is Chocolate Chip!! It just wouldn’t be Christmas without them!

  24. 24
    Karen H in NC says:

    I love Christmas Cookies…but my real vote goes to luscious chocolates! I love, love, love chocolate. This year, my daughter gave me a box of assorted chocolates from Choo Choo’s Chocolates, a local Chocolatier in Oxford, MI. The chocolates in this box are absolutely amazing! On top of that, I won a box of Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Almonds that are equally amazing!

    • 24.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Karen, chocolates are the yum, for sure. We are partial to Sees here, although I know they are available in other parts of the states now. I’ve never found a chocolate in a store that’s as fab as the specialty shop chocolates. And Choo Choo’s chocolates? What a fab name. I’d want them for the name alone.

  25. 25
    Deb says:

    I used to bake up a storm before Christmas to make plates of goodies for the neighbors: cookies, shortbread, fudge, chocolate candy balls, toffee, Danish Puff, and cranberry bread. But, alas, I’ve gotten either lazy or boring because I just make one thing now to pass around to neighbors and friends. For the last few years, I’ve made Scottish Schortbread, but think I’ll make Danish Puff this year.

    I also have 2 great fudge recipes (me, make real fudge? Hahaha) and one of them uses 2 large Milky Way bars and it can be made in the microwave. Might make that, too.

    • 25.1
      Miranda says:

      Deb,

      Milky Way bars? YUM! I bet they are so good!

    • 25.2
      Tawny Weber says:

      I think it gets overwhelming, Deb. I realize, scientifically, that time isn’t moving faster and we don’t have less now than we used to *g* But I swear, it feels like it is and we don’t!

      I always intend to do goodies for the neighbors, but rarely pull it off. It’s sort of like sending Christmas cards *g* The goodies you make sound fab. I’m going to echo MIranda and say YUM on the Milky Way fudge.

  26. 26
    Miranda says:

    Around Christmas time my favorite thing to make is pecan pie. I don’t make it at Thanksgiving (mainly because the pecans down start falling until afterwards) so I make two or three pies around Christmas. I had my grandmothers recipe for the longest time and one day I was watching Food Network (I love finding new recipes to try). The Pioneer Woman happened to be on, talking with her cute Southern drawl and she was making up a pecan pie that looked delicious. The next day I went and gathered some pecans and made the pie. I couldn’t believe I was doing it knowing I had always used my grandmother’s recipe. Nevertheless, I made it. It is the best pecan pie I have ever made and have ever tasted. It’s a wonderful recipe and I’m including it below so that y’all can try it. I cannot guarantee you will have only one piece. ;)
    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/pecan-pie-recipe/index.html

    • 26.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Oh man, Pecan Pie is the best. I’ve heard amazing things about Pioneer Woman’s recipes, too. I think Beth is a fan, as she’s mentioned how great her stuff is a few times.

      Isn’t it tough to find a recipe better than the one you’ve been handed down *g* I’ll admit it, I feel a little bit of guilt every time I make my coconut pecan frosting recipe instead of the one my mom gave me. But… it’s a little thicker and gooier and yummier. I just don’t tell her.

  27. 27
    Connie Fischer says:

    I’m so glad to hear that you love to bake cookies and make candy. Sometimes I think people are losing the ability and thus the fun of creating yummy goodies during Christmas. I love to make cutout sugar cookies especially with my grandchildren using their great-grandmother’s cookie cutters some of which were made by their great-grandfather and a couple that were used by my husband when he was a little boy helping his Mom. It gives the children a chance to be creative with their decorating and they also make a special one just for Santa. I love sugar cookies! Yummy!
    I also love peppermint bark and toffee. Unfortunately, we won’t be with the grandchildren this year so I’ll make just a few cookies. However, I have a great recipe for peppermint bark and will make some of that. Oh dear! Now I’m craving something sweet! :-)

    • 27.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Connie, I think you’re right – a lot of the more homey ‘domestic arts’ are less common these days. Thats one of things I’m determined to teach my kids – to be able to make yumminess in the kitchen. The other is to love books :-) I figure with those two needs met, they have good tools for life. Cookies and books, it’s all ya need *ggg*

      WOW that you have cookie cutters with such a lovely history. That’s so special, and must add an extra dose of magic to the cookie making.

      And mmmm, peppermint bark. I don’t think I’ve had that in years. I’m not sure there’s room on my list for one more treat, though. But, maybe…

  28. 28
    Nicole Laverdure says:

    I love the small candy canes! My husband bakes his amazing Egg Nog Crème brûlée. My friends always ask him to make some when they come for dinner. They are a favorite! Seeing those cookies , so early in the morning, will give a craving all day! lol
    Merry Christmas and thanks for offering your book!

    • 28.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Nicole, yum. Creme Brulee is such a decadently wow dessert. I always think super fancy indulgence when I think of it. No wonder your husband gets so many requests.

      But sorry about the cookie cravings :-) I hope you’re able to indulge today!

  29. 29
    Ruth Atkinson says:

    I love new ideas for Christmas treats. I still make all the old favorites my mother made but it’s so much fun to offer something new.

    • 29.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Ruth, the traditional treats are part of what make the holidays magical, I think :-)

      But a new treat here and there – that just adds spark and fun! And they are always fun to try.

  30. 30
    gamistress66 says:

    I use to bake a bunch for Christmas (did most of the baking for my mom & one sister who didn’t cook or bake) & always enjoyed it too. Nowdays, there aren’t as many around as often to eat the results or are cutting back on sweets or such so they don’t get enjoyed so I don’t do much anymore. My mom was always in charge of the fudge, nut cups & pizelles.

    • 30.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Oh yeah, those smaller numbers are a lot harder to justify the time, energy and baking for. So much of our family has cut back the sugars, too, or are dieting. Or have other family members who do sweets, too so they get overwhelmed.

      For the non-sugar eaters I try to make something fun each year, though. Usually a spiced nut snack mix. A little more savory, but still a treat :-)

  31. 31
    Stacy says:

    I love all sweets and this made me hungry for cookies! My favorite are chocolate crinkles.

  32. 32
    sandyg265 says:

    I like Panetone and Entemman’s fruit cake, both of which I can only get this time of year.

  33. 33
    May says:

    Definitely a cookie girl. :) I am not picky… Anything with chocolate, caramel and nuts are good for me.

  34. 34
    eli yanti says:

    I’m a cookies and candy as long as chocolate :D

    • 34.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Chocolate is definitely the best :-)

      When I was a kid, I always wondered why people would bother with other flavors. As an adult, I’ll try other flavors, maybe. But it’s all about the chocolate.

  35. 35
    Crystal Mital says:

    Fudge is the one “have to make” candy for Christmas! But I also like trying to make new things. This year, it was peppermint bark. I haven’t mastered it yet, but the experiments have all been very tasty, but ugly LOL! I also like making new savory munchies, as my hubby isn’t a sweet eater (*gasp*). This year, it’s ranch oyster crackers.

    • 35.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Aren’t those experiments fun, Crystal :-D My husband is always a willing participant in the testing of the treats, happy to eat them all until I get it right LOL.

      I adore savory treats, too. It’s only at Christmas that I have a major sweet tooth -the rest of the year, I’m much more a savory kind of girl.

  36. 36
    blodeuedd says:

    Just give me anything with chocolate and I am happy

  37. 37
    Louisa says:

    Kaelee got the GR! And he IS a fruitcake!! LOL

    Like you, Tawny, I grew up in an era when sweets were for special occasions. My two brothers and I got a bag of M&M’s to share on Sundays IF we were good in church. And all three of us had to be good or NOBODY got anything.

    And things like cookies, cakes and pies were always homemade and a big deal because we didn’t get them all the time.

    My favorite holiday treats are my Mom’s divinity, her homemade fudge, her peanut butter balls, her potato chip cookies, Mawmaw’s chocolate pie, Lane cake and Japanese fruit cake. She still makes all of these every year completely from scratch. YUM!!

    • 37.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      I wonder if it’s that ‘only for special occasions’ delight of the treats that make them taste even better, Louisa :-)

      You know, if I had to make my brothers behave in church, we’d never have gotten chocolate. They were brats. Still are, actually :-D

      Your list of family treats is amazingly tempting. I want to try them all. I LOVE divinity! I used to be able to make it, but the last few times I’ve tried, it’s been a total failure. Maybe I’ll add it to my list for next week (that list is getting mighty long).

  38. 38
    Kathy Ivan says:

    There the problem, i never met a sweet I didn’t love. LOL

    I’ve been busy baking, made Christmas cracker candy yesterday and today will be fruitcake and pecan tassies.

    Your fudge recipe looks quick and easy, I may have to add that to the list of things being made for the holidays. :-)

    • 38.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      But the great thing about that is, the sweets love us right back ;-)

      Those are such fun names – what are Christmas cracker candies?

      If you do try the fudge, let me know how it works out for you :-)

  39. 39
    deelynn says:

    I love all sweets. Baking is part of our holiday ritual and it usually takes 3-4 days. Cookies, bars snack foods like puppychow and chex mix but my specialty is banana bread. I bake loads of them and hand them out to family.

    • 39.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Mmmmm, banana bread. That’s a bigtime favorite in our house.

      All the baking time does add up for sure, though. Even just doing a few treats a day still can take up to a week.

  40. 40
    Phyllis Middleton says:

    My favorite holiday treat was the batch of scratch made peanut butter cookies my Mom made…just for me. I loved them so much that was actually one of my gifts!

    Since her passing, I’ve not been able to replicate the same taste….I think it’s missing her loving touch.

  41. 41
    Quilt Lady says:

    I am a candy person myself. Nothing like a big piece of peanut butter fudge, or English Toffee. I haven’t got started making candy yet but its on my list for next week. My son finished his college finals yesterday and he usually helps me with the candy. So its time to get started on that along with wrapping my gifts.

    • 41.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Mmmm, toffee :-)

      Congrats to your son for finishing finals -I’d say it’s definitely treat time!

      And oh man, wrapping. I need to get going on that. I wrapped a few because my daughter kept looking at the tree, then at me, then sighing sadly. But I am way behind.

      Too busy making candy, I think :-D

  42. 42
    CrystalGB says:

    I am more of a candy girl. I love chocolate fudge and peanut butter fudge. Your books sound awesome. :)

  43. 43
    Janice Hougland says:

    Candy is my favorite Christmas treat…and toffee is the best of all! But a long-time family tradition is homemade popcorn balls. Yumm!

  44. 44
    Minna says:

    My favorites are Christmas pastries and any kind of chocolate!

    http://finland.fi/Public/default.aspx?contentid=180237#pas

    • 44.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Do you make Christmas pastries, Minna? I’ll have to do a google search and see what they are – I think pastries over here and streusel and danishes come to mind -is that the same?

      • 44.1.1
        Minna says:

        Yeah, I make them, although the recipe is slightly different from the one they have on This is Finland-pages (link to that page is on my previous comment). There are probably different recipes on other pages. Just remember to add the word “Finland” to your search. Streusel and danishes -well, they are something along those lines. And instead of plum jam, I sometimes use chocolate -soft, the kind that comes from a jar.

  45. 45
    Laurie G says:

    I’ve never made candy. I do love my M-I-L-’s spritz cookies. So buttery and delicious! They melt in your mouth!

    • 45.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      With those clever disks and the cookie press, spritz are so fun to make, too. I haven’t had any in years, though, since my mother moved away with her cookie press LOL

      But I do remember the buttery goodness.

  46. 46
    catslady says:

    I miss my grandmother’s homemade Italian cookies – I love the anise although I think it’s an acquired taste lol. We also have this one favorite thumbprint cookie that is made with grape jelly and almond extract and sprinkled with nuts.

    • 46.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      I’m not sure I’d be able to eat a lot of anise cookies :-D Are they super rich?

      Your thumbprint cookies make me think of peanut butter and jelly – or in this case, almond butter and jelly. So good!!

      • 46.1.1
        catslady says:

        No, not really. Usually it’s a hard like cookie with a very thin layer of white icing – goes good with cofee. I wish I could remember what they were called.

  47. 47

    Yay!! 12 Bandita Days of Christmas! Way to kick off the celebration, Tawny! I love both of those excerpts. I think I’m halfway in love with Diego already. Poor man doesn’t know what hit him. ;-)

    I’m sort of a purist because I just love plain old Christmas sugar cookies. You know, the kind that melt in your mouth? Mmm! But OMG, that’s got to be the world’s easiest fudge recipe. It’s positively Kate-proof! I’m going to try it this afternoon. xoxo

    • 47.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Awww, thanks, Kate :-D Diego was a little baffled by all he had to deal with – Jade, the holidays, Jade, the cat, Jade, the odd people in town, Jade, the panty thief. Poor guy. I think he kinda liked it, though.

      I can’t wait for sugar cookies next week! Although I do tend to try to bring chocolate to them, too *beg* Dip Santa’s boots in chocolate, a chocolate lace design on the star. You know… just gotta have a lil chocolate.

      Yes yes yes- try the fudge recipe :-D Then let me know what you think. It’s scary simple, really.

  48. 48
    Laney4 says:

    I make homemade treats year-round, but in the wintertime, I like “snowballs” (rolled oats/coconut/chocolate rolled in more coconut and kept cold).
    Store-bought treats only available at Christmastime around here would be Tim Tams. You guys hooked me on them a few years ago, thank you very much!

    • 48.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      It’s those Aussie girls. They’re the bad influence :-D But, oh man, Tim Tams. Mmmmmmm.

      Your cookies sound so fun and yummy, Laney. And like a great cookie for the kids to make.

  49. 49

    Hey Tawny! Both the fudge and the books sound great!! Can’t wait to try all 3! :)

    You know I make Buckeyes, ONLY at Christmas…it makes 9 dozen for crying out loud. We make Chcolate mint cookies, Peanut butter blossoms, M&M cookies and coconut raspberry thumbprints. But my favorite treat is this cheeseball I make every year. It’s super easy and yummy!

    • 49.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Thanks, Suz :-D

      Yikes. 9 dozen? That’s a lot of Buckeyes :-) I’ll bet every one gets gobbled up, though. All of those cookies sound wonderful, but I’ve gotta say, it’s the cheeseball that’s appealing to me at this moment. I think I might have a sugar overload going on just from this blog post *g*

  50. 50
    Joan Kayse says:

    Hi Tawny! NICE & NAUGHTY sounds DE-lish! And of course ya gotta love a story that features cats ;)

    My favorite holiday treat? Helen’s Chrissy cakes. Well….NO…I haven’t actually gotten to EAT any but they smell so good! And yes, I can smell them baking all the way from down under :D

    A co-worker used to bring in a recipe called Reindeer Chow. Was made with Captain Crunch cereal and melted white chocolate and other “stuff”. Addicting!

    • 50.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      JoanieT, I’m with you! Anything with cats is good in my book (oho).

      and, hey, what’s that *sniff* Is that what Christmas cakes smell like? Mmmmmmmm.

      LOL at the Reindeer Chow. Now that’s got to be fun to eat.

  51. 51
    Jeanne Adams says:

    Hey Tawny! You’re rockin’ the house as usual!!! Sorry to get here so late. Is the next batch of cookies out of Sven’s massive oven yet? LOVE the spretzle’s and all that which he makes this time of year. Oh, and those sugar cookies of his…….to. die. for.

    Joanie, I’m with you on that delicious smell of helen’s Chrissy cakes! :> Yumbo!!

    • 51.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Sven is currently covered in chocolate. I can’t tell you why, but he’s blushing an awful lot, so I suspect it’s naughtiness. I have had nothing to do with it. Nope, I’ve been making candy. Chocolate candy, actually :-)

      The party is rocking, though – and we’re off to a fab start of the 12 days, huh :-)

  52. 52

    Fun post, Tawny. Even as I type this, I have a batch of cranberry frostbite cookies in the oven. I love cookies (far too much)

  53. 53
    Shadow says:

    Great post! And i really want to reach through the screen and grab some of those cookies and candy. Yum! I have such a sweet tooth! lol I dont really have a favorite desert. Though i do love Christmas. My family always cooks a bunch of yummy food, we buy a ton of cookies and candy and watch Christmas movies and play games. Its awesome! Happy Holidays!!
    shadowluvs2read(at)gmail(dot)com

    • 53.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Oh -the games and movies part is so fabulous, isn’t it! As soon as we get past the baking frenzy this weekend and everything is shipped off, I get to start the relaxing side of Christmas- the holiday movie marathons and cuddling on the couch with my girls :-D

      And movies are always better with treats. I hope your holidays games and movie watching are yummy :-)

  54. 54

    Tawny, I like cookies _and_ candy! My favorite holiday treat is homemade fruit cake with spiked egg nog. I also like the dh’s homemade cranberry compote. Leftover compote from dinner can be heated and ladled over vanilla ice cream, and that’s seriously yummy.

    I’ve read both Nice & Naughty and Sugar and Spice. They were both terrific. :-)

    • 54.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Oh man, I’m very interested in anything that can go from dinner to spooning over ice cream :-D Nancy that sounds so good.

      Thank you so much for the book love!! I really appreciate it and am so glad you liked the stories.

  55. 55

    You’re killing me with all this talk of sweets! I know it’s a crazy time of year to do it, but I’ve largely given them up in my concerted effort to lose weight. The only sweet things I’ve had since the beginning of the month are 3 Oreos at a friend’s house and a tablespoon of apple butter on a piece of toast.

    This time of year, I usually love to have fudge, and my absolute favorite kind of cookies are oatmeal chocolate chip right out of the oven. Oh, man, now I’m craving them.

    • 55.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      *hanging my head in diet shame*

      I’m sorry, Trish. I know how tough it is. I am still trying to ditch the 5lbs I put on in the fall. Actually, all the baking and candy making does help me not want sweets, though :-D

      GO you on resisting so well -and on sticking with the healthy eating. I know you’ll rock your way into the new year successfully keeping on track to your goal.

  56. 56
    Fedora says:

    Oh, mmm… Tawny, I cannot resist either–I love cookies AND candy. The treat we’ve taken to making around this time of year is kind of both–it’s a chocolate toffee graham thing:
    http://homecooking.about.com/od/dessertrecipes/r/blcandy24.htm

    Super easy and yummy :)

    • 56.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      Oh no. Not the chocolate toffee graham thing. Fedora, after you shared that recipe last year, it became the family favorite go-to treat. All year. ALL YEAR. I made it in Feb. I made it in April. I made it over and over during the summer. I have a box of graham crackers in the pantry for chocolate toffee graham thing emergencies!

      That stuff is lethally awesome.

      thanks for sharing :-D

      • 56.1.1
        Fedora says:

        LOL! Always happy to have someone else going down with me ;) Thanks for sharing your recipes, too!

  57. 57
    Pat Cochran says:

    Love both, but cookies seem to call my
    name more often! This is a great recipe.
    Easy peasy, as they say! Just my speed!

    Pat C.

    • 57.1
      Tawny Weber says:

      YAY -glad you like the recipe, Pat :-D I hope you like the fudge, too *g*

      I’m your opposite, btw. I can more easily resist cookies – maybe because they’re usually bigger. One leeetle piece of candy isn’t gonna hurt anything (I often say that on the third leeetle piece, btw) but a big ole cookie? That’s dangerous ;-)

  58. 58
    Lianne says:

    I quite like chocolate covered coffee beans, and last year came across a Christmas Bark recipe that was easy to make! YUM!

  59. 59
    Cathy P says:

    Hi, Tawny! I lam a big fan of yours, and love your books! I like eggnog and chocolate chip cookies .