Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-Off
About Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-Off
Tucked away inside an old lighthouse in Beacon Harbor, Michigan, bakeshop café owner Lindsey Bakewellis ready to make her first Christmas in town shine bright. But her merry plans crumble fast when murder appears under the mistletoe . . .
With the spirit of the holidays wafting through the Beacon Bakeshop, Lindsey thinks she has the recipe for the sweetest Christmas ever—winning the town-wide cookie bake-off. Unfortunately, striving for a picture-perfect December in Beacon Harbor is a lot like biting into stale shortbread. Low on staff and bombarded by visits from family, Lindsey can barely meet demands at work, let alone summon the confidence to face fierce competition . . .
Self-appointed Christmas know-it-all Felicity Stewart is determined to take the top spot in the bake‑off, and she’s not afraid to dump a little coal in everyone’s stocking to do it. Just as the competition heats up, everything falls apart when the judge is found dead—and covered in crumbs from Lindsey’s signature cookie!
Solving a murder was never on Lindsey’s wish list. But with her reputation on the line during the happiest time of the year, she’ll need to bring her best talents to the table in order to sift out the true Christmas Cookie culprit.
Includes Delicious Recipes!
About Darci Hannah
Cozy mystery author, Darci Hannah, is a native of the Midwest and currently lives in a small town in Michigan. Darci is a lifelong lover of the Great Lakes, a natural wonder that inspires many of her stories. When Darci isn't baking for family and friends, hiking with her furry pals, Ripley and Finn, or concocting her next cozy mystery, she can be found wandering around picturesque lakeside villages with her hubby, sampling baked goods and breaking for coffee more often than she should.
Lindsey Bakewell’s Scrumptious Southern Pecan Cookies
By Darci Hannah
When I was asked to write a Christmas cozy mystery as part of my Beacon Bakeshop Mystery Series I was really excited by the opportunity. I had never written a holiday mystery before, but I loved the possibility of getting to do a deep dive into a Christmas story that was all my own. I’ll admit it here, I love Christmas and all the trappings, from the seasonal books, movies, crowded stores, kitschy decorations, lights, to the food. Especially the food! As a writer and amateur baker who writes about a bakeshop in a lighthouse on the shores of Lake Michigan, I was especially excited to come up with the perfect holiday baked good that would be the theme of my book. It didn’t take me long to realize that Christmas cookies would take the leading role in this book. I mean, who can resist a Christmas cookie? Certainly not Santa. And so, I began the process of gathering some of my favorite cookie recipes to include in my fun, rollicking Christmas cozy mystery, Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-Off.
Yes, there is a competitive Christmas cookie bake-off in the book, which inspired me to search high and low through the recipe books for some truly outstanding cookies. Today I’d like to share with you the cookie that my protagonist, Lindsey Bakewell, decides to make for her shot at the Beacon Harbor Christmas Cookie Bake-Off title. The cookie Lindsey chooses is a chewy, buttery pecan cookie topped with a penuche style frosting. My family and friends were “forced” to sample this cookie quite a few times during the making of this book, and their reviews were unanimous. The Southern Pecan cookie was declared over-the-top delicious!
If you’d like to try this cookie, and I suggest that you do, here’s the recipe.
Lindsey’s Scrumptious Southern Pecan Cookies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. place rack in middle position.
Prep time 20 minutes. Chill time: 30 minutes. Cook time 10 minutes.
Makes 36 cookies
For the dough:
1 cup butter softened
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup finely chopped pecans
36 pecan halves toasted (for top of cookie)
For the frosting:
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup cream
1 tablespoon butter
1½ to 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
Divide package of pecans and place half on a baking sheet. Toast pecans in a preheated oven (350 degrees) for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. These pecans will be used as a decoration for the tops of the cookies.
Finley chop ½ cup of pecans and set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer beat butter and sugars together until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Add flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until well blended.
Stir in chopped pecans. Cover the cookie dough and put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or longer.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on parchment lined cookie sheet a couple of inches apart. Bake 10 minutes until set and lightly browned at the edges.
Cool on wire rack.
Sift 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar.
In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar and cream. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and stir in butter. When butter is melted stir in 1½ cups of sifted powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. Frosting should look smooth and glossy. If frosting looks too thin, add more powdered sugar. However, keep in mind that the frosting firms up very fast once it cools.
Place cookies close together. Quickly spread each cookie with about 1 tablespoon of warm frosting.
Top each cookie with a toasted pecan.
Let frosting set, then enjoy!
Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-Off by Darci Hannah is the 2nd A Beacon Bakeshop Mystery. This new cozy can be read as a standalone. Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-Off is a fun lighthearted story with delicious cookies. The cookie descriptions will have your mouth watering. The story contains good writing with developed, relatable characters. I just love Lindsey’s Newfoundland, Wellington. I loved the idea of Lindsey and Welly having matching coats (I wonder if I can get my dog to wear a coat). There is humor sprinkled throughout that had me chuckling. The author captured Michigan in the winter. Beacon Harbor sounds like a charming small town. I love Lindsey’s lighthouse with its resident ghost. I enjoy the paranormal element and would actually like more of it. The mystery was well plotted with several suspects, a red herring, and good clues. It depends on your sleuthing ability on when you will solve this whodunit. Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-Off is a cute cozy that will put you in the mood for the holidays. There are cookie recipes at the end for several of the tasty treats featured in the book. Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-Off is a merry tale with cookie trickeries, dazzling lighthouse lighting, a bevy of baking, an affable assistant baker, delectable cookies, and a spectral captain.
The Avid Reader
*This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.