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Dec 18, 2015 Blog, Cookie Recipes, Recipes

You Better Watch Out, You Better Not . . . Run Out of Cookies!

You Better Watch Out, You Better Not . . . Run Out of Cookies!

I know that’s what’s already happening at my house. With or without them, of course, the meaning of Christmas and our joy in celebrating with friends and family remain the same. However, I’m figuring with just a week to go until Christmas Day and a little bit of time on my hands, I’d like to whip up just a few more treats for all the sweet teeth I expect over the next two weeks. I hope this one, a favorite among coconut lovers, comes in handy for you, too, as you enjoy this weekend of anticipation, fun and last minute prep. I may just have to make up another batch or two after the holidays to deliver to local booksellers along with a “thank you” for featuring The View From Prince Street when it reaches stores January 5th.

Coconut Sugar Cookies

Mary Ellen Taylor Holiday Cookies 2015 two

3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups butter, room temperature
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1-2 cups shredded coconut

 

 

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in extract and zest. Mix half the dry ingredients into butter/sugar mixture. Blend well. Mix in second half of dry ingredients. Scoop dough into one inch rounds and them roll in shredded coconut. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 9-10 minutes.

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Dec 18, 2015 Blog, Contests

THE VIEW FROM PRINCE STREET COUNTDOWN BEGINS WITH A GIVEAWAY!

THE VIEW FROM PRINCE STREET COUNTDOWN BEGINS WITH A GIVEAWAY!

ViewFromPrinceStreet_150

It’s eighteen days until THE VIEW FROM PRINCE STREET hits stores!  But who’s counting?  I am! And what fun is a countdown without a new giveaway? Boring. So, if you haven’t read my first Alexandria Mary Ellen Taylor AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET cover hi resnovel, At the Corner of King  Street, or your copy fell in the tub, or your dog ate it, I hope you’ll enter for a chance to win it now.  It will give you a chance to catch up a bit on the goings on at The Union Street Bakery and it will introduce you to the family behind Shire Architectural Salvage where the witch bottles’ link to Old Town Alexandria’s colonial history was first uncovered.

Good luck! And happy holidays!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Nov 23, 2015 Blog

My Hearthside Pumpkin Cookies

My Hearthside Pumpkin Cookies

 

Fireplace_Burning WikipediaYou don’t have to be sitting in front of a blazing fire to appreciate my Hearthside Pumpkin Cookies, but it doesn’t hurt. As the colder weather begins to take over I take comfort from thoughts of hot drinks (warm grog anyone?), good food, and the glow of the fireplace.

Mary Ellen Taylor THE VIEW FROM PRINCE STREET cover image (from Amazon)As I research more and more about the hardships faced by the early settlers in Virginia for my Alexandria novels, The View from Prince Street and At the Corner of King Street, I like to think I’d have had their courage and endurance, especially in the face of the challenging and truly dangerous winter season.

Mary Ellen Taylor AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET cover hi resWho knows? Maybe I would have. It’s hard, though, to even imagine myself in that time as I’m sitting by my gas fireplace, drinking a lovely toddy heated in my microwave, and choosing from a variety of goodies whipped up in the comfort of my kitchen from ingredients that, if I wanted, I could have picked up the phone and had delivered. Not that I wouldn’t want to grow, harvest and mill my own flour, of course.

So, with thanks for all we have in this time and place, I share a recipe I think carries a taste of old Alexandria, my Hearthside Pumpkin Cookies, as I take a moment to reflect on the city’s history and all who contributed to making it what it is today.

 

Mary Ellen’s Hearthside Pumpkin Cookies

Mary Ellen's Hearthside Pumpkin Cookies2 ½ cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup or 1 stick of butter
1 ½ cups of white sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
Confectioners sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl blend together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. In a separate bowl cream together butter, sugar and then add the egg. Mix in pumpkin and vanilla. Add the dry mixture to the pumpkin-sugar mixture 1/3 at a time. Scoop onto a greased cookie sheet and bake 15-20 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar.

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Nov 23, 2015 Blog, Recipes

As American as Old Town Apple Pie

As American as Old Town Apple Pie

Yes, it’s time for me to go into high gear with my baking and other prep for Thursday! Thanksgiving Day always makes me competitive with my favorite frenemy—me! I love to bake and cook, but like so many of us, despite years of success, I go right ahead and worry that this year will mark the one time the bread doesn’t rise, the turkey turns tough and the desserts will be left uneaten.

Fortunately, I’ve been wrong on this score for about twenty-five years and everybody continues to show up at the table on time.  And one dish my family and I always count on is my apple pie. So from me to you in time for the holiday, here’s my take on one of America’s favorite traditional recipes.

Mary Ellen Taylor Old Town Apple PieMary Ellen’s Old Town Apple Pie

Filling

8-9 Tart Apples (such as Granny Smith)
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 9-inch pastry crusts

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel and thinly slice apples. In a bowl mix together sugar, cinnamon, flour and sugar. Pour over sliced apples and toss well. Let the mixture sit for about ten minutes. Place pastry crust in a greased pie pan. Drain any excess from apples and place in pastry crust. Cover apples with second pastry crust. Slice four slits or vents in the top pie crust and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 35 to 45 minutes.

Pastry Crust

2 ½ cups All Purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
2 sticks butter, chilled
1/3 cup chilled water

Place flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Slice butter into cubes and add to flour mixture. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut butter into flour into it resembles a coarse meal. Add the water and blend with flour-butter mixture. Form into a smooth ball and wrap in cling wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour before dividing in half and rolling into two crusts.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Nov 20, 2015 Uncategorized

My New Alexandria Novel & A Giveaway!

My New Alexandria Novel & A Giveaway!

 

ViewFromPrinceStreet_150I’m excited to share the cover and news of my new Alexandria novel, THE VIEW FROM PRINCE STREET, on sale January 5th and available now for pre-orders. I hope you’re looking forward to returning to Old Town with me as I introduce Rae McDonald and Lisa Smythe, whose shared history—the loss of a beloved sister and friend—is not only much more complicated than they imagine, it hearkens back to the 1700s and the lives of AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET‘s Faith Shire and Patience McDonald.

Did you miss AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET?  Or do you have a friend who needs to catch up?  Either way, you’re invited to enter below for a chance to win a copy and to join earlier readers who have been welcomed to the city’s past and present, strolled around Old Town, been introduced to the family behind the Shire Architectural Salvage Company and gotten caught up on the latest news about THE UNION STREET BAKERY‘s McCrae family.

 

 

 

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