One of my favorite parts of starting a new series is figuring out what drives the characters to do what they do. As I went through the process of getting to know Abby McCree, the main character in my new release, DEATH BY COMMITTEE, I noticed she spends a lot of time in the old-fashioned kitchen of the Victorian house she inherited from her favorite aunt.
I gradually realized that there were several different reasons Abby so often headed for the pantry to gather the ingredients to make another batch of cookies. For starters, her roommate is Zeke, a slobbery mastiff mix she inherited along with the house. He’s a rescue dog with a rough past, and she likes to spoil him just a little with the organic doggy treats she bakes just for him.
Abby also enjoys spending time with friends sitting around the dining room table with coffee and cookies. Sometimes they’re just hanging out together, but she also knows that refreshments make the drudgery of committee work a little more palatable.
Then there’s the fact her handsome tenant is a bit of a curmudgeon with a sweet tooth. Providing Tripp with a steady supply of baked goods helps make for a much happier tenant/landlady relationship.
And finally, hanging out in the kitchen brings back fond memories of all the time Abby and her aunt spent there together.
(I should probably also point out that when everything goes horribly wrong, Abby is smart enough to know that it never hurts to offer refreshments to the local police chief.)
For my part, I grew up making cookies with my mom with an old style Mirro Cookie Press. I never use mine without thinking of her and all the times we made cream cheese spritz cookies together. With that in mind, I thought I’d share our recipe with you today. I hope you enjoy them!
HOLLY WREATH COOKIES (cookie press cookies)
- ½ cup shortening
- 2 oz. cream cheese
- 1 cup flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- Cream shortening and cream cheese together. Add sugar and vanilla and mix well. Add flour until well mixed.
- Use the star plate on the cookie press, making circles of the dough on an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Sprinkle green sugar around the cookie, and then use red in one spot (to represent the bow on a wreath.)
- One note: this dough is probably too soft to use with any of the other plates in the cookie press.
- Bake 12-15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
You want the edges and the bottom to be slightly brown. It’s better to have them underdone than too brown. Cool slightly before removing from the cookie sheet.
(One recipe only makes about 18 cookies. I usually use an entire 8 oz. pkg of the cream cheese and multiple the recipe by 4.)
When Abby McCree suddenly inherits her favorite relative’s property in small town Snowberry Creek, Washington, she soon realizes that the ramshackle home comes with strings attached—one of which is tied to a dead body!
After a rough divorce, Abby McCree only wants to stitch up her life and move on. But other loose ends appear after her elderly Aunt Sybil passes away, leaving Abby to tend to a rundown estate, complete with a slobbery Mastiff of questionable pedigree and a sexy tenant who growls more than the dog. As Abby gets drawn into a tight-knit quilting guild, she makes a twisted discovery—Aunt Sybil’s only known rival is buried in her backyard!
Despite what local detectives say, Abby refuses to accept that her beloved aunt had anything to do with the murder. While navigating a busy social calendar and rediscovering the art of quilting, she launches an investigation of her own to clear Aunt Sybil’s name and catch the true culprit. The incriminating clues roll in, yet Abby can’t help but wonder—can she survive her new responsibilities in Snowberry Creek and still manage to patch together a killer’s deadly pattern without becoming the next victim?