Brrr! Baby, It’s Cold Outside

My new Harlequin Presents is out–Duty, Desire and the Desert King–and I’ve been really busy wrapping gifts, organizing Christmas cards, and planning my son Ty’s birthday party for this weekend.   But wow, it’s chillllllly.  And it sounds like winter weather has hit everywhere.  Snow, ice, freezing conditions.  Rain, mudslides, biting wind.   Not realizing just how cold it was, I sent my two big boys  to school yesterday in shorts and sweatshirts and then turned on the TV to hear that it was only 17 degrees outside.  Felt a little bad for not at least asking boys to put on jeans.  But they survived and today my younger son wore two sweatshirts since all our winter clothes and coats are still in storage.

It took an hour at the post office yesterday, but I mailed 8 huge boxes yesterday to my far flung family–two boxes to San Francisco, one to Palm Springs, one to San Diego, one to LA, and one to North Carolina.   I also mailed blog prizes and some business gifts and I’d like to mail you a gift, too, if you win today’s blog prize.

Because I can’t do any holiday baking without an oven (or kitchen) I’m letting my favorite cookie place, Cheryl & Co send three of my readers yummy yummy holiday cookies.  This is a very short contest.  A one day contest and when I post the winners’ names in the morning you have 12 (only twelve!!)  hours to get back to me with your address, or I’ll pick someone else because I’m not letting these cookies go to waste.

It’s so easy to enter.  Tell me by midnight tonight what treats, sweets, or holiday drinks you find irresistible this time of year.  I personally love love love homemade fudge (without walnuts) and old fashioned pralines.   My mom came from a Southern/Texan family and knew how to make the creamiest smoothest melt-in-your-mouth pralines and I wish I had her recipe because I’d love to try to recreate those.  I love frosted sugar cookies, too, and am craving one right now.  What do you like to nibble on?  What’s your festive drink of choice?  Tell me, and you might be one of three to win some amazing cookies and treats from Cheryl & Co.  The contest ends tonight midnight PST, I’ll announce winners early tomorrow morning and I must hear from you by 7 pm tomorrow night PST or I’m drawing a new name.  Don’t be left in the cold!  Check back in my blog comment section tomorrow morning to see if you won.


  1. Mmmm…yummy, but dangerous time of the year:) My mum is Scottish, so we always have shortbread. And not just one type-whipped shortbread, petticoat tails, Ayrshire shortbread; the list goes on. The other one I love is a cookie my granny used to make called Chocolate kisses. Basically meringues with chocolate pieces and pecan pieces. Favourite of all the grandchildren.

  2. My favorite is the frosted sugar cookie as well. We are going to have a sugar cookie decorating contest saturday with my neice & nephew and thier freinds. It should be alot of fun.

  3. I will be making pounds and pounds of toffee dipped pretzels this weekend. They have become a tradition, we package them and send lots of them out. I love that my husband even helps to dip them, it turns out to be a fun activity rather than a chore.

  4. Oh this is easy one. I love buckeyes! Yummy Rice crispy cereal with peaunut butter rolled into balls and dipped into melted chocolate. Fudge is really good too. Anything with chocolate and peaunut butter is always good in my book! Ok now i’m hungry Jane! lol

  5. Anything chocolate works for me. I love chocolate chip cookies hot out of the oven.
    Love snacking on homemade Chex party mix. Wonderful time of year for goodies.

  6. It’s time for pizzelle’s and biscotti and torta agli amaretti and marshmallow penguins and chocolate mice. I was actually planning my after Christmas baking as I don’t get time to do it before Christmas. the only thing that will be done and ready for christmas eve is torta agli amaretti.

  7. I love cookies,it really doesn’t matter what kind. And pumpkin pie with whipped cream on top. And this time of year I like to drink egg nog, also hot chocolate or a nice latte. I like to just munch on the cinnamon chex cereal too, figured it was better for me than chips.

  8. Favorite cookies are chocolate chip oatmeal and good old-fashioned sugar cookies with decorations on them! I love to drink a vanilla creme from Starbucks – like hot chocolate, only vanilla! YUM!

  9. Hmmm. So many treats… I also love frosted sugar cookies, eggnog (though I’ve tried to switch to the soy stuff with less fat), and that holiday bliss bar at Starbuck’s is painfully irresistable.

  10. I find butter tarts irresistible ANY time of year, but I enjoy baking them for company and for hostess gifts:

    1 cup (250 mL) brown sugar
    ⅔ cup (160 mL) corn syrup
    2 eggs
    1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
    1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
    24-34 frozen mini tart shells (or make your own)

    Mix all above ingredients well. (I use the electric mixer.) Pour into tart shells. Bake in 425oF (220oC) preheated oven for 13 minutes. * Can add raisins if you like.

    I love to EAT homemade fudge without nuts, but I’ve never mastered them. Mine always turn out as ice cream topping instead because they’re so runny.

    Nibble? Non-exotic cookies, like shortbread, sugar, chocolate, etc.

    Festive drink? Anything I don’t have to make myself.

    Thanks for asking and I hope you and your family have the best of Christmases!

  11. Hi Jane,

    Merry Christmas! I know what you mean about boys/shorts/cold weather! Although not nearly as cold here as other places, we have been having some very cold weather by our standards (Sonoma County, CA.) My son also left in shorts and a sweatshirt and I felt bad, but he is 11 and likes shorts! I pushed for the jeans the next day though. Anyhow, I have not yet baked and will hopefully get to it by next week. I like making Russian Tea Cakes best! I also throw in chocolate chip, and peanut butter balls. I hope you have a wonderful holiday and have a safe trip to Hawaii!


  12. Hi Jane,
    It’s cold here in the northeast too. I love all kinds of sweets from cheescake to brownies to sugar cookies. I enjoy hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows.

  13. Peppermint Mochas from Starbuck’s (that I have now perfected at home) are my favorite drink. Sparkling cranberry martini’s are my alcholic beverage of choice.

    Jam is what I make tons of during the holidays….boysenberry, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, whatever berries I could get fresh from the Farmer’s Market in town during the summer. I also make tons of truffles and my mom’s sugar cookies. You never know what will show up in your goody basket come Christmas…..which of course is half the fun!

    Merry Christmas, Jane!

  14. Jane,
    Merry Christmas!!! I usually make fudge each Christmas and I LOVE the peanut butter fudge. Alos love some Baileys. Yum.
    Have a nice holiday in Hawaii.

  15. Hi Jane!

    Christmas treats–yummm!!! Well it wouldn’t be Christmas without some Peppermint Bark (dark chocolate bottom, white chocolate top with crushed peppermint) and my mother-in-law’s amazing Chocolate Chip Chewies. I can barely describe them. Cookie bottom, then chocolate chips, teeny pecans and a very thin meringue top. Oh they are out of this world. You cannot eat JUST one and you MUST have large amounts of cold skim milk on hand.

    OK, now I need some!! Thank you Rosemary Schell for bringing these (and your son) into my life 17 years ago!!!

    Have great day and keep warm.

    Hugs, Shannon in Tustin

  16. Rich brownies and delightful chocolate mint fudge. My favorite drink would have to be chai tea. Great for this winter weather. Have a wonderful holiday.

  17. Baking is one of the few things I don’t do much of during the holidays. It always makes me gain too much weight! But I love cookies and especially the sugar cookies with frosting that we put out for Santa each year. Sometimes we make church windows, where you roll a chocolate mixture with colored miniature marshmallows. Yum. And to drink we vary, with either a warm wine with cinnamin or decaf coffee with Kahlua and vanilla flavored creamer and vodka. Another yum.

    Sounds like you are on top of your holiday goings on and with a birthday this month to boot!

  18. Hi Jane, yes it is cold,cold ,cold. Snow on the ground,ice on the pond.
    My fav holiday drink is a chocolate martini with 1/2 & 1/2. Very low calorie of course,but oh well.
    My favorite treat is anything homemade /baked goods! Cookies,candies,fudge etc. I too wish you had the praline recipe! The only good ones I ever experienced were in New Orleans. I did make a fabulous cookie this week called Hamantashen,which comes from my Jewish biz partner . It is a sugar like cooked stuffed with raspberry jelly, or any jelly you like. They are yummy. Made during Purim. Stay warm.
    If it makes you feel any better,my high schooler walks to school wearing only a hoodie! It’s too UNCOOL to be warm in high school . Suit yourself young man,enjoy your cold journey in the snow!

  19. Chocolate pretty much does it for me at any time of the year, but somewhere along the line during the Christmas season, I need to have those peanut butter cookies w/the Hershey kiss stuck in the middle. Just heaven.

    My other Christmas favorite are some cookies my father used to make every season. We called them Squirrels for not particular reason. They were swirled chocolate a vanilla cookies (2 kinds of dough, chilled overnight, then laid together and cut so the 2 flavors swirled into sole cookie). My dad would add chocolate chips to the chocolate dough to spruce them up, so I altered the name to Squirrels. Eh, go figure.

    Finally, every Christmas (and Easter if we’re counting) I make a sinfully rich breakfast casserole of egg, sharp cheese, cream of mushroom soup, sausage, bread, and milk. I make it for the choir for the marathon of singing 3 services on Christmas Sunday and then another on for us for Christmas. It’s casserole and presents on Christmas morning after a long night of singing in 2 Christmas Eve worship service and I just love to sink in and gorge. 🙂

    Christmas treats are the best!

  20. Jane,

    My all time favorite is a cookie my grandmother makes. I don’t know the name but we literally fight over them every year. And as she is getting older, she does not make as many as she used to and that causes the fighting…It’s all in fun and we laugh the whole time 🙂 But in all honesty, as long as I have Nana in my life, I can do without the cookies.

    Have a safe trip to Hawaii!!

  21. For Christmas Eve we start with homemade carmel popcorn while reading The Night Before Christmas. My daughter is 33 and her kids are 7 and 8 and I have read that story to her and now them for 33 years with carmel popcorn and hot chocolate.
    My favorite Christmas morning treat is homemade almond scones with homemade devonshire cream. A hot cup of amoreto flavored tea and the warm scone. . . .
    My favorite cookie is a recipe that I made up and call it Cherries Garcia (like the ice cream, it is made with a shortbread base then covered with a thin sheet of melted chocolate and topped with bits of cheeries then baked. Then a frosting made with the juice from the cherries and powdered sugar and butter top it off. Everyone always wants this recipe. I have so many cookies and cakes that I make, but, I will stop with these.
    Have a happy and loving holiday, from a big fan of you books.

  22. I love homemade gingerbread men and women cookies with decorations on them.
    I also love the frosted Christmas sugar cookies. Yummy!

  23. I can resist anything except my mother’s pralines. They are hard to make, because
    the weather has to be just right so they don’t get sticky,and they involve enough brown sugar to use my Weight watchers points till 2013, but oh mi gosh!
    plus, my best memory of Christmas as a child was Mom filling every horizontal surface with wax paper, then covering that with hot sweet pralines.
    wow,I want one now.

  24. I cannot resist FUDGE! OMG… soooo good. I need to learn to make my own. My tummy is already growling for some, I have the worse sweet tooth ever so this time of year is not very good for my waistline! 🙂

  25. BRRR is right! We haven’t been above freezing for days – they say it will change soon.

    Love shortbread cookies and anything with chocolate and nuts. Not much of a baker myself but do make a sour cream coffee cake for Christmas that is yummy!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  26. I can’t resist egg nog, cookies(any kind!), holiday lattes, and peanut butter fudge!

    Merry Christmas, Jane and all readers here! 🙂

  27. Okay, so shoot me but these are really good and you don’t need an oven. Only a stove top.
    Melt chocolate chips. Dip rod pretzels in the chocolate 2/3 of the way up and then generously shake the sprinkles over them and refridgerate.

  28. Hi, Jane – It’s really cold here in PA tonight too. I feel very fortunate to be toasty warm inside and my laptop makes for a nice “blanket” to keep me warm. Fav treats for this time of year are Peppermint Bark and homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies. Festive drink would have to be a Poinsettia (Cranberry and Champagne). Best wishes to Ty on his birthday. S-I-L’s is today and my friend’s is tomorrow. Hubby and I are both right after Christmas, so we know how he feels having a birthday close to the holiday. He’s lucky it’s before the holiday as hopefully he doesn’t get lost in the holiday shuffle. Hope you and your family have a very merry Christmas and a peaceful and healthy 2010. Please post a Christmas pic of your three boys on Christmas Day

  29. Message for Kiersten – could you please post your recipe for the breakfast casserole – it sounds wonderful!! Thanks in advance

  30. I love all the holiday coffee drinks that pop up this time of year. Gingerbread Latte, Egg Nog Latte, Peppermint Mocha. Throwing a shot of Bailey’s in doesn’t hurt either! 😉

  31. I love gingerbread lattes…with lots of whipped cream! As for adult beverages…I love my poinsettia punch…just champagne & cranberry juice. Sweet treats….gotta have the cookies with the hershey kiss in the middle. Everyone usually uses pb cookie dough, but I prefer sugar cookies. Very cold in Hotlanta tonight, too!

  32. My favorite drink during Christmas time is Egg nog lattes and for the treats I love to bake Gingerbread man cookies, my kids love them, Yummy!

  33. Fudge WITH nuts! I make big trays with several kinds of cookies and candy to give away. Another favorite is peanut butter popcorn. Fun to make AND eat.

  34. This is such a yummy post. I enjoy chocolate marble fudge. It is so tempting and soothing. Drinking hot chai all winter long keeps me cozy.

  35. Hola Jane, I live in South Texas and for us it got to a high of 44*, it is COLD. It is suppose to be the same tomorrow only raining. Yuck! I can’t even think what it would be like to live there.

    As for my favorite snack, my dad makes a mean peanut britle that he has been making for 30 yrs. Got the recipe out of the newspaper and makes it in the microwave. I have tried to make but never have been successful to date. I have to wash it down with a mean mug of hot cholate with the tiny marshmellows. I know, lame. But that is what I enjoy.
    Stay warm…

  36. I love chocolates, chips and dip, cookies and squares, and pop or hot chocolate.

    Don’t enter me as I won the other day and thanks.

  37. I am slowly becoming addicted to those Seattle’s Best gingerbread men cookies – omg they are good!! Expensive, but good … with their cute little button drops! :0)

    But for holiday family type goodies, I miss my grandmother’s cookies that she use to make every year. She called them Pecan Shorts (they’re like pecan sandies), but they’re in the shape of a crescent moon, and then covered with powdered sugar. Very tasty – but according to my mom I need to QC the recipe because she thinks she forgot to annotate an ingredient. Probably when she dropped some blobs on the recipe card, lol. I wonder if these things can be made into gingerbread ones??? Hmmm…. guess I’ll find out ~ Oh! and the drink would have to be the Caramel Brulee latte!

  38. Cookies of any kind are wonderful. Especially when it is cold outside, the warmth and smell they radiate in heavenly. I would say, oatmeal, white chocolate cranberry cookies along with ginderbread ones are a big hit here. Now if you add a cup of hot tea you are in business.

  39. My favorites this time of year are my mom’s toffee, peanut brittle and peppermint hot chocolate and peppermint mocha. yum!!!!

  40. I love the Starbucks Peppermint Mocha Latte (in a Christmas cup!)with their chocolate/caramel dipped pretzels. Yum!

  41. I love a special family recipe for fudgy chocolate pecan cookies with surprise caramel centers and striped white chocolate on top! People go crazy for these cookies!! Every year I have neighbors and friends saying, “Am I getting some of those cookies this year?”

  42. My favorite holiday dish is hasbrown casserole,snack is peanut M&M mixes and my favorite drink is hot cocoa.Now I am hungry…

  43. Hi everyone, I’ve returned to announce the winners of the incredibly yummy Cheryl & Co cookies.

    I decided to pick 4 of you instead of three. I wanted to make everyone a winner but if your number isn’t picked, stick around because I’m running another contest today!!

    But for the Baby It’s Cold Outside blog contest, the four winners are from comments:

    #1 Shelley

    # 15 Cathy

    #28 Amber

    #36 Wanda

    So please please email me by 7 pm tonight so I can get your cookie order in. Otherwise I’m picking someone else! 🙁

    Congrats to my four wonderful readers. Hope you’ll enjoy these wonderful bakery treats.

  44. I have aways loved to bake and have taken many classes to learn how to perfected my passion for baking. Well I really call it my sickness for baking.
    Last year my Dad had open heart surgery and as my mom and I sat in the hospital waiting room we talked about when she was young and how her mom would make these special butter tarts for customers. It was during the depressing and her mom needed to have an income because her father had left them to look for work and never came back.
    My mom and her siblings would sneak these special treats and end up eating them all.
    My mom told me that her mom would cry and cry over this.
    My mom also asked me to make me some of these one day.
    I’m one of nine kids and my mom has never asked for anything from any of her kids. So I was so honor to be asked to do this little thing that the next day i found a recipe on line and baked off two dozen off those little butter tarts.
    Two of my sisters went over to my mom’s that day and ate most of them.
    When my mom told me this I asked her if she cried and cried like her mom did?
    You know what they say. Pay back is a B—-.
    These butter tart are very tasty.
    Just to watch my mom eat them was fun and emotional for her.

  45. I love homemade candies, fudge, peanutbutter fudge, pecan rolls. They are all awesome. Here is a very easy fudge recipe that is pretty good. I call it cheating when i make candy like this.
    Quick Microwave Fudge
    Take one bag chocolate chips and one can of chocolate cake frosting and mix together in a microwave safe dish. Microwave five to six minutes stiring every two minutes. add nuts if desired. Beat a little and pour into a buttered 9 inch square pan. Let cool! This is pretty good and very easy!

  46. Jane this is a beautiful post. It was definitely uplifting. I am glad that you are feeling, genuinely, happy. I know exactly what you mean.There have been a number of years, when I didn’t feel really happy; the cloud of medication always caused me to doubt what I was feeling. But, I felt happiness for the first time this year, and I was able to differentiate between sadness and depression. Awesome feeling. Keep doing what you are doing. It sounds like you are well on your way to spreading joy and good cheer. Thank you very much for sharing with us. You don’t have to enter me in the drawing for this. Have a wonderful and safe trip to HI…Aloha!

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

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