Vickey Wollan writes sweet and clean Christmas-themed contemporary romance. Her short stories appear in the annual fund-raising anthology series Romancing the Holidays for the First Coast Romance Writers. Learn more about Vickey and her books at her website.
Do you have a fond memory of your holiday traditions as a child? I do. My mom would remind my sister and me that our maternal grandmother handed down this recipe and manual cookie press. It’s a metal cylinder with caps on each end and an inner snug fitting disk that pushes out the dough when one presses the handle. It seems simple and ordinary. But, when you add your decorating flair and cookie baking love, this recipe can win contests.
In December of 2019, as pictured, this platter of cookies won the First Coast Romance Writer’s annual holiday cookie competition. All the party attendees voted. The moistness of the cookie’s texture and level-up decorations were the prime reasons for the crowning glory.
Olga Vogel, the protagonist in A Snowflake Christmas – The Nutcracker is known for baking gingerbread men sold in the gift shop at the tree farm, Christmas Trees of Snowflake, which she recently inherited. A native of Snowflake, a fictitious, snowy, rural Montana mountain town, Olga participates in or hosts the Twelve Days of Christmas celebrations. She’s focused on her business, but two attractive men keep trying to romance her.
The spark of an idea came to me while driving from Grand Teton National Park traveling to Yellowstone National Park in May of 2018. The small rural towns along the way had fewer than three-hundred residents each according to signs that boasted their populations. Then I drove past their downtown. Blink, and you’d miss it. That fueled the idea for the setting for the A Snowflake Christmas series. The plot points became clearer while hiking into the snowy elevations of the mountains.
Snowflake Currency is an ongoing theme in the series. Bartering favors and kindness to help your neighbors through the rough winters is a theme. Seeing how the residents of this area treated tourists and each other galvanized how my characters would act toward one another.
Each novel in the series has a mystical element to keep the joy-of-the-season shining all year round. The legend of the nutcracker says a nutcracker given as a present will protect the home of the recipient. Olga thinks one of her nutcrackers is faulty. She gifts it at no charge to a young boy, Quinn, who cherishes it beyond words. The toy seemingly answers Quinn's questions. When the arm springs forward on its own, that means yes.
Butter Cookie Recipe
2 sticks butter (1 cup creamed)
3/4 cup white granular sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla OR other flavored extracts like peppermint, almond or walnut.
1 & 1/2 teaspoons food coloring (or more as preferred)
2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Bake 5-6 minutes in a 400-degree oven. Decorate immediately after taking cookies out of the oven. Snow effect via powdered sugar can be added anytime, or not at all.
Using a mixer, blend ingredients in a bowl in the order that they are listed above. Add flour in small amounts, not all at once. If you add more extract or food coloring add more flour to make the dough a stiffer consistency. Use a manual or electric cookie press to make the shapes.
Pictured are almond-cinnamon poinsettias with a dusting of snow where almond extract made the poinsettias come to life and peppermint-chocolate trees with snow covered branches decorated with mini semi-sweet chocolate chips to create bountiful trees. Enjoy!
A Snowflake Christmas: The Nutcracker
Olga Vogel, a native of small-town Snowflake, Montana, knows the value of hard work and focused determination. When she finds herself the sole inheritor of the Snowflake Christmas Tree Farm, she decides her personal life must wait while she concentrates on successfully running the business. Olga turns to her father for support and is astounded when he questions her management suitability.
Olga’s decision to step away from romance gets complicated when Eric Lund, a sexy single father seems determined to capture her attention. Then Grant Miller, who broke up with her to become a college football star, returns to Snowflake acting as if he wants to rekindle their relationship. Drawn to each man individually, Grant’s charisma and Erik’s giving nature, Olga struggles with decisions about her future.
Can she run a prosperous company, and find her one true love?