We can all use as much joy as we can get right now, from whatever source possible. For me, I find my greatest peace at home, much like the Gallagher family, and one of my favorite things to do at home is "play" in the kitchen.
Within the festive pages of the latest Christmas issue of Victoria magazine, one will discover a treasure of delectable recipes, halls decked in gorgeous greenery, and colorful spreads of holiday cheer. Victoria never fails to deliver plenty of joyful images and stories.
Among the recipes is one for a Gingerbread Bundt Cake with Buttermilk Glaze, and I thought to myself, "Self, I bet the Gallaghers would really like one of these cakes for the holiday." Then I wondered who would bake it. There's Tilly at the café, but then Elizabeth and Amanda are both excellent bakers, and then I just got hungry and craved gingerbread cake.
Of course, none of that happened. My mother actually found the recipe, showed me, and she's the one who thought of the Gallaghers, but hey, my version works, too, because I'm almost always thinking of the Gallaghers these days.
Did you know: Ginger root originally hails from China. However, I did not know, but should have, that gingerbread houses originated in Germany in the sixteenth century. We have the Brothers Grimm to thank for popularizing gingerbread houses in Hansel & Gretel, but which came first? The fairytale or the treat? I have not found a hard answer to that question. The softer gingerbread desserts, like the cake in this recipe, were more popular in America, and George Washington's mother reportedly created a recipe that was passed down through the generations. I'm just happy that someone at some point in history realized that the medicinal ginger root also made for delicious desserts.
Excerpt from An Angel Called Gallagher
(from somewhere in chapter one)
Catie listened to the light rustling, and finally the door closed with the women on the outside. She shouldn’t have dared. Reason seemed to have little place in her mind at the moment because she peeked around the edge for a glimpse. Starved for human companionship, Catie was desperate to call out. Almost. When the women had disappeared around the other side of the barn, she trudged through the snow to the front of the coop. Careful not to disturb the chickens too much, she collected as many of the leftover eggs as she could carry wrapped in her scarf. Her gaze flitted over the hens once, and Catie shook her head.
“You’re safe from me, little ones. I haven’t fallen that far yet.”
As quietly as she came, she disappeared back into the woods.
The unfamiliar voices halted Catie’s progress into the rough-hewn cabin. Smoke rose from the narrow chimney, and the scent of cooked meat caused her stomach to clench. A smile formed on her red lips, though her happiness did not last. It appeared to be three voices and none sounded like her father. Catie held the eggs close to her chest and walked alongside the perimeter until she could comfortably peek inside the window.
Three men stood or sat in various stages of undress, snug in the nearly barren cabin. One of them turned something in a hot pan sitting precariously over the wood and coals in the fire, even as she wondered how they’d come upon her home so quickly. She looked into the sky where the sun shined directly above her. Her excursion to the chicken coop had taken longer than she realized.
She looked again at the men through the window, careful to remain out of sight. They’d used the last of the firewood. In the months she and her pa had lived in the solitary cabin, she’d not seen another soul come around.
Catie waited for each man to turn around so she could glimpse their faces. She was convinced none were her father now that she’d at least seen their backs, as much as she might have hoped otherwise. The third man turned, and an inaudible gasp escaped her lips. If ever there was a man in her past life she didn’t want to meet again, it was him.
(A second excerpt where there is a lot of baking for a holiday gathering)
CATIE WORKED ALONGSIDE Amanda under her direction in the kitchen, rolling out dough, stirring sauces, and mixing the fruit fillings for pies. They depleted half of their store of canned fruits, and Kevin had assured them there was plenty of meat in the springhouse when Elizabeth asked him to check on their supply. Catie had never seen so much food in one place, and she was in awe at the women’s ability to create so many things from a few ingredients.
By the time the sun began to fade, they’d prepared half a dozen pies, three cakes—including the spice cake Loren was so fond of—more loaves of bread than Catie imagined anyone would ever need—and had added a dozen jars of canned vegetables to the bounty. All the while, Catie thought of the missing boy. She could be the one lost and alone in the snowy wilderness, uncertain of where to go or who to trust, if not for the Gallaghers. She sent up a silent prayer of thanks for herself and one of hope for Cord Beckert.
Excerpts from An Angel Called Gallagher copyright © MK McClintock
I hope you make time every now and then to escape into a good book and relax with a pot of tea, or your beverage of choice, and a tasty treat.
The Tea: Forests Tea tea from Mountain Rose Herbs
The Treat: Gingerbread Bundt Cake with Buttermilk Glaze (see below)
The Book: An Angel Called Gallagher, book 4 of the Montana Gallagher series.
Gingerbread Bundt Cake with Buttermilk Glaze
I won't be reprinting the recipe here because it's not mine, and no modifications were made this time, except to the baking time. The recipe calls for 50-60 minutes, but 40 minutes was perfect. It could have gone to 45 minutes, but any longer and I think it would have been too dry. Victoria gets a big thumbs up for this delicious and flavorful recipe, which you will find on page 104 of this lovely edition.
I did not have sanding sugar in the pantry, which is what the cranberries and rosemary would have normally been dipped in, so I just used granulated. You might think more glaze is needed, but no way. The amount in the recipe, drizzled this way, is perfect.
This cake wants to be eaten and enjoyed. My editor would say that cake cannot want anything, but I will have to disagree this one time. This cake has feeling!
I picture Ethan Gallagher enjoying a bite of this cake, then I think about what Brenna would think of me thinking about her husband eating the cake, and then I stop thinking . . . and this is where my editor would highlight all the uses of "think."
I did not wait before sampling.
What desserts do you enjoy over the holiday? Do you like to experiment and try new recipes?
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Be well, be kind, and stay safe!