I love having different creative outlets. As well as writing, I love cooking and decorating cakes, amongst other things, so Christmas here tends to come with all sorts of appetizing smells, from my parent’s amazing turkey dinner with home made stuffing and apple sauce, to my Christmas cake, and the chocolates and Florentines I make as presents.
So for Blissemas, I thought I’d share my Florentines recipe because they’re really easy to make, delicious and make great gifts.
- 3 oz butter
- 4 oz sugar *
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 4 oz flaked almonds **
- 1 oz chopped cherries
- 1 oz sultanas ***
- 1 tbsp single cream
- 8 oz melted chocolate ****
Melt butter and sugar in a pan and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in fruit, flour, nuts and cream.
Drop teaspoons of the mix onto baking parchment and bake at 180 degrees C (350 degrees F) for 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on them as they can burn very quickly.
Allow to cool for a short while before transferring them to a cooling rack.
When cool, dip or spread with chocolate.
** Or other chopped nuts/mixed nuts if you prefer.
*** Or other mixed fruit, maybe dried apricots to change it up.
**** Milk, white or dark will work equally well, or maybe dip in one type, then drizzle another over the top.
Away from the cakes and the yummy treats, I’m working on a whole series of books for Will and Abby from Coming, Ready or Not: Three Tales of Tease and Denial. I’m almost done with the first book in the series which shows how they got together, and I also have an idea for a Christmas story where Abby decides to be ultra-helpful and get the Christmas decorations down from the top shelf in the garage, despite Will telling her not to because the shelf is too high for her to reach. Naturally things don’t go well for her, when she drops a large set of toolbox drawers filled with carefully sorted nuts, screws and other parts all over the garage floor in her attempt to reach the box.
Here’s a short, draft excerpt. At this point, Abby has put everything back into the toolbox as best she can and has put the Christmas tree up, and Will is about to go to the garage, despite her trying to distract him, to get more decorations and some tacks and a hammer from his toolbox:
“Oh. You did get the decorations out. The tree looks great.” Will raised an eyebrow, “Though we will be having a talk later about the fact that I told you to leave the decorations where they were.”
Abby gulped. “I just wanted to help.”
Will wrapped his arms around her, dropping a kiss onto the top of her head.
“Thank you. I’ve got to say I’m shattered so I’m really glad I don’t have to start again with all this.”
He looked up at the ceiling and then back at the box of decorations.
“Tell you what I will do, though. I’ll get the other box with all the streamers and things in from the garage.”
He headed back out into the hall and his voice trailed back to Abby as he left.
“And if I get a hammer and a couple of bits, I can tack up something to fix the streamers to. Back in a minute.”
“Oh but…” Abby tried to think what to say to stop him but her mind had gone blank. All she could think about was the mess she’d made in the garage.
As he reached the front door and closed it behind him, she called after him, “But dinner’s almost ready.”
Too late. He’d gone.
Abby stood frozen in the middle of the room for a moment and then collapsed onto the sofa.
‘Maybe I should run away,’ she thought. ‘This is bad. This is very bad. I could get a ticket to Rio. I could do that. And then Tommy Lee Jones would run after me and hunt me down everywhere I went.’ She grinned. ‘Actually I don’t think I’d make him run very fast.’
She heard the front door open and shut again.
‘Come on, think. I’ve got about forty five pounds in my bank account and maybe a hundred air miles. That should get me as far as… Skegness?’
Will’s footsteps sounded in the hall again and Abby tensed, waiting for the inevitable.
He carried the second box of decorations in and then took some technical looking thing out of his pocket and smiled at her.
Abby looked at him warily. He was smiling. Was this an evil ‘I’m going to get you, but good’ smile or a normal, happy Will smile?
“Look at this,” he said, still smiling.
Abby looked. Yes, still some sort of technical sprockety whozit.
“I can’t believe I’ve found another one of these,” he said. “I must have missed it when I tidied the garage the other day. I thought I only had one and now I’ve got enough to finish fixing my bike.”
‘Oh, no you haven’t,’ she thought. “Yes, you have. That’s fantastic,” she said, ever so brightly.
“Isn’t it?” Will said. “You know I suddenly feel a lot more awake. I’m going to nip back to the garage for those tacks for the streamers and get the hooks for the Christmas cards so we can hang those. I’ll be right back and then I’ll help you put everything up.”
“But…” Abby tried again, to his exiting back.
His footsteps went back down the hall and out the front door.
Oh great. He felt more awake now. Just what she needed for when he realized what she’d done.
Okay, a few steps to the garage, a few seconds for him to open the door; even Will would need the ladder to reach that high shelf at the back, so another minute or so to pick the ladder up, open it up against the shelf and then climb it, add on a little longer for him to pick up the toolbox, climb back down the ladder, put the box down on the bench and open it.
Right on cue.
Via my writing, I’ve made friends with authors and readers and so many people I would never have met from all over the world, and that does mean a lot to me, so I’d like to wish all of you, wherever you are, a very happy and peaceful holiday, however you celebrate it :)
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