Monday, December 19, 2011

Cookies! And New Novel Fun!

Happy Monday! I'm kind of in shock that Christmas is only a few days away. I feel like I haven't had enough cheer yet this season. I mean, this weekend I TRIED to have some Christmas cheer. I blasted Christmas music and baked for hours and hours. It started out quite fun and festive. I was in the Zone. But after the third batch of cookies, I was tired. I mean...really tired. I'd been standing for a few hours already (those of you who are wondering why only three batches of cookies took a few hours, the answer is RAINBOW COOKIES), and the happy holiday music was starting to irritate me. It was becoming ironic, because I was no longer in the Christmas Spirit. But I still had like three more batches of cookies to go, so I put on my New Novel playlist to brainstorm while I baked. So, that was fun, but unfortunately the Christmas cheer didn't last too long. This week though, I will be SURE to get my cheer on. Santa mug, I'm looking at you.

And because I want to show off, here are two of the cookies that I made. White Chocolate Raspberry Bars and Rainbow Cookies. Compliments are welcome.

My husband loves rainbow cookies. They are kind of a pain to make because it is a long process, but the outcome is lovely, isn't it? He always raves about them and it makes me quite big-headed. BUT. Yesterday he tried one of the white chocolate raspberry bars, a new recipe that a co-worker gave me, and he proclaimed something that I never saw coming. He said that he liked them BETTER than the rainbow cookies. Um...what!? I SLAVED over those rainbow cookies, and the raspberry bars were the easiest thing I made! I used a Pillsbury sugar cookie roll for crying out loud! But...I have to agree. I'm not a huge fan of rainbow cookies anyway, but let me tell you, those raspberry bars are DIVINE. So in the spirit of giving, which is part of holiday cheer, I give you the recipe:

White Chocolate Raspberry Bars
Ingredients: 1 roll Pillsbury sugar cookies, seedless raspberry preserves, chopped walnuts, white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350. Spread the cookie dough onto cookie sheet using fingertips, so it covers the whole cookie sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the edges are slightly browned and when you stick a toothpick in the center it comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes. Spread the raspberry preserves over the cookie. Sprinkle with nuts. Melt the white chocolate (I simmer some water in a sauce pan and put a bowl over it with the chocolate in it). Dip a spoon in the chocolate and drizzle over the cookie. Let cool, then cut the cookie into bars.

As far as writing goes (lovely segue, don't you think?), I'm still plotting and brainstorming and getting to know the characters in New Novel. It's really interesting, this being the second novel I'm writing, to go through the beginning process again. It feels much different than the first time around. I mean, I still don't know exactly what I'm doing, but I feel more prepared. More confident. I'm not wondering if this will ever actually get finished, because I know it will. So I'm really enjoying this brainstorming process. I want to have a good enough idea of the story by the end of the year, so that come January I can start writing. Eeek! So excited. One difference I've really noticed is that when I first started plotting/writing my first novel, it was very plot-driven. I put the story before the characters, and so the whole time it was frustrating when I couldn't figure out who my characters were. This time, though, the characters came first. Well actually, the setting came first, and then the characters. Then because of who the characters are and what their situation is, the plot flowed from that. So again, very different, but in a very exciting kind of way.

How is everyone's writing going? Anyone else having a baking extravaganza? Make the raspberry bars!!

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