A Winter Tea of Cherries and Frosted Hearts

Winter Cardinals decorate a snowy landscape

Winter Cardinals decorate a snowy landscape

What better excuse to wake up the drab days of January than a winter tea and book signing with hints of Door County cherries for color and Valentine’s Day hearts!  Because my love stories are set in charming Door County known for its orchards and Montmorency cherries, the cherry theme was perfect for a late January tea.

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ABOVE:  Cherry Pecan Muffins

, Pecan Butter Cake and Brownie Bites with Cherry Mousse from the Emerald Tea Room, Chocolate Covered Cherries, Cherry Frosted Heart Cookies, and Cherry Shortbread Cookies.  Display small bites and chocolates in individual gold or silver foil candy papers.  On the silver tea tray, hot coffee and cold Cherry Lemonade.

I enjoyed filling the dining room’s lace covered Duncan Phyfe table with a sparkling silver tea service and an icy centerpiece with a cherry garland.  Raised cake plates add interest by displaying desserts at different levels.  The pink cranberry glass serving pieces enhance the table with touches of cherry red.

Guests were invited to visit any time between 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon.  The book table was set in the center of the great room; my 2013 release Door County Cabin took center stage.  Timeless–A Door County Love Story,  the third book, was also available.  While chatting with other Door County fans, guests took their treats into the sitting room, great room or kitchen and chatted in clusters.

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I enjoyed signing books, seeing old friends, and making new ones.  The cherry apron came from a specialty store in Door County, of course!

Appropriate for any January or February affair are heart-shaped cookies with Butter and Cream Cheese Cherry Frosting.  [Recipe Below]  Roll out cookies 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.  They are soft and satisfying with a great flavor.

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CELEBRATION CUT-OUT COOKIES [Cherry Heart Cookies]

1 c. shortening [I substitute cold-pressed extra-virgin coconut oil, one of the GOOD fats.]

2 c. sugar

2 eggs

1 c. sour cream

1 t. good vanilla extract

4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

4 t. baking powder

1/2 t. baking soda

1/2 t. salt

Garnish: frosting

Blend shortening, sugar, eggs, sour cream and vanilla together well in mixer; set aside.  Combine dry ingredients in a second bowl; stir into shortening mixture on low.  Chill dough for an hour. Roll out 1/2-to 1/4-inch thick on floured surface and cut out with desired cookie cutters.  Arrange on lightly greased baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.  Cool for 2 to 3 minutes on baking sheets; remove to wire racks to finish cooling.  Frost as desired.  Makes 4 to 5 dozen.

CHERRY FROSTING

Cream together in mixer 1/4 cup softened butter, 1/4 cup softened cream cheese, 6 to 8 cups confectioner’s sugar, and scant pinch of salt.  Add enough marischino cherry juice to make frosting of spreading consistency.  Frost cookies when completely cooled.  Cookies may be frozen after being frosted.  Layer cookies between waxed paper.

*Sharon’s series of four Door County love stories are available on Amazon in print and/or e-book formats.  Search Sharon L. Clemens.  For a vicarious winter escape to summer in Door County, look for the Door County love story series on Amazon.

About Sharon L. Clemens

Sharon and husband Merle and their children owned and operated a specialty shop and restaurant in a restored dairy barn for thirteen years in a village in Illinois. After closing their restaurant, they converted the barn into the family home and moved their shop to the garden level. They operated a collectable shop as a home-based business for another thirteen years before retiring to the country life. Sharon has been a special feature guest on the local NBC telelvision affiliate and has spoken professionally on topics relating to herb gardening and cottage lifestyle. In addition to conducting workshops and programs, Sharon writes a weekly cottage lifestyle e-newsletter called “Cottage Chat” and a Word Press blog: Seasons of Farm Grove. She has written five novels, The Younger Girl, Door County Cottage, Timeless-A Door County Love Story, Door County Cabin and Door County Escape, love stories with traditional values set in Door County, Wisconsin.
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