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Some Useless Facts About Medieval Mistletoe

Useless Trivia About Medieval Mistletoe

In the way back oldie times, mistletoe was a controversial thing. It’s part of old Norse mythology, which was not really so very Christian. It was used in Celtic festivals and ancient Roman festivals, and was all pagan-ed up. 

As you might imagine, a lot of religious people were Bothered by this and Did Not Like It.  It conjured bad vibes when used as a decoration during Christmastime, especially in churches, on what was becoming a pretty holy day.

This disdain continued through the ages, because….people. Martin Luther and John Calvin hated mistletoe because of its pagan, pre-Christian history, and the Puritans basically said, “Talk to the hand, mistletoe.”

But a lot of churches didn’t actually care about the Bothered Folk.

For almost a thousand years now, at York Minster, the Dean of the cathedral has placed a spring of mistletoe on the high altar, where it stays for the 12 days of Christmas.

Back in the middl ages, the mistletoe came with a “decree of peace and pardon” at the city gates–which lasted as long as the mistletoe remained on the altar.

Anyone estranged or exiled was to be welcomed home, and people were supposed to refrain from starting lawsuits each other during this holy time.

Wow. Nice, yes?

As far as the kissy-face part of mistletoe…the original custom was that one berry was picked from the sprig, & only then could a person be kissed. When all the berries had gone, no more kissing.

That has story potential, no??

And in the ‘seriously?’ pile of mistletoe trivia…the name is a combo of two Anglo Saxon words: ‘mistel’ (meaning dung) and ‘tan’ (meaning twig/stick) So, it seems what we have developed is the tradition of stealing kissing beneath a poopy stick.

Isn’t history great?

I Have Cookies!

Okay, actually, I just have a recipe for cookies. But still. COOKIES!

But it’s not just me, it’s over 30 other historical romance authors!  Yep.

More on that in a sec…

Since we’re all about history here…can you imagine a time before there WERE cookies? Does that sentence even make sense??

I say not.

As far as what we can document, the earliest “cookie” type cakes date back to 7th century, in Persia (modern day Iran.) 

So the next question, obviously, is: My LORD, what did the poor 6th century humans do??? 

Tbh, I’m pretty sure they had cookies.  Sweetening & some kind of shortening was the thing. 

Since honey is as old as written history (think 2100 B.C.) & sugar cane was discovered about 500 B.C., you can breathe a sigh of relief.

As for butter…the ancients had cookie-lovers covered.  From Hindus offering ghee–clarified butter–to Lord Krishna, to pagan Romans using it medicinally (swallowed for coughs or spread on aching joints) to biblical butter (a food for celebration), butter was basic. As it should be.

You may begin to be a bit worried about the other main ingredients in the recipe I’m sharing today–peanuts & chocolate.  

Never fear. 

Peanuts originated in South America, and for as long as there’s been pottery (35oo years) there’s been peanut-shaped pottery & images of peanuts on said pottery.  There’s even some evidence the ancient Incas made peanut butter.  Sadly, the medieval English kitchen wouldn’t have had peanuts. So sad.

As for chocolate…that has a 4000 year history. The Aztecs believed cacao seeds were a gift from the god of wisdom, and the seeds were used as a form of money. I think they were onto something!

Today, luckily, all these cultures & timelines have converged to give us sugar, peanut butter, and…chocolate kisses! 

↓↓  And this is my favorite thing to do with them!    ↓ ↓

 

Onto the recipe.

Bonus: I also suggest some VARIATIONS.  Quick, read on.

But remember what I said above? 

YOU CAN GET MORE COOKIE RECIPES! 

From historical romance authors! 

Plus a chance to win a grand book-ish prize!!

Because this is a romance cookie hop.

 

For all the nuttiness & obligatory emotional masochism of the holidays, you have to admit, there are some silver linings.

Such as romance cookie hops. 

Details on the hop & how to find the links are at the bottom of the post. 

Now onto the recipe.  I also made it downloadable in pdf if you wish.  Download. Bake. Eat. (the cookies, not the download)

PEANUT BUTTER BLOSSOM COOKIES

PREP:

  • Take out ½ cup butter and warm to room temp
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Unwrap your Kisses. A great job for little hands

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1¼ cups flour*
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar*
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • All the Chocolate Kisses In The World. Or about 36.*

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 375 if you haven’t yet
  • Whisk flour, baking soda, & salt in bowl
  • In another large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed about 30 seconds (less if you have an amazing mixer, mechanical or humanoid, such as a medium-sized child or full-sized spouse.)
  • Add peanut butter and both sugars to mixing bowl. Beat about fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Add egg & vanilla to bowl. Beat to combine.
  • In your hand, roll dough into 1 inch/tablespoon size balls*
  • Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet
  • Bake 8-10 min, until edges just beginning to brown. Don’t overbake. Remove when they feel ever so slightly underdone.
  • Immediately press a Kiss into the center of each one. Be gentle.  The warmth from the cookies will start melting the kisses almost immediately, so it’s a fragrant, slightly gooey mess.
  • EAT THEM ALL RIGHT NOW.

Just kidding.  It’s the holidays, people. Save one cookie for each absent family member and if Santa visits your house, one for Santa. You can eat the rest.

I promised variations, so here you go.

Variations:

·       *Use Whole Wheat Pastry Flour instead of white.  I know, right?  But try it.

·       *Use coconut sugar instead of white sugar. It has a more…caramel-y flavor, & you might like it here.  

·       Mix up your Kisses!  (Awww…)  Use dark chocolate, the swirly white-and-milk kind, caramel filled, or any other variation! 

·      *Experiment to see the size cookies you want. Smaller means more Kiss on each cookie, larger means…more cookie.  See what you like best. Just make sure all the ones on any particular cookie sheet are the same size.

To Freeze

You can freeze the raw dough.

·       Mix all ingredients & roll into balls as above. 

·       Optional: Coat in granulated sugar.

·       Place balls on a tray and freeze for about 2 hours or until outside is no longer tacky.

·       Transfer to freezer bag or a container with a sealable lid.

·       Store for up to six months. 

DOWNLOADABLE RECIPE

 

SIGN UP FOR KRIS’S NEWSLETTER! 

If you like epic adventures, big bad alpha heroes, and the clever, strong women who turn their worlds upside down, you’ll love these stories! Dive into these super hot, big adventure, banter-filled historical romances.  

I only send the newsletter when there’s book news readers care about. A few times a year, tops.

Sign up & immerse yourself in a bygone era of chivalry, honor, and a rollicking fun HEA!

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Check out all the other recipes!
HISTORICAL ROMANCE COOKIE HOP

The holidays are swirling around us: ribbons, gifts, parties, cards, sweet treats! We know you’re busy, so we want to help by sharing our favorite holiday cookie recipes with you. 32 historical romance authors gifting you with 28 delicious holiday cookie recipes!
 
And to make it even more special, one lucky hopper will win a $150 gift card AND 32 historical romances! Woot! A whole winter of Highlanders, Dukes, Knights, Pirates, and more! 

Follow these four easy steps:
* Hop to each link, listed below, which will take you to a historical author’s FB page, web site, or blog. While you’re there please like, follow, or sign up for a newsletter if you would like to stay up to date on our new releases and author happenings.
* Discover a new cookie recipe on each site.
* Collect the name of the cookies from each listed author, and e-mail the total list to Heather@HeatherMcCollum.com when it is complete.  The list must be turned in by midnight on December 15th. Please put Cookie Exchange List in the subject.
* One grand prize winner, of a $150 gift card and 32 digital romance books, will be selected randomly from those who collected and turned in the name of all the cookies. The winner must respond within 24 hours to claim prize and we will announce the winner hopefully by December 16th.

Easy, delicious, and fun! Thanks so much for hopping along!

Readers start your ovens. 3 … 2 … 1 … Let the cookie collecting begin! And have a fantastic holiday season!

If you’re following along, the next author in the hop is https://www.facebook.com/TaraKingstonAuthor/
 
If you’re being rebellious and skipping around (clever lass), here are ALL THE LINKS

Lara Archer http://laraarcher.com 
Katharine Ashe https://katharineashe.com/extras/cookies-fit-for-a-prince/
Lori Ann Bailey http://loriannbailey.com/christmas-eve-cookies/  
Tammy L. Bailey https://www.tammylbailey.com/   
Katherine Bone https://facebook.com/AuthorKatherineBone/  
Liana De la Rosa https://www.facebook.com/LianainBloom/
Elizabeth Essex https://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.essex.37/
Tina Gabrielle https://www.facebook.com/TinaGabrielle
Virginia Heath https://www.facebook.com/virginiaheathauthor/
Piper Huguley http://piperhuguley.com 
Julie Johnstone https://www.facebook.com/authorjuliejohnstone/
Kris Kennedy https://www.kriskennedy.net/Blogsm
Elizabeth Keysian https://elizabethkeysian.com/
Tara Kingston https://www.facebook.com/TaraKingstonAuthor/
Eliza Knight https://eknightauthor.com/2018/12/cookie-exchange-hop/ 
Elizabeth Langston http://www.elizabethlangston.net/holiday-hop/
Jeannie Lin http://www.jeannielin.com/blog/
Diana Lloyd https://www.diana-lloyd.com   
Nicole Locke https://www.facebook.com/NicoleLockeAuthor
Alanna Lucas https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAlannaLucas/
Deb Marlowe http://www.debmarlowe.com/historical-holiday-cookie-hop.html
Madeline Martin http://www.madelinemartin.com/blog/
Heather McCollum https://www.heathermccollum.com/kitchen/
Maddison Michaels https://www.facebook.com/MaddisonMichaelsAuthor/
April Moran https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAprilMoran
Kate Parker https://www.facebook.com/Author.Kate.Parker/ 
Emma Prince https://www.EmmaPrinceBooks.com  
Vanessa Riley http://vanessariley.com/blog/2018/12/04/3-ingredient-peanut-butter-cookies/
Ava Stone http://www.avastoneauthor.com/ava-s-scandalous-oatmeal-cookies
Jennifer Trethewey https://www.facebook.com/jennifertretheweyromance/
Victoria Vane http://www.victoriavane.com/blog  
Harmony Williams http://hwww.harmonywilliams.com/xmas-hop   

 

You can also find ALL THE COOKIE LINKS HERE.
And also ON FACEBOOK HERE.

Excerpt Party: Unwrapping Romance-Claiming Her

Happy Holidays, Historical Romance Lovers!

One of the best parts of the holiday season is gifts. And romance readers know the best gifts often come between the covers of a romance novel.

A group of my historical romance author friends & I have collected these fun, exciting excerpts from our stories to help you find great books to kick back with this hectic holiday season.

It’s some of the best historical romance out there!

This one’s from CLAIMING HER, a big, sexy, enemies-to-lovers romp through Elizabethan Ireland.

If you love alpha heroes, fun banter, & scorching hot sexytimes, you’ll love CLAIMING HER.

Here’s an excerpt from the second surprise from the opening scenes.

Aodh Mac Con Rardove has returned to Ireland and taken the castle the Queen of England refused to give him.  He intends to conquer everything: the castle, the lands, the lady. 
Unfortunately, this lady has no intention of being conquered. 

He must find a way to win her…or lose everything he’s fought for his whole life.

(Note: Hero’s name is Irish, and pronounced like the beginning of ‘Aidan.’)

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

…She stepped back, her lips parting. The paleness in her cheeks went even paler. He’d shocked her.

The realization caused a small, strange tinge of disappointment, that a woman who’d held an English castle beyond the Pale with only ten men would be shocked by such a thing. It seemed somehow…diminishing. But then, Aodh had a taste for rebellion today, and nothing but more of the same would serve.

Still.

A movement at the far end of the hall caught his attention. One of his captains, Cormac, poked his head through a door, caught his eye and nodded, then ducked back out. Good. They’d made it to the north side, which meant they’d secured the entire castle. Rardove was his.

And so where was the hot satisfaction of conquest? The rush of triumph? Where was…everything?

Lying at the bottom of the same cold pit that had marked his life for too many years to count, no doubt. Intrigues, battle, courtly maneuvers, it was all the same: naught.

Apparently even coups of castles did not rise to the level of interest anymore.

He turned his attention back to Katarina. “My lady, if you will—”

All he saw was a blur of green silk, then her small, bunched fist smashed into his face.

The impact, hard and square, landed directly on his jaw.

Caught utterly unaware as he’d never been before–never, not even when his father’s head had been cut off—Aodh reeled sideways.

The retreat gave enough room for her to launch herself forward. She slammed her shoulder directly into his ribs so hard and fast he grunted. He stumbled backward and hit the ground, her on top, twisting and kicking.

She jammed a knee into his bollocks, and he doubled over protectively, at which point she grabbed one of his fingers and twisted it back almost to breaking. Her other hand—so sinuous and slender it was all but ungrippable—snaked between their writhing bodies and tugged his accursed dagger out of its sheath.

Disappointed, indeed.

With a roar, he lunged up off the ground, lifting her with him. Predictably—dimly, he noted he was already predicting things about her—she wrestled like a hellcat. Whirling hair, arms, legs. Kicking, biting, punching, swiping with the knife.

First things first.

He caught hold of the feminine fist snaked around the hilt of his blade and slammed it to the wall above her head, gripping her wrist so hard she cried out, but she did not, of note, stop fighting.

He finally had to pin her to the wall with his entire body, her toes dangling half a foot in the air, their faces pressed together, cheek to cheek, until he stilled everything that was writhing and flailing and kicking on her curving, rampant, berserker body.

Fire burned in his veins, urging him to smash and destroy. He reached over with his other hand and wrenched the blade out of her grip, then tossed it to the ground behind him.

He inhaled slowly, forcing himself to calm. They stood like this for a moment, her body pinned between his and the wall. He supposed she could still kick his shins, but she’d impact against his greaves, and it would hurt her far more than him.

She seemed to agree. At least, she didn’t move.

He pulled back a few inches and let her feet drop to the ground. Breathing fast, she flung her head, spraying hair across her face. It was pale and beautiful, with slim, dark brows arcing over what appeared to be intelligent brown eyes. A shocking discovery.

“If you were a man, I would kill you right now,” he said in a low voice.

He waited for her response—everything now was a test, every moment a potential tipping point. Would she recoil? Be wise and retreat, apologize, surrender, run scared?

Would she be like everyone else?

She shifted the only thing he didn’t have restrained, her left hand, and laid what turned out to be the cold edge of a blade against the side of his throat.

“If I were a man, sir,” she whispered back, “you would already be dead.”

Goddammit.

It was his dagger, one of many strapped to his body. In the mêlée, she’d succeeded in getting it free. In the distraction of staring into her eyes, trying to ascertain if she was mad, she’d succeeded in lifting it to his throat.

A rush went through him, hot and intense. “You are left-handed,” he observed grimly.

“When necessary.”

A humming filled his stomach. He’d come for battle, and that this slim audacious woman had given it to him–undefended, in a hopeless situation, outmatched and overpowered–bespoke great boldness. Of a kind he’d not seen in a long time.

Either that, or idiocy.

She did not appear idiotic. Of course, she’d not appeared reckless either, out in the bailey. She’d seemed calm, clever, pale, and beautiful. Then she’d launched her body into his and turned into a bold, roaring-mad hellcat.

Perhaps everything in her was latent. Who knew, idiocy might rear its head at any moment. Or more boldness.

Although it was difficult to see how she could become more bold than she was at the moment.

Small wisps of hair brushed beside her mouth. Aodh knew battle and fights; her lips ought to be dry with fear, parched and tight. But they were wet. Parted and wet, her chin up, her cheeks a sort of hot red. Her slim body was pressed hard against his, female curves barely detectable through his armor. But the vivid flush of her was clear.

Her mad, energizing, fearless self was the clearest thing on his mind.      

That and the blade pressed against his neck.

He laughed low in his throat. It had been a long time since he’d felt this hum inside him. Since he’d felt this energized, this vital.

He leaned closer until his mouth was an inch from hers, until he felt the honed edge of his own blade indent the flesh of his throat.

“Do it, lass,” he whispered. “Or drop it. Now.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

I wonder if she’ll drop it….

WANT MORE??

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♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Time to check out all the other amazing excerpts!

Hop over to each one and enjoy the romantic surprises.

KRIS KENNEDY-Medieval & Elizabethan Romance
https://www.facebook.com/kriskennedybooks/

ELIZA KNIGHT- Scottish Medieval Romance
https://www.facebook.com/elizaknightfiction/

CATHY MACRAE-Scottish Historical Romance
https://www.facebook.com/cathymacraeauthor/   

ERICA RIDLEY-Regency Romance
 https://www.facebook.com/ericaridley  

COLLETTE CAMERON-Regency Romance
http://facebook.com/collettecameronauthor

TAMARA GILL-Regency Romance
https://www.facebook.com/tamaragillromance/  

LORI ANN BAILEY-17th Century Scottish Romance
https://www.facebook.com/LoriAnnBaileyauthor/

LAUREN ROYAL-17th century Historical Romance
https://www.facebook.com/groups/ChaseFamilyReaders/   

EMMA PRINCE-Scottish Medieval
 https://www.facebook.com/EmmaPrinceBooks/   

JULIE JOHNSTONE-Medieval Romance
https://www.facebook.com/authorjuliejohnstone

CECELIA MECCA-Scottish Historical Romance
http://www.ceceliamecca.com/unwrappingromance/

MADELINE MARTIN-Regency Romance
https://www.facebook.com/MadelineMartinAuthor/

KATHERINE BONE-Pirate Romance
https://facebook.com/authorkatherinebone

Go find some new historicals to love!

 

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