A CUP OF HOLIDAY FEAR, the tenth book in the Bakeshop Mystery series by Ellie Alexander, is a sweet Christmas holiday read that will surely put the reader in the mood for a full cup of holiday cheer. It was a treat to immerse myself in the holly season as protagonist and owner of Torte, Jules (Juliet) Capshaw, contends with keeping the townspeople of Ashland, Oregon filled with sugarplums and other tasty holiday puddings and treats. Ms. Alexander’s endearing series’ greatest strength is the character development of Jules and her closeknit family, friends, and employees. It’s been a pleasure getting to know them from the early books and then seeing them grow and develop over the course of the series. They’ve all become like close friends. A CUP OF HOLIDAY FEAR can be read as a standalone, however as an avid reader, I’ve loved the slow unfolding of the characters’ lives.
Another strength is the author’s ability to effectively capture the sights, sounds, and flavors of the setting. Her detailed descriptions make the reader feel like you’re living right there: tasting Jule’s special cookies and her barista’s coffee of the day; feeling the first snowflakes of the season; and smelling the pine trees as Jules and her best friend, Lance, hunt for the perfect Christmas tree. I love how Jules spreads holiday cheer even to Lance, who would rather be a Grinch than a jolly elf.
Lance isn’t the only one who wants to embrace being a Grinch, and when a woman is found murdered at the longrunning Dicken’s feast at a local Ashland Inn, Jules finds herself embroiled in another investigation. I like Jules’ style of investigation. She’s never overly pushy and while she manages to question a lot of people, she still gives her full attention to her bakery. Of course she relies heavily on the fabulous coffee coming from her barista to keep her awake for hours on end so she can accomplish so much. There isn’t a stressful, why is she putting herself in danger, ending which is particularly nice after being cocooned in the holiday festivities. Yet, Ms. Alexander manages to create a satisfying mystery that kept me intrigued and turning pages.
Jules and her staff at Torte are amazing bakers. There were so many delectable goodies being served to the townspeople that I literally had to rush to the back of the book to check out which recipes Ms. Alexander includes. I bookmarked several I have to try but wanted to share her recipe for Mom’s Antoinettes. Buttery, almondflavored shortbreadstyle cookies are sandwiched around raspberry jam and then topped with dark chocolate buttercream. It really is as good as it sounds… maybe even better given my taste testers feedback! With the bright red filling and the swirls of chocolate buttercream, these Antoinettes will beautifully adorn any cookie tray, whatever time of year it may be.
Amazon Synopsis
It’s Christmastime and everyone is heading to Torte, the most cheerful bakery in town. There’s no place like home for the homicide…
Ashland, Oregon, looks as pretty as a postcard this holiday season. The halls are decked, stockings hung, and eyes are all aglow―mostly thanks to the buttered rum. Jules Capshaw and her staff at Torte are busier than ever. . . still, even the town’s most indemand bakers need to take a break. So Jules invites everyone to celebrate at the local Winchester Inn’s Dickens Feast, a sixcourse extravaganza with Yorkshire Pudding, Christmas goose, and all the trimmings. But as the weather outside becomes frightful, things inside turn less delightful when one of the guests ends up as dead as Scrooge’s doornail. Now it’s up to Jules and her helpers to make a list of suspects―and check it twice―to try to find out who’s naughty, who’s nice, and who’s guilty of murder…
A special thanks to Ellie Alexander for providing one winner with a print copy of A CUP OF HOLIDAY FEAR. Contest ends Sunday, October 20, 2019 at 11:59 pm PST and is limited to U.S. residents. Please use the Rafflecopter box located below to enter. The winner will be announced on this page and on Cinnamon & Sugar’s Facebook page, as well as notified by email (so check your spam folder!)
 1 cup butter
 1/2 cup sugar
 1 egg
 11/2 teaspoons almond extract
 21/2 cups flour
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 1 cup butter
 3/4 cup cocoa powder
 21/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
 1 teaspoon vanilla
 1 tablespoon heavy cream
 1 jar raspberry jam

Cream butter and sugar together in a mixer. Add egg and almond extract and mix well. Slowly incorporate flour and salt.

Roll dough into a large ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for one hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).

Make small balls (half inch) and place on cookie sheet. You should be able to get 4 to 5 balls per row. Then use the palm of your hand to press balls into circles (approximately the size of a quarter.)

Bake 6  8 minutes. Allow to cool.

Whip butter in mixer. Slowly incorporate cocoa powder, powdered sugar, vanilla, and heavy cream.

Mix on high setting for 5 minutes, or until frosting is creamy and light.

Assemble cookies by spreading a thin layer of raspberry jam on the flat side of two cookies. Sandwich them together. Spread a generous layer of chocolate frosting on the top.

Pop in your mouth and enjoy!
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I was provided an advance copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Sugar cookies
Sugar cookies and Snickerdoodles
Gingerbread or sugar cookies
Sugar cookies
My favorite cookie to make anytime is oatmeal cookies. Thanks for the chance!
These sounds good, Great review thank you, I make gingerbread men cookies every year and pumpkin bread.
Penney luvhistoricalromanceATgmailDOTcom
Love making the sugar cutout cookies because they remind me of my childhood. My brother and I would spend hours decorating them. Also love the wedding cookies that we made as a kid because they taste delicious and are so pretty with the powder sugar coating making a great holiday display for friends and family events.
I haven’t really baked cookies, or much of anything, for years. But I did like to make snickerdoodles.
I like making Peppermint Melt Aways.
Perfect cookies for my mom and I to give a try.
it’s not really a cookie, but if I have the time, I love to make Baklava.
Not a favorite cookie but my Mom made homemade fudge every year..yummy
Not a favorite. I don’t make them anymore since I cut out sugar in my diet. But I used to snickledoodle, chocolate chip, peanut butter, chocolate no baked cookies, peanut butter and chocolate fudge.
Snickerdoodles!
Ginger Spice or Snickerdoodles.
Cut out Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing.
I just spent the weekend making cutout sugar cookies, molassessugar cookies, and oatmeal raisin (all gluten free). Am now in a sugar coma. 🙂 Thank you for the chance to win this.
Spritz cookies and Mexican Wedding cookies
Sugar cookies
I like making sugar cookies but don’t bake anymore.
What a lovely combination of flavors.
Boiled oatmeal Cookies and they are good too…
Marilyn
Pecan snowball cookies.
I am a cookie monster ! My mom used to make what she called greek cookies – they had ground up nuts in them, were crunchy and had half a candied cherry on top – but your recipe sure looks delicious
Gingerbread cookies are my favorite. Thank you for the chance.
The Antoinette cookies sound delicious!
I love to make molasses cookies for Christmas, or snickerdoodles (although we don’t limit those to Christmas!).
gingerbread cookies
Love Ellie’s books ty for this giveaway!
White Almond Bark Covered Pretzels are my favorite holiday thing to make now. For each particular Holiday, I can top them with color appropriate sprinkles if I so desire! Oatmeal Raisin Cookies & Gingerbread Cookies are also favorites.
My mom’s Christmas sugar cookies are my favorite. I also just found a couple new recipes I want to try this year for my work Christmas party.
Making sugar cookies with cookie cutter shapes are what I remember from my childhood. Thank you for the giveaway!
I like to Make Russian Tea Cakes.
I usually make sugar cookies.
I like to make crispy ginger cookies.
I have a lot of favorites but one of mine is soft gingerbread! Thanks so much for the chance to win!
I don’t make many cookies during Christmas but I do make caramel puffcorn every year!
I really don’t bake anymore but when I was younger my favorite Christmas cookie was called Overnight Cookies. Real easy to make and it is the last cookie you make for the night. Thank you for the giveaway chance! Our library carries quite a few of your books. 🙂
Sugar cookies.
I like chocolate crinkle cookies and decorated sugar cookies.
Not quite a holiday special cookie, but my youngest daughter baked up a double batch of double chocolate chocolate chip cookies for snacking on during our two day stay at their house for the Holiday of Sukkot.
I make shortbread cookies which are always enjoyed.
I love making Spritz Cookies with my cookie press. Thanks for this awesome chance the book looks terrific.
Not much of a cookie baker, but we love our homemade candies at the holidays!
Glad you are back!
Snickerdoodles and thumbprint cookies which are family favorites.
We always make cornflake cookies during the holidays.
I love the thumbprint cookies made with strawberry jam
Sugar cookies
Chocolate chip cookies
Toffee Bars
I have been wanting to try this series for a long time. Christmas seems like the perfect time! I love to bake Christmas cookies every year and I think I’ll give the Marie Antoinette ones this year. Otherwise chocolate peppermints s are my favorites.
I make persimmon cookies. I’d make them more often but they have such a short time of availability.
I have never made them, but I love “Russian Tea Cookies” or snowballs… Not really a baker, still have to attempt to make a cookie from scratch?? (maybe this year will be the one)
Gingersnap cookies & Peanut Butter Kiss cookies. I really enjoy Christmas themed mysteries.
I like to make sugar cookies
Spiced nut bars are my favorite cookie to make
robsnest60 (at) yahoo (dot) com
Spritz cookies and mom’s sugar cookies.
Peanut butter
Snickerdoodle cookies
no fav
My favorite as a kid were the stained glass cookies & the wreaths made from corn flakes. Might have to make them this year.
Since Christmas of 1955 when I brought home the easy and delicious recipe for Shortbread Butter cookies from Sunday school for my Mom, we have made this cookie every year bar none! This has been the favorite of all of us and I’ve continued making these every year since I got married in 1963! Now my daughter and her family also make these cookies every year as well continuing our family tradition of no less that 12 dozen Sunday School Christmas Cookies each time we make them!
My stepmother puts peanut butter between 2 Ritz crackers, then dips it in chocolate to surround it. Really good!
My favorites are peanut butter with caramel Hershey kisses in the middle.
I sometimes overbake cookies so I hardly ever make them. I like to bake brownies.
Chocolate chip and sugar cookies
Chocolate chip cookies. Thank you for this chance!
I love sugar cookies during the holidays!!
These cookies look amazing! I’m going to try them. I make iced sugar cookies with my granddaughters every year.
Soft gingerbread, or snickerdoodles, or soft oatmeal raisin, cranberry, or just about any cookie!
I’m going to try these cookies! They look like the ones you can buy at wegmans!
I love making shortbread cutouts. My mom always did and now I do.
I enjoy making Spritz cookies and Gingerbread cookies for the holidays! ❤️
I love to make snickerdoodle cookies!!??? yummy! Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win!!??? woot woot???