The beginning of the holiday season always has me anticipating the sweet Christmas Moonglow novellas written by Deborah Garner. Her newest release, GINGERBREAD AT MOONGLOW, is no exception, spreading magical holiday cheer to readers! Not only is this a heartwarming tale, the author provides a cornucopia of delectable holiday treat recipes at the back of the book, submitted by her fans… but more about that in a bit. The protagonist, Mist, runs Moonglow Café at the Timberton Hotel. She is also in charge of accommodations, meals and activities for the Christmas guests who spend the holiday at the hotel. In her spare time, Mist is an artist, specializing in miniature paintings that celebrate each season. She uses her gift to create treasured and meaningful keepsakes for each of her guests, providing insights into issues they may be facing. Mist has a special tranquility about her that brings calmness to her guests. I also found myself relaxing as I turned the pages, losing myself in the story. I love how the author helps the reader see and experience what Mist sees using lyrical descriptions of items melded into memories that Mist wants to share with those around her.
As I mentioned, there are many delicious recipes included, twenty-one in all! I was honored to have three of my recipes included: Gingerbread Cookies (with a little spicy kick), Gingerbread-Eggnog Trifle, and Homemade Eggnog, just in case you want to make the trifle when eggnog isn’t readily available. I’m sharing my recipe for Gingerbread-Eggnog Trifle because when the holidays get too hectic, it’s nice to have an elegant dessert that is super-fast to make. Relying on boxed mix, boxed pudding and purchased eggnog, then layered together… it’s as simple as that! I like to serve mine in individual wine and/or cocktail goblets so that guests can help themselves at my home. However, if I’m taking it to a gathering, layering in a trifle dish makes it easy to transport. A few crumbles of gingersnap cookies or mini gingerbread boys to garnish and you’ll have your holiday guests oohing in no time at all!
The small town of Timberton, Montana, boasts an ambiance of near-magical proportions during the Christmas season, due in no small part to resident artist and chef Mist’s mysterious way of working small miracles in people’s everyday lives. Each year, return guests and new arrivals mingle with local townsfolk to enjoy companionship, exquisite decor, and exceptional cuisine at The Timberton Hotel.
As the aromas of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and molasses mix with heartfelt camaraderie and sweet romance, guests share reflections on family, friendship, and life. Although decorating the outside of a gingerbread house may prove easier than deciding what goes inside, no one leaves Timberton without renewed hope for the future.
A very special thanks to Deborah Garner for providing one lucky winner their choice of either print or an e-book copy of GINGERBREAD AT MOONGLOW! Contest ends Tuesday, November 21, 2017 at 11:59 pm PST. Print is limited to U.S. residents only. Please use the Rafflecopter box located below the recipe 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 (14.5 ounce) box gingerbread cake mix, baked according the package directions* (or your own favorite recipe)
- 1 (5.1 ounce) box instant vanilla pudding mix
- 3 cups eggnog (store bought, low-fat or full-fat version is fine)
- 1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
- 2 (8 ounce) containers Cool Whip
- Mini gingersnaps or gingerbread boy cookies for garnish (optional)
- 3 cups whole or 2% milk (if you want to be really decadent, use half and half)
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- Dash of fresh grated nutmeg
Bake the cake mix according to package instructions. Cool completely before assembling the trifle.
Add pudding mix to a large bowl and whisk in the eggnog and bourbon if using. Whisk for 2 minutes until the mix is thoroughly smooth. Chill for at least 30 minutes, or can be made up to 1 day in advance.
Once the cake is cool, crumble half the gingerbread into the bottom of a trifle or glass bowl.**
Spread half the pudding mixture over the cake, then spread 1 container of Cool Whip over the pudding. Repeat the layers with the remaining ingredients.
Chill at least 6 hours or overnight.
Garnish with mini gingersnap or gingerbread boy cookies as desired.
In a heavy saucepan, whisk the eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt and nutmeg together. Set aside.
In a microwave safe bowl, heat the milk in the microwave until hot. Don’t boil. I use my ‘beverage’ button for this step.
Once the milk is hot, slowly add it to the egg mixture continually whisking to keep the eggs from overheating.
Place saucepan over medium-low heat on the stovetop and, whisking constantly, heat the mixture to 160 degrees (F). If you don’t have a thermometer, the mixture should coat the back of a spoon but for safety, use a thermometer.
Remove eggnog from heat and pour through a strainer.
Completely chill the eggnog before using.
*If you can't find a gingerbread cake mix, you can substitute a spice cake mix. Add 2 teaspoons ground ginger and replace 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil called for in the mix with 2 tablespoons molasses. Bake as directed on package.
**You can also make individual servings using wine goblets or cocktail glasses.
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I was provided a copy of this book with the hopes I would review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.