Mystery Author: Strong Women, Great Stories

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I write three series: The Loser Mysteries, The Dead Detective Mysteries & the Simon & Elizabeth (Tudor) Mysteries as well as stand-alones that offer readers "Strong Women, Great Stories."
These days I also answer to Maggie Pill, who writes a cozy sleuth series. Maggie is a lot like Peg, just younger, cooler, and funnier.

Cookie Cutter Cakes

This recipe can get a little fussy, but that's what it's all about in Christmas baking, right?

1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. oleo/butter
1/4 c. shortening
1/2 c. milk
3 eggs
1 1/2 c. flour
Flavorings (see below)

Combine the first six ingredients and blend for 2 minutes at medium speed. Add flavorings you want from this list or make up your own. I like to divide up the batter and make three or four differently flavored cakes, which takes smaller pans. If you make it all the same flavor, use a 9x13 pan.
  For egg nog: 1 tsp. nutmeg, 2 tsp. rum extract, 1/2 c. chopped nuts
  For cherry: 1 tsp. almond extract, 8 oz. jar of chopped maraschino cherries
  For lemon: 2 tsp. lemon juice, 2 tsp. grated lemon peel
  For orange: 2 tsp. orange juice, 2 tsp grated orange peel
  For nut: 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/2 tsp. almond extract, 1/2 c. chopped nuts
  For coconut: 1/2 tsp. coconut extract, 1/4 tsp. almond extract, 1/3 c. flaked coconut

Bake 25-35 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool, cut into shapes (if desired), and dip in thin confectioners' icing. (Mix 1 tsp. of vanilla with one tbsp of butter and 1/4 c. milk. Add powdered sugar until the consistency is right.)
Of course you can color the icing and put sprinkles, etc. on these petits four type cakes.

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