Monday, December 17, 2012

Day Eight: Ivan Rusilko and Everly Drummond

Hi guys!

I bet that right about now you’ve had it up to your ears with Christmas: the shopping, the busy malls, and unexpected visits by family. Me too, or so I thought until I stumbled across a gift bag from last year that was hidden in the back of my closet. See, last year was the first Christmas Ivan and I had spent apart from our families. He was busy with work, and well, I didn’t want to spend Christmas without him, so we decided to have a nice quite Christmas in Miami, just the two of us. Sigh.

Sometimes we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas—or work—and forget about the simple things like... cookies! Who doesn’t love cookies, right? Especially when half the fun is baking them together, like this recipe for Grand Marnier cookies that I found tucked away in the gift bag:

2 cups minus 2 tbsp of cake flour
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
 Zest of 1 orange
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp Grand Marnier orange liqueur ***plus 8 shots (We’ll get to this part later)
 1 1/4 lbs bittersweet chocolate, 60% cacao content, chopped into chunks

First, you want to start by getting a couple of shot glasses from the cupboard and pouring out two generous shots of Grand Marnier, one for you and one for your significant other. Trust me. This will help with the eye rolling from you-know-who when you play your favorite Tom Jones Christmas song. Agreed, Frank Sinatra is one of the greats, but there’s something very swoon worthy about Tom Jones singing Baby it’s Cold Outside. But enough about that, let’s get back to this recipe.

You want to sift the flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl, and set aside. Then pour two more generous shots of Grand Marnier. Hey, this is a labour intensive job so you’ve got to keep yourself well hydrated. Next, using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugars, and orange zest for about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and slowly stir in the vanilla and Grand Marnier. Reduce the speed to low, add dry ingredients, and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. By now you’ll be working up a sweat and need to pour two more shots of Grand Marnier, one for you and one for him. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them into dough. Cover the bowl with Saran wrap and place in the fridge. Pour out two more shots. Now, for this recipe you have to refrigerate the dough for 12 to 36 hours, but after drinking all that Grand Marnier, I’m sure you and your significant other can find something to do to kill time. ;) Once the cookie dough has set, you’ll want to preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat. Scoop golf ball sized chunks of dough onto the baking sheet, sprinkle lightly with sea salt, and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. When they’re done, transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

 Another thing I found tucked away in the gift bag is this old picture of Ivan dressed in his Santa suit. It was taken in Pennsylvania a few years before we started dating, but it always brings a smile to my face. I keep teasing him that I’m going to use this pic for Christmas cards. I don’t think he finds it as funny as I do, but you have to admit, he does look kinda hot.

 I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t sweat the small stuff. Take a break from the hustle bustle, enjoy a glass of wine or two, spend time with family and friends, and bake cookies! Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Years.


Check out more from The Winemaker's Dinner Series HERE! Share this post for more entries to win a KINDLE HERE! Book Two, The Winemakers Dinner: Entree comes out Tomorrow, December 18th, just in time for sexy holiday giving!


  1. Where do we post links to our shared entries at?

  2. The Winemaker's Dinner Entree is a beautiful love story that I didn't want end. The way that Dr. Ivan loves and treasures his "Baby Girl" makes me want him to find his happily ever after with his perfect girl. I thought I'd try "Jaden's" cookie recipe for Christmas and share the love with my family. Can't wait for Desserts to be served.

    Have a wonderful Holiday.