I love this time of year just because of the colors and smells. There’s something about the aroma of a bonfire, marigolds and pumpkin spice that is invigorating. When the ash trees in my front yard burst into color, or the burning bushes begin to flame, I’m in heaven. I start my day with pumpkin spice coffee and end it with pumpkin spice tea after dinner.
I go crazy with decorating every year. I love to add fall colors to my house and unleash my creative side. A couple of years ago, I made this stack of pumpkins (using the polymer gourds you find at Michaels or Hobby Lobby) and am thrilled when I get to pull it out for the season.
And the part I love most, the baking and cooking. My family and friends rave over the seasonal treats I prepare. Here’s a recipe for one of my favorites:
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Truffles
2½ cup white chocolate chunks or chips
1/3 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs, plus more for garnish
¼ cup canned pumpkin (you can freeze the leftover in a freezer bag for future use)
¼ cup graham cracker crumbs (plus more for garnish)
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
½ teaspoon orange zest
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
2 oz cream cheese, softened
Melt the ½ cup of white chocolate chips. Stir often to keep chocolate from burning. Transfer to a large bowl. Add ginger snap crumbs, pumpkin, graham cracker crumbs, sugar, zest, cinnamon, salt and cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Transfer to a shallow bowl, cover and chill until just solid enough to roll into balls, about 2 hours.
Line a large tray with parchment paper. Melt remaining 2 cups of white chocolate and transfer to a small, deep bowl. Roll 1 heaping teaspoons of the pumpkin mixture into a ball in your hands then drop into the chocolate. Working quickly, gently spoon chocolate over ball to coat. Using a small spoon or fork, lift the truffle out of the chocolate, shake off excess and transfer to tray. Dollop a bit of extra chocolate on any ports that remain exposed, then sprinkle a few gingersnap or graham cracker crumbs over top.
Chill until chocolate is set (about an hour). Refrigerate.
If you try this recipe, drop me a line and let me know how they turned out!
A Five Senses Short
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Gemma Brocato
Date of Publication: October 13, 2015
Number of pages: 132
Word Count: approx. 42,000
Available in Digital from Amazon
Hearts entwined, their love will conquer history.
Jem Kerrigan appears to have it all. Her husband, Jack, loves her to distraction, she owns a thriving café in Granite Pointe, and she’s considering expanding her business. The only thing not falling nicely into place, the thing she wants most, is a baby bump.
Hoping to distract Jem from their inability to conceive, Jack buys Sea View House and encourages her to pursue her dream of opening a banquet space. Jem is skeptical when she sees the dilapidated wreck atop a bluff. Deserted for a decade, rumors are rampant about ghosts and ill-fated love stories. While there is something haunting about the hundred-year-old mansion, the woven hearts enchants Jem.
After discovering the tragic story of the original owners, Jem begins to understand the importance of the carvings of entwined hearts scattered throughout the house. The motif quickly becomes a symbol of Jem’s love for Jack. The promise of their future together is spirited, even if Jem’s arms remain empty.
When Jem had driven up the tree-lined lane, she found Jack relaxed against the hood of his truck, one foot on the bumper, arms crossed over his chest, staring at the dilapidated mansion that crowned the top of the bluff. As she emerged from her car, the sound of waves breaking against the rocks in the inlet below drew her attention. It was a peaceful sound despite the violent force of the water.
The unmistakable tang of salt perfumed the air as Jem approached him. A light breeze blew in from the ocean, caressing skin bared by her tank top and jeans shorts. After a distracted peck on her husband’s cheek, she leaned against the truck’s metal grill and joined him in studying the run-down manor.
“What are we looking at?” she asked after a moment of silence.
Jack slipped one arm around her shoulders and propped his other elbow on the vehicle. His fingers tickled as he swept them over her upper arm. “We’re looking at the future, Jem. Our future.”
Dimples that had won her heart peeked out as he turned his smile on her.
Casting a skeptical eye over the structure, Jem was grateful Jack had agreed to meet her after Caro’s Taste closed for the day. One of them was going to need a decent paying job. Because, if this house were an inkling of what awaited, the future didn’t look too prosperous.
Word choice was going to be very important here. Jack had that look on his face, the intent, studious look that had first convinced her to fall in to bed with him, and then later to marry him.
She weighed her words carefully before she responded. “Is this what I agreed to when the justice of the peace at the Chapel of Love mentioned ‘For better or for worse’? You know I love you, Jack, but can you let me in on your thoughts? If you see the future here, I’m all in, but I’d kind of like to know what this entails.”
He squeezed her close until she felt the rumbling in his chest as he chuckled. He turned, rested his hip against the truck, and clasped his hands around her back. He studied her with his intense blue eyes before replying. “This is all part of my master plan, sugar.”
Tapping her finger against his temple, she let a grin sneak out. “Is that the plan you keep here in your head instead of on paper? Remember, I’m a great chef, but I suck at reading minds. Use your words, Jack. Tell me what you’re thinking.” She trailed her fingers over the dark stubble on his chin, enjoying the rasping sound.
His answering smile warmed his blue eyes and creased the cleft deeper into his cheek. “We’ve talked about how we need more room at the house for expanding our family. This solves our problem.”
Jem struggled to keep sadness and frustration from her face. They’d been trying to make a baby since well before their Valentine’s Day wedding in Las Vegas. And while she enjoyed the process, she hated the journey. Jack had no way to know she’d gotten her period this morning. She’d been two days late this month, and hope had clawed at her heart. But she’d woken feeling crampy and achy. Duty called, and she was out the door to open the café before he got up. Bad enough her bubble had been burst with the spotting she’d discovered after lunch. She didn’t want to bring him down, too. The regular monthly dashing of hope hurt Jack as much as it did her.
Turning her head, she rested her cheek on Jack’s chest and stared at what he’d called their future. Yeah, that looked about right—dried up, falling apart, and about as far from fertile as a structure could get.
Blinking back tears, she focused on keeping her breathing steady and her voice upbeat. “Um, Jack? How does this wreck solve our space issues? We don’t need more room. At least not yet.”
He tangled his hand in her hair, wrapping the corkscrew curls around his finger. With a small tug on the strand, he pulled her gaze to his face. “You’re right. All we need is one more room for a nursery.” God, it was like a knife to the chest. He rubbed his thumb along her jaw. “I’m thinking about buying this and converting it to a new office for Kerrigan Construction. That will leave my home office for a baby’s room.”
She turned away from the hope in his eyes, avoiding the moment she had to tell him there was no rush.
About the Author:
Gemma’s favorite desk accessories for many years were a circular wooden token, better known as a ’round tuit,’ and a slip of paper from a fortune cookie proclaiming her a lover of words; some day she’d write a book. All it took was a transfer to the United Kingdom, the lovely English springtime, and a huge dose of homesickness to write her first novel. Once it was completed and sent off with a kiss, even the rejections addressed to ‘Dear Author’ were gratifying.
After returning to America, she spent a number of years as a copywriter, dedicating her skills to making insurance and the agents who sell them sound sexy. Eventually, her full-time job as a writer interfered with her desire to be a writer full-time and she left the world of financial products behind to pursue a vocation as a romance author.
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Also By Gemma Brocato:
Cooking Up Love
Hearts In Harmony
Exposed To Passion
Bed of Roses
A Winter Wedding
Playing for Love