From Christmas Blue to Christmas Magic - J. Kenner

From Christmas Blue to Christmas Magic

Happy almost Christmas! Just in time for the holidays, I’ve got a great guest blog for you guys: Sylvie Kurtz shares a truly amazing-sounding recipe for Brioche … and the new cover for her Christmas romance! Cool, huh? You can snuggle back with a good book and a delicious treat. Gotta love it! (And today I’m blog-hopping again! You can find me at Fade Into Fantasy … stop by and say hi and enter the giveaway!)

Without further ado, here’s Sylvie!

I grew up in the northeast where one thing you could count on was a white Christmas. I loved all the lights, the sparkle and the sounds of the season. Then I got married and moved to Florida, then Texas where snow for Christmas would be nothing short of a miracle. Christmas seemed to lack that extra layer of magic. And that seemed such a loss after I had children and tried to recreate the magic I’d felt as a kid. I grew to dread the holidays.

Blue isn’t a very good color for the holidays, especially with little children around. So to get myself out of that funk, I started thinking about what could make the holidays really horrible. Losing my husband or one of my kids, came the answer. That was the nugget for A Little Christmas Magic. Writing that story, I found my Christmas spirit once again.

Christmas is also about food—both in my story and in my household. Two items that my family insists they must have are sticky pecan buns for breakfast (tradition from my husband’s side of the family) and a Yule log (tradition from my side of the family.)

Here’s my recipe for sticky pecan buns, adapted from both my mother-in-law and Healthy Breads in Five Minutes a Day:


2 cups white whole-wheat flour
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 package granulated yeast
½ tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons cup vital gluten
1 cup lukewarm water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
6 tablespoons honey
2 large eggs

Whisk together the flour, yeast, salt and vital gluten in a large bowl.

Combine the liquid ingredients and mix them with the dry ingredients without kneading. The dough will be loose, but will firm up when chilled.

Cover—not airtight—and refrigerate for at least two hours.


½ cup honey
½ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ teaspoon orange zest
1 cup finely chopped pecans

Cream together all the ingredients, except for the pecans. Spread half the mixture evenly into the bottom of 9″ X 13″ pan.

Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and shape into a ball. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is a 1/8-inch thick rectangle. Add flour as you go to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter, but not so much the dough becomes dry. (This is the only tricky part of the recipe.)

Spread the remaining filling evenly over the rolled-out dough. Sprinkle with the nuts. Roll the dough into a log, starting at the long end. Pinch the seam closed.

With a sharp knife, cut into 12-16 pieces. Arrange over the caramel in the pan so that the swirled edge is visible to you. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. While still hot, invert onto a serving dish. Once the caramel sets, it’s nearly impossible to pry the buns from the dish.

Serve warm.

May the holiday season find you surrounded by love and may it feed your spirit with joy!

Sylvie Kurtz writes adventures that explore the complexity of the human mind and the thrill of suspense. Check out the redesigned cover for A Little Christmas Magic and the brand-new French translation, La Magie de Noël.

J.K. here: Thanks so much for stopping by today! I can imagine the heady scent of this baking in a toasty kitchen. Heaven…

How about y’all, readers? Gonna give this a try for the holidays? (We posted early so you have plenty of time to shop for ingredients!) Do you have a holiday favorite?

And don’t forget to enter my holiday contest!

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