Sunday, December 15, 2013

[12 Days of Romance] Old Christmas by Kathryn Brocato #giveaway #recipe

Book Blurb
Casey Gray had grown up on legends of Old Christmas Eve, a night when spirits walk, cattle kneel at midnight, and signs of spring appear in the form of elder blooms and fig buds, even beneath ice.
When she returns to the small Southeast Texas town she’d grown up in, Casey doesn’t dream there can be anything left beneath the ice that covered her former relationship with Kalin McBride.

The next thing Casey knows, she’s in danger of falling for Kalin all over again, but the problems that had separated them before still remain, and even though Casey has achieved her lifelong dream of becoming a professional chef, she now wonders if that will be enough for her.

It will take every bit of determination Kalin has, plus a little help from the magic walking the earth on Old Christmas Eve, to convince Casey that her future lies with Kalin in her little hometown.

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Author Bio

Kathryn Brocato is  lifelong reader and writer of romance who lives with her husband, dogs, and chickens in Southeast Texas. Learn more bout her at and visit her Facebook page at

RECIPE : Deep Dark Secret Cheesecake

3 cups dark chocolate wafers, finely crumbled
¼ lb. unsalted butter, melt

Mix crumbs with melted butter and stir well.
Press into chilled, buttered 10-inch springform pan.
Bake in preheated 350-degree F oven for 10 minutes.
Cool, then chill in refrigerator.

Cheesecake Filling
Twelve 1-ounce pieces semisweet chocolate
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Five 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
6 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Prepare cheesecake casing.
Bring all ingredients to room temperature by allowing them to set out of the refrigerator for at
least 2 hours.
Combine the semisweet chocolate pieces and the butter in a double boiler and melt. Set aside
to cool to room temperature.
Beat the cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until it is smooth. Do not
Add sugar in thirds, blending well at medium speed after each addition.
Add vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine all eggs and egg yolks and beat lightly. Add beaten eggs, a third
at a time, to creamed mixture, beating lightly to incorporate the eggs throughout the mixture.
Add cooled melted chocolate and heavy cream in thirds, alternating chocolate and cream and
beating at medium speed after each addition.
Sift the cocoa powder over the cheese mixture in thirds, beating at medium speed after each
Using a rubber spatula, stir the sides of the mixture down, then begin folding the mixture,
going deep into the bowl and over the top, for 3 to 5 minutes.
Gently fold mixture into prepared casing or crust.
Bake in preheated 350-degree F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 275
degrees and bake for 50 minutes for a soft-set center. For a firm-set center, bake for 1 hour.
Crack the oven door slightly, using a wooden spoon wedged in the top of the door to hold it
open slightly, and cool in this manner for 1 hour.
Take a very thin, short spatula, open the oven door, and working swiftly, without jiggling the
cheesecake, ream around the metal ring of the springform pan twice to loosen the cheesecake
from the edge of the pan.
Close the oven door, leaving the wooden spoon to hold it slightly ajar, and allow the
cheesecake to cool completely in the oven for 6 to 8 hours then refrigerate.

Old Christmas and the Old Twelve Days

Once upon a time, calendars were rather inaccurate. In 1582, Catholic countries of Europe  replaced the old Julian calendar with the Gregorian calendar because it was much more accurate. However, Protestant Europe refused to switch, on the grounds that the pope was not going to tell them what to do.

In 1752, almost 200 years later, England finally switched to the Gregorian calendar, but by that time, England had become 11 days off the rest of Europe. So officials dealt with the matter by simply dropping those 11 days and moving Christmas from January 6 to December 25.

Many people in England, not understanding all this high-powered math, believed their 11 days had been “stolen” and rioted. They refused to change.

Those folks from the British Isles who settled in America remained unaffected for a long time. Many were rural people, farmers, and they kept up the old celebrations for many years.

In Southeast Texas, according to columnist Joe Combs, who wrote a regular “Farm Corner” column for the Beaumont Enterprise until the 1970s, many old farming families in the area kept up the custom into the 1930s and 1940s, and many legends grew up around the magical idea of Old Christmas – the only true Christmas, in these country dwellers’ minds.

People believed that Old Christmas Eve was so magical, fig trees would bud, and if the limbs were covered with ice, the buds would crack the ice. Elder bushes bloomed on Old Christmas Eve, even in the snow.

Rural folks said Old Christmas Eve also had powerful effects on the animals. At the hour of midnight on Old Christmas Eve, cattle and horses knelt, and roosters crowed out of respect for the Christ Child.

The date also affected the dead. On Old Christmas Eve, it was said, spirits walked the earth.

So what would happen if a modern young woman, reared in the tradition of the Old Twelve Days, finds herself in a dilemma that only the magic walking the earth on Old Christmas Eve can solve?

I’ve been fascinated by the idea of Old Christmas for many years, and my Crimson Contemporary Romance novel, Old Christmas is the result.  

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