Savouring the Sweetness

It’s Blissemas time again! Time for fun, frolick and prizes. 

Blissemas 2013indexOne of the very best things about Blissemas every year is sharing our treasured memories of the season, and sometimes those memories are bittersweet. For me that’s the case this year, and yet as I reflect on such a treasured part of my life, the sweet far outweighs the bitter.

This will be my first Christmas without Barbara. Some of you may recall that this spring I lost my dear friend, who died at the young age of 93. Barbara taught me more about life and joy and finding happiness in less than ideal situations than anyone I know. Barbara was my go-to person for gardening. Barbara was the person I always ran to to share my latest ‘cool bird’ spotting. Barbara was the one who could appreciate a little brown beetle as much as she could appreciate a lovely singing robin. And most of all, Barbara was the one who taught me to appreciate the moment and embrace what you have now, not what you had or what you hope to have.

Barbara was in ill health when I first met her after Raymond and I moved to England the first time. It was a good day when she could actually get out in the garden and enjoy the sunshine and instruct me on what little pruning and weeding I could do for her, and yet, she never complained. She always found the good in the moment.

It’s my first Christmas without Barbara and without the traditions we shared. Every Christmas evening for the past eight years Raymond and I have bundled up and walked in the brisk evening air over to share a Christmas drink and Christmas good wishes with Barbara. We never arrived  but what we found her half-buried in the avalanche of little gifts and yummy treats from friends who had stopped by to wish her a happy Christmas. Barbara had lots of friends. Her walls were always nearly hidden in the bright glitter of dozens and dozens of Christmas cards and her tiny tree with its fiber optic lights sparkled merrily on the table in front of the window that overlooked the park, the table on which we always shared coffee and Danish while we watched the birds and speculated at the goings on of people with their dogs and kids in the park.

For Christmas, I usually brought Barbara a bird calendar of some sort because of our shared love of birds. She was particularly fond of owls. But the thing Barbara looked forward to the most, and the thing I looked most forward to sharing with her, the thing I only ever made for Christmas and for her birthday was the snickerdoodles.  I’m not much of a foodie, and I’m not interested in anything I can’t make quick and easy, but snickerdoodles were different. Snickerdoodles were the one treat that Barbara loved almost as much as I did. I would never make them just for myself, because like most very special treats, I knew I would have no control. And yet when I made them to share with Barbara they became a special decadence shared between two friends.

It was never elegant. I brought them to her in a recycled ice cream tub, of which she heartily approved, being a recycler herself. Plus I could fit more snickerdoodles into the ice cream tub, as she pointed out to me once. ‘Oh, I know what these are,’ she would always say with a wicked little laugh as though I’d given her something ever so slightly naughty. Then she would take one from the container and eat it like it was the best thing ever.

Winter scene clip artAfterwards we’d share a drink, and she would talk about the queen’s speech. Barbara was a real fan of the queen. We’d talk about who Barbara had seen during the course of the day, and she would fill us in on the latest gossip from the apartment block. After we’d chatted and toasted and wished each other all the best, we would leave her sitting with her feet up, the light of the little tree making her face look flushed and rosy.

Barbara was way better at rationing her snickerdoodles than I was. Mine were long gone while she still savoured hers with her morning coffee and afternoon tea. I only made one other batch of snickerdoodles a year and those were for Barbara’s birthday in May when we’d repeat the ritual, and she’d savour hers and I’d scarf mine, and they were always our little decadence, just Barbara’s and mine.

This year in honour of my dear, dear friend, Barbara Steele, I would like to share Christmas decadence with all of you and pass on the recipe for snickerdoodles. If you get the chance and want a delicious treat, make up a batch.  I don’t care if you scarf them or savour them, but share them with someone special and enjoy  all the delicious sweetness of the moment


(makes about 6 dozen)

1 Cup butter softened

1 ½ Cups sugar

2 eggs

2 ¾ Cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar

2 teaspoons baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons Sugar (I use more)

2 teaspoons cinnamon (I use more)

Heat oven to 400 degrees F (200 C, gas mark 6)

Blend together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Mix thoroughly butter, 1 ½ cups sugar and the eggs, then blend in flour mixture. Shape dough by rounded teaspoons into balls.

Mix 2 tablespoons of sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls in mixture. Place 2 inches (5cm) apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Immediately remove from baking sheet.

Happy Holidays!

If you’d like something naughty and sweet to read while you scarf your snickerdoodles, comment to win a copy of my novella, Migrations. Winner to be chosen 20th December.

Merry Blissemas!

To join in simply leave a comment on this post and the others at and you could be in to win your choice of eReader or $100 gift voucher to spend on eBooks! The prize will be drawn on the 21st December. Merry Blissemas!


 How to Join In the Blissemas fun!christmas-jingle-bells-thumb17244964

  • Visit the Blissemas site every day of the compeititon and open that days envelope.
  • Leave a comment on the days blog to get an entry into the Blissemas Prize Draw.
  • One Entry Per Person Per Blog each day.

Pick Your Prize!

Choose from one of the following:

  • An eReader of your choice (Pick from either a Kindle, Nook, Kobo or Sony)
  • A $100 Gift Card (Choose either All Romance, Amazon, Totally Bound or B&N)

Terms & Conditions

  • Blissemas this year runs from the 25th Nov – 19th Dec.
  • The Winner will be drawn at Midnight GMT on the 21st Dec 2013.
  • The Winner will be announced on the Blog and Smutters Facebook Page
  • The competition is open to everyone over the age of 18.
  • The prize is non-transferable, non refundable and cannot be exchanged



39 thoughts on “Savouring the Sweetness

    1. She was lovely lady, Victoria. I’ll miss her for a long time, but when I think of her, I always smile. And I’ll think of her whenever I eat Snickerdoodles.

    1. She was truly amazing, Jilly. She wasn’t so much a motherly figure for me as an auntie and great friend all rolled into one. She was the best. Thanks for the comment, and Happy Blissemas!

  1. Barbara sounded like an amazing friend and person. I shall attempt to make the snickerdoodles – my kids have heard about these through a Disney TV show and have bugged me for some for ages…guess what I shall be doing this weekend!

    1. She truly was, Alison! I was lucky to have known her.

      As for the snickerdoodles, please let me know how they turn out and how you all liked them. Mmmm! My mouth’s watering just thinking about them!

        1. Please do! I seriously thought about making a batch so I could take pics for the post, but I KNEW without Barbara to share them with, I’d EAT the whole batch! My husband is a chocolate fan, so doesn’t see the appeal, which is grea for my tastebuds, when I make them, but not so much for my waist.

          1. May have to be the next weekend before I get to these – just realised it is the Village panto this weekend and both kiddies are in it (helps that Granny writes it, directs it and casts it !!)

  2. I am sorry to hear about Barbara. I think you should keep up the tradition of the cookies. Just make them on her birthday that way it will feel like she is always with you on her special day.

    1. Thanks Debi,

      I think that’s a good idea. I feel that in sharing the recipe with my online friends and family, I’m passing on that tradidion, and I think Barbara would have really liked that.

  3. I love Snickerdoodles … never actually made them myself… will have to try and make some! Thank you so much for sharing your post about Barbara and the recipe… I always think of my grandmother when I make her pumpkin pie. Boy does the smell of the pie baking bring back memories!

    1. It’s an easy recipe, Colleen. I think you’ll like them. Isn’t it amazing how certain smells can bring back such powerful memories of those we love. And pumpkin pie baking is a wonderful smell, especially when the recipe is from someone you love.

  4. The snickerdoodles recipe sounds really good. Barbara sounds like a great friend and I am sorry for your lose.

  5. Thank you for the recipe, I’d sure like to try it out. Looks like you were so very blessed to have such a friend! Merry Blisemas to you too.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Larissa! Yes, I’m very blessed with good friends and that’s the best gift of all. I hope you enjoy the snickerdoodles.

  6. What a lovely tradition of friends. I would be like you and not be able to ration the treats, I do love snickerdoodles though. I will have to make some and share with my sister who also loves them (although I know I will need to make extras for her house since she lives with 3 teens, LOL)
    manning_J2004 at yahoo dot com

    1. Better make it a triple batch then, June! One can never have too many snickerdoodles. And when I was a teenager I could plough through a batch in nothing flat. My sister was actually here visiting one year when I made up the batch for Barbara’s birthday, so she got to share in the fun as well, and helped make sure my half of the batch didn’t go straight to my hips 🙂

  7. Never tasted snickerdoodles but gonna try them this year! And by sharing this recipe you have joined the special memory of your friend Barbara, whom we all who make snickerdoodles this year shall remember and cherish!:)

    1. Thank you so much, Jameelah! I know Barbara would love that we were all sharing snickerdoodles in her memory. Thanks for the kind comment.

  8. Beautiful memories and post. I bet Barbara would have loved being a part of your blog. Thanks for sharing with us and the recipe!

  9. Thank you for sharing your memories of Barbara with us. She sounds like a treasure & I’m glad that you were able to spend the time with her that you did.

    drainbamaged.gyzmo at

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