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Cozy up and read a good book

With our first deep freeze out of the way, winter is officially upon us! It’s time to cozy up with a hot beverage, some holiday treats and a good book.

This is a great time of year to get the oven going and bake your favorite cookies, breads and other sweet treats, and we have some great new cookbooks at the library to give you inspiration. When I was a student in Boston, I visited many excellent bakeries, but none are as well-known and respected as Joanne Chang’s “Flour Bakery + Café in the South End.” The caramel rolls infamously sell out just after the store opens on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Now you can make them in your own oven without the 1,500 mile trip! Chang has collected the recipes for her most beloved cookies, pastries and quick breads into a beautiful cookbook, “Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Café.”

The popular “Taste of Home” magazine has put together a great volume of classic bakery recipes as well as subscriber favorites in their newest book, “Taste of Home Baking: 725+ Recipes and Variations from Classics to Best Loved!” We also have copies of the magazine available to check out.

One book that caught our attention as soon as it came in is “Country Living Little Book of Pies & Tarts: 50 Easy Homemade Favorites to Bake & Share.” The book itself is spiral-bound, and the photographs are utterly mouth-watering. I have wanted to try to make hand pies for a while (think of a pasty, but with sweet fruit filling), and this cookbook might well give me the push I need to give it a whirl.

Many, if not most, lakes area residents have some ancestors from Scandinavia; if you would like to get an idea of what your relatives made back in the home country, check out “Scandinavian Classic Baking” by Pat Sinclair. The beautiful photographs are a delight, and the recipes include traditional holiday fare such as St. Lucia buns, Norwegian julekake, and the always enduring lefse. These and many more cookbooks to cover every taste are available for you to check out at the library.

Once you’ve made some tempting goodies, you will be ready to curl up in your favorite chair and escape the frozen northland. No matter where (or when) your armchair travel takes you, you’ll want to sign up for our adult winter reading program, Snow Time to Read, beginning in January. For every five books you read or listen to, you may enter a drawing for weekly prizes. The more you read, the more chances you have to win! Readers can also enter for monthly prizes by sharing their review of a book. The book reviews will be posted near the reference desk for all to enjoy.

Don’t forget that Santa Claus will be visiting us for story time at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19. He will read holiday stories and answer questions, so bring your children and grandchildren to the library for this special evening.

LAUREL M. HALL is the senior outreach coordinator for Kitchigami Regional Library System.