Happy weekend, friends!

I think February is the quintessential month for all things chocolaty, don't you? That's why I was so thrilled to be asked by Better Homes and Gardens to be their "Month of Chocolate" blogger on Delish Dish. Each Friday this month I'll be sharing some of my favorite souped-up chocolate recipes, starting with these Chocolate Bourbon Petits Fours.

If you're looking for a unique sweet gift for your Valentine this year, then this may the ticket! These edible matchsticks are so easy to make and even more delightful to give - especially when the cookies are packaged in matchstick slider boxes. The candy coating on the cookies has a pinch of ground cayenne pepper, so they bring a little heat to the party, too!

January is now a memory and I have ambivalent feelings about seeing it go. I've never been one to wish for time to pass away quickly, but this winter has made me hide myself away seeking little creature comforts. 2015 was a season of vulnerability and change for me. There were sweet highs - like new babies being born into the family and the release of my new book - and some painful lows, some loss. I'd hoped January would feel like a fresh start, but I'm tempted to say it was for the birds! Okay, on second thought it's not been all bad. We did have some pretty snowfall and this cake.

It is with this general sentiment that I've decided to cheat on winter. It's already springtime in my head. We're still months away from any meaningful blooms in the garden, so I decided to make my own. Plus, Valentine's Day is on the horizon and how lovely would it be to receive a dozen rose cupcakes? And of the double chocolate sort?!

January is shaping up to be the unintentional month of cakes on this blog. I have an overstuffed binder filled with all manner of confections, but they'll just have to wait. Lately I've been seeking comfort in familiar things, which includes no small amount of floured cake pans. Add to that, hours of hiding behind Jane Austen novels and beautiful art books, especially those of papercut artists. I suppose this cake is my interpration of those three favorite things altogether.

I think now is a good time for a cheerful-looking cake, don't you? It's been a tough week for many of us. I'll be the first to admit that the recent losses in the headlines made me feel a little lonely. We all have our own way of dealing with these things, and I did what I usually do (aside from snuggling these faces), I baked things - a whole bunch of things. I whisked and whipped and folded and I may have listened to 'Life on Mars' on repeat for two hours straight.

During this time I decided to complete a recipe I've been working on for a long time. It's lengthy, so I'd never quite committed to its final scheme. The inspiration comes from a cake I saw at a local restaurant, and its mixed up layers had me awe-struck. My first thought was "Who allowed them to do that?" and my second thought was "I can't wait to do that!"

This time of year always brings out my pensive side. I tend to spend a lot more time thinking and less time doing, so I’ve been fumbling a bit trying to get back into a work routine. This year’s Christmas advent blog posts were a real eye-opener for me. I’d forgotten how much I loved blogging regularly, and doing so for 24 consecutive days was a real stretch for me! I mean, some days I can’t even write a proper ‘to-do’ list unless I have the right type of lined paper and black ink pen in front of me. Perhaps that should be my resolution – less thinking more doing!

It took some time for me to settle on 2016’s first blog post (no surprise there). I’ve been making notes in my recipe journal since last November for a bourbon layer cake. January’s chill convinced me that it was time to move forward with something warming, perhaps better described as glowing, with spirits.
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