Diamond Dynasty series

Lyon's Den

Check Mates

French Editions / Éditions Françaises

Holiday Special

As the winter chill sets in, a beloved Regency-era tradition is to gather around the hearth with a pot of mulled wine gently simmering, filling the air with the comforting aromas of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and star anise. These spices, known for their warming properties, were once a luxury and a sign of affluence in Regency England, and they remain a cornerstone of wintery traditions today.

The same spices are also used in making Speculoos, a type of spiced shortcrust biscuit that is traditionally baked for consumption on or just before St Nicholas' day in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Northern France. The cookies, with their intricate designs and the heady warmth of the spices, make them a delectable treat during the cold days of December.

And while popcorn may not have been a traditional snack in Regency England, it pairs beautifully with these spiced treats today. Imagine curling up with your favorite Regency romance novel, a bowl of warm, buttery popcorn at your side. Each bite is a perfect balance of salty and sweet, a delightful contrast to the rich, spicy notes of your mulled wine or Speculoos cookies. The combination creates a cozy, festive atmosphere that perfectly complements the charm and intrigue of your chosen book. So stoke the fire, pour yourself a glass of mulled wine, and lose yourself in the romance and grandeur of the Regency era.

Holiday Hop Games

Holiday-Spiced Popcorn Balls


  • 10 cups of popped popcorn
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Optional: crushed candy canes for decoration


  1. Place the popped popcorn in a large bowl, making sure there are no unpopped kernels.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, honey, molasses, and butter. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ground cloves to the saucepan and stir until well combined.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow it to boil for about 4 minutes without stirring.
  5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and salt.
  6. Immediately pour the hot syrup over the popcorn. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to toss and coat the popcorn with the syrup. Be careful as the syrup will be very hot.
  7. Allow the coated popcorn to cool for a minute. Then, with greased hands, form the popcorn into balls. If desired, roll the popcorn balls in crushed candy canes for extra holiday flair.
  8. Set the popcorn balls on a sheet of wax paper to cool completely before serving.

Enjoy your Holiday-Spiced Popcorn Balls!

Click here for the list of all participating authors for this game.