Saturday, February 6, 2010

Who's Who at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen & Blondies!

Thanks to everyone for your congratulations and support this week. It's always exciting to have a new book out, but your wonderful enthusiasm about The Diva Paints the Town made it that much more special for me.

And now, to the question that has been torturing some of you -- who is who in the pictures?

Lesa, thanks again for awarding us your "Creative Liar" -- oops -- "Creative Writer" award. What fun! Now for my truths --

1. I began ballet lessons at the age of three and danced in a production of Peer Gynt at the Kennedy Center.

I did begin ballet lessons at the age of three. I am however, not particularly gifted at dancing! I danced as an imp in a high school production of Peer Gynt. The only dancing I have done at the Kennedy Center is waltzing in the lobby on New Year's Eve.

2. I was assistant manager of the largest convention hotel in Washington, DC.

True! I was an assistant manager of the Sheraton Washington Hotel (now the Washington Marriott Wardman Park.). It covers 16 acres, has 1300 guest rooms, and convention halls so massive that trucks can drive into them. The sprawling complex includes the historic Wardman Tower, home to the likes of Presidents Hoover, Eisenhower, and Johnson, Marlena Dietrich, socialite Perle Mesta, and at least one spy. It was one of my very favorite jobs. Every day was different. I learned a lot about people at that job, which comes in handy for inventing interesting characters!

3. I have a Masters Degree in Library Science and owned a bookstore for six years.

This is a total lie, though I was honored that Lesa thought it might be true! : )

And last, but not least, every Super Bowl party needs something sweet! In The Diva Paints the Town, Sophie bakes Blondies. I had a tough time finding just the right recipe for Blondies. After several attempts and serious tweaking, I settled on this recipe, which is chewy and flavorful.


2 cups dark brown sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
4 tablespoons heavy cream 

2 large eggs, lightly beaten 

1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup large semisweet chocolate chips or chocolate chunks.

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9x13 baking pan.

In a medium size pot, melt the butter with the cream and the brown sugar over medium heat. (It does not need to boil.) Set aside and let cool for about 10 minutes.

Drop a spoonful of the mixture into the eggs and whisk to temper them, then add them to the warm mixture and mix well.

(You can stir the remaining ingredients in by hand but Sophie gets better results using her mixer at this point.) Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, stir in the baking powder, baking soda, and salt until thoroughly mixed. Stir in the flour and the vanilla. It makes a fairly thick batter.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan and smooth. Sprinkle the chocolate bits over the batter. Pour the remaining batter over top to cover the chocolate and spread. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. For easiest cutting, cut while still warm, but leave in pan to cool.

Makes about 35 blondies.


Don't forget about Jenn's fun new contest. Enter your suggestion for the name of a fictional cupcake and have your name and cupcake written into the mystery novel BUTTERCREAM BUMP OFF! (The sequel to SPRINKLE WITH MURDER, which just received a *Starrred Review* from Publishers Weekly!). Send proof of your pre-order of SPRINKLE WITH MURDER, along with your name and cupcake name to Jenn at

IRON CHEF WINNER! Congratulations to Helen K. who suggested our next Secret Ingredient for the Mystery Kitchen’s Iron Chef contest! Helen won a $25 chocolate gift from Fannie May Chocolates. What was the secret ingredient? Find out during our next Iron Chef week in late February! And keep reading our posts to find out how to enter our next contest!

~ Krista


  1. The photo quiz was cute and here I thought you had danced at the Kennedy Center. :) This has been fun. I'm sharing my truths and lies today.

    The Blondies recipe sounds delicious. Now I've found a dessert to go with my midnight snack of pizza.

    Congratulations again on the release of "The Diva Paints the Town."

  2. YAY! A new release. I think that must be so thrilling.

    And blondies...welcomed at every sporting event, grins, and more.

  3. Something sweet fits the bill EVERY day! Thanks, Krista, for the yummy recipe. And...weren't you a cutie!? Looks like you're having fun with that flour.


  4. This has been a fun week, discovering all of the truths and lies. Very creative manipulation of the truth, ladies!

    Congrats on the new book and thanks for the yummy recipe, Krista!

  5. Thanks, Mason and Katy. It *is* thrilling to have a new release, but always a bit scary, too!

    Elizabeth, I can't say I remember, but my mom claims I insisted that I wanted to help her bake.

    Thanks, Janel. Writing the lies was an interesting exercise. It's not as easy as I would have thought to write a convincing lie!

    ~ Krista

  6. You got me, Krista! I picked number three, just like Lesa. But I'm grinning upon finding out that number two is really true: Here in NYC, we are always hearing about some sensational story attached to a hotel, and I can only imagine the stories (large and small) that you gathered as you worked in that position! What an inspiration for your writing life.

    I guessed right on most of the photos. Yours is adorable and so appropriate. (Gold Medal flour should use that pic for an ad campaign!)

    Congrats again on Diva Paints the Town and thanks for the blondie recipe. It's freezing here, the wind is howling, and I am so ready to bake.


  7. Cleo, from your lips to Gold Medal's ears! We're knee deep (quite literally) in snow. I'm ready to move to Florida.

    Working at the hotel was a blast. You wouldn't believe what people do when they're away from home. It's not just in Vegas that they kick up their heels!

  8. The Blondie recipe sounds amazing!

    Stop by The Conscious Cat when you have a chance - I've passed the Over the Top Blog Award on to you :-)

  9. Ingrid! Thank you so much! This looks like another fun award -- if I can only figure out how to describe my hair color in one word . . .

    ~ Krista

  10. Krista, I can't thank all of you enough for playing along with the award, and adding your own unique touches. Loved the pictures! And, of course I thought you had an MLS and worked at a bookstore. Is there a higher calling in life (other than author)?