Sunday, August 15, 2010

Welcome guest, Lorna Barrett!

Welcome our guest, Lorna Barrett!
Lorna is the New York Times Bestselling author of the Booktown Mystery series. Chapter and Hearse, the 4th book, is now available. Lorna also writes under the names Lorraine Bartlett and L.L. Bartlett. Visit her website at: and her blog

Take it away, Lorna!

The Chemistry Of Cooking
By Lorna Barrett
I never did well in high school science class. Heck, who cared about that kind of stuff when there were books to be read? Fun books like “House of Many Shadows” and “Witch” by Barbara Michaels. Or the four biographies of Edgar Allen Poe that my school library owned. And in my junior and senior years, I read entire volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Science? Who cared when you could read about fascinating places, and pick up little known facts, or read about the excitement of Elias Howe inventing the sewing machine!
That said, I loved to bake. And until recently, I was a stickler for following directions to the letter. (Since I’ve been writing the Booktown Mysteries, and have needed to give my character Angelica interesting things to cook and bake, I’ve gotten a little bolder.)
There’s a reason combinations of ingredients work to make cakes and breads rise. It’s chemistry, pure and simple. Or, maybe it’s just magic. (I think I prefer the latter explanation.) You might want to substitute spices and flavorings, but messing with a recipe’s core ingredients (the ratio of flour to baking powder, for example), is just asking for trouble.
Then there are the clueless. In my latest Booktown Mystery, my heroine, Tricia Miles, is asked to bring some kind of breakfast food to a gathering of friends. Not having much experience in the kitchen, she pulls a book of her shelf and finds a recipe for blueberry muffins. How hard could blueberry muffins be to make?

Well … it turns out they can be quite difficult – especially if you don’t know what you’re doing and you don’t have the proper ingredients. Tricia substitutes with wild abandon and the results . . . well, let’s just say my readers find them amusing.
Here’s the recipe Tricia used as a guide. Maybe you’d like to try making them. But don’t mess with too many of the ingredients – if you want something edible, that is.

Blueberry Muffins
1 egg
½ cup milk
¼ cup butter, melted

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh blueberries or well-drained frozen blueberries (thawed)
Heat oven to 400º Grease the bottoms of 12 medium muffin cups or line with paper baking cups. Beat egg; stir in milk and melted butter. Mix in remaining ingredients just until flour is dampened. Batter should be lumpy.

Fill muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Immediately remove from pan.
Makes 12 muffins

Find out more about Lorna at her websbite, LORNA BARRETT and don't miss any books in the series! You can read excerpts of her books by clicking this LINK.
Enjoy reading!


  1. TOO funny Lorna! I'm not a baker so I don't usually try to bake. BUT when I do make brownies for my kids, I do follow the recipe to a tee! The first time I made brownies I was in 5th grade and my mom told me to follow the directions. What did it say "mix by hands." Let's just say I spent more time licking my fingers clean than a spoon:)

  2. Lorna, these look delicious! I've got to try them today.

  3. LOL - Love that photo of the freaked out baker!! We ALL have cooking disaster stories and I have plenty as my husband can verify. But as Julia Child once said, "In cooking, you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude." So good for you -- and Tricia, too. :) And...

    BIG congrats to you both for making that NY Times mass market bestseller list again. The cozy is kickin' butt and takin' names -- and you and Tricia are at the top of your game. I hope you find time to celebrate, L, you deserve it.

    Have a beautiful summer Sunday,
    ~ Cleo
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  4. The only muffin recipe I've ever tried is the kind you pour out of a package and add milk. I'll have to give this one a try. Congratulations on your recent release and best of luck.

    Thoughts in Progress

  5. These muffins look wonderful! And it's breakfast time, so now I'm really hungry. Thanks for being our guest today at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen and for sharing your recipe!

  6. Hi, everyone, thanks for the warm welcome. I have to admit . . . everybody loves blueberry muffins..except me. But hubby loves them, so why not make a double batch, eh? My latest muffin magic is bran muffins, made with real bran--not bran cereal. Yum!

  7. Wonderful recipe, Lorraine! Everybody in this house loves blueberry muffins and they're going to love me for making these. We have lots of blueberries in the house today, too.

    Congrats on making the NYT list again!! Woo-hoo!!


  8. Lovely recipe, Lorna. fun story! Thanks for guesting today. Hope you have fun with our followers.


  9. I've done a "Tricia" in my past and we won't speak out it. I now know that I can't substitute unless it is specified and follow the directions.

    The only muffins I'll eat are the ones with chocolate chips in them. So, can I substitute chocolate chips for the blueberries?

  10. I don't know, Dru. I don't like chocolate chips in my muffins (or pumpkin bread, etc.) but I love chocolate. Go figure! But I'll bet you could.

  11. Great recipe, Lorna. These muffins look like a serious eating treat! Hmm. Wasn't planning on baking today, but ...


  12. LOL, Mary Jane. I felt inspired and baked a batch of bran muffins this morning. Yum! (I will admit, I doubled the raisins.)

  13. Thanks for stopping by the kitchen, Lorna!
    I just baked a banana bread -- no wild substitutions, however! LOL! But now I'm craving blueberry muffins! Thanks for

  14. AH HA!!!! Aren't you in New England somewhere near Maine blueberries??? I couldn't believe anyone liked those teensy little whimps until I tasted them. Wow. Don't tell anyone in the PNW I said that because we like to think our huge BB are the best.
    I think ours would change the amount added if using fresh.

  15. Yummy. Love blueberry muffins. Muffins do very well with egg substitutes so I can enjoy them despite the egg allergy.

  16. Blueberry muffins are the favorites in our household, but we get them at the grocery store bakery....I will try these and see if I win some points.

    Love your series. Reading BOOKMARKED FOR DEATH as my current purse book. It's good!