|Rochelle Staab, author of |
Who Do, Voodoo?
First in a new mystery series!
Please join me in welcoming author Rochelle Staab to the Kitchen! On November 1, Rochelle will be launching the first book in her "Mind for Murder" mystery series, Who Do, Voodoo?, a wonderful novel that I had the pleasure of reading before publication. This is a stellar debut, and RT Book Reviews agreed, praising the title as "A fresh and entertaining premise for a new series that is cleverly plotted and executed." I could not agree more, and it is now my great pleasure to introduce you to our guest cook today. Take it away, Rochelle! ~ Cleo Coyle
Amanda: And after you shot your husband...how did you feel?
~ Katharine Hepburn (Amanda) and Judy Holliday (Doris) in 1949’s Adam’s Rib
Hello everyone! I was thrilled when Cleo invited me to visit the Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen. I came with my absolute favorite recipe: the never fail, always yummy, keep for days, crunchy on the outside, moist and chewy inside, classic Katharine Hepburn brownies. These brownies draw happy, grateful groans whenever I bake them. In fact, two weeks ago I baked a batch to bribe a construction crew into washing my windows for me. Worked. Swear.
Hepburn gave this recipe to New York columnist Liz Smith to print over twenty-five years ago. It has been republished many times and for good reason: This simple, one bowl recipe is a go-to, never fail, guaranteed to delight, sweet-tooth tickler. Enjoy!
Makes 16 brownies (@180 calories each)
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped. (I use Baker’s unsweetened chocolate squares)
½ cup (1 stick) butter (I use salted but unsalted works too.)
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs (room temperature)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup all-purpose flour (I like to use whole-wheat flour for a slight nutty edge.)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Step 1—Prep: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan. I use Pam® Baking spray. Simmer water in a small saucepan, about ½ full or less.
Step 2—Melt: Coarsely chop the chocolate into chunks. Slice the butter into pieces for quick melting. Place chocolate and butter into a small stainless steel bowl and place on top of the saucepan of simmering water. Stir gently until melted. Remove bowl from heat and discard water.
Step 3—Blend: With the bowl on the counter, stir in the sugar until blended. Blend in the vanilla extract and mix in the eggs. Finally, stir in the flour, salt, and (optional) chopped nuts.
Step 4—Bake: Pour into the prepared 8-inch baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (I always middle the time at 33 minutes, depending on the oven of course.)
Step 5—Cool and cut: Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. When cooled, slice into 16 pieces. Serve at room temperature or chilled. These
freeze very well.
This recipe inspired the brownies I wrote into Chapter One of my debut novel WHO DO, VOODOO? When Liz Cooper and her best friend Robin return from the gravesite of Robin’s husband Josh, they find a disturbing tarot card tacked to Robin’s front door. Two years earlier, the same card appeared in Josh’s birthday reading presaging his imminent death. After tearing the card off the door, Liz takes Robin inside and attempts to calm her over a plate of brownies and milk. The resulting search for the tarot card prankster leads to murder, a false accusation, and a journey through Los Angeles voodoo subculture to find a killer.
The characters in WHO DO, VOODOO? reflect varied opinions about the supernatural and I leave judgment to the reader to decide which team is right. Liz the pragmatic psychologist is a non-believer who favors logical thinking. Robin, along with Liz’s elegant, offbeat mother both believe the supernatural offers a pathway for the open-minded. Nick Garfield, the religious philosophy professor Liz enlists to help locate the origin of the tarot card, takes an intellectual viewpoint. His study of alternative belief systems gave him respect for and understanding of the cross-cultural rituals and customs people have clung to, employed, or worshipped for centuries.
Oh, and did I mention a voodoo curse—conjured to kill—complicates everything?
WHO DO, VOODOO? will be released November 1 by Berkley Prime Crime.
~ Rochelle Staab
Thank you for visiting
with us today, Rochelle! ~ Cleo
with us today, Rochelle! ~ Cleo
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