Thank you to Lucy/Roberta for inviting me to write a guest post on Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen. I feel like I know all of you through your books and recipes, as well as from panels at mystery conventions. On November 4th my first mystery comes out, By Cook or by Crook, the debut title in the Five-Ingredient Mystery series. The series features Val Deniston, a former cookbook publicist.
Val left New York City after a car accident nearly killed her celebrity chef passenger and doomed her career. Now living with her curmudgeonly grandfather in a tourist town near the Chesapeake Bay, she runs the Cool Down Café at an athletic club and tests recipes for her long-planned cookbook. When a club patron is found dead, Val cooks up a scheme to expose the murderer who framed her cousin.
While Val investigates five suspects and uncovers five key clues, Granddad takes up cooking, creating havoc in the kitchen even when trying recipes that have only five ingredients. In a reaction against the elaborate gourmet dishes of celebrity chefs, Val prefers recipes “the average person could make in less time than it took to watch a TV cooking show.” By Cook or by Crook includes 8 five-ingredient recipes.
Having boxed myself in with the five-ingredient blueprint, I relish the chance to share a recipe on Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen with more ingredients than that . . . but not a lot more. Oatmeal cookies are comfort food perfect for all seasons, but this version with dried cranberries, cider spices, and pecans suits the autumn and winter holidays particularly well.
Oatmeal Cran Pecan Cookies
Yield: approximately 50 cookies
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
½ cup butter
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 large or extra large unbeaten egg
1 cup uncooked rolled oats (or quick oats)
¾ cup unsifted flour
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp double-acting baking powder
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
Cream the butter and sugars. Beat in the egg and the vanilla. Add the oatmeal and flour. Mix well.
Combine the spices and baking powder in a separate bowl and add them to the butter mixture.
Fold in the cranberries and chopped pecans.
Drop rounded teaspoons of dough onto a greased cookie sheet, spacing them two inches apart.
Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes.
Remove the cookies from the sheet and cool them on a rack.
Note: The cookies shown in the photo are only a fraction of the ones this recipe yields. Certain members of my family got to the batch before I had a chance to take a picture of them. You gotta expect that with oatmeal cookies.
Maya (Mary Ann) Corrigan lives near Washington, D.C., within easy driving distance of Maryland's Eastern Shore, the setting for her series. When not reading and writing, she enjoys travel, tennis, trivia, cooking, and crosswords. Her website features food trivia and quizzes on mysteries.
NOTE FROM LUCY: Doesn't this all sound delicious? And Maya is offering a galley copy to one lucky commenter for her brand new mystery, BY COOK OR BY CROOK. JUST LEAVE YOUR EMAIL IN THE COMMENT TO BE ENTERED!