Sunday, March 13, 2016

Welcome to Our Guest Kristi Abbott! & #Giveaway!!

I have been cooking with booze for a long time. I learned it at my mother’s knee. There was a time when her special dish was something called Bourbon Beef, which she served with Whiskey Rice. Even her brisket recipe calls for quite a bit of red wine. When I was in college she would send me care packages. She would make brownies, cut them up, put them in a coffee can, douse them with bourbon (she’s a good Kentucky girl), and ship them off. She said it was to keep the brownies moist in the mail. All I knew was eating the brownies at the bottom of the can was like doing a shot. Plus they were delicious.

When I started developing recipes for Kernel of Truth, it seemed natural to me to add alcohol. After reading a lot of popcorn ball recipes, I realized that it would be pretty easy to substitute the vanilla for something more interesting. I experimented with different liqueurs, finally settling on Kahlua. It just goes so well with chocolate and I think it’s enhanced by the salty bite of the popcorn.

The chocolate glaze is also my mother’s. My dad’s favorite cake was her yellow Bundt cake with the chocolate glaze. We would mock argue over who got to eat the chocolate that pooled in the center of the cake.

Here are the ingredients you need to assemble.


To make the popcorn balls, you’ve got to start with popcorn. Here’s my tried and true method.


Pour 1/4 cup oil into your pot. I personally like my Dutch oven. It’s got a nice thick bottom so it can take some heat and the lid fits well. You can experiment with the oil, too. If I’m just snacking on the popcorn, I like the flavor olive oil gives to the popcorn. For something like this, I often use coconut oil because it seems a little more neutral. Put in two or three popcorn kernels. Cover the pot and turn the heat on high.


When those kernels pop, you know your oil is hot enough. Put in 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels and throw in some salt. I use Kosher salt, but I think sea salt works well, too.

Once the corn is popped, turn it out into a bowl and set aside. This makes approximately 8 cups of popcorn. Now it’s time to soften the marshmallow crème. I put it in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for thirty seconds or so on 50% power. Be careful. Use a bigger bowl than you think you’ll need. That stuff puffs up like crazy! Once it’s pourable, stir in the Kahlua then pour over the popcorn. Mix thoroughly, then grease up your hands and form the popcorn into balls. I don’t have any pictures of this part because my hands were greasy and covered with marshmallow goo! Sorry! But here’s what the balls look like. I like to make little bite-sized ones rather than huge ones. It’s daintier and Lord knows we want to be dainty when we’re eating our booze-filled snack food!






Now it’s time to make the chocolate glaze. Combine the cocoa, butter, and powdered sugar in a pot over a medium heat. Stir the milk in slowly. Word of warning here. This glaze is particularly sensitive to all kinds of things and I’ve found it needs different amounts of milk on different days. Humiidity seems to be a big factor. You want it to be thin enough to pour, but thick enough to really coat a spoon. It’s delicious even if it’s drippy, but if you want it to harden into a nice glaze, you have to watch the milk.


All that’s left is to dip the popcorn balls into the glaze and then set them aside to harden.



Chocolate Kahlua Popcorn Balls

3.5 ounces of marshmallow crème
Kahlua (or vanilla if you prefer or really any kind of liquer)
4 c. popcorn

Heat the marshmallow crème in the microwave. I recommend using 50% power for 30 seconds. Keep going with 30 second increments until it’s easy to stir. Stir in the Kahlua. Fold in popcorn. Grease your hands and form into balls. Allow the balls to sit on wax or parchment paper while you make the chocolate glaze.

Chocolate glaze:

3 T. cocoa
2 T. butter
1 c. powdered sugar
3 T. milk

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Whisk together over a low heat until combined. Don’t let this glaze sit. It hardens relatively quickly. You can reconstitute it by adding a little milk and heating again, but it won’t be quite the same.

Dip the popcorn balls in the glaze. Let sit until the glaze hardens. 


Opening a gourmet popcorn shop was never on Rebecca Anderson’s bucket list. But after a failed marriage to a celebrity chef, she’s ready for her life to open up and expand. She has returned to her hometown of Grand Lake, Ohio, with her popcorn-loving poodle Sprocket to start a new business—naturally called POPS. As a delicious bonus, Cordelia “Coco” Bittles, a close family friend who has always been like a grandmother to Rebecca, owns the chocolate shop next door, and the two are thinking of combining their businesses.

But when Coco’s niece, Alice, discovers her on the floor of her chocolate shop, those dreams go up in smoke. The local sheriff thinks Coco was the victim of a robbery gone wrong, but Rebecca isn’t so sure. As suspects start popping up all over, Rebecca is determined to turn up the heat and bring the killer to justice in a jiffy!

Kernel of Truth is Kristi's first book with Berkley Prime Crime. She has been obsessed with popcorn since first tasting the caramel cashew popcorn at Garrett's in Chicago. If you've never had it, you might want to hop on a plane and go now. Seriously, it's that good.


Giveaway!

Kristi is giving away a copy of A Kernel of Truth to one lucky person who leaves a comment!


Bio:
Kristi lives in northern California, although she was born in Ohio like the heroine of Kernel of Truth. She loves snack food, crocheting, her kids, and her man, not necessarily in that order.

Kristi also writes as both Eileen Rendahl and Eileen Carr.

82 comments:

  1. I am so excited....a new mystery series! And it features popcorn! My parents used a big Revereware skillet to pop popcorn. Looking forward to reading Kernel of Truth and trying the popcorn ball recipe. You can't go wrong with a combation of popcorn, Kahula and chocolate! dbahn@iw.net

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    1. I'm so glad you think it sounds good (both the book and the popcorn balls!).

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  2. Thanks for joining us today, Kristi! I think the best popcorn I ever had was the time my daughter's then boyfriend made it. He actually brought corn cobs with the corn still on it! He shucked the corn into a pot with some olive oil to cook and it was the most tender popcorn I've ever eaten! LOVE popcorn in all its glory!

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    1. Now that's dedication to the craft!

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  3. We love popcorn and this looks sooo good. Thanks for the recipe and thanks for the chance to get this book. A new series is always so exciting Della at deepotter@peoplepc.com

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  4. You had me at Kahlua! When I was a child, my family always made popcorn balls on Sunday night, but this is a wonderful new twist! rebarger@bellsouth.net

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  5. I've never had popcorn balls but they sound good.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

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  6. Yay, a tasty new mystery series to try! The recipe sounds delicious - too bad I'm not supposed to eat corn, *sigh*. Thanks for the giveaway, too! book__wyrm at sbcglobal dot net. 😀

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  7. I love eating popcorn but never thought of combining it with alcohol and chocolate! Thanks for the recipe, and learning about this new tasty mystery. grace dot koshida at gmail dot com

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  8. We eat popcorn all the time. Thanks for the popcorn ball recipe!!! Next movie night!!! Looking forward to the new series!
    Dspinlexo@aol.com

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  9. I love popcorn! My favorite treat were popcorn balls made by my next door neighbor. I tried to make them once adding lots of goodies...almonds and chocolate chips. But, I was too young to try a liqueur...now, so many possible choices.
    kat8762@aol.com

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    1. Looking back on it as a mom who now sends care packages, I do have to wonder what she was thinking! Still, they were yummy.

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  10. Oh my,I really have to try these popcorn balls!!!

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  11. Popcorn has been my go-to snack for years and years. I love it almost as much as I love a new mystery series!!! Can't wait to start the series and try the popcorn balls.
    sharonquiltsatyahoodotcom

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  12. I would never think of a popcorn store lol sounds like a fun read. Can't wait to read this one. Thanks for a chance to win.
    rags6152@gmail.com

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  13. I love popcorn balls--and kahlua---so I must try that recipe!! Thanks for the contest. I'm thinking of trying that brownies soaked in bourbon, too. YUM!
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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  14. Popcorn of any kind is one of my favorite things. We use to pop it on the stove with a big pan dump it in a brown paper grocery sack shake salt on and head to the drive in movies when I was a kid. Good memories.
    lhxp73@yahoo.com

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  15. Popcorn of any kind is one of my favorite things. We use to pop it on the stove with a big pan dump it in a brown paper grocery sack shake salt on and head to the drive in movies when I was a kid. Good memories.
    lhxp73@yahoo.com

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  16. My dad loves Kahlua so I might have to make the popcorn balls for him. Thanks so much for the chance to win a copy of the book; it sounds super and I can't wait to read it.

    lauraalbert@hotmail.com

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  17. This sounds like fun. suefoster109@netzero.net

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  18. This new series would be wonderful as is the popcorn. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  19. The mystery and popcorn balls are a great combination which I would enjoy. Thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  20. Oh goodness saw the bottle sitting there and you had me . So good too bad I can't have any due to meds that i take for a nerve disease but would love that and creme a few nights a month so good. Plus with popcorn sounds wonderful. Also thank you for offering a book with a wonderful recipe would love to win so that i could review on 2 sites. Thanks ptclayton2@aol.com

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  21. Great combination popcorn & a terrific mystery, love the recipe, I'll have to try it. Thanks for this awesome giveaway. Linda May lindamay4852@yahoo.com

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  22. Oh, wow!!! I will have to try these popcorn balls very soon!
    harbingerdc(at)gmail(dot)com

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  23. I loved that your Mom sent you brownies packed with bourbon! I look forward to reading your book ~

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  24. This would be a great book to add to my cozy challenge list. Thanks for a chance to win a copy. The recipe sounds great. I love Kahlua. elainehroberson@gmail.com

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  25. Looks yummy, both the recipe and the book. Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks. Thanks for the chance at a book.
    frybbe@gmail.com

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  26. So excited to read this!!
    Kkcochran@hotmail.com

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  27. I've been in search of a new book . This one sounds perfect ! Thank you for the chance to win. joytheforgottenone@yahoo.com

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  28. I've been in search of a new book . This one sounds perfect ! Thank you for the chance to win. joytheforgottenone@yahoo.com

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  29. I have heard this is a marvelous book! Thank you. nelson_ee@yahoo.com

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  30. I have heard this is a marvelous book! Thank you. nelson_ee@yahoo.com

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  31. Sounds like the start of a great new series! njcar22@aol.com

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  32. Sounds like a wonderful new series!

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  33. The book and the recipe sound fantastic!!

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  34. Sounds like a fun new series!

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  35. The book sounds terrific but I'm more of a caramel popcorn person myself. I'll stick with that while I read your book.
    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

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    1. There's a caramel corn recipe in the book that's part of the popcorn fudge recipe. In book 2, I'm adding bacon and pecans. :-)

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  36. Popcorn and Kahlua! wow, great combination. I think this sounds like a great new series!

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  37. I love popcorn in just about any form and the above recipe looks yummy! (stclairck@gmail.com)

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  38. The book sounds fun an who doesn't love popcorn!!!

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    1. LOL. That's exactly what my editor said!

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  39. The recipe and the book both sound wonderful! Thanks for the chance to win. Jlsbookclub (at) nc (dot) rr (dot) com

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  40. This sounds like the type of book I like to read when I want a quick, easy read. I will be adding it to my TBR list.

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  41. Both the recipe and book sound yummy. Can't wait to tell everyone at our local gourmet popcorn shoppe about your book. I'm sure it will be a big hit !!

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  42. I love popcorn. Thank you for sharing details about the book. I will be sure to pick up a copy.

    Suzieqsb(at) aol (dot) com

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  43. Love the sound of both the book and the recipe!

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  44. I love popcorn and this sounds like an interesting series.
    tiggernelsie@yahoo.com

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  45. This looks like a great series. I can't wait to read it! I love popcorn.
    kpowers784@yahoo.com

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  46. Popcorn is my all time favorite food. I was heartbroken when I didn't get this book for my birthday. I can't wait to read it. utaker555@gmail.com

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  47. amy guillaume lindermanMarch 13, 2016 at 4:58 PM

    i love that it's set in Ohio. i would love to have a big bowl of popcorn and dig into this book! it sounds so fun! aelinderman@sbcglobal.net

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  48. I absolutely love popcorn and I love cozy mysteries. sounds like a perfect series. noahcpatterson(at)gmail(dot)com

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  49. I love popcorn! I love mystery stories too! l.bergh@sbcglobal.net

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  50. popcorn + choco? That's one combination I have to admit I have not tried yet! thanks for the tip! :D :D :D

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  51. Ohhh this looks like a good series! I love reading cozies while eating popcorn!!

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  52. Ohhh this looks like a good series! I love reading cozies while eating popcorn!!

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  53. These recipes look amazing. Love popcorn. Can't wait to read Kernel of Truth, I've added it to my TBR list.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  54. Oh I can only imagine what some of my family members would say about these popcorn balls. May have to try it out and find out their exact reactions. Thanks for the recipe and thank you as well for the chance to win.

    robbfan141729@yahoo.com

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  55. I'd love to win this book.I work in the town where this author lives and her posts have made me laugh out loud. I can see the grands and I making these yummy popcorn balls.Ruth Nixon ruthenixon@sbcglobal.net

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  56. Wow the story sounds great! I would love to win it! I can't wait to read it. I will be trying out the popcorn soon too! bubs(dot)girl(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  57. I made popcorn balls as a child. Never used marshmallow creme. We cooked sugar. But loved coating our hands with butter to shaper the balls.

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  58. Hey! A new mystery series. I also love to eat popcorn. Thanks for the giveaway! crossxjo@hotmail.com

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  59. I never thought so much could be done with popcorn. This recipe looks great and the book sounds awesome. Thank you for the chance!
    moonbay7399@gmail.com

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  60. The recipe sounds as good as the book 👍

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  61. My mom makes popcorn balls every year for Halloween she uses sorghum. I will have to share your recipes. The book sounds delicious too!!
    jmhinton@psci.net Thanks for the chance

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  62. Two of my favorite things - a cozy mystery and popcorn!
    jawdance@yahoo.com

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  63. Thanks for the recipe and the chance to win an awesome book!
    sharonbabyme@yahoo.com

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  64. The popcorn balls look very good! I have already purchased the book but if I would win, I would give away my purchased book and keep a signed copy for me. Thanks for the chance!

    ElaineE246 at msn dot com

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  65. I really need to make these popcorn balls for my mom! Thanks for the recipe. I can't wait to read this book too!
    awilcox1182@gmail.com

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  66. I loved your conversation about cooking e it alcohol. Thank you for the contest opportunity, lilflynracer at msn.com

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  67. Love popcorn and the book sounds fabulous! EMS591@aol.com

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  68. sounds like a great new series and the recipes sound delicious. thanks for the chance. janngrogan@yahoo.com

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  69. The popcorn sound like my kind of treat and the book with a character with my name sound neat, too! Hope I win a copy!

    CocoIhle(at)gmail(dot)com

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  70. Looking forward to reading your book! I'm a caramel corn fanatic and I love to read Congratulations on your new book! dblaser(at)windstream(dot)net

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  71. This recipe sounds so yummy. Can't wait to read the book!

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  72. I've never made popcorn balls, but this recipe looks easy and delicious - the grown-up addition of Kahlua is intriguing. Thank you for sharing, and many congratulations on your first release! Nicole nicolev.girldetective@gmail.com

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  73. Naturally, the popcorn balls look good, but I love the story about the brownies in the coffee can! I can only imagine that the ones at the bottom were completely like taking a shot!

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  74. Recipe sounds yummy. Zeta@iwon.com

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  75. Congratulations on the new series! Popcorn sounds interesting. I don't like Kahlua, but the rest of it sounds good!

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  76. Love popcorn another sure fire winner...thanks for having the Contest...
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

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