Monday, October 3, 2016

The Kindness of Cookies, by guest Shelley Costa #recipe #cookies #mystery #giveaway




Please welcome our guest today: our good friend, a terrific writer and a talent in the kitchen as well as on the page: Shelley Costa.

Shelley is the author of You Cannoli Die Once – a 2014 Agatha nominee for Best First Novel -- Basil Instinct, and most recently, Practical Sins For Cold Climates. Her crime stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and several anthologies, and in 2004 she was nominated for an Edgar® for Best Short Story.  Her latest novel, A Killer’s Guide to Good Works, was just published. 

She most enjoys writing fish-out-of-water stories, partly because they’re a great source of humor, and partly because she identifies with them.  Today she’ll talk about The Kindness of Cookies and make us a gift of these fabulous Madeleines.  And for you, there’s more than one giveaway: read RIGHT to the end for details!

And now, The Kindness of Cookies:
They say you always remember your first love. In terms of humans, mine was an affable, yellow-haired boy named Tommy Haskell, and we were in second grade. I pined. When Valentine’s Day rolled around, I gave all the other kids in the class those cheap and cheesy boxed valentines that show a cartoon space capsule with boy and girl astronauts wearing upside fish bowls over their heads, with the sizzling message, Valentine, let’s go around together. But for Tommy Haskell I made a great big heart out of red construction paper and a white paper doily. You can imagine how that went over with twenty-four eight-year olds. You would think they were all watching the antics of Clarabell on The Howdy Doody Show. One way or another, first loves slide into the vague and forgiving mists of your own personal history.

But then there’s the cookie. The first cookie love. The ur-Cookie. The cookie that was always there when you needed it. For me, this cookie was Chips Ahoy, which debuted when I was thirteen (okay, so, five years after I really needed it). These marvels were lined up single file in a narrow rectangular box. The lettering – CHIPS AHOY! – was black. It was a serious cookie, a cookie with depth. I was smitten. To this day, dunk it reflectively in a cold glass of milk, and life’s problems sink to the bottom of the glass, along with a few crumbs.  Cookies carry memories. No one understood this better than Marcel Proust, whose narrator discovers the kindly wonders of one particular cookie. Call it a cookie, a cake, a pastry (and Proust calls it all of those things), the fluffy scallop-shaped madeleine is the narrator’s delicious vehicle back to a boyhood of love and security.


In my latest mystery, A KILLER’S GUIDE TO GOOD WORKS, Book Two in the Val Cameron series, Val’s assistant editor, Ivy Breshears, twice quietly provides her with a box of delectables from Bouchon Bakery, twenty blocks away from their Manhattan workplace. 

Once, when Val is grieving the murder of her best friend. Next, when, near the end of the book, she is filled with longing, and another box from Bouchon appears.  After I relinquished the book to its final editorial fixes, I wondered what elegant and consoling treat lay inside that bakery box.  I have decided it is the pistachio madeleine, keeper of memory, purveyor of awakening joy.  Here for your gustatory delight is The Recipe itself from the cookbook, THE BOUCHON BAKERY, by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel.
And here is a photo of me, sampling my batch of extra-pistachioed madeleines – it’s Sicilian pistachio paste that gives the recipe its extra kick and color – and I think I am cast back into a second grade classroom ringing with laughter. 



And I am thinking what rises above it is a red and white handmade outsized valentine that I would never take back, no matter what, no, never.




Pistachio Madeleines
¼ c + 2 ½ TBS all-purpose flour
3/8 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp Kosher salt
¼ c + 1 tsp eggs
3 TBS + 2 tsp granulated sugar
1.9 oz unsalted butter
2 tsp dark brown sugar
1 1/8 tsp clover honey
3 TBS pistachio paste

Place flour in a medium bowl, sift in baking powder and salt, then whisk together. In a separate bowl, mix eggs and granulated sugar on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Then increase the speed and whip until the color lightens and the batter doubles in volume. Heat the butter, brown sugar and honey in a saucepan, whisking until the sugar dissolves (about one minute). Remove from heat. Fold half the dry ingredients into the eggs and sugar mix, then fold in the rest. Then fold the butter mixture into the batter and incorporate until smooth. In a separate bowl, place the pistachio paste, first stirring in one-quarter of the batter, then the rest. Cover the batter and refrigerate overnight. Brush a 12-mold madeleine pan (I use silicone for even browning) with melted unsalted butter, and refrigerate the pan overnight to harden the butter.

Spoon 1 generous TBS of the batter into each mold, tapping the bottom of the pan against the work surface to smooth the tops

  
Bake in a 350⁰ oven for 8-9 minutes until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Immediately unmold your madeleines onto a cooling rack.



Thanks for inviting me today. As a giveaway, I’m offering a signed copy of my newest mystery, A KILLER’S GUIDE TO GOOD WORKS, where you can find out what’s inside the first Bouchon Bakery box that Ivy gives to Val. Also, there’s murder ...  Leave a comment here with your email address.



But look, here's a great bonus! To celebrate the launch of A KILLERS GUIDE TO GOOD WORKS, Shelley is running a contest on her website http://www.shelleycosta.com/ beginning October 10th and spanning one week.  The prize is a $100 (USF) gift card to your favorite indie bookstore!  Hint: You could remember your school days and just wing it, but your chances increase wildly if you read the book first. Also, check out Facebook's Shelley Costa Mystery Author page for updates!
 














42 comments:

  1. Another wonderful guest post! EMS591@aol.com

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    1. Thanks! Bouchon Bakery also has wonderful macarons.

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  2. Cookies! Who can resist. Thanks for the giveaway.
    sallycootie@gmail.com

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    1. Now, truth be told, nice as cookies are, I am a sap without will power when it comes to potato chips.

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  3. I love baking many types of cookies but have never made madeleines since I do not have the mold/baking pan. Thanks for the giveaway. grace dot koshida at gmail dot com

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    1. It now occurs to me the madeleine pan would have been a great giveaway. . .

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  4. All this discussion of cookies made me hungry for cookies and its only 5:30 am! Looking forward to reading this book and finding out what is in the Bouchon box. dbahn(at)iw(dot)net

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    1. Dunk it in coffee and call it breakfast. That makes it legit!

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  5. amy guillaume lindermanOctober 3, 2016 at 7:54 AM

    ooh i would love to read this...now i feel like starting a batch of cookies. aelinderman@sbcglobal.net

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  6. I don't think I've ever had madeleines.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

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    1. Hard to describe, Sandy. Like dense little cakelets, if that's a word.

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  7. Really like pistachios, madeleines and reading a new cozy mystery!!! Thanks for the giveaway.
    sharonquiltsatyahoodotcom

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  8. Good morning! (Waving) As you know, I got your book at BCon but haven't had the chance to read it. But I do have madeleine pans waiting for this recipe--haven't had a pistachio version.

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    1. Waving back! I like the pistachio because it's out of the ordinary. Husband and I just did in a whole big bag of pistachios watching some reruns of "The Office." Happiness takes so little.

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  9. A new treat and a book giveaway! Happy Monday. Thanks for the chance.
    karen(dot)kenyon(at)rogers(dot)com

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  10. Interesting recipe---but more interesting book, I think. Thanks for the contest.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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    1. Yes, there's more to the story than the box of goodies, for sure! Hope you enjoy it.

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  11. Cookies...and murder! It would be fun to win the book.
    rebarger@bellsouth.net

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  12. How delightful.
    Is pistachio paste readily available?
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

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    1. Hmm. I'd Google it and see what's in your area. Me, I ordered the Sicilian kind (hey, I'm Costa, right?) from a place in Brooklyn called l'Epicerie.

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    2. Thanks
      Brooklyn has everything, doesn't it?

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  13. I love the phrase "the kindness of cookies." Thanks for visiting Mystery Lover's Kitchen and sharing the wonderful Pistachio Madeleines recipe, and it looks like I have some reading to do before October 10th! bobandcelia@sbcglobal.net

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    1. Glad to hear, Celia. See you at the Contest (hint: all photos!!) on my website on 10/10. Good luck!

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  14. Sounds delicious I love anything with honey. Thank you for the recipe and giveaway.
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

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  15. What a great review with Shelley Costa. Shelley writes books of substance that draw the reader deeper and deeper into her books. Her books are so fantastic that it is hard to put them down. Thank you for including Shelley's recipe for her Pistachio Madeleines. robeader53@yahoo.com

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    1. Shucks, Robin. Thanks. Expect your box of madeleines in the mail any day now. . . (as my daughter would say, j.k.)

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  16. I had no idea you were a baker also! Brava!
    Lisa

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  17. I had no idea you were a baker also! Brava!
    Lisa

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    1. Oh, in a slapdash way. But everyso often, I get a hankering for something. . .

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  18. I've always thought madeleines looked so good, but I've never tried them. Some day.

    Pat patdupuy@yahoo.com

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    1. Although I'm usually a purist, when it comes to madeleines I prefer a distinctive flavor. Next time, maybe lemon, which I believe improves everything. . .

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  19. Love reading cozy mysteries! Thanks for offering this! lindaherold999@gmail.com

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  20. Awwwww! What a great post! Weird coincidence... My first experience with pistachio flavor was my first crush as well. We lived in a small neighborhood and he would make pistachio pudding and all the kids would bring spoons and eat it right out of the bowl. Thanks for the memory and the great giveaway!

    Bec
    Rlewis11797 (at) yahoo (dot) com

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  21. Your post brought me back in time as well, and also started making me realize that it has been about a year since I made my last batch of Madeleines. I have the silicone pans which work so great, so if I am able, I may make some lemon Madeleines as I don't have pistachio paste, but I will look for it. I love almond too. Now I am hungry just thinking of them and a nice hot cup of tea. Love your writing Shelley. Thank you for the chance to win your latest book which I definitely want to read. ceblain AT tmlponline DOT net
    Cynthia B.

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  22. Wow didnt know about the release of this book. Recipe sounds wonderful. Thanks for the chance to win kayt18 (at) comcast (dot) net

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  23. I don't eat a lot of sweets. My husband's favorite cookie is Chocolate Chip, followed by Pecan Sandies and Spritz. I guess Spritz would be my favorite. Thanks for the chance to win!

    ElaineE246 at msn dot com

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  24. I've never tried these, I will give it my best shot though. Holidays are quickly approaching, the best time to make all kinds of cookies. Thank you for sharing!! konecny7(at)gmail(dot)com

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