Showing posts with label Annie Knox. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Annie Knox. Show all posts

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas Cookies with a Chocolate Twist #recipe @LucyBurdette #giveaway

LUCY BURDETTE: First things first: Hayley Snow and Miss Gloria and all the Key West characters wish you Merry Christmas, and happy holidays, and Happy New Year. Having you as readers is the best gift we could possibly receive!

Now on to the cookies...A couple of years ago, Annie Knox posted what has become my favorite Christmas cookie recipe. But this year was the first year I actually tried working with a vanilla bean. And I also added good chocolate to half the batter, and reduced the salt. These little gems freeze well both baked and unbaked, so you can take them out to use for company nibbling as needed – or nibbling yourself!


1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
One scant teaspoon salt (reduced from Annie's recipe)
Three egg yolks
The innards of half a vanilla bean
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup good-quality cocoa (I used Penzey's)
Decorations for the top (I used sugar in the raw for sprinkles)

Place the butter, sugar, and salt into a mixer bowl and cream until well blended. Add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing after each. Scrape in the contents of half vanilla bean, and mix that in too.

Add the flour to the bowl and mix only until combined. Don't get too vigorous or you will risk tough cookies. Remove half of the dough, and mix the chocolate into the other half. I personally liked the slight marbling effect and would do more of that next time. Roll the dough into four logs, wrap these in parchment or wax paper and refrigerate from two hours to several days.

Preheat the oven to 325. Slice the cookie dough rolls into half-inch thick rounds, dip them into sugar or sprinkles if you were using them, and place them on a nonstick pan, or one covered with parchment. 

Bake about 15 minutes until the edges are just starting to brown. Cool and serve or freeze.

 Are you still frozen about stocking stuffers? Cozy mysteries are the perfect size, and bring hours of enjoyment!

(Here's my Pinterest board with tons of suggestions...) And because it's the season of giving, I'm giving away one of these books--your choice! Leave a comment telling us about your favorite holiday cookie or treat--and your email...

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Easy Asian Peanut Sauce #recipe @annieknoxauthor #giveaway

 LUCY BURDETTE: We are tickled pink to be hosting Annie Knox (aka Wendy Watson) on the blog today. Longtime visitors will recognize her as a former regular poster on Mystery Lovers Kitchen. We miss her good humor and her food and are thrilled to have her visit!

ANNIE KNOX: First things first: thank you to Lucy
 for hosting me on Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen.  It’s hands down my favorite blog, so it’s a real treat to be here

I’ve had a forty-five year love affair with peanut butter.  As a child, my lunch box favorite was the peanut butter sandwich.  Other kids crowed over ham, turkey, even egg salad.  But not me.  If I’d had my druthers, I would have had peanut butter every day.  Sometimes the sandwiches were peanut butter with jelly or jam, but other times I got peanut butter with banana, peanut butter with marshmallow fluff, or even peanut butter with white sugar (my mother didn’t stress out much about nutrition).

As I grew up, I started putting peanut butter on other stuff:  celery, apple slices, toast, bagels, saltines, graham crackers, chocolate bars.  I mixed peanut butter with chocolate or vanilla ice cream, and sometimes just ate it off the spoon.

Imagine my delight when I left my meat-and-potatoes Midwestern home and discovered that peanuts and peanut butter could form the basis for more complex and “adult” food.  One Thanksgiving, I spent the holiday with a bunch of fellow law students and we had a potluck.  One of my friends brought an African groundnut stew that combined sweet potatoes and cabbage in a rich gravy of tomato, ginger, cayenne, and peanut butter.  I confess, I was skeptical.  The combination sounded completely weird and the color was not particularly appetizing.  But my love of peanut butter won out and I gave it a try . . . and was amazed at the earthy deliciousness.

Then I moved to the big city (Minneapolis) and discovered that Asian cuisine was more than water chestnuts and La Choy crispy noodles.  Once again, I discovered that ground peanuts played an important role in some of my favorite dishes, like satay and the yummy dipping sauce that came with the summer rolls at my favorite Thai restaurant.

I was on a big stir fry kick when I discovered the recipe for this sauce.  Well, the original.  It’s been tweaked over the years to make it simpler and, to me, tastier.  This sauce would be great served over stir-fried chicken or tofu.  It would also make a good dipping sauce for satay or fresh rolls of some sort.  I personally toss the sauce with a package of cooked linguine and then top it with vegetables stir-fried with garlic and ginger.

Finally, a word of warning:  there is absolutely nothing authentic about this recipe.  Note that I used the generic “Asian” instead of “Thai” or “Chinese” or “Korean.”  That’s on purpose.  This is an Americanized mish-mash of Asian flavors.  But I wouldn’t be posting it if it wasn’t dang tasty.  And dang easy.  So I hope you enjoy.

Easy Asian Peanut Sauce

½ c. creamy peanut butter

1 tsp. sesame oil

2 Tbs. soy sauce

4 tsp. crushed or minced garlic

½ c. hot tap water

¼ c. chopped cilantro

3 Tbs. vinegar (rice, white wine, or apple cider)

2 tsp. sugar

½ tsp. crushed red pepper

Combine the peanut butter, sesame oil, soy sauce, and garlic in a medium bowl.  Whisk in hot water then whisk in remaining ingredients.  Allow sauce to stand at room temperature for an hour before tossing with pasta, adding to stir fry, or using as a dipping sauce.

About Annie …

Annie Knox doesn't commit--or solve--murders in her real life, but her passion for animals is 100% true. She's also a devotee of 80s music, Asian horror films, and reality TV. While Annie is a native Buckeye and has called a half dozen states "home," she and her husband now live in a crumbling historic house just a stone's throw from the courthouse square in a north Texas town.

About the Pet Boutique Mysteries …

Meet Izzy McHale, owner of Trendy Tails Pet Boutique in cozy Merryville, Minnesota.  She and her pets, Packer and Jinx, have a passion for fashion.  While her best friend Rena Hamilton makes organic pet treats for the business’s “barkery,” Izzy is designing canine couture and feline fashions for Merryville’s booming tourist trade.  Trouble has a knack for finding Izzy and her friends and family.  Fortunately, Izzy and her gang have a knack for tackling trouble head on, solving mysteries and keeping Trendy Tails’s doors open.  Follow Izzy’s adventures in Paws for Murder and Groomed for Murder.

In Collared for Murder, the third Pet Boutique Mystery, Merryville, Minnesota, plays host to a renowned cat show.  When the show’s wealthy patron is murdered and the grand prize collar dangle goes missing, Izzy and friends are on the case. Read more on Facebook or Annie's website.

ANNIE WILL BE GIVING AWAY THREE BOOKS TODAY, so be sure to leave a comment with your email to be entered in the drawing! 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Celebrate our 5th Anniversary with photo contest & book giveaway & recipes!

From Daryl aka Avery:


But do you know we've been celebrating our 5th anniversary on this blog for about a week!?? That's right, 5 years!!  Yipes. Lots of recipes.

In honor of our anniversary, we're throwing two contests!

We're giving away a book every day from today until July 25th. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment here and tell us with whom you shared the news of our contests or our anniversary. Help us celebrate by spreading the word! Did you tell your neighbor? Did you email your sister? Did you post on Facebook or tweet? TODAY??? Be sure to leave a comment each day because there will be twelve total drawings. Leave a comment before midnight because after midnight, the next drawing starts!

REMEMBER TO INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS so we can contact you if you won!


Today: I'm giving away a book by former member , WENDY LYN WATSON, aka ANNIE KNOXAnnie writes THE PET BOUTIQUE mystery series for NAL about a woman who runs a pet boutique in northern Minnesota.  The first, PAWS FOR MURDER, came out in January, and the second, GROOMED FOR MURDER, will be out in September.  She has also signed a contract for another series, written as Wendy Lyn Watson, called the BOOK MAGIC MYSTERIES.

Annie will give you your choice of the first in her  PET BOUTIQUE series or an ARC (advanced review copy) of the book coming out in September. Do you love to offer reviews? Mention that in your comment.

Our second contest is a photo contest!  You can find our photo contest here and at our Facebook page! Five lucky winners will receive a Mystery Lovers' Kitchen tote bag and seven paperback mysteries! Since we can't all get away on vacation, we hope our books are having fun this summer. Take a picture of one of our books having fun! You can enter up to five times, once in each of these categories:

1) One of our books with a cat
2) One of our books with a dog
3) One of our books having summer fun
4) One of our books in a library
5) One of our books in a bookstore.


And now, today's recipe is:

Plum Cobbler

Plums are in season. Why not use them to their best advantage? And have you heard about a Plumcot? Or Pluot, depending where you get it? It's a plum apricot hybrid. Possibly the most delicious plum I've ever had. 
Pluot is the speckled one on the right.

My husband won't appreciate this, but when he travels, that seems to be when I like to make sweet things. Is it because I miss my sweet honey or is it because I'm trying to spare him the calories because I love him so much and he loves my sweets so much???  Or is it possibly because, this time, I was in edit "hell" doing my best to finish up the next Cookbook Nook mystery and I needed sugar!!!! Don't you love the organization on top of my kitchen table?


"Am I too adorable for words?"
Anyway, I made this cobbler and finished it all by myself. Oops! Extra time on the treadmill and walking Sparky is in order now. Sparky doesn't seem to mind the walks, so that's a good thing. Though I have to admit, he doesn't like me putting that harness thing over his head.

Enjoy this delicious of-the-season dessert!

Plum Cobbler

7 large plums, pitted and quartered
½ cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons plus 1 cup flour (gluten-free option below)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½  teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg lightly beaten
½ cup butter, melted
whipped cream, if desired

(If you need to eat gluten-free, substitute the flour with GF flour and add ½ teaspoon xanthan gum as noted below.)


Grease a 2 quart to 2 ½ quart baking dish.

In a large bowl, combine the plums, brown sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, and cinnamon. Spoon into the baking dish.
Pluot is the red-pulp fruit.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and remaining flour. (If you need to eat gluten-free, substitute the 1 cup flour with GF flour and add ½ teaspoon xanthan gum HERE.) Add egg and stir with a fork. This will become crumbly. Sprinkle the mixture over the plum mixture.

Melt the butter and drizzle the butter over the flour mixture.

Bake at 375° for 40 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cool for 20 minutes before serving. This is hot coming out of the oven! Serve warm or at room temperature. Serve with whipped cream if desired.

Note: insides are loose. It will scoop out of the baking dish and won’t come out in perfect sections.

Final note: If I were to make this again, I might use a 13 x 9 pan for the insides and double the crumb topping to spread over the entire thing. The topping is that good!!  In fact, hmmm, think I'll have to try that this weekend!! Is my hubby out of town? :)

* * *

For STIRRING THE PLOT, which comes out September 30th, I'm going to be doing a number of giveaways, starting in August. Books, mugs, stuffed kittens!  Make sure you're signed up for my newsletter and "like" me on Facebook, where information about the giveaways will appear.  Look for pictures of Tigger, the ginger cat in the series, celebrating ala Halloween!


Friend Daryl on Facebook
Friend Avery on Facebook
Follow Daryl on Twitter
Follow Avery on Twitter
Follow both of us on Pinterest
Check out our website.

Days of Wine and Roquefort 
is out!
order here

Inherit the Word
  is out!
                                    order here

STIRRING THE PLOT is available for preorder: order here.

If you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list 
so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests! 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Salted Caramel Sauce and a New Year’s Wish

We are delighted to welcome home Wendy Watson, who is now also known as Annie Knox. She has a brand, spanking new series debuting on January 7th with PAWS FOR MURDER! We wish you enormous success with the Pet Boutique Mysteries, Annie!

And now, take it away Annie~

Thank you to Krista and the rest of the Kitchen crew for letting me join you all today. As a former regular member, if feels good to be back.

The Christmas trees, menorahs, and Festivus poles have all been packed away for the year, and we’re about to flip the calendar to 2014. Traditionally, New Year’s is a time for reflection on the year gone by and a chance to resolve to make the next year even better.

In my world, 2013 was A-OK. My husband and I started the year by celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary and renewing our vows. Sigh. Very romantic. Summer brought a long and goofy road trip with two of my best friends. The rest of the year was filled with my day job (which I happen to love) and writing (two new books, and one heck of an edit on a third). Really, it’s been a great year.

The new year promises to be as fun and busy as the last. I’m planning trips to both Romantic Times and Malice Domestic, and my friends and I are recreating that road trip. What’s more, I have three books coming out (both Paws for Murder and Groomed for Murder in the Pet Boutique Mystery series, and a funny, edgy mystery that has yet to be named).

Sounds like fun, right?

It is, but I know that a great year requires a lot of effort: prioritizing tasks, balancing work and play, and most importantly, making time for friends and family.

That is my New Year’s wish: that I find—no, MAKE—the time in my busy schedule to grab lunch or a glass of wine with my girlfriends every week, to make my husband feel as loved as he makes me feel, to call my mom and my sister on a more regular basis. Friends and family aren’t just for special occasions like holidays and road trips. They’re the backbone of a happy and balanced life.

One thing I do with my friends is eat. I’m officially the Bringer of Dessert, but I don’t always have time to make a pie or a layer cake or a flourless chocolate torte. But I always have time to whip up this caramel sauce. It’s wonderful on ice cream (as pictured, being poured over coffee Heath bar crunch), but it’s wonderfully versatile: use is as a dip for a dessert fondue of pound cake and fresh fruit, pour it over cheesecake, swirl a little in your coffee … well, you get the picture.

Five Minute Salted Caramel Sauce

4 Tbs. butter

1 c. light brown sugar

2/3 c. heavy cream

2 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. rum extract (optional)

1 tsp. medium flake sea salt (optional)

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and whisk until the mixture is well combined, thick, and slightly shiny (about 2 minutes).

Whisk in cream and continue to cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture starts to bubble (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat and whisk in extract(s) and salt.

Allow to cool before serving.

Bio: Annie Knox writes the Pet Boutique Mysteries for NAL. The first in the series, Paws for Murder will be out on January 7, and the second, Groomed for Murder, is scheduled for a September release. The series follows Izzy McHale, owner of Trendy Tails, a pet boutique in Merryville, Minnesota. Merryville has a pretty high body count, but Izzy and her friends and family are ready to solve the crimes that keep dropping into their lives.

Annie also writes as Wendy Lyn Watson. You can find them both on the web ( and and on Facebook (/annieknoxauthor and /wendylynwatson)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Welcome Guest Joelle Charbonneau

Please join me in welcoming Joelle Charbonneau to the kitchen.  If you've ever had the pleasure of meeting Joelle, you know she's every bit as delightful as her books.  Speaking of which, End Me a Tenor (the 2nd Glee Club Mystery) will be out this Tuesday ... yep, in just two days!  So treat yourself to this Apple Cinnamon Cheesecake and a great mystery by Joelle ...

Apple Cinnamon Cheesecake

I admit that I’m not always a fan of dessert.  I think I’m the only author that doesn’t use chocolate for moments of anxiety or celebration.  (Eeek! I probably shouldn’t have admitted that.  They’re going to throw me out of the club now.)  If a dessert has heaps of frosting or large quantities of cake involved, I have no problem turning it down.  (Yep…I’m getting tossed out on my butt.)  Perhaps it isn’t surprising that my heroine from End Me A Tenor, Paige Marshall, isn’t a huge dessert eater either.  Salty snacks, well that’s another story.

However, that being said, there are some desserts that I absolutely love.  My grandfather (aka Pater) was the baker in the family while I was growing up.  He had a spare oven in his basement and was known to bake dozens of pies or cakes in one day.  He even made homemade jelly from the grapes that grew in his backyard.  Pretty awesome grandpa, right?  One of the desserts he made that everyone in my family loved (including me and especially my father) was cheesecake.  It was an old fashioned recipe with a slightly sweetened sour cream layer that gave the dessert just the perfect amount of tang. 

I still make that cheesecake and think of him every time I do, but as any good third generation baker does – I’ve branched out and made new and different versions of cheesecake.  Trust me when I say Pater would have approved.  In fact, he would’ve been the first at the table ready to taste the results of my efforts.  Over the years, I’ve made a lot of different cheesecakes.  But one has stood out as my absolute favorite…perhaps because it also includes two of my other favorite things: apples and cinnamon.  Pater would have loved it.  My mom, another non-dessert eater, does.   I hope you do, too.

Apple Cinnamon Cheesecake

1 cup crushed graham crackers
3-4 TB butter
3 TB sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Cheese mixture:
2 packes of cream cheese - softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

4 large granny smith apples sliced thin
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup halved pecans

Preheat oven to 350

Mix graham crackers, melted butter, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Press mixture into a 9" spring pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together. Add eggs one at a time - beat until creamy. Pour mixture on top of crust.
Toss apples, sugar and cinnamon together. Place on top of cheese mixture. Sprinkle pecans on top.

Bake for 70 minutes. Remove from oven and use a knife around the edge. Wait for the cake to cool before releasing the spring pan. Chill before serving. Enjoy!

How about you?  Do you have a special dessert that makes you think of a special family member?  What dessert tastes just a little better because it’s sprinkled with memories?


Joelle Charbonneau has performed in opera and musical theatre productions across Chicagoland.  She now teaches private voice lessons and uses her stage experience to create compelling characters in her books.  She is the author of two mystery series:  The Rebecca Robbins mysteries (Minotaur Books) and the Glee Club mysteries (Berkley).  Joelle’s also the author of The Testing young adult trilogy that debuts with THE TESTING (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s) June 4th.  Learn more at