Showing posts with label Janet Rudolph. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Janet Rudolph. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Cherry Port Brownies

LESLIE BUDEWITZ:  I spotted this recipe on the wonderful mystery maven Janet Rudolph’s blog, Dying for Chocolate, and added it to my Valentine’s Day dinner menu. Oh, who am I kidding? I started the menu with these brownies, and worked backwards, adding bacon-wrapped filets, at my hunny’s request, Krista Davis’s fabulous baked risotto, and a green salad, so we could pretend to healthy eating. And a marvelous bottle of red wine a friend gave us.

They are love. I played with the recipe a bit, as I am wont to do, so this is my variation. Many cooks melt chocolate in a double boiler, but I find that if you are careful and use low heat, you can safely melt chocolate on the stove top, especially when melting butter and chocolate together. When you remove your melting pot from the heat, you can mix the brownies right in the pot, for one less dish to wash.

I did cut a couple of hearts, for fun, but cut the rest into squares. If you cut it all into hearts, you’ll have leftover bits. Your sweethearts will not complain.

Cherry Port Brownies

2 tablespoons port
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup dried cherries (sweet cherries, like Bings, not tart pie cherries), chopped
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, cold
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Line 8X8 inch glass or metal pan with foil. Butter foil; set aside. (Those single sheets of foil fit an 8X8 pan perfectly.

In a small saucepan, boil the port and water. Add the chopped dried cherries; cook and stir over low heat until fruit is soft and plump and liquid evaporates. Set aside to cool.

Place the butter and 6 ounces of chocolate in a 2-3 quart saucepan, and melt over low heat, stirring carefully, until chocolate is almost melted. Remove pan from heat. Stir in the sugar until fully mixed.

Add eggs one at a time, stirring until batter is smooth and glossy. Add salt and flour, and stir until they disappear into the chocolate mixture. Stir in the cherries and any remaining liquid, and the 4 1/2 oz. chopped chocolate.

Scrape batter into prepared pan with a spatula, pushing it into the corners and smoothing the top. Bake 35 minutes, or until a toothpick or oven tester comes out clean.

Transfer pan to wire rack; cool to room temperature.

Invert brownies onto cutting board; gently peel away foil. Turn the brownie over. Cut into squares or hearts, using a 3" heart shaped cookie cutter.

Serve with ice cream or crême anglaise. (That's Tillamook's Salted Caramel and Oregon Hazelnut Ice Cream in the picture. Hey, if you're going to eat ice cream, do it right.)

From the cover of GUILTY AS CINNAMON: 

Murder heats up Seattle’s Pike Place Market in the next Spice Shop mystery from the national bestselling author of Assault and Pepper.

Pepper Reece knows that fiery flavors are the spice of life. But when a customer dies of a chili overdose, she finds herself in hot pursuit of a murderer…

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website  and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebookwhere I often share news of new books and giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Welcome our special guest, Janet Rudolph!

Janet Rudolph

Some of you may know me as the Editor of the Mystery Readers Journal, or from my blogging at Mystery Fanfare and, or from my photos of roses and sunsets on my Facebook page. You may have run into me at mystery conventions that I’ve attended or helped organize. Or you may have turned up in my living room as an author or attendee at a Literary Salon or as part of my weekly mystery book group.

Wherever we’ve met, either online or real time, you probably know that I have another interest—chocolate. Chocolate has been another passion of mine and a major component in my cooking and baking and eating! Chocolate is good for the heart, the blood pressure, the skin, the mood… just about everything. Of course, I’m talking ‘good’ chocolate -- dark organic chocolate. I always have chocolate in my desk and have a piece or two of Taza 70% Mexicano every day. With chocolate, I’ve even lowered my cholesterol by 95 points! However, everything in moderation. Eating a whole chocolate bar is not going to help your weight or heart.

Several years ago I was at the Fancy Food Show discussing chocolate with an exhibitor, when another attendee at the Show, said to me, “You have to Judge the chocolate at the upcoming San Francisco International Chocolate Salon.” Now, I didn’t know this guy, and although I think of myself as somewhat knowledgeable about mysteries, what did I really know about chocolate? Well, I liked it, but was that enough? Of course, he offered me a job I couldn’t refuse. Who wouldn’t want to be a chocolate judge?  But having been trained as an academic (that’s another story), I thought I should have the ‘proper’ credentials to be a judge. So, I immediately went home, bought a domain name, and started a chocolate blog. I post a daily chocolate recipe or review and have been for 5 years now at

But mystery and chocolate. Some of you know, I post Holiday Lists on Mystery Fanfare (Halloween Mysteries, Fourth of July Mysteries, Christmas Mysteries, and more). I’m a list maker. Well, for Chocolate, I also post Holiday Chocolate Recipes. Did you know that there are over 75 Chocolate Holidays a year?  And, that doesn’t count the other food holidays that I’ve been able to tweak to include chocolate. National Zucchini Day? No brainer. Chocolate Zucchini Bread.  National Oatmeal Cookie Day? Add Chocolate Chips! Have a look at when you get a chance. You can never have enough chocolate—or recipes.

So now that I’m part of the chocolate community, I not only receive mysteries at the door from publishers (delivered by UPS and FedEx with biscuits for Topper, my golden retriever), but I also receive chocolate and cookbooks. Pretty cool, huh?

So today I want to share a recipe for one of my favorite chocolate cakes. “Dying for Chocolate” Chocolate Cake. It’s easy.. and cakes always look great when baked in a bundt pan! Sprinkle with powdered sugar, and you’re good to go. Want other recipes? Check out Want to know more about mysteries? Check out www.mysteryfanfare.  And, I love it when my two world collide, and they do. Lots of mystery folks love chocolate, and lots of chocolate folks love crime fiction.  Guest posts from authors on both blogs... about their passions: chocolate and crime fiction. Have a chocolate recipe to share. Contact me.


2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1-1/2 cups water
2 Tbsp Instant Coffee Granules (or ground espresso)
8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (save two ounces of chocolate chunks)
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup sweet butter, softened
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease 10-inch Bundt pan.
Combine flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder in small bowl. Bring water and coffee granules to a boil in small saucepan; remove from heat. Add 6 ounces chocolate; stir until smooth.
Beat sugar, butter and vanilla extract in mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs; beat on high for 5 minutes. Beat in flour mixture alternately with chocolate mixture.
Fold in remaining 2 ounces chocolate chunks.
Pour into prepared Bundt pan.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until long wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean.
Cool in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes.
Invert onto wire rack to cool completely.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar, optional!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Welcome guest Janet Rudolph!

Please welcome guest, Janet Rudolph!

Janet Rudolph is the editor of the Mystery Readers Journal and creative director/writer at Murder on the Menu/ TeamBuilding Unlimited. She blogs daily at Mystery Fanfare and, facilitates a weekly mystery bookgroup, hosts literary salons with mystery authors, and has been a committee member on numerous mystery conventions. A long time contributor to the mystery genre, she received her Ph.D. in religious mystery fiction. She lives in the Berkeley (CA) hills with her husband, a golden retriever, and two cats. She has won the Anthony Award for Special Service to the Mystery Field, the Don Sandstrom Lifetime Achievement Award in Mystery Fandom and will receive the Malice Domestic Poirot Award in 2011. She Tweets and Retweets Mystery and Chocolate on Twitter @JanetRudolph

Take it way, Janet!

Some of you know me from the Mystery Readers Journal and my blog Mystery Fanfare , but I also blog daily at Dying for Chocolate.

Many years ago I read The Five Year Sentence by Booker Prize winner Bernice Rubens. In it a woman who works in a sweets (candy) factory is preparing for her last day of work. She’s cleaned her house, and she’s checked the oven. Everything is ready, we’re sure, for her return from the day when with nothing left to do in her life, she will return home and turn on the gas. However, fate intervenes, and she is given a 5 year diary as a retirement gift. It’s as if she’s been given ‘a five year sentence’. She feels she has an obligation to fill in each day. The novel takes some imaginative turns, and Bernice Rubens, who was also a mystery author, should be sought out and read.

Sometimes I feel like the woman in the story…not the suicide bit… but being given a ‘purpose’ to do what I do. When I started my Chocolate Blog,, I followed a similar thought process, and although I do random posts such as chocolate reviews, chocolate news and recipes as they strike me, for the most part I post recipes that coincide with the Food Holiday of the Day. They’re at the top of my ‘diary’.

Surprisingly every day is some sort of Food Holiday (See The Nibble). Even if the Food Holidays aren’t specifically chocolate, just about everything goes well with chocolate, so I post a chocolate recipe! The big holidays are easy: Christmas, Easter, Passover, Halloween…lots of chocolate, but there are some very esoteric food holidays, such as:

Chocolate Covered Insect Day (October 14): Chocolate Scorpions (not for the faint of heart)

National Cocoa Day (December 12): Recipe Round up from Mexican to Peppermint

National Espresso Day (November 24): Espresso Truffles

California Strawberry Day (March 21): Strawberry Chocolate German Pancake

National Rice Pudding Day (August 9): Chocolate Rice Pudding

National Pecan Day (April 14): Chocolate Pecan Pie

Be sure and search for more Food Holidays and easy and delicious recipes.

As well as writing chocolate posts to fit a particular holiday, I do something similar on my mystery blog, Mystery Fanfare. On Mystery Fanfare, along with posts about the mystery world in general, I am drawn to dates and holidays and make extensive lists of titles that fit the holidays. Have a look at my Christmas Crime Novels list that is so big this year that I’ve divided it into 5 posts. I’ve also posted Halloween Mysteries, Fourth of July Mysteries, Father’s Day Mysteries and lots of other holidays.

I suppose I’m still in school with the teacher giving me a topic to use as a springboard, or as in Rubens’ novel, a day in a diary to fill in. I’m so lucky to write about my passions chocolate and crime fiction! This isn’t to say I don’t stray a bit with reviews and recipes ‘off list’, but for the most part I find it fun to fulfill the day and holiday… in mystery and in chocolate. I get into a bit of a Zen state when I’m writing and researching a holiday post.

So, you might say my whole life is about mystery and chocolate. How sweet it is!

Here’s a wonderful and easy recipe for the holidays! It coincides with December 24: National Eggnog Day!

Dark Chocolate Eggnog Truffles


3/4 cup eggnog (good thick quality brand/or make it yourself)
11 ounces dark chocolate (65-85 % cacao, fair trade, organic) chopped
3 tbsp sweet butter, cut into small cubes
2 tbsp superfine sugar
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Heat the eggnog over medium heat almost to the boiling point, stirring constantly. Do not boil.
2. Immediately remove pan from heat, turn heat to low. Add chocolate and butter to eggnog. Stir until chocolate is completely melted, returning to low heat if necessary.
3. Pour mixture into mixing bowl and beat with electric mixer at high speed for 5 minutes.

4. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until mixture is firm but pliable.

5. In small bowl, mix superfine sugar with nutmeg and cinnamon; set aside.
6. Scoop out about 1 teaspoon of chocolate mixture and roll into a ball (or use a melon baller and mold), then roll each ball in sugar mixture.
7. Place truffle on baking sheet covered with parchment.

8. Repeat.
9. You can store truffles in airtight container in refrigerator for up to a week, but they’ll probably all be eaten, so you won’t need to worry!

Happy Holidays!


Wow! Janet, this was a wonderful post. Who knew there were so many holidays??? I'm still giggling at the insect one. Thanks for being our guest.

And for all of our fans:

Here is a Christmas treat because we have a guest...who among you are candy makers or bakers? Not professionals. But you love to get in the kitchen and make sweet things.

Share what you bake or make in a comment. Not the recipe. The title. and if you think it fits a certain holiday, in honor of Janet, share which holiday.

I'm giving away a free copy of THE LONG QUICHE GOODBYE today to someone who comments!

If you've read the book already, you can give it to a friend!

Merry, merry!!!

And last but not least...if you'd like to read a sneak preview of book two: Lost and Fondue, it is up on my website. Check it out at AVERY AAMES.

While you're there, sign up for the mailing list and you'll be included in future contests coming up to promote Lost and Fondue.