Showing posts with label Jenn McKinlay. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jenn McKinlay. Show all posts

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Jenn McKinlay with Whoopie Pies and About a Dog! #recipe #giveaway


LUCY BURDETTE: I'm so delighted to welcome Jenn McKinlay back to our blog! She's been incredibly productive since she left several years ago, working on three mystery series and a brand-new romantic comedy series, debuting this month. She's celebrating with us early with whoopie pies and a measuring spoon giveaway! Welcome Jenn!

JENN MCKINLAY: The research is brutal, really.

     About two years ago, I was looking for a new agent. I decided instead of trying to pick one over the phone or through email, I’d go to New York and meet them in person. I wanted to have a feel for the next agent I hired. While there, I decided to visit my editor at Berkley as well. Things were interesting at the publishing house. Penguin had just merged with Random House, there were lots of offices being packed up, change (read people freaking out and looking upset) was definitely in the air. 
     Feeling that it might be a good time to diversify my writing (as in I was afraid cozy mysteries were dying and I’d better come up with a new trick pretty quick), I asked my editor what else she thought I could write. She turned away from me and studied her bookcase, she selected some books and then turned back and pushed them across the desk toward me. “You can do this,” she said. This turned out to be a stack of romantic comedies. Huh. I’d tried this genre before and it hadn’t worked out for me. That’s a euphemism for I got fired, in case you’re wondering. Oh, the irony!

     Still I thought I’d give it a go. I took the train back to New Haven, thumbing through the books as I went. I started to think up different ideas, sifting through possibilities, until I had a kernel of an idea. Over the next several weeks visiting family and friends in New England, the kernel popped into the full blown plot for ABOUT A DOG. I drove up the coast to Maine, where I’d decided to set the series, and immersed myself in all things concerning the Pine Tree state. Ayuh, that’s Maine’s nickname not the Lobster state, as I would have thought.

     Anyway, after shopping myself broke at L.L. Bean, I then moved on to another Maine staple – the whoopie pie. Chocolate cake with vanilla marshmallow filling – come to Mama! See? I told you the research was brutal! I am not kidding when I tell you that my days started to be one whoopie or two whoopie pie days. It was then that I knew I’d be writing a whoopie pie shop into the series with the name Makin’ Whoopie – naturally!

     We don’t have whoopie pies in Arizona, so I decided I was going to have to make my own if I wanted to write about the bakery. I went with the traditional whoopie pie recipe to start, but my research has shown that there are whoopie pies of every flavor you can imagine and I plan to imagine a lot of them in the books, which my publisher calls the Bluff Point series, so I’m thinking another research trip to Maine will be happening again soon! For now, here’s the recipe I used to make my own homegrown whoopie pies:

The Cookie

Ingredients:



 2 cups flour

½ cup cocoa
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, well shaken
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg

Directions: Preheat oven to 350F. Mix together dry ingredients – flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl at medium speed until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Alternately mix in dry ingredients and buttermilk until smooth. Spoon ¼ cup mounds of batter about two inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 11 to 13 minutes until top is puffed and springs back when touched. 

Tip: I found that if you cook them on the top and bottom racks of the oven and swap them halfway through the cooking, they cook more evenly.

The Filling:

 Ingredients:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups confectioner’s sugar
2 cups Marshmallow Fluff
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions: Beat together all ingredients with mixer at medium speed for three minutes until smooth.

Putting the pies together: Spread a heaping tablespoon of the filling onto the flat side of one cookie and top with another. Easy Peasy!

For more things whoopie pie, Maine, dogs, romance, and comedy, check out my new series starting with ABOUT A DOG to be released on May 30th. Much to my delight, it has already received a starred review from Booklist and 4 stars from Romantic Times. "With a perfect sense of comic timing and a gift for creating endearingly eccentric characters...McKinlay delivers a sweetly satisfying contemporary romance that will have readers sitting up and begging for more." — (★ starred review) Booklist 

Here’s a brief description: Fall in love with a little help from man’s best friend in New York Times bestselling author Jenn McKinlay’s contemporary romance debut. Mackenzie “Mac” Harris fled her hometown of Bluff Point, Maine, after being left at the altar—and seeking solace in the arms of her best friend’s off-limits brother. Now, seven years later, she’s back to attend her best friend’s wedding—safe, or so she thinks, from the mistakes of her youth.
But Gavin Tolliver has never forgotten the woman who has always held his heart. And when Mac rescues a stray puppy named Tulip, only Gavin, the town’s veterinarian, can help. With a little assistance from Tulip, Gavin vows to make Mac realize that their feelings are more than just puppy love…

Thanks for inviting me to visit, ladies, Lucy! It’s always a pleasure to see what’s cooking in the kitchen!  Happy Reading, Jenn

Leave a comment with your email to be entered in the drawing for a set of cool cupcake measuring spoons...

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Welcome guest author Jenn McKinlay




     On New Year’s Day, the Hub and I were invited to a delightful open house at a musician friend’s abode.  Now this was in Tempe, AZ where the temperature should have been a blissful 68 degrees, you know, jeans and long sleeve shirt weather with no jacket required, but it was not.  No, instead it was a bone chilling 41 degrees and left all of us desert rats scrambling for real estate around the fire pit and strategically placed space heaters.
     Yes, I know that my family in New England would consider anything in the forties a glorious respite from the negative digits, but for us southwestern folk, it was bitterly, frigidly cold.  One of the party goers even wrapped herself up from head to toe in a thick wool blanket.  In conversations, we could see our breath puff out in white clouds when we spoke -- at mid-day, in central Arizona, it boggled!
     Still, the music and laughter and good times commenced, musicians are a hearty lot, and the large table sagged under the weight of all the food, which was plentiful and diverse, always a good thing.  Looking for something that would toast up my insides, I spotted a huge crock pot of pozole rojo made by one of the guys, a guitar player named Dave.  Don’t you love when men are good cooks? 
     Elbows were thrown, mostly between me and the Hub, as we zeroed in on the delicious, warm up your nether regions soup.  We both had a heaping bowl, and Hub circled back for seconds. I have to say as a cold weather curative, it worked like a charm. 
     Naturally, I then had to learn how to make it.  So to help you keep warm during this last gasp of winter, here’s the recipe I cobbled together from a couple of different sources.  Enjoy!  And remember, spring has to come eventually, right? 



Pozole Rojo

Ingredients:
2 ounces dried chiles de arbol
6 cloves garlic (2 smashed, 4 finely chopped)
Kosher salt
2 pounds boneless pork shoulder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large white onion, chopped
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon dried oregano                                      1 bay leaf
3 15-ounce cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

Garnish options: Diced avocado, shredded cabbage, diced onion, sliced radishes and/or fresh cilantro
Directions:

Break the stems off the chiles de arbol and shake out as many seeds as possible (do not rub your nose while touching the peppers – I did – and YOWZA!).  Tip: Wear food prep gloves if you have them. Put the chiles in a bowl and cover with 2 cups boiling water, for about 30 minutes, until soft. Transfer the chiles and 1 1/2 cups of the soaking liquid to a blender. Add the smashed garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt and blend until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pushing the sauce through with a rubber spatula; discard the solids.

Rub the pork all over with the cumin and 1/2 teaspoon salt; set aside. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook 2 minutes. Increase the heat to medium high. Push the onion and garlic to one side of the pot; add the pork to the other side and sear, turning, until lightly browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.

In a large crock pot, stir in the chicken broth, oregano, bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of the chile sauce (depending on your taste). Setting the crock pot on low, carefully add the pork, onions and garlic from the large pot, let the pork cook for about 4 hours.

Lastly, stir in the garbanzo beans and continue to cook for one more hour, until the pork is tender and starts falling apart. Remove the bay leaf. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and use two forks to shred the meat then return it to the pot. Add some water or broth if the pozole is too thick. Season with salt to taste and serve with assorted garnishments.



Jenn is the NYT bestselling author of a several mysteries series and lives in sunny AZ in a house overrun with kids, pets, and her husband's guitars.

Find Jenn on her website www.jennmckinlay.com or on Facebook.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Anything-in-the-Garden Quiche #recipe plus #giveaway


  

LUCY BURDETTE: Ladies and gentlemen, our photo contest will be winding to a close tonight at midnight, though you still have time to enter! Click right here and post your photo...The prize is this really cute MLK tote bag, stuffed with our mysteries!


 


And also enter the drawing today for a copy of Jenn McKinley's SUGAR AND ICED: comment by midnight (include your email) on the bottom of our post today.

 










To give you sustenance for the final stretch, I've made a garden quiche. I decided to try something a little fancier than my father's oil and milk crust recipe, so this one has cornmeal and butter in it. Honestly, it was delicious! As for the inside filling, you can choose your veggies from the farmer's market, or select whatever looks best in your garden.

Preheat the oven to 425.

Ingredients for the crust

1/3 cup unbleached white flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup butter, slightly softened
a few teaspoons milk

Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Cut the butter in until it resembles heavy sand. Add milk teaspoon at a time until the dough sticks together. Roll it out between two pieces of waxed paper and transfer it to a 9 inch pie pan.

 

Ingredients for the filling

2 cups chopped vegetables (I used snow peas and chard)
2 shallots, minced
Olive oil
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheese (I used cheddar and smoked gouda)

Saute the shallots a minute or two in olive oil over medium heat. Add the other vegetables and saute until they begin to soften.









 



In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and cheese. Stir in the cooked vegetables and pour the mixture into the prepared crust. 




 



Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 and bake another 20-25 minutes until crust is golden and filling set. 


Enjoy!








MURDER WITH GANACHE, the fourth Key West mystery, is in stores now. DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS will be out in December.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Celebrate! Elegant Date #Cake with Sticky Toffee Sauce #recipe @LucyBurdette


LUCY BURDETTE: My turn to dance around shouting "celebrate! celebrate!" (I'm the one waving purple orchids...) I have to pack in a lot today: a recipe, an update on our wonderful friend and writer Jenn McKinlay, and an explanation of the double contest. So don't quit reading early!

I was a later addition to Mystery Lovers Kitchen, appearing first as a guest in 2011 with one of my favorite summer dishes, the leaning tower of eggplant. I was thrilled to be invited as a full-timer. It's a lot of work, of course, but I love this community so much. And I've become a more inventive, accomplished cook, besides writing all the foodie mysteries.



And now for the cake...I tasted this cake during our trip to Japan and have been meaning to make it ever since. I did see an Ina Garton recipe that I think called for three sticks of butter--but I wanted us to be able to move on the dance floor, so here's my pared-down, elegant and luscious version of date cake. But whatever you do, don't skip the caramel sauce!

Ingredients

3/4 cups pitted, quartered dates
3/4 cups water
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

 

For Sticky Toffee Sauce:
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, place the dates, water and vanilla and bring to a boil. Simmer until soft (might take 5 minutes.) Remove from the heat, add the baking soda, mix well. Let the mixture cool. Meanwhile...
 
Cream butter with sugars. Beat in the eggs. Add the dry ingredients, and finally the cooled date mixture. (Do not worry about leaving little chunks of dates--they will provide some nice texture.) Pour the batter into a well-buttered cake pan. (I also added a layer of parchment paper and buttered that for good measure.) Bake at 350 about 40-50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn the cake out onto a platter. 

For the sauce, mix brown sugar, cream, butter in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until thick, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and add a splash of vanilla. 






Poke holes in the cake and pour the sauce overall. 









Serve warm if possible. 











Even better, serve with homemade whipped cream--this is a party after all!



And now an update from the incomparable Jenn McKinlay:

I'm still chugging along on my three series for Berkley Prime Crime -- Library Lover's, London Hat Shop, and Cupcake Bakery mysteries.  I'm finishing my other series the Good Buy Girls written under the name Josie Belle and have no idea what's next.  I like to follow the uncharted course.

WHAT A CATCH is one of my fave posts, probably, because I am hankering for some fried catfish right now:

 
When my next door neighbor was painting
his living room, he asked my husband if he
would babysit, or rather fish-sit, his fish of
unknown origin for him until the room was
done. That was a year and a half ago and
the fish of unknown origin is still living on top
of our piano, blowing bubbles and waving
his fins at me. Read the post here

 
Oh, and in a related update, we still have the neighbor's catfish.  He continues to blow bubbles and wave his fins at me.  The neighbor has moved to Pennsylvania, so I don't think I'm going to be returning Kevin (yes, we named the fish after the neighbor) any time soon.  It's okay.  I've grown quite fond of Kevin, but if you tell the Hub or hooligans I said that I will deny it.

I was such a newbie when I started writing mysteries.  I didn't belong to any groups or organizations. I'd never done the conference thing.  When Krista Davis asked me to join the blog, it was my first connection to any other mystery writers.  They were all so generous and kind with their information and encouragement and their recipes, that I really felt like we were all hanging out in a big kitchen, sharing food and snippets about our lives.  

 

Now for the contests! #1 Leave a comment here today telling us what you'd serve at a celebration and you'll be entered in a drawing to win the Key West mystery of your choice. Don't forget to leave your email and which book you'd like...

#2 Go to this link to enter the photo contest, which runs until July 24. Prizes are these fabulous bags and books from each of us at MLK!







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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Bacon-Ricotta Frittata

A very warm welcome back to Jenn McKinlay, whom many of you know from her days as a Mystery Lovers' Kitchen regular. Jenn's exciting new Hat Shop Mystery series debuted this week! Set in London, the first in the series is Cloche and Dagger!

And now, Jenn!


So, after fourteen years, three months and a handful of days, the marriage was over.  It was not an easy decision to come to, there was emotional investment and sentimental attachment on both sides, but we both knew it was time.  My beloved skillet, given to me on my wedding day, the same pan that had cooked my hooligans first forays into chewable food and introduced them to the delights of bacon, had fried its last batch of hash browns.   A moment of silence, please.
My mourning period took a bit longer than the Hub and the hooligans would have liked.  I simply could not speed date my way into a new skillet.  “I am going through the five stages of grief, now quit rushing me,” I would say when their requests for something cookable only in a large frying pan went denied – again and again. 

And then, one day, on a random trip to IKEA, a twelve inch blue sided, oven/stove capable skillet caught my eye.  It was a flirty little thing that I refused to acknowledge at first because it was just so forward with its long handle and thick bottom.  I circled around it a few times, pretending I was really interested in the pizza cutters hanging nearby.  But its name Trovardig would not be denied.  In Swedish, it means reliable, trustworthy, and faithful.   I decided to give it a chance.

The first thing we cooked together was a parmesan-ricotta frittata recommended to me by a writer friend, which she found at epicurious.com, but which I changed up a bit to accommodate my not loving the greens so much herd.  This was going to be my new pan’s equivalent of the meeting of the parents moment.  I was nervous for it, but I thought that if we worked together we could get through it.  Well, let me just say, Trovardig exceeded my expectations and cooked up an amazing frittata that won over the Hub and hooligans and firmly established its presence in our home and cemented our new relationship.  I had not thought that I could love again, but I was wrong.  For a heart that is open, room can always be made for new cookware.

Bacon-Ricotta Frittata

Ingredients:

1 package cooked and crumbled bacon
1 bunch diced green onions
8 cups diced kale and mustard greens
12 large eggs
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup fresh, fine grated parmesan cheese (divided into ¾ and ¼ cups)
15 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook bacon in (new) skillet until crisp.  Transfer bacon to a separate plate.  Set aside the bacon drippings by pouring them into a bowl.  Return 2 tablespoons of the drippings to the pan and fry the green onions for about four minutes over medium heat.  Add half of the diced up greens and toss for a minute until they begin to wilt.  Add the remaining greens and sauté for about ten minutes until they are wilted.  Transfer to a plate.  Rinse and dry (new) skillet.  Beat eggs in a large bowl.  Whisk in ¾ cup Parmesan cheese, then greens and half of the bacon.  Stir in the ricotta but not too much, leave some clumps.  Heat one tablespoon of the bacon drippings in the skillet over medium heat.  Pour in egg mixture, making sure the greens and bacon are spread evenly.  Sprinkle remaining bacon and ¼ cup Parmesan over the eggs.  Cook for ten minutes until the edges are set and then transfer to the oven to bake for twenty minutes.  Once the frittata is set, remove it from the oven and loosen it around the edges and carefully transfer it to a platter.  Let cool for 30 minutes.  Apparently, frittatas are supposed to be just a bit warmer than room temperature.  Slices into wedges and enjoy with a nice loaf of bread and a fruit salad.

 


The original recipe can be found at:  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Frittata-with-Bacon-Fresh-Ricotta-and-Greens-233142

Thank you, Krista, for inviting me to visit my favorite kitchen!  It was delightful as always.


This month brings the debut of a new series for me.  Cloche and Dagger, the lead title in the London Hat Shop mysteries, was released on August 6th.  I am very excited to be writing about a milliner in London and not just because I get to go there to do research, no actually, that’s exactly why I love this series.  London is one of my favorite cities and to get to go there – well, it’s a dream come true.  If you have any interest in seeing what other shenanigans I’m up to, you can find me at my website www.jennmckinlay.com or on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JennMcKinlaysBooks or on Twitter https://twitter.com/JennMcKinlay

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Welcome our guest, Jenn McKinlay!


We have a special treat today, Wednesday. A guest!  Whee! Don't you love surprises?

Welcome our guest, Jenn McKinlay. Jenn is the fabulous NYT bestselling author of A Cupcake Baker Mystery and so much more! Her latest: Going, Going, Ganache!

Take it away, Jenn!





For the love of bacon and Larry!

Here's how to get what you want in my house. It starts with me asking the Hub to do whatever, which is always greeted with an affirmative. Yay! The speed of completion of the requested task varies, however, and I've discovered that if I up the ante (otherwise known as a bribe) things tend to happen much more swiftly. The number one bribe in my arsenal is bacon. If I can leverage my request with scent of frying bacon, well, that garbage finds its way out of the house so fast you'd think Hefty made their bags with a drawstring activated jet propulsion feature, which would be pretty cool. 
Seeing the power of bacon, I naturally decided I needed to incorporate it into the cupcake world to help motivate my sons, aka the hooligans, and get that lawn mowed with same turbo power as the above mentioned garbage disposal. The idea was inspired by the Hub's cousin, who is actually having two types of cake (bacon and tiramisu) at his wedding. No, not kidding. But here's where a dilemma hit. Hooligan number two has gotten it into his head that he would like a pet pig that he plans to name Larry. Out of respect for his future snuggle buddy Larry, hooligan two has sworn off all pig products. All righty then.Luckily, while visiting the Queen Creek Olive Mill in Queen Creek, AZ with my mother, our curiosity was piqued by their bacon infused olive oil that is made without bacon and therefore vegetarian friendly. My mother, being more adventurous in the culinary arts than me, bought a bottle and so I figured I had a way to tempt hooligan number two without infringing on his loyalty to Larry.
Much experimenting ensued but attached are two recipes, one with real bacon and one without, to motivate your day laborers into speedy chore completion. May the bacon flavor be with you!  



Bacon Cupcakes:

Same recipe for both cupcakes but for the cake with real bacon add one cup cooked and minced bacon into the batter. 

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 tablespoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon salt 
3/4 cup bacon infused olive oil 
1 1/2 cups sugar 
4 large eggs 
1 cup milk 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
* 1 cup cooked and minced bacon

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, mix together olive oil, sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla extract.

Add dry ingredients to wet mixture and blend until smooth. (*If using the real bacon, add cup of minced bacon now). 

Scoop the batter evenly into the cupcake liners.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool before frosting. Makes 24. 


Maple Frosting: 

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons butter, softened
3-4 tablespoons milk 
1 1/2 teaspoons maple extract 
4 cups confectioners' sugar sifted 
Turbinado sugar and sea salt 

Directions: 

Whip butter, milk and extract together until creamy. Mix in powdered sugar until frosting is the desired consistency. Spread onto cooled cupcakes.

Garnish by sprinkling turbinado sugar and sea salt on cupcake and for cupcakes with real bacon a piece of bacon looks pretty tasty, too.

Thanks for inviting me to visit the kitchen, Daryl!
As always, it’s been a pleasure! 
Jenn

You can find out what’s happening with me by checking out my website: www.jennmckinlay.com





Sunday, May 6, 2012

Jenn McKinlay is our guest!



Please welcome former MLK'er and now our guest, Jenn McKinlay. 

Jenn amazes me. She is the successful New York Times selling author of two series, the Cupcake Bakery Mysteries and the Library Lover’s mysteries.  She also writes under the names Lucy Lawrence and Josie Belle...which, if you can count, means there are possibly four new titles out at any one time!  Her newest release is RED VELVET REVENGE coming in July 2012.  I had the delightful pleasure to read this book! Delicious.

Welcome, Jenn, from Avery. :)

* * *

The Cherpumple!

Writers, I’ve noticed, are an obsessive lot.  We get thoughts stuck in our heads and we become practically non-functional until we have exorcised the ideas that are ailing us, which could be anything from figuring out a particularly challenging scene, a reluctant character or a twisty plot point.  For me, this sort of obsessiveness also spills over into my daily life, which my family has learned to tolerate as one of the perks of living with me.  I like to think I’m teaching them flexibility but probably, they are really learning to humor the crazy lady.

Anyway, my latest obsession is with the cherpumple.  The whattle?  Yes, you heard me right.  The cherpumple.  It is a three layer  -- CHERry pie in chocolate cake -- PUMPkin pie in carrot cake -- apPLE pie in spice cake -- combination that leaves one equally dazzled and repulsed.  It was developed by Charles Phoenix as dessert’s  answer to the turducken (you know the turkey stuffed with a chicken stuffed with a duck).

**********



**********

Amazing, no?  Now, as much as I wanted to tackle the entire cherpumple, I was mostly obsessed with the cherry-chocolate layer and so, I decided to give it a go.  Charles doesn’t use chocolate as the cake for his cherry pie.  I saw that somewhere else and decided it was definitely the way to go.  My fellow librarian Jordan, the one who  introduced me to the cherpumple, was leaving our library for a promotion.  I decided to make it for her good-bye party.  Needless to say, the pressure was on not to screw it up!

I am happy to report that it was easy peasy just as Charles Phoenix’s video demonstrates.  I baked the pie, Mrs. Smith’s classic cherry, according to the box’s directions the night before and let it cool overnight.  The next day I got out my trusty springform pan and made my cake batter.  I used a boxed mix, Pillsbury Chocolate, not wanting to invest too much time if it proved disastrous.  I put a half inch of batter in the pan then I carefully removed the pie from its aluminum pan and put it in the cake batter.  I poured the rest of the batter over the pie and put it in the oven to bake according to the mix’s instructions.  I set the timer for 35 minutes and then tested it.  It was still gooey on top so I gave it another ten minutes.  Ding!  It was perfect.

Then I made a batch of vanilla buttercream.  One cup of butter, 4 cups confectioner’s sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 3 tablespoons of milk.  When the cake cooled, I carefully took it out of the pan and then frosted it and we were ready to go.


I took the cake to the party and was very nervous to see what it would like when we cut that baby open.   It was also a lot heavier than a standard cake, and I was equally relieved that I didn’t drop it.  Well, I have to say, “SUCCESS!”  The cake set up perfectly around the pie and much to my surprise it was delicious. 


If I do it again, I will serve the cake-pie with ice cream.  The pie part of it seemed to demand it. 


And that, my friends, is the cherpumple.  Well, at least the “cher” part of it.  Someday soon I am going to try the pumpkin and the apple layers, but I do think I will have to work up to putting all three together at once.  It is stunning though, isn’t it?

Thanks for letting me bring my insanity to the Mystery Lover’s Kitchen!    You ladies are the cherpumple  of my eye.   Yes, that’s a good thing.  Happy reading and happy eating!

* * *



Jenn McKinlay is the New York Times best selling author of the Cupcake Bakery mysteries and the Library Lover’s mysteries.  She also writes under the names Lucy Lawrence and Josie Belle. You can contact her via her website: JENN MCKINLAY.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

St. Patrick's Day is Coming






I've been traveling, and I have some deadlines to meet, so I apologize. I'm going to repost a few of the recipes that we have shared that honor the Irish because St. Patrick's Day is coming! 




Now, I know that not everyone out there is Irish, but around this time, everyone thinks she...he is. So get in the spirit.  Erin go braugh!


Also, this should remind everyone that we have a recipe catalogue...see it on the right? And it's packed with recipes for you to try!


Lesa, Kate, Earlene and myself
So where did I go? I went to a book festival in sunny, delightful Tucson, Arizona. There were over 200,000 people there. Authors, vendors, kids, animals. Like most festivals, I found that people were walking around smiling, but they were distracted, looking from booth to booth seeing if this might be the destination they desired.


Paige, Avery, Rebecca
There were giveaways---I really wanted a turtle hat but I needed to have a kid in tow to get one---and yes, I thought hard about borrowing a child for the purpose. I'll have to go online to see if I can find a foam turtle hat. Too cute.  Ooops, forgot to take a picture of that!

Avery & Beth
Kate, modertor Patti, Jenn
I shared time with fellow authors Jenn McKinlay, Kate Carlisle, Rebecca Hale and Paige Shelton. We signed at many of the publishers' venues: Poisoned Pen Press, Mysterious Galaxy, Clues Unlimited, and Mostly Books. I moderated a panel with the ladies and it was so much fun! And Paige and I had a delightful time talking to a crowd at the University of Arizona Bookstore.

I was also on a panel with the delightful Lesa Holstine as moderator, Kate Carlisle, and Earlene Fowler.


Avery & Alyssa White
And I got to meet some special fans. Beth (above) had won Clobbered by Camembert in a contest and came to meet me.  Alyssa, (on right) a FB pal, also came to meet all the authors. Yay!  We love readers!


AND NOW FOR THE RECIPE LINKS:


ST. PATRICK'S DAY CUPCAKES by Avery


BY THE WAY, the tastiest icing for cupcakes? In my humble opinion:



Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:
1 cup powdered sugar
¼ cup butter, softened
1 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
Blend all together until smooth.
*Note: leftovers may be placed in sealed container and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature to re-use.

[For fun, tint the icing green!]



Irish oatmeal cookie muffins from Cleo



Irish Reuben Sandwich from Avery



Shamrock Pistachio Muffins by Cleo






Burgers &Blue (using Irish Cashel Blue) by Avery



Irish Soda Bread by Jenn McKinlay









Irish Stew by Sheila


Lamb Stew by Avery











May you have length with your days,
and strength with your step,

and may each season have a reason
to celebrate your faith in mankind!



* * * * *
You can learn more about me, Avery, by clicking this link.


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 so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests!


Say cheese!


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