Showing posts with label gingersnaps. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gingersnaps. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Pepper's Gingersnaps and a Launch Day #bookgiveaway

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Launch Day, Launch Day! So pleased to present KILLING THYME, the third installment in my Spice Shop Mysteries, set in Seattle's famed Pike Place Market.

Congratulations to Victoria Abbott on the release of The Hammett Hex, Book Collector Mystery #5, and Sheila Connolly, for Seeds of Deception, Orchard Mystery #10!

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of KILLING THYME, Spice Shop #3!

I’ve often joked that in my childhood home, there were three spices: salt, pepper, and cinnamon. And of course, salt is actually a mineral. We did occasionally have a fourth—bay leaves—but I’m not sure my mother, bless her, had any real idea what to do with them.

So when I moved to Seattle as a college freshman (freshwoman?), the discovery of a real live spice shop in the Pike Place Market was the proverbial treat for my senses. I began drinking spice tea—they keep an urn going in the corner—and often walked around the Market sipping. When I got my first apartment and began learning to cook, I inched past spice tea into the herbs and spices themselves.

So what’s different or unusual about cinnamon and pepper? Cinnamon, a bark and one of the oldest known spices, comes from several countries. Each variety has a slightly different flavor, some sweeter, some mellower. Much grocery store cinnamon is actually cassia, the bark of a different but related tree; to my palate, it tastes a little darker and more bitter.

Pepper—which grows on trees, and was once used as money, so your dad was wrong—is often called the King of Spices. Black peppercorns has a history almost as old as trade itself. Although pepper trade drove the Age of Exploration, it also had a key role in the 18th century American economy, when the fleets from Salem and Boston became involved.

These gingersnaps combine the bark of cinnamon with an extra bite from a few twists of black pepper. They are Mr. Right’s favorite cookie, and when I was writing a scene in which Pepper’s ex-husband, Tag, drops by unexpectedly, it seemed perfectly natural that she’d be pulling a tray of fresh-baked gingersnaps out of the oven—and that they’d be a favorite of his, too. Even though Pepper knows good and well that Tag is not Mr. Right.

I do hope you enjoy both the cookies and the newest adventures of Pepper and her gang. 

Pepper’s Gingersnaps

The classic, with a bite of a little something extra. Call it Pepper’s personal touch.

2¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup vegetable oil, such as corn or canola
¼ cup molasses
1 egg
¼ to ½ cup white sugar for topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, and salt.

 In a small mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, oil, molasses, and egg. Beat well. (No need to dirty your mixer and clean the beaters—the oil makes this dough easy to mix by hand.) Add flour mixture and stir until well mixed.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. If you’d like to top the cookies with sugar, pour the white sugar into a small soup or pasta bowl or on a small plate. Roll cookie balls in the sugar. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet or a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon sheet. Bake about 10 minutes, until bottoms have darkened slightly and tops begin to crack.

Makes about 4 dozen. These cookies will be soft at first, but crisp up nicely. They freeze well.

What's the favorite cookie in your house?

Leave a comment below with your email address for a chance to win one of TWO signed copies of KILLING THYME. The winner will be chosen on Thurs, October 6.  

At Seattle Spice in the Pike Place Market, owner Pepper Reece is savoring her business success, but soon finds her plans disrupted by a killer…

Pepper Reece’s to-do list is longer than the shopping list for a five-course dinner, as she conjures up spice blends bursting with seasonal flavor, soothes nervous brides fretting over the gift registry, and crosses her fingers for a rave review from a sharp-tongued food critic. Add to the mix a welcome visit from her mother, Lena, and she’s got the perfect recipe for a busy summer garnished with a dash of fun. 

While browsing in the artists’ stalls, Pepper and Lena drool over stunning pottery made by a Market newcomer. But when Lena recognizes the potter, Bonnie Clay, as an old friend who disappeared years ago, the afternoon turns sour. To Pepper’s surprise, Bonnie seems intimately connected to her family’s past. after Bonnie is murdered only days later, Pepper is determined to uncover the truth. 

But as Pepper roots out long-buried secrets, will she be digging her own grave?

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 2015-16 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.

Monday, December 14, 2015


Once upon a time, I used to bake a lot of Christmas cookies. These days I think I'm doing well if I make four or five different kinds. One of my personal traditions is to try a new (to me) cookie recipe every year. I'm posting that cookie recipe for Christmas week because even people who don't do a lot of entertaining often bake a batch of cookies.

I actually made two batches of new to me cookies this year. The first were good, but they didn't knock my socks off. In case you don't know, while the cookies are still hot, you can sprinkle them with crushed candy canes. It's adorably festive!

But it's this plain Jane gingersnap recipe that's a keeper. Melted butter keeps them soft and the flavor just can't be beat. I had every intention of dipping them in chocolate or drizzling them with chocolate but honest to goodness, they're so good the way they are that I decided not to mess with a good thing! Sometimes simple is better.

This dough will feel super soft in your hand. It holds together, so don't worry or add more flour. At the stage of rolling the dough in sugar I started with about 1/4 of a cup of sugar and added more as I needed it. That way I didn't waste a lot of sugar. The cookies spread into amazingly perfect circles when they bake, so don't worry about rolling the dough into perfect balls.


3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar + extra for rolling
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Melt the butter and set aside to cool. Use a fork or a whisk to mix together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl, and set aside. Beat 1 cup of sugar with the melted butter. Beat in the egg. Beat in the molasses. Beat in the vanilla. Add the flour about 1/2 cup at a time, beating after each addition. 

Add about 1/4 cup of sugar to a small bowl. Roll the dough into balls about 1-inch in diameter, then roll the dough in the sugar and place each ball about three inches apart on the parchment paper. Bake 10-12 minutes.

Roll balls of dough in sugar.

Fresh from the oven. Soft and so yummy when warm!

We're giving away books here this week, so today I'm offering the choice of MURDER MOST HOWL or THE DIVA STEALS A CHOCOLATE KISS. Leave a comment with your email address to enter. Good luck and Happy Cookie Baking!  

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Tastes of Fall

Nyakers Pepparkakor (Gingersnaps) in Their Pretty Tin
Oh, friends ... it finally happened!

After a record-breaking summer of unearthly heat and drought, the weather in north Texas has finally turned.  As I type this, I'm gazing out the window at a skim of platinum clouds, a blanket over my lap and a cat nestled against my side.

[Okay, technically the blanket is overkill.  It's 67 outside, not exactly freezing.  But compared to Monday's 107, this feels absolutely awesome.]

With the first breath of autumn in the air, my mind has turned to flavors of fall:  butternut squash, crisp apples, barley soups, crusty bread, Shepherd's pie ... I can't wait to share autumnal recipes with you all over the coming months.  These are the flavors and foods I love the most, hearty and comforting.

Today, though, I'm sharing an unusual fall recipe I picked up when I was checking out of a World Market a few years ago.  It's a recipe for pumpkin dip created by Nyakers (a Swedish company that makes the most intensely flavored, delicately textured gingersnaps).  It's a wonderful addition to any fall potluck or party:  it's an unusual vehicle for the familiar flavors of pumpkin pie, and it gives people the ability to have just a tiny portion of dessert (if, for some reason, they want to skimp on dessert ... personally, that kind of restraint is utterly foreign to me).

While this creamy, sweetly spiced dip goes beautifully with Nyakers pepparkakor (and the Nyakers tins look so fancy when you present them to a hostess), any gingersnaps will do.  You can also serve the dip with graham crackers, vanilla wafers, or (if you're being virtuous) slices of apple and pear.

Nyakers Pumpkin Pie Dip

15 oz. pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 1/2 Tbs. orange juice

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until creamy and smooth.  (Or, in the alternative, mix all ingredients with a hand mixer.)


Wendy is the author of the Mysteries a la Mode. Visit her on the web or on Facebook.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Welcome Hannah Reed, author of the new Queen Bee Mysteries!

Buzz Off is the first title in
Hannah Reed's new series.

To learn more  about the book,
click here or on the cover.

This is an exciting week for Hannah Reed. Berkley Prime Crime just published the debut title in her new Queen Bee mystery series. I had the pleasure of reading Buzz Off before publication and let me tell you, I loved everything about it -- the characters, the setting, the mystery, the writing, even the recipes. In sum, Buzz Off is one sweet read. If you pick it up, I know you'll think so, too. And now, please join me in welcoming our guest blogger for the day: Hannah Reed.  ~ Cleo Coyle

I absolutely love Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen and am thrilled to be back with one of my favorite recipes from Buzz Off, the first in the Queen Bee mystery series, which just came out. Since September is National Honey Month, I have two reasons to ‘bee’ celebrating.

In Buzz Off, Story Fischer has her hands full after residents of her small town accuse her bees of murder. Jeez! Give me a break. Can’t these people tell the difference between a gentle little honeybee and an ornery, aggressive yellow jacket? Bees are way too busy to make trouble. And after you read my book, you’ll like bees even if you didn’t when you started. I promise.

Isn’t this little girl cute? (Note: the boys hang out at the hive with only one thing on their minds.)

A bee pollinating a spring apple blossom is like honey on toast. They go together so well. Here’s a tasty dish, compliments of a spring bee’s successful pollination of the blossom and the colonies gracious gift of honey (with a little help from me). Enjoy!

~ Hannah

Apple Gingersnap Crunch

This is the best! It includes sugar and honey.


1 cup gingersnap cookies, crumbled
½ cup sugar
½ cup flour
½ tsp salt
½ cup butter
4 apples, cut into chunks
½ cup honey
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup pecans, chopped


Preheat over to 350° F. Mix cookie crumbs, ½ cup sugar, flour, and salt. Cut in butter until the mixture is crumbly but holds together when pressed. Spread half over the bottom of an 8 x 8-inch baking dish and pack down lightly.

Mix together apples, honey, and cinnamon. Spread in pan. Add pecans to remaining cookie mix and spread over top.

Bake 50–60 minutes or until fruit is tender and topping is well browned. Serve with frozen custard or ice cream.

This recipe is compliments
of Heidi Cox and can be found
in the newsletter section of Buzz Off


For more delicious recipes
to learn more about Hannah and her Queen Bee Mysteries, visit her
official web home at