Showing posts with label madeleines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label madeleines. Show all posts

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Welcome, Amanda Flower!

Please join me in welcoming Amanda Flower, author of the Magical Bookshop Mysteries. Her latest book, Prose and Cons, debuts on December 6th. Don't miss her generous food pantry project at the end of this post. Psst, and she's giving away a book, too!


La Crepe Jolie Lemon Madeleine Recipe
By Amanda Flower

In Prose and Cons, Grandma Daisy and Violet Waverly want to provide refreshments for the Poe-try Reading, an event they are hosting to celebrate the works of Edgar Allan Poe. The event will be held at their magical bookshop, Charming Books, during the Cascade Springs Food and Wine Festival, the most anticipated event in the village each autumn. Grandma Daisy enlists the help of La Crepe Jolie, the French café down the street from the bookshop, and among the many treats that café makes for the event are lemon madeleines, Grandma Daisy’s favorite cookies. She says nothing is better with a cup of tea than a lemon madeleine. Enjoy the recipe!

La Crepe Jolie’s Lemon Madeleines
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 sticks of unsalted butter
2 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 lemon, juiced and zested
Powder sugar

1)    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and butter and flour madeleine molds.
2)    In a large bowl, mix sugar, eggs, and butter. After these three ingredients are well blended add flour, baking powder, lemon, vanilla.
3)    Spoon batter into molds 3/4 full. Bake 10 minutes at 375 degrees F.
4)    Remove from molds and cool on a rack.
5)    While still warm, dust with powder sugar if desired.

Buy a mystery and help feed a community! Purchase any edition of Prose and Cons book, between now and Tuesday, December 20, 2016, and Amanda will donate $1 for every book sold to a food pantry, The Landing, located in Akron, Ohio. The Learned Owl is also making a $1 donation to the Landing for every copy the bookstore sells and is selling PERSONALIZED AND SIGNED copies on the novel. They can ship anywhere.

Amanda Flower, a national bestselling and Agatha Award winning mystery author. She also writes mysteries as USA Today bestselling author Isabella Alan. In addition to being an author, Amanda is librarian in Northeast Ohio. Follow Amanda on Social Media at: Facebook Twitter Instagram

Amanda is giving away a copy of CRIME AND POETRY.
Leave a comment with your email address to enter!

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 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!