Showing posts with label raspberries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label raspberries. Show all posts

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Mystery Lovers' Kitchen is delighted to welcome Edith Maxwell, whose latest book Farmed and Dangerous has just been released, as our guest today. Edith is a very busy writer these days (four series!), but she still finds time to come up with great recipes.

I’m tickled pink to be back, or maybe I should say I’m tickled chocolate-colored. My latest Local Foods mystery, Farmed and Dangerous, takes place in deep winter in Massachusetts. And boy, did we have a winter this year! Even though it’s now sunny and green outside, when a blizzard rages a person’s thoughts turn to soups, stews, and baking (right, Sheila?). And chocolate.

While this cake isn’t described in the book, it certainly something Cam could have enjoyed baking. It doesn’t really involve locally grown produce, but she’s much less of an avid locavore than her customers are. Not that she minds getting paid for supplying them, though.

I made this cake for Easter brunch this year (it was STILL cold out at Easter) because I had a gluten- and dairy-free guest coming, and this cake fits the bill. It’s not a bit short on flavor, though.

Flourless Chocolate Cake
12 servings (depending…)

1-1/4 cup roasted almonds
3/4 cup plus 4 T sugar
6 oz good quality semisweet chocolate chips
10 cardamom pods
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup cocoa powder
Juice and zest of one large orange
6 eggs, separated
Kosher salt
1 pint fresh raspberries, divided in half

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour some Cointreau in a glass and sip.

Rub oil inside nine-inch spring form pan and set on a baking sheet.

Use a hammer or a mortar and pestle to pound the pods until the husks open. Remove and discard the husks. In a food processor, combine cardamom seeds, almonds, and 1/4 cup sugar. Process until well chopped.

Add chocolate and process until well ground. Move mixture to a bowl. Whisk in cinnamon, cocoa powder, orange juice, and zest until smooth.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar until significantly thickened. 

Stir in the other mixture.

Whisk the egg whites and a pinch of salt with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add 2 T of sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form.

Working in three batches, fold whites into yolk mixture.

Pour batter into spring form pan, then place pan on baking sheet in the middle of the oven. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.

Cool to room temperature, then run a knife around the perimeter of the pan and release the sides.

Lightly mash half the raspberries in a small saucepan, add 2 T sugar, and gently heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup Cointreau (or more, depending…).
Use a chopstick to gently poke holes into the top of the cake.

Array rest of fresh raspberries hole down on the cake, then spoon cooked mixture over top.


Edith will be delighted to offer a copy of Farmed and Dangerous to someone who comments here (please include your email so she can reach you). The selection will be made by a random drawing. Read about the book below!

Organic farmer Cam Flaherty is struggling to provide the promised amount of food to her customers in her first winter in Westbury, Massachusetts, and her new greenhouse might just collapse from the weight of the snow. Supplying fresh ingredients for a dinner at the local assisted living facility seems like the least of her worries—until a cantankerous resident with a lot of enemies dies after eating the meal.

But while the motives in this case may be plentiful, the trail of poisoned produce leads straight back to Cam. Not even her budding romance with police detective Pete Pappas will keep him from investigating her.

As the suspects gather, a blizzard buries the scene of the crime under a blanket of snow, leaving Cam stranded in the dark with a killer who gives new meaning to the phrase “dead of winter.”

Agatha-nominated and Amazon-bestselling author Edith Maxwell writes four murder mystery series, most with recipes, as well as award-winning short stories.

Farmed and Dangerous is the latest in Maxwell's Local Foods Mysteries series (Kensington Publishing). The latest book in the Lauren Rousseau mysteries, under the pseudonym Tace Baker (Barking Rain Press), is Bluffing is Murder. Maxwell’s Country Store Mysteries, written as Maddie Day (also from Kensington), will debut with Flipped for Murder in November, 2015. Her Quaker Midwife Mysteries series features Quaker midwife Rose Carroll solving mysteries in 1888 Amesbury with John Greenleaf Whittier’s help, and will debut in March, 2016 with Delivering the Truth.

A fourth-generation Californian, Maxwell lives in an antique house north of Boston with her beau and three cats. She blogs every weekday with the other Wicked Cozy Authors (, and you can find her at, @edithmaxwell, on Pinterest and Instagram, and at

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Celebrate Raspberry Cake Day with @LucyBurdette #recipe

LUCY BURDETTE: Imagine my surprise and pleasure when I learned that July 31 is Raspberry Cake Day! (At least it isn't Moldy Cheese Day--I kid you not, that's on the calendar for October 9. Who thinks these things up?)

Of course you know what came next...I had to make a raspberry cake to share with you. As it turns out we were getting together with friends and I was able to wrestle the dessert assignment away from the other cooks. This recipe turned out so well that I will certainly be using it in the next food critic mystery--I'm thinking Hayley Snow will make it for the man she hopes will become her Valentine. (She's putting a lot of pressure on the cake, but more about that to come later.)

I borrowed this unusual order for putting the cake together from the BACK IN THE DAY BAKERY COOKBOOK, one of my newest acquisitions. The same method is recommended in one of my old favorites, JOY OF COOKING, one of my first cookbooks. If I say so myself, it turned out to be amazing!

Ingredients for the cake

1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 and 3/4 cup cake flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 cups sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 cup milk 
4 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract 

3-4 Tbsp good quality raspberry jam

Ingredients for the icing

1 8 oz block cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
confectioner's sugar

2 boxes of fresh raspberries--about 30 for the icing, and 40ish for decoration

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by buttering them well, lining with parchment, and then buttering the parchment too.
    Mix all the dry cake ingredients in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add cool cubes of butter, a few at a time, and continue beating on low for about 1-2 minutes. Beat the eggs in one at a time, mixing well but minimally after each.

 Mix the milk with the extracts.

    Add 1/2 cup of milk mixture to flour mixture and beat until combined. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat for about 1 minute.

    Pour batter evenly into the two prepared cake pans.

    Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and cake springs back when touched, in the neighborhood of 25 minutes. (Watch this because you don't want to overcook...)

    Cool the pans  for ten minutes, then remove the cakes, one to a plate and the other to waxed paper, and allow them to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, prepare the frosting by beating together the cream cheese and butter, then add vanilla and confectioner's sugar to your taste. (I used about a cup.) Now gradually beat in the raspberries until your desired pink color is achieved.

Spread one of the cooled cakes with a layer of frosting, and then a layer of jam.

Layer on the other cake. Frost top and sides and decorate with remaining berries.

Prepare for your guests to swoon! (SHOULD there be any left over, refrigerate until you are ready to eat it.)

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

 Follow Lucy on Facebook

And Twitter

And Pinterest.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Celebration Cheesecake!

by Sheila Connolly

Wow, time flies when you’re having fun! And clearly we here at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen think cooking and sharing the results are fun, because we’ve been doing it for five years now.

To celebrate this milestone, this week and next we’re holding a contest: you can win one of five great MLK tote bags filled with copies of each of our books. All you need to do is to take a picture of one of our books in a fun setting—and there are five categories to choose from, and you can enter one photo in each! To enter, click HERE or go to our FaceBook page

But wait! There’s more! All this week each of us will be giving away one of our own books, and next week we’ll be giving away books from our blog alumnae. Just leave a comment on our post and tell us how you shared our contest or our anniversary news. You can enter each day, for each new post—that’s a total of twelve chances to win! Don’t forget to include your email address in your comment so we can find you.

I’m happy to offer a signed copy of the NYT bestselling Golden Malicious, the most recent Orchard Mystery (which just happens to take place during a hot summer).  Better read it soon: the next one in the series, Picked to Die, comes out this October! (If you already have this one, you can choose something else.)

So, readers, please spread the word about our MLK celebration, enter our contests, and continue to visit the blog and comment on our recipes.

Oh, right: I’m supposed to give you a new recipe today!

As you may have noticed this week, “celebrate” usually means dessert to us—and what a wonderful range we’ve found! Something for everyone—either seasonal fruit or chocolate. Or both, as in this recipe, which I shamelessly borrowed from a long-time friend (who also likes desserts!).

Raspberry Cheesecake


1-1/2 cups finely crushed Oreos
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease the bottom of a 9” spring-form pan.

Mix the two ingredients and press into the bottom of the pan.

Bake for seven minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees.

Berry filling and topping:

1-1/4 cup sugar
3 Tblsp cornstarch
1-1/2 cups ripe raspberries (you may use frozen, 
   and you may combine berries or add cranberries)
¾ cup cran-raspberry juice

In a saucepan, mix the sugar and the cornstarch. Add the berries and juice and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens. Put through a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Strain through a sieve or colander to remove any skins and seeds.

Cheesecake filling:

4 8-oz. packages of cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup sugar (taste your berry mixture first—you can
   cut down the sugar if the berries are sweet)
4 eggs
½ cup heavy cream

Beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just blended. Stir in the heavy cream.

Pour half of the filling mixture on top of the baked crust. Carefully spoon half of the sauce over the filling. CAREFULLY spoon the rest of the filling over the fruit mixture in the pan (oh, all right, if it gets mixed up, it’ll still taste good!).  Set aside the rest of the berry mixture.

Place a shallow pan half full of hot water on the lower oven rack (this is to humidify your oven). Put the cheesecake pan on a rack above this.

Bake for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours, until the edge of the cheesecake is set at least two inches from the edge of the pan. The center should still be jiggly.

Run a small metal spatula around the top edge of the pan to loosen the cheesecake and put it back in the oven. Turn the oven off and open the oven door a few inches. Let the cheesecake cool gradually in the oven, about half an hour (this should keep it from cracking).

Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a rack for another 30 minutes. Then place the cheesecake in the fridge and cool for at least six hours before serving (overnight is fine).

When you’re ready to serve, remove the outer ring of the spring-form pan, place the cheesecake on a serving plate, and spoon the remaining berry mixture over the top.

This week we’re also touching base with our alumnae, to see how they’ve kept busy since they “graduated”. Jennifer Stanley has more mystery series to her credit than I can count on one hand: the Hope Street Church Mysteries (under her own name), The Collectibles Mysteries (as J. B. Stanley), the Supper Club Mysteries (also as J. B. Stanley); and as Ellery Adams, the Books by the Bay Mysteries, the Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries, and the new Book Retreat Mysteries—the first book, Murder in the Mystery Suite, is coming out next month!

Here’s what Jennifer Stanley says about it:
“Murder in the Mystery Suite is set at a resort for book lovers and will feature daily afternoon teas in the Agatha Christie Tea Room, decadent meals in the Madame Bovary Dining Room, and sandwiches in the Kipling Cafe. As usual, I'll be doing my best to come up with tempting food descriptions (as well as a few dead bodies).”

Jenn would be happy if you contacted her at to
get her thoughts on MLK and tell her about your favorite recipe. Here’s hers:

“My favorite recipe is probably my charmed pecan chocolate bourbon pie because it's so easy to make and the recipe produces two pies, so there's one for you and one for a friend. The recipe reminds me of MLK because it's basically a group of friends sharing recipes with other friends.”

Please come celebrate with us and enter our contests! You can see the entries HERE at the bottom of the page. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Almost Valentine's Day!

From Avery Aames:

Happy almost Valentine's Day. 

First, thanks to all of my fans for buying TO BRIE OR NOT TO BRIE this past week. I've had the best sales ever in the series! Charlotte and the gang thank you, too. Whee.

Now...we've had lots of posts for chocolate this week, and I won't disappoint. I will post some of my all-time favorite chocolate recipes that I've shared before. 

But first, you need a meal, right?  A romantic meal with candlelight and perhaps some protein in the mix? 

There's nothing I like more than romance. Not even chocolate. I love candlelight. 

An intimate conversation. 

Holding hands, possibly just glancing fingertips. 

A sip of wine. 

A stolen kiss. I know, I sound like I'm writing for a romance novel, but I like including a little romance in all of my books.

In TO BRIE OR NOT TO BRIE, my latest Cheese Shop Mystery, there's an upcoming wedding. In addition, Charlotte has an intimate meal with Jordan, the brush of his fingertips on her cheek. A picnic in the park while watching a production of Hamlet, open-aire. 

All very romantic. All to set the mood because someone who wasn't romantic, who wasn't a good man, comes to town and dies. The contrast is vital. 

Do you like a romantic meal? Do you like a little romance in your mystery? When is a mystery "too romantic"?  

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

In the meantime, here's a lovely dinner salad to start your evening.

Serve with champagne or a crisp pinot grigio.


For the Poached Pears:

2 firm Bosc pears, sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Zinfandel wine (or a hearty dry red wine)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Bosc pears can keep their peels. So slice each pear into 8 slices.
In a saucepan over high heat, bring the sugar, water, wine, lemon juice and spices to a boil.
Add the pears and simmer 5-10 minutes until tender, turning the pears often.
Remove from heat. Cool pears in their syrup.

For the salad:

Bib lettuce
Bleu cheese slices (I used one slice each of Point Reyes blue and Roaring 40's blue)
Poached pears (recipe above)

Lay 2-3 pieces of bib lettuce on a salad or dinner plate. Arrange cooled pears, 3-5 per plate. Arrange 2 slices of bleu cheese on either side of the pears. Decorate with raspberries. Drizzle with the cooled "pear" syrup.

*Remember to take a bite of the cheese with the pears and raspberries. The salt (from the cheese) and sugar combo is supreme!

And now...for all you chocolate lovers. Enjoy the next portion!! The links are right below the pictures.

A chocolate truffle cake, ala Ruth's Chris Steak House (tweaked to double-ensure wheat free).

Shared a few weeks ago: A chocolate ganache cake. Super decadent.

A Valentine's Chocolate and Cheese Platter: I used a variety of cheddars

Say cheese!

* * * * * * *

The 4th in A Cheese Shop Mystery series: 
February 2013.

You can order the book HERE. 

Click this link to watch the TRAILER

Click this link to read an EXCERPT.

Click this link to hear a PODCAST

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

Chat with me on Facebook and Twitter.

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

Also, you probably know by now about my alter ego,
DARYL WOOD GERBER...and her new series
debuts July 2013

"Like" Daryl's page on Facebook and "follow" Daryl on Twitter.
"She" doesn't say all the same things "Avery" does. Promise.

Say cheese!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday Salad with Brie! Say cheese!

  From Avery and Daryl:

On Sunday, our guest Melissa Bourbon Ramirez offered a giveaway. The winner is:

KIMBERLEY!!  Congratulations.

Kimberley, write me at Avery at AveryAames dot com and give me your snail mail address so I might pass it along to Melissa.

* * *

And now...

Happy closer to the holidays. Are you ready? Set? Okay, go! Cook up a storm if you have to or sit back and relax and pamper yourself. When was the last time you did that? How about a day trip for a picnic (even to a covered mall)? How about a nice walk in the park or along the street? We all need mini-vacations, now more than ever when life comes at us 24/7, with cell phones and social media.

So, as many of you have heard me say before, BREATHE. Yes, I have to remind myself to breathe, too, because there’s so much to do. In addition to the holidays, I have a new book coming out February. Whenever there’s a new launch…and a book to be delivered…and parties to throw…BREATHE.

Sorry, light was a little dim.
Washington Square,
note the birds along the top
By the way…a little segue…I did take a vacation recently. It wasn’t a mini-vacation. Every year my husband has a conference in New York around this time, so I accompanied him. I expected 30 degrees and snow. It was approximately 65 degrees and sunny the entire time (except one morning, rainy). Delightful. I saw family and friends and visited with my editor. Love her. And I got to meet our very own Cleo Coyle and hubby (Alice and Marc in real life) for lunch, which is the point of this whole segue. We had such a great chat. They introduced me to a fabulous pizza place, Otto’s Pizzeria, near Washington Square (where I was able to eat gluten-free). What fun!  [I posted pictures on my Facebook page. Here's the LINK.]

And now back to food…I hope you'll enjoy a simple salad (or entrée), perfect for the holidays. Yes, I use Brie, in keeping with my “addiction” to the delicious cheese for the next month, in honor of the fourth in A Cheese Shop Mystery series, TO BRIE OR NOT TO BRIE.

Enjoy. Happy, merry. And may you enjoy the love of family or friends (human or furry). And read a good book!


(serves 8)


FOR THE VINAIGRETTE {makes 1-1/2 cups}
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
Juice of half an Orange
2 teaspoons honey
A pinch of dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon white ground pepper
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

8 oz mixed salad greens
2 ripe apples, quartered and sliced thin {I used Ambrosia*}
One 6 oz Brie log, sliced
1/3 cup pecans, toasted
A few pinches of kosher salt
Extra raspberries for garnish


Bring the Brie cheese to room temperature (about a half hour).

Meanwhile, puree the raspberries and strain them through a wire mesh sieve (to remove all those pesky seeds). Combine the berry puree, honey, vinegar, kosher salt, white pepper, and orange juice in a bowl and whisk while slowly pouring a steady stream of the olive oil. Taste to check seasonings. Adjust the spices if you think they’re needed (mine was just right), then set the dressing aside.
Place a handful of greens on 8 plates. Quarter the apples and remove the core. Slice the apples into ultra thin pieces (a quarter apple per serving), arrange on top of the greens. Slice Brie and lay three to four slices on each salad. Drizzle with the raspberry vinaigrette and garnish with the toasted pecans and extra raspberries, if you have some.

Note: Apples

I used Ambrosia, which I discovered is a relatively new cultivar originating in British Columbia in the early 1990s. It is medium to large in size and has mostly red coloration mixed with lovely yellow. It is firm and very sweet, reminiscent of pear.

* * * * * * *

The 4th in A Cheese Shop Mystery series: 
coming February 2013.

You can pre-order the book HERE. 

Click this link to watch the TRAILER

Click this link to read an EXCERPT.

Click this link to hear a PODCAST of chapter one.

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

Chat with me on Facebook and Twitter.

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

Also, you probably know by now about my alter ego,
DARYL WOOD GERBER...and her new series
debuts July 2013

"Like" Daryl's page on Facebook and "follow" Daryl on Twitter.
"She" doesn't say all the same things "Avery" does. Promise.

Say cheese!