Thursday, December 13, 2018

Slow Cooker Blade Roast #recipe from Linda Wiken

Not long now until our diets will change for several days in a row. So, I decided I needed a roast before those days descend. I also wanted something I could do in my slow cooker since this was for a family meal and I'd be out most of that day. I thumbed through my cookbook but couldn't make up my mind. And then I found an easy recipe in the flyer from a local food store.

Then I had to go and complicate it by deciding that instead of using the Kobi BBQ Sauce they recommend (and sell), I'd do my own.

So, not so easy any longer although it did take a lot less work that I'd anticipated. And it turned out to be very tasty. In fact, I'll make it again.

And oh my, the aroma that filled my house when I got back home!

I don't know if I'll use a blade roast again -- too much fat for my tastes -- but it was enjoyed by all.

What you'll need:

1/2 onion, diced
1/2 fresh ginger, grated
2 tbsp. honey
1/2 c. beef broth
1/2 c. BBQ sauce
blade roast

What to do:

1. Place roast in slow cooker and cover with 1/2 c. beef broth, 1/2 c. BBQ sauce, diced onions, grated ginger, minced garlic, and 2 tbsp. honey.

2. Cook in a slow cooker on low heat for 8 hours.

What you'll need for the BBQ sauce: (this makes a large amount, which you can use in other recipes)

3/4 c. Ketchup
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp. paprika
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. Worceshire sauce,
1/2 tsp. cayenne 1
1 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. chili paste or similar

 Enjoy with rice or potatoes and your choice of veggies.


The perfect stocking stuffer for the foodie mystery lover -
Marinating in Murder, book #3
Recipes included!

Here's a taste of the reviews:     

Wiken’s third entry to the Dinner Club series is a clever twist on the classic whodunit… The book will have you guessing until the very end…. All in all, an intriguing read by Wiken.” – RT Reviews

"Foodies will love this book and this series. Great recipes are included as well....A fun romp of intrigue filled with foodie fun." -- Open Book Society

ROUX THE DAY,  the second  Dinner Club Mystery is available in paper and as an e-book. 
Recipes included!

TOASTING UP TROUBLE, the first in the Dinner Club Mysteries is available at your favorite bookstore and on-line, as a paperback and as an e-book.  
Recipes included!

Writing as Erika Chase -- the Ashton Corners Book Club Mystery series are available on-line or at your favorite bookstore.

Visit Linda at
Love to hear from you at my Facebook author page and
on Twitter  @LWiken  
Also appearing at

Visit Erika at 
 at my Facebook author page
and on Twitter  @erika_chase.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Banana Eggnog Cake #recipe from author @DarylWoodGerber

 From Daryl

What do you want during this holiday? Peace and goodwill, got it. No acrimony. Kind words. Smiles. Happy faces. The sound of children laughing. I'm putting in my order now for all those things for you!

While we're waiting for miracles, how about something really scrumptious and easy to make? With or without icing. I honestly can't remember where I came up with this recipe, whether I found it online or just had extra eggnog and decided to make it. I must admit, I made it last year during the holidays. It was so yummy, I kept the recipe around for a whole year to share with you. It would've been silly to share it in January, right?

So here you go. Easy. Delicious. Maybe it will bring peace and goodwill and smiles and laughter. Miracles do happen.

PS  This is perfect for a book club gathering. Do any you  have holiday book club parties?

Banana Eggnog Cake

Gluten-free version (*regular version noted below)

3 cups gluten-free flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar (I used half white and brown)
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (gluten-free or use vanillin)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups eggnog
1 1/2 cups bananas, mashed well

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper.

For the cake:
Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt together in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs until fully incorporated. Stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or vanillin). Stir butter mixture into flour mixture.   

Add eggnog and mix until well combined. Gently stir in bananas. Pour batter into prepared 9x13-inch pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 50-55 minutes. 

Remove from oven. Let cake cool completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour, before frosting. (May remove from pan at this point and set on pretty cake plate.

For the frosting:

In a small bowl, beat butter and cream cheese together until creamy. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Add confectioners' sugar. Beat on medium-low speed until combined. Spread frosting onto cooled cake.

*If you want to make this using regular flour, swap out the gluten-free flour and omit the xanthan gum.  It will be great.

I made half with frosting and half without just to see how it tasted. Delicious, either way.

Wreath between the Lines BUY LINK

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A SOUFFLÉ OF SUSPICION, the 2nd French Bistro Mystery.
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The annual Renaissance Fair serves up a helping of crafty courtiers,
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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Caramel-Dipped Hazelnut Meltaway #Christmas #Cookies from Cleo Coyle's Coffeehouse Mysteries

Do you bake cookies for the holidays? Baking cookies is one of my longstanding joys. As a girl, I was my beloved Aunt Mary's little assistant, helping her fill gift trays (and decorated coffee cans) with Italian cookies, including Anginetti and Angel Wings, aka "Bow Tie" cookies. If you'd like those recipes, simply click the images below...

Click here for the recipe.

Click here for the recipe.

As for today's festive cookie recipe, readers may remember it from the culinary mystery series that I write with my husband. 

Caramel and hazelnut are among the most popular flavors for coffeehouse lattes, which is why we included a version of this recipe in our 14th Coffeehouse Mystery, Once Upon a Grind. To learn more about the book and the other recipes included in it, click here or on the image below. 

Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.

A Recipe Note from Cleo

These cookies make a great visual impression on holiday and dessert trays, yet they're relatively easy to make--no rolling pin or special decorating skills required. They're worth making, too, because they're so delicious, marrying the buttery tenderness of meltaway shortbread with the creamy sweetness of caramel and the crunchy earthiness of hazelnuts. 

Note for those worried about nut allergies, there are no nuts in the cookies themselves, so you can adapt the recipe, finishing some with nuts and others with colorful sprinkles for dessert trays.

By the way, if hazelnuts are not available, no worries there, either. Try finely chopped walnuts or pecans. Either will give you that lovely crunchy, nutty finish to a cookie you’re sure to…eat with joy!

~ Cleo

To download this recipe 
in a free PDF that you can 
print, save, or share, click here.

Click for the Free Recipe PDF.

Cleo Coyle's
Caramel-Dipped Hazelnut
Meltaway Cookies 

Makes about 3 dozen cookies (depending on thickness)

For the Cookies: 

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg yolk (use a large egg)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spoon into cup and level off)

For the Dipping:

50 soft caramels or 2 cups Caramel Bits
2 tablespoons nut milk or half-and-half
1 cup finely chopped hazelnuts (or walnuts or pecans)

Cleo’s Nutty Tips: If using raw, whole hazelnuts, be sure to remove the bitter brown skins. See directions on how at the end of this recipe. As for chopping, use a nut grinder or place nuts into a resealable plastic bag and finely crush them with a mallet or rolling pin.

Step 1 – Make the dough: Using an electric mixer, cream the softened butter, powdered sugar, and brown sugar. Add egg yolk and blend until smooth. Add baking powder and salt and beat again until incorporated. Finally, measure the flour by spooning into your measuring cup and leveling it off (do not scoop, which will pack the flour and result in too much). Add the flour and mix on low speed until blended. Flour your hands and gather the dough together, knead it slightly to smooth and form it into a ball. 

Step 2 – Form log and chill: Turn the dough onto a parchment paper-covered surface and gently roll it into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap the log in the parchment paper and then wrap that parchment paper in plastic wrap to prevent the dough from drying out. Chill the wrapped log in the fridge for at least 3 hours. This will harden up the log so that when you cut the cookies, they will keep their round shape. You can chill the log even longer, if you like, overnight or up to 2 days—just be sure that it's wrapped in plastic to prevent drying.

Step 3 – Slice and bake: Preheat the oven to 300° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the chilled dough log into cookies (between ¼ and ½ inch in thickness). Bake 15 to 25 minutes. Time will depend on your particular oven and the thickness of the cookies. When are they done? The centers should still be creamy but the bottom of the cookies should be golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven, and allow the cookies to remain on the hot pan for 10 minutes. Do not remove cookies before then (cookies are fragile when warm).

Step 4 – Dip the cooled cookies in caramel and nuts: Place the finely chopped hazelnuts into a shallow bowl and set aside. Place the unwrapped caramel candies (or Caramel Bits) and nut milk (or half-and-half) in a non-stick saucepan. Continually stir over low heat until the candies melt. If the melted candies are still too thick for dipping, add a bit more milk or half-and-half, but be careful not to overly liquefy the caramel. When consistency is right, turn heat to low. 

Gently dip top edges of each cooled cookie into the saucepan of melted caramels, allowing excess caramel to drain off. Dip each cookie’s caramel edge into your bowl of chopped hazelnuts. Gently rest on a wax-paper-lined pan until set with joy!