Sunday, December 29, 2013

Salted Caramel Sauce and a New Year’s Wish

We are delighted to welcome home Wendy Watson, who is now also known as Annie Knox. She has a brand, spanking new series debuting on January 7th with PAWS FOR MURDER! We wish you enormous success with the Pet Boutique Mysteries, Annie!

And now, take it away Annie~

Thank you to Krista and the rest of the Kitchen crew for letting me join you all today. As a former regular member, if feels good to be back.

The Christmas trees, menorahs, and Festivus poles have all been packed away for the year, and we’re about to flip the calendar to 2014. Traditionally, New Year’s is a time for reflection on the year gone by and a chance to resolve to make the next year even better.

In my world, 2013 was A-OK. My husband and I started the year by celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary and renewing our vows. Sigh. Very romantic. Summer brought a long and goofy road trip with two of my best friends. The rest of the year was filled with my day job (which I happen to love) and writing (two new books, and one heck of an edit on a third). Really, it’s been a great year.

The new year promises to be as fun and busy as the last. I’m planning trips to both Romantic Times and Malice Domestic, and my friends and I are recreating that road trip. What’s more, I have three books coming out (both Paws for Murder and Groomed for Murder in the Pet Boutique Mystery series, and a funny, edgy mystery that has yet to be named).

Sounds like fun, right?

It is, but I know that a great year requires a lot of effort: prioritizing tasks, balancing work and play, and most importantly, making time for friends and family.

That is my New Year’s wish: that I find—no, MAKE—the time in my busy schedule to grab lunch or a glass of wine with my girlfriends every week, to make my husband feel as loved as he makes me feel, to call my mom and my sister on a more regular basis. Friends and family aren’t just for special occasions like holidays and road trips. They’re the backbone of a happy and balanced life.

One thing I do with my friends is eat. I’m officially the Bringer of Dessert, but I don’t always have time to make a pie or a layer cake or a flourless chocolate torte. But I always have time to whip up this caramel sauce. It’s wonderful on ice cream (as pictured, being poured over coffee Heath bar crunch), but it’s wonderfully versatile: use is as a dip for a dessert fondue of pound cake and fresh fruit, pour it over cheesecake, swirl a little in your coffee … well, you get the picture.

Five Minute Salted Caramel Sauce

4 Tbs. butter

1 c. light brown sugar

2/3 c. heavy cream

2 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. rum extract (optional)

1 tsp. medium flake sea salt (optional)

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and whisk until the mixture is well combined, thick, and slightly shiny (about 2 minutes).

Whisk in cream and continue to cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture starts to bubble (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat and whisk in extract(s) and salt.

Allow to cool before serving.

Bio: Annie Knox writes the Pet Boutique Mysteries for NAL. The first in the series, Paws for Murder will be out on January 7, and the second, Groomed for Murder, is scheduled for a September release. The series follows Izzy McHale, owner of Trendy Tails, a pet boutique in Merryville, Minnesota. Merryville has a pretty high body count, but Izzy and her friends and family are ready to solve the crimes that keep dropping into their lives.

Annie also writes as Wendy Lyn Watson. You can find them both on the web ( and and on Facebook (/annieknoxauthor and /wendylynwatson)


  1. Annie/Wendy, we're so glad to have you back! Your books sound wonderful--and the caramel sauce, oh my...hope all your dreams for 2014 come true! xo

    1. Thanks for having me, Lucy/Roberta. :) I've missed hanging out in the kitchen more than I expected. Wishing you, too, a happy 2014.

  2. Skip the ice cream and just eat the stuff with a spoon! Sounds great, as does your new book. MLK will rock 2014!

  3. I can't wait to get my paws on your new book. And the caramel sauce looks out of this world.

  4. Welcome back to the Kitchen, Annie/Wendy! Warm congrats on the launch of a brand new series. It sounds like your 2014 is packed with exciting stuff--all good, just like that caramel sauce. Marc and I wish you the very best for the New Year and always. ~ Cleo

  5. Oh yum. I love caramel...especially with the addition of that sea salt!

  6. Hi, Wendy/Annie! Great to have you here. So excited for your new series. Love the title. I agree that friends and family have to be nurtured. They are the backbone :) Love the salty caramel sauce. Fun.

    Wishing you a happy, healthy, successful new year!

    Daryl / Avery

  7. Hi Wendy/Annie! I *wish* my Christmas stuff was already packed, actually I am still enjoying it and will leave it up till next weekend. I, too, am the "bringer of desserts." This sounds like a great recipe to have on hand for those times when I'm caught short. I agree with you that a successful year takes planning and balance, and I hope to work on those plans before the ball drops on new year's eve.

  8. So good to see the rest of the kitchen ladies, and few other familiar faces. Thanks to all on the warm wishes for the Pet Boutique series. And, Peg, isn't "bringer of desserts" a great hat to wear. Everyone loves dessert!

  9. It's lovely to have you back, Wendy. Congrats on the new series. Sounds like great fun and I'm looking forward to it.

    Thanks for this dessert idea! You rock - I needed an idea for an event tomorrow and this is it.


  10. Coffee heath bar crunch ice cream?! AND caramel sauce?! Oh, be still my heart.

  11. Thanks for joining us today, Wendy! Frankly, I can't get enough salted caramel. Yum, yum, yum! Best if luck with your new series! I can't wait to read it!