Thursday, September 4, 2014

Murder with Ganache and Nocciolato Fudge #recipe for #BookClubs #books

LUCY BURDETTE: Welcome to Book Club Week at MLK! I love book clubs--love belonging and love visiting. And I love recommending books for clubs to consider:). This time around I’d like to suggest MURDER WITH GANACHE, the fourth in the Key West food critic mystery series.

MWG is a cozy mystery starring Hayley Snow, a food critic who lives on a houseboat in Key West. Her extended family is descending on the island like a category 3 hurricane for her best friend's wedding. When her stepbrother disappears into the spring break party scene, she must put the baking of cupcakes and other wedding chores on hold in order to search for her brother. The book features Hemingway cats, and cupcakes, and wedding drama, but in the end it's about finding and embracing family in whatever form they come.

If you are going to choose MURDER WITH GANACHE for one of your book club selections this year (and I hope you will--I love this book, and there are so many things to talk about), as the hostess, you must resign yourself to providing something chocolate. 

You might choose hot fudge pie or chocolate cake, both swoon-worthy, but here is an easy alternative. This recipe began as Chocolate Nutella Fudge from the Tasty Kitchen--until I read the list of ingredients on the Nutella package. At that point, thinking there must be something better, I searched for a substitute, and found an organic chocolate-hazelnut spread that is really quite incredible.

Nocciolato Fudge


1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (make these good quality, as it will show)
1 cup Nocciolato (organic chocolate-hazelnut Spread--I used the whole 9.5 oz jar)
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
½ teaspoon sea salt or pink salt


To make the fudge:

Line an 8 by 8 inch pan with two layers of parchment paper, overlap on the sides.

In a stainless steel bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, chocolate chips, hazelnut spread, and butter.

Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. (The pan should not touch the water.)

Stir until the chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is smooth, 5 to 7 minutes.

Scrape the mixture into the papered pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with sea salt. (I would have used some of Krista’s pink sea salt if I’d had it on hand--so pretty!)

Refrigerate until the fudge is firm, at least 2 hours.
Lift the fudge out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut the fudge into bite-sized pieces and arrange on a pretty plate. Store leftovers (if there are any) in an airtight container in the fridge. This can also be made ahead and frozen.


As for what to discuss while enjoying the fudge, here are some questions to get things going:

1. Hayley’s mother says that “life develops around the kitchen table” and that “kids need to understand how food connects the people in their lives.” Hayley’s stepmom insists that life develops at work–who cares whether a mother uses a cake mix or serves macaroni from a box? Where would you stand in this argument?

2. Hayley’s parents have a disagreement about social justice on the way to the marina. How do you feel about the homeless people as presented in the book? Have you had any personal experience with homeless folks?

3. When Hayley’s brother Rory gets into trouble, the family struggles with how much to tell the police. They wonder whose side the cops are on. How do you think you might react in a similar situation? Would you trust the police to have your interests at heart?

4. Hayley says “Food meant comfort and love and even peace in my family.” If you had to sum it up, what would you say food meant to your family?

5. Hayley tells Rory “I’ve discovered that family has less to do with biology than it does with who cares enough to make the effort.” Does this statement ring true for you? Talk about a person who isn’t a blood relation in your life who feels like family.

6. When spirits are low, Hayley and her mom make comfort food for the extended family–spanakopita and Greek salad and strawberry whipped cream pie. What menu would you design to cheer up a troubled family member or friend?

 If you’d like to read some of the reviews on MURDER WITH GANACHE, you can do that right here. I was completely delighted this spring, when Woman's World magazine selected MURDER WITH GANACHE as a pick for a foodie book club. As you can see in the photo, they also recommended reading with a daiquiri in hand:).  Sounds like a good idea, right? Recipe here.

And, if you think your book club might like signed postcards from the Key West mysteries, leave a comment today with your email.

Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mystery series. DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS will be on bookshelves on December 2. You can preorder it now, from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite independent bookstore.

Follow Lucy on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

DEADLY ADVICE, the first advice column mystery (written as Roberta Isleib) is finally available as an ebook.  


  1. Fudge! I am undone. Oh Lucy. All I can say is Lucky Book Club.



    1. You're so funny MJ:) You deserve a platter of this stuff for release week! xoxo

  2. Great post, Lucy, and fudge for breakfast sounds good, pass the plate! Congrats on the Women's World mention, too -- and that daiquiri idea is bound to make any book club discussion even more... (wait for it) spirited! :)

    Thx for sharing with us and have a delicious week!
    ~ Cleo

  3. Fudge. I adore fudge! Nice recipe, and the questions are great!

    Daryl/ Avery

    1. thanks Daryl, it's always fun to think up questions while editing...xo

  4. Looking forward to "Death With All the Trimmings"!

    patucker54 at aol dot com

  5. Isn't it wonderful to find a substitute for Nutella that has real food in it?!
    This sounds delicious and simple. Perfect.

    1. I know, sometimes you have no idea what's in a product--and it can be a shock to read that label!

  6. Oh no! I'm such a label reader, but I've never read the label on Nutella. This recipe sounds wonderful, though.

  7. I just wanted to say that if anyone has a Trader Joe's near them, they used to if not still do carry an organic hazelnut product similar to this recipe ingredient and it is great. To comment on mother's making homemade from scratch food, when I was growing up a LOT of years ago, my mother made just about everything from scratch except dried pasta. We had gardens for fruit and vegetables and bought all of our meat at a butcher shop. She baked all of her own breads and pastries and I never really saw a loaf of bought bread in a plastic wrapper unless I visiting a friend or family members house. It was what I knew as that is what I was exposed to for most of my life and it did carry over as I still bake from scratch and make all of my own sauces and as much as I can of everything else. I have food allergies and making everything myself gives me such reassurance that I won't have an allergic reaction to it. Since I have had to be off my feet for all but an hour a day for many many months, my husband has had to take over kitchen duties pretty much all the time and he is doing well with my recipes and my cooking instructions, but we did have a few things that made meals a lot easier than from scratch but that is fine too. Whatever it takes and whatever you can do is what counts. Love this blog so much. Thank you.

    1. And we love hearing from you Cynthia--thank you so much! Thanks for the tip about Trader Joe's. Weren't you lucky to have your mom be such a good cook--I'm afraid my mother didn't like to cook much and embraced the onslaught of frozen and fast foods in the 50's and 60's:). Bless your husband for taking over your recipes--what a guy! xo

  8. Thank you for this recipe. I love your books. I can't wait for more Haley and Evinrude! :)