Sunday, April 5, 2015

Learn how to make Rose Garden Fudge with guest author Christine DeSmet!

Please welcome today's guest author, Christine DeSmet, with a lovely spring recipe for this beautiful Easter day. In today's post, she not only shares a recipe and tells us about her new release, but she also teaches us how to crystallize rose petals for gorgeous garnishes. Take it away, Christine! 

~ Cleo

I’m thrilled to bring Ava Oosterling’s "Rose Garden Fudge" to new readers and cooks. This recipe appears in Hot Fudge Frame-Up, Book 2 of the Fudge Shop Mystery series.

Five-Alarm Fudge debuts April 7 with more fudge recipes. It features a divinity fudge recipe created in the 1800s by a Belgian nun made famous in the United States when a miracle happened to her. True story. More on miracles later.

Cooking with roses is fun because they’re pungent and pretty. Rose petals and rose oils are commonly added to many main-meal dishes, such as rice and salads.

When cooking with roses, please be sure to use petals that are free of chemicals.

I called local florists to see if I could find untainted roses. I could not. I wanted fresh, organic roses and here in Madison, Wis., they eluded me.

I’m a walker, and I recalled that two of my neighbors had rose bushes.

Luckily, Ken Belmore—also a walker—said I could have all the red roses I wanted from his bushes next to his house on a lake. (So appropriate since my series is set on a lake.) Thanks, Ken!

In Hot Fudge Frame-Up, the rose garden where some hanky-panky goes on is filled with every rose color imaginable. I’d love to make confetti rose fudge sometime.

Rose petals can be used dried or fresh. Be sure to pick apart the petals on whole blossoms to inspect for any insects, which are rare. I also dry and crystallize petals with sugar to serve like tiny chips alongside the Rose Garden Fudge.

Back to that miracle involving my new book, which features fires. I was researching for proof of a divinity fudge recipe made by a famous Belgian nun.

I discovered the Great Fire of 1871 took an estimated 1,500 lives in the region of my mystery series on Oct. 8-9 of that dry year, but a wood church and the young nun within it were spared right in the middle of the flames. A miracle.

As I researched more, I found the young Belgian nun had said she experienced Marian visits—in which Mary, the mother of Jesus, appeared to request she devote her life to teaching children. This is the only such Marian visit sanctioned in the United States by the Catholic Church. A church was built on the site, and it’s now visited by thousands every year in the tiny rural area near where my fudge series takes place. Sister Adele is buried next to the church.

I find out the most fascinating history when looking for fudge recipes.

Rose Garden Fudge

Rose petals are lovely, edible additions to confections and desserts. Use organic (chemical free), fresh rose petals in your favorite colors for this recipe. You can find edible flowers in specialty shops or produce sections of grocery stores, and if not, you might do what I did—ask your neighbor for a couple of blooms.

Before you cook: Prepare an 8x8-inch pan by either greasing it with butter on the bottom and sides, or lining it with wax paper so that the wax paper comes over the edges. Spray the paper lightly with nonstick vegetable cooking spray.


2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips*
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons rosewater
1 medium rose blossom in full bloom (about 2 inches across)

Optional: crystallized rose petals for garnish**

Directions: Prepare the rose petals that you want to go into the fudge. Pluck from blossom, then cut each into small edible pieces (half-inch diameter or smaller).

Put chips, milk, butter, and salt in a medium-sized sauce pan on medium heat. Stir constantly until melted and glassy. Will take about 20 minutes.

Add the extract and rose water. Stir thoroughly. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle fudge with rose petals. Work into the top of the fudge with a greased spatula.

*Using white chips: This is lovely when made with white chocolate and I prefer that variety because the roses show up so well against the white fudge, however the rose flavor can be overpowering. When using white chocolate, reduce the rosewater to 1 tablespoon.

**To crystallize rose petals: Use whole petals plucked fresh from the blossom. Mix powdered egg whites or powdered meringue according to directions on the package. Dip rose petals in the prepared mixture; let excess drip off each petal. Set on waxed paper and sprinkle both sides with extra-fine sugar, such as bartender’s sugar. Let dry. Drying will take about two days, depending on the humidity in the air.

About the author

Christine DeSmet writes the national, bestselling Fudge Shop Mystery Series (Penguin Random House/NAL/Obsidian).

The series stars amateur sleuth Ava Oosterling and her Grandpa Gil who operate Oosterlings’ Live Bait, Bobbers & Belgian Fudge & Beer on a Lake Michigan harbor in Door County, Wis., which is known as the Cape Cod of the Midwest.

Christine is available through Facebook or her website,, and University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she teaches writing,

Be sure to look for Christine's newest release—Five-Alarm Fudge, on sale April 7th. When a visiting European prince asks Ava Oosterling to unearth a priceless, 1800s divinity fudge recipe, the request fans the flames of foul play by an arsonist, with murder marring her Cinderella dreams. A tale of romance, royal relatives, and revenge.

Thank you, Christine!

We wish you and all of
our readers and followers,
a very...

Happy Easter!


  1. I never thought about adding roses to fudge before... Thank you for the recipe.

  2. How lovely! I remember when I was young, we had small containers of both candied violets and candied rose petals (and since they were candied, of course I sampled them!). Now I can make my own!

    Wishing you a successful book launch!

  3. Happy Easter! I am looking forward to Five-Alarm this series!

  4. Thanks for the good wishes. And I love those candied roses, too! Fun to make.

  5. Christine - A beautiful post! Thank you for joining us today and congratulations on your new release this week. Happy Easter to you and all of our readers!

    ~ Cleo

  6. What a lovely story, and how appropriate for Easter! Thanks for sharing that, Christine. I'm looking forward to making my own crystallized rose petals with your instructions. It doesn't sound as difficult as I thought it might be!

    1. Christine DeSmetApril 5, 2015 at 6:00 PM

      Krista, they're very easy. Enjoy!

  7. The fudge looks so pretty on the cover of the book! I think I need to start this series.

  8. This was such a lovely blog post today and it brought back many memories of growing up with all of the recipes that my Mom used to make using rosewater. We candied violets every year and we used rose petals for decoration by putting them in silica gel but I don't remember using them for cooking. My favorite Madeleine recipes uses rosewater and it is getting harder and harder to get in our area. Looking forward to Five Alarm Fudge as I know it will be great like the others. Much success.