Sunday, June 28, 2015

Guest Post from Victoria Hamilton plus Bananas Foster Muffins!

Learn more about Victoria
and her books by
clicking here.

It's always a pleasure to welcome talented author Victoria Hamilton to our kitchen. 

Today she's sharing a deliciously creative recipe for Bananas Foster Muffins and news about the upcoming releases in her three terrific mystery series, including her upcoming release in July, DEATH OF AN ENGLISH MUFFIN. 

Take it away, Victoria!
~ Cleo

~ :: ~

It’s been one of those weeks...long, tiring, extremely busy. I’m not the most organized person in the world, so when I got a sweet note late Thursday reminding me—gently—that my guest blog for Mystery Lover’s Kitchen was due, I kind of went into panic mode. I had promised Bananas Foster Muffins, right? Well, yes I had, and I had also gotten it into my head that I had another full week to get it ready.

However...I really love coming to Mystery Lover’s Kitchen, and I was not going to let down the gang. Sure, I may have the manuscript for book #3 of my Teapot Collector’s Mystery, (I write them as Amanda Cooper) THE GRIM STEEPER (February 2016) due on July first. And I have a typeset edit of Book #5 of my Vintage Kitchen Mysteries, WHITE COLANDER CRIME (November 2015) sitting on my desktop to get in ASAP. And a multitude of other things, but don’t we all have busy lives?

I am woman, hear me roar. Or whimper. Depending on the day.

But muffins are the perfect bake-ahead, or bake-in-a-hurry for busy lives; they’re forgiving, homey and delicious. How hard would it be to whip them up? So I went on working to deadline; draft two of THE GRIM STEEPER is done as I write this, at 3:44 pm Friday. Now to whip up the muffins...

I look at the recipe I’m adapting—who ever leaves a recipe alone?—only to discover I don’t have dark rum. Okay, I’ll use either white rum or rum extract. I can do this. here was a conundrum. I have no eggs. I distinctly remember using the last two eggs yesterday for lunch, knowing I’d be shopping Saturday, except...well, dang. Today is Friday, I need to get the blog in by tomorrow noon. Okay, all right, not to sweat. I have a carton of egg whites in the fridge; I’ll use those.

So here is the ingredient list using what I actually had, and let it be a lesson to you: keep a well stocked fridge. And liquor cabinet. Especially that. I’ll tell you how the muffins come out when I taste them.

Victoria Hamilton's
Bananas Foster Muffins

Makes: 12 muffins 

Note: Bananas Foster is a decadent dessert of sautéed rummy bananas served with vanilla ice cream. I don’t think I would serve these muffins with ice cream, but I hope the flavors of banana, rum, brown sugar and cinnamon, are reminiscent! 


1-½ cup very ripe mashed bananas. (3, from my freezer, in my case.)

½ cup golden brown sugar

1-½ cups butter, divided (1 Cup and ½ cup) (they said unsalted, but… well, I didn’t have unsalted, so I used salted and omitted the salt in the recipe)

1 Tblsp. rum extract (original recipe called for 3 tablespoons dark rum, but… well, you know. According to online calculations I used 1 ½ tblsp rum extract to substitute, but I think that’s a little much, so… use 1 tblsp.)

¼ cup white sugar

1 large egg (In my case, 3 tblsp. and 2 tsp. of egg white)

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

1-½ cup all purpose

1-½ tsp baking soda


1 – Preheat oven to 350° F.

2 – In a small saucepan melt ½ cup butter. Add the brown sugar and bananas and caramelize. (I found they didn’t so much caramelize as just slightly thicken, and begin to smell heavenly!) Remove from heat, add vanilla and cinnamon and allow to cool. 

3 – Combine remaining butter and white sugar in a separate bowl. Add the egg (in my case egg white) and rum extract, and mix well. Add the cooled banana mixture—it’s important that it’s cooled, or the eggs in the eggs, butter and sugar mixture will scramble—baking soda and mix well, then blend in the flour until just combined. Don’t overbeat muffin batter!

4 – Line 12 muffin cups with liners, and fill with batter. Bake at 350° F. for approximately 25 minutes, or until the toothpick test or spring-back test indicates they’re done. 
~ :: ~

Okay, so… I just took them out of the oven and they are actually delicious! I hope you like them. Curl up with a good book, a muffin, and a cup of Wynter Castle Blend tea!


A Merry Muffin Mystery

by Victoria Hamilton

From the national bestselling author of Muffin but Murder, baker Merry Wynter returns with a fresh tray of muffins and a case that has authorities stumped…

They say one’s home is one’s castle, but when it comes to Wynter Castle, Merry would like it to belong to someone else. But until a buyer bites, she could use some extra dough, so she decides to take in renters. The idea pans out, and Merry’s able to find a handful of tenants eager to live in a real castle. The only problem is most of them are crumby, tea-swilling old biddies.

The Legion of Horrible Ladies, as Merry calls them, is led by the terribly nasty—and fabulously wealthy—Cleta Sanson. The abrasive Englishwoman keeps everyone whipped into a frenzy—until she meets an embarrassing end behind a locked door. Evidence reveals that Cleta was murdered, yet no one is privy to how the deed was done. Merry knows she must quickly find the killer before another of her guests gets greased…

~ :: ~

Victoria Hamilton is the national bestselling author of three bestselling series, the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and Merry Muffin Mysteries as Victoria, and the Teapot Collector Mysteries as Amanda Cooper. She is also the bestselling author of Regency and historical romance as Donna Lea Simpson.

Victoria loves to cook and collects vintage kitchen paraphernalia, teacups and teapots, and almost anything that catches her fancy! She loves to read, especially mystery novels, and enjoys good tea and cheap wine, the company of friends, and has a newfound appreciation for opera. She enjoys crocheting and beading, but a good book can tempt her away from almost anything… except writing! 

Visit Victoria's Website:

Friend Victoria on Facebook

Like her Merry Muffin Mysteries Facebook Page 

Follow her on Pinterest

Follow her on Twitter

Congrats to 

Victoria's Winner!

Prize Package 

1 copy each of


1 "Cozy up to a Good Mystery!" tote bag, and 

10 Wynter Castle Blend teabags! 

OPEN to Canadian
and US addresses only. 

This contest is now over.

Congrats to Tonette
whose comment was
randomly selected to win
the prizes above!

Thanks to everyone who entered!

~ Victoria


  1. How have I missed these? My TBR list is growing again.

  2. the recipe looks yummy. thanks for the giveaway!

  3. sounds like me when I decide to bake something but you are more resourceful than me! They look and sound delicious. Your books sound good to me too :) thanks for the great recipe and the chance to win copies of your books. darholley1 (at) aol (dot) com

  4. A fabulous muffin recipe and books! Wonderful combination!

  5. I definitely will be making these yummy muffins and can't wait to taste them. Books and a cup of tea are just the right combination.

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway and good luck everyone!

  6. Love the recipe for the yummy looking muffins. Thanks for the chance to win.

  7. The muffins look so good. Thank you for sharing the recipe.
    What a fantastic giveaway! Thank you for the chance to win.

  8. Books about food and such yummy food. A cozy lover's dream.

  9. Oh my goodness, the muffins are making me drool, this is one recipe I'm making for sure ! The books are all on my wish list, what a great giveaway !

  10. Everything looks great; hope to get a chance to read the book :)
    jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

  11. Love the recipe also looking forward to the new book.thanks for letting me comment. LOIS R

  12. I LOVE foodie cozies and these sound delicious. I'd be over joyed to win this beautiful giveaway

  13. Can't wait to read the latest Merry Muffin mystery. I am also a hobby muffin baker and love tea. Thanks for the chance to win this.

  14. I love the tea bags! How cute. One of my favorite series. Looking forward to the next installment. I am going to read the Amanda Cooper series next.

  15. Sounds like a great addition to a fun series. The tea bags are so cute. Food and mystery what could be better. Thank you for the chance to win. griperang at embarqmail dot com

  16. I love the gang at Wynter Castle and can't wait to read the new book! Thanks for the opportunity!

  17. This recipe sounds yummy, and I must try it! I've had the same thing happen to me (no eggs while baking) and have found that I can substitute applesauce (1/4 cup per egg) and it works great, too! Happy Sunday! Nicole :-)

  18. I love all of the series that you write. And I can't wait for the newest in each one. I have them all pre-ordered already. I would love to win this package. Thank you for the chance.

  19. I can't wait to try this recipe! And to read the book!

  20. I never thought of freezing bananas! Thank you - for that helpful hint and wonderful books you write.

  21. I know I'd enjoy this book, though I've I'm a tea swilling old biddy. The muffins sound delicious!

  22. I can't wait to read this book and I love the new recipe to try! Thanks for sharing.

  23. I enjoy the Vintage Kitchen series very much but I will have to add your other series to my TBR list! Thank you for the recipe and I look forward to reading your new book!

  24. I can't wait for the new book!

  25. The muffins sound delicious. The book is on my tbr list. Thank you for the chance to win.

  26. So excited for the latest issue! Ready to make some muffins and grab a cup of tea:-) good luck everyone!!!

  27. Muffins smell delicious. thanks for sharing.
    this is a new series for me but it sounds interesting.
    Would love to try it. thanks.

  28. I love this series and can't wait to find out how the borders work out. Great recipe...I have to try it. Thanks for the giveaway.

  29. Looks good. :) I gotta say, culinary cozies always have the best titles! =)

  30. The recipe looks so good. Thank you for the opportunity to enter this giveaway!

  31. Thank you for the giveaway! The muffins look delicious, and the books are on my wish list. dmskrug3 at hotmail dot com

  32. Culinary cozies are my favorite!

  33. I love the recipe! As you might remember,I had a bakery/restaurant for a while. I love your work! Best of success with this new one and all of the series.

  34. Holy, those muffins look amazing, Victoria! You bake like I bake. :) So looking forward to the new book!

  35. The muffins look delicious. Can't wait to read this new book as it is one of my favorite series, so Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys with the castle and hidden treasure.

  36. Sounds like a great book and love the recipe!

  37. What a fun series this is, and what a great giveaway. Thanks for the chance.

  38. One word YUM, thank you for feeding my mind and my love of muffins (shhh don't tell my diet). I look forward to any of your books and series!

  39. Loved the post and your humor, Victoria! I sure would enjoy these muffins, this morning. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity. patucker54 (at aol dot com)

  40. Victoria, I'm laughing. I can't tell you how many times I have been in the same situation. Deadlines hit us fast and trips to the grocery store get shoved over. (Also in my case, a haircut that is desperately needed!) Then to find that basics are missing - oy veh! Love the resulting recipe!

  41. I love these books! My Grandma makes the best banana bread ever!

  42. I read all of your books under all of your names, lol. I love any kind of banana recipe. This one looks yummy. I seldom tweak baking recipes, but other foods, I play with the recipes all the time. That's part of the joy of cooking.

  43. Those muffins look good.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net