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