Sunday, November 15, 2015

Susannah Hardy’s Crumpkin Cookies


A very warm welcome to Susannah Hardy, who was kind enough to make a Thanksgiving recipe for us this week. Susannah writes the Greek To Me Mysteries. OLIVE AND LET DIE is in bookstores now!

Thanks so much, Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen authors, for having me back to celebrate the release of Olive and Let Die, book 2 of the Greek to Me Mysteries. (Click here to read my prior guest post, which contains my recipe for Vasilopita, a Greek almond cake)

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, and not just because of the pie! Oh, fine. I’ll be honest: maybe it is about the pie, if it’s my mom’s crumb-topped apple pie crowned with a slice of local cheddar cheese. I’ve never been able to make it quite the same as she does, but I continue to try!

My Thanksgiving roots go way back. All the way back, in fact. My maternal ancestors were present at the first Thanksgiving—John Alden and Priscilla Mullins were my 9th great-grandparents. Today in our family, we eat dinner rather late in the day, then play Pitch, a card game with different names and different rules depending on what part of the country you are in. You may know it as Setback or Euchre. We play for a nickel a point until the coins are smoking hot from the friction of being pushed around the table so often. At the end of the evening, the nickels go back into the change jar for next time. I guess none of us wants to lug around a pocketful of metal when we’re already hauling around all the delicious food we ate all day. Our Pilgrim ancestors were probably not vying for High, Low, Jack, and Game, but traditions evolve, don’t they?

In honor of Thanksgiving, and because you can never have enough pumpkin—or cranberry—recipes around the holidays, here is my original recipe for a cookie celebrating those iconic native American foods. These are soft, cakey, nicely spiced morsels with a rich molasses flavor, and they’re even better the next day. Enjoy!

Susannah Hardy’s Crumpkin Cookies

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

¾ cup canola oil

¼ cup molasses

1 cup canned pumpkin (plain pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling)

1 egg

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice extract (if you can’t find this, substitute 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, and ½ tsp ground cloves)

1 tsp orange extract

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup dried, sweetened cranberries (such as Craisins)

In large mixing bowl, using electric mixer on medium, combine thoroughly 1-1/2 cups flour with the sugar, oil, molasses, pumpkin, egg, baking soda and extracts. Add remaining 1 cup flour and mix on low speed until combined. Using wooden spoon, mix in chips and cranberries. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat (You can probably use a nonstick baking sheet, or generously grease a regular sheet, but parchment or the silicone mats work so well and make cleanup so easy, why bother?). Drop dough by rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheet. (These cookies do not spread much, so you can place them fairly close together)

Bake for 11 minutes, or until the bottom is set and the cookie loses some of its glossiness and springs back lightly when touched. Don’t burn yourself! Allow to rest on cookie sheet for about a minute, then remove to a wire rack to cool. Allow baking sheet to cool (or use a second sheet) and keep extra dough in the fridge between batches. This helps cookies retain their shape when baking.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Olive and Let Die

As manager of the Bonaparte House, a historic landmark and Greek restaurant in upstate New York, Georgie Nikolopatos knows her local legends—and her traditional Greek recipes are to die for.

Between her soon-to-be ex-husband Spiro coming out of the closet and her budding romance with Captain Jack Conway, Georgie’s life is beginning to feel like a soap opera. And that’s before a surprise visit from her estranged mother Shirley, better known as soap star Melanie Ashley. But the dramatic family reunion takes a chilling turn when another long-lost relative turns up dead.

Just outside Spiro’s new restaurant, Georgie and Melanie find the body of Doreen Webber—a cousin Georgie never knew she had. With Spiro’s partner Inky on the list of suspects, Georgie begins to wonder what else her mother may be hiding. Is the dead-broke diva capable of murder? She’d better find out before someone adds a new twist to the family plot.

Includes delicious Greek recipes!
Olive and Let Die:
Feta Attraction:
Twitter:, @susannahhardy1

Bio: Susannah Hardy thinks she has the best job in the world: making up stories and inventing recipes to go along with them. A native of northern New York, where she attended St. Lawrence University, Susannah now lives in Connecticut with her husband, teenage son, and Elvira the Wonder Cat.

To celebrate the release of OLIVE AND LET DIE, Susannah is giving away a copy to one
--> lucky person who leaves a comment by midnight Wednesday the 18th. Don't forget to leave your email address so she can contact you!