Sunday, December 27, 2015

Welcome Paige Shelton!

A very warm welcome to our friend, Paige Shelton. Paige is the author of the Farmer's Market Mysteries and the Country Cooking School Mysteries. She's kicking off 2016 with a brand new series - A Dangerous Type Mysteries!

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Thanks for letting me stop by today, Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen! I love this site.

When I started thinking about a fun recipe to tie in with the release of the first Dangerous Type mystery, I remembered some cookies one of my bosses used to bring to work. She called them A to Z cookies. The idea is simple: a bunch of different ingredients are thrown together to create one delicious cookie. I’ve heard them called Kitchen Sink cookies too. Come to find out, they weren’t as simple as I thought.

I looked up my old boss, but at some point she moved and I couldn’t find her on Facebook. I set out to explore the great and wild Internet and found some interesting combinations. The first one I tried tasted so much like nutmeg that it felt more like a holiday cookie that just a cookie-cookie. The second one I tried was, despite all the ingredients, boring. Finally, I found something from Martha Stewart that I ended up liking. I make a few small changes to the original recipe, but Martha was unquestionably the inspiration for the following recipe.

A to Z Cookies


1 cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups oats
¾ cup sweetened shredded coconut
¾ cup toffee bits (if you use the toffee bits mixed with chocolate, use fewer chocolate chips)
¾ cup chocolate chips (1/2 cup if you use the toffee bits with chocolate)
¾ cup dried cranberries or craisins.
¾ cup roughly chopped pecans
¾ cup broken salted pretzel sticks. I broke them each in about three parts.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper.

Side note: I have a Kitchenaid stand mixer and I truly love it, I really do, but my hand mixer is my favorite by far. I think it’s because it’s what my grandmother and mother used. Feel free to use your stand mixer, but I used my hand one.

In a medium bowl cream together the butter and both sugars. Beat in the eggs one at a time until blended. Stir in vanilla.

In another medium bowl whisk together (I like whisking so much more than sifting) flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Mix until well combined. Add the oats, coconut, toffee, chocolate, cranberries, pecans, and pretzels. Using a plastic spatula, stir and cut the ingredients together. Watch for gatherings of like ingredients and separate them. Martha says to use the mixer for this part, but I liked the plastic spatula better.

Using a big spoon or a 2-inch scoop, drop batter onto prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Press tops down with your fingers to flatten a little bit. Transfer baking sheets to oven and bake 10 to 12 minutes. Let cookies cool on baking sheets for two minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Since there are so many ingredients in these, I like to make them a little bigger than your typical cookie. Also, watch so the edges they don’t get too brown. I found that the 10 minute mark is perfect for my oven because the butter flavor came through better when the edges were just a little brown.
Makes about 3 to 3 ½ dozen.

Good luck and happy eating and reading!


PAIGE SHELTON had a nomadic childhood as her father's job as a football coach took the family to seven different towns before she was even twelve years old. After college at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, she moved to Salt Lake City where she thought she'd only stay a couple years, but she fell in love with the mountains and a great guy who became her husband. After many decades in Utah, she and her family recently moved to Arizona.

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