Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Pepper's Gingersnaps and a Launch Day #bookgiveaway

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Launch Day, Launch Day! So pleased to present KILLING THYME, the third installment in my Spice Shop Mysteries, set in Seattle's famed Pike Place Market.

Congratulations to Victoria Abbott on the release of The Hammett Hex, Book Collector Mystery #5, and Sheila Connolly, for Seeds of Deception, Orchard Mystery #10!

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of KILLING THYME, Spice Shop #3!

I’ve often joked that in my childhood home, there were three spices: salt, pepper, and cinnamon. And of course, salt is actually a mineral. We did occasionally have a fourth—bay leaves—but I’m not sure my mother, bless her, had any real idea what to do with them.

So when I moved to Seattle as a college freshman (freshwoman?), the discovery of a real live spice shop in the Pike Place Market was the proverbial treat for my senses. I began drinking spice tea—they keep an urn going in the corner—and often walked around the Market sipping. When I got my first apartment and began learning to cook, I inched past spice tea into the herbs and spices themselves.

So what’s different or unusual about cinnamon and pepper? Cinnamon, a bark and one of the oldest known spices, comes from several countries. Each variety has a slightly different flavor, some sweeter, some mellower. Much grocery store cinnamon is actually cassia, the bark of a different but related tree; to my palate, it tastes a little darker and more bitter.

Pepper—which grows on trees, and was once used as money, so your dad was wrong—is often called the King of Spices. Black peppercorns has a history almost as old as trade itself. Although pepper trade drove the Age of Exploration, it also had a key role in the 18th century American economy, when the fleets from Salem and Boston became involved.

These gingersnaps combine the bark of cinnamon with an extra bite from a few twists of black pepper. They are Mr. Right’s favorite cookie, and when I was writing a scene in which Pepper’s ex-husband, Tag, drops by unexpectedly, it seemed perfectly natural that she’d be pulling a tray of fresh-baked gingersnaps out of the oven—and that they’d be a favorite of his, too. Even though Pepper knows good and well that Tag is not Mr. Right.

I do hope you enjoy both the cookies and the newest adventures of Pepper and her gang. 

Pepper’s Gingersnaps

The classic, with a bite of a little something extra. Call it Pepper’s personal touch.

2¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup vegetable oil, such as corn or canola
¼ cup molasses
1 egg
¼ to ½ cup white sugar for topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, and salt.

 In a small mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, oil, molasses, and egg. Beat well. (No need to dirty your mixer and clean the beaters—the oil makes this dough easy to mix by hand.) Add flour mixture and stir until well mixed.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. If you’d like to top the cookies with sugar, pour the white sugar into a small soup or pasta bowl or on a small plate. Roll cookie balls in the sugar. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet or a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon sheet. Bake about 10 minutes, until bottoms have darkened slightly and tops begin to crack.

Makes about 4 dozen. These cookies will be soft at first, but crisp up nicely. They freeze well.

What's the favorite cookie in your house?

Leave a comment below with your email address for a chance to win one of TWO signed copies of KILLING THYME. The winner will be chosen on Thurs, October 6.  

At Seattle Spice in the Pike Place Market, owner Pepper Reece is savoring her business success, but soon finds her plans disrupted by a killer…

Pepper Reece’s to-do list is longer than the shopping list for a five-course dinner, as she conjures up spice blends bursting with seasonal flavor, soothes nervous brides fretting over the gift registry, and crosses her fingers for a rave review from a sharp-tongued food critic. Add to the mix a welcome visit from her mother, Lena, and she’s got the perfect recipe for a busy summer garnished with a dash of fun. 

While browsing in the artists’ stalls, Pepper and Lena drool over stunning pottery made by a Market newcomer. But when Lena recognizes the potter, Bonnie Clay, as an old friend who disappeared years ago, the afternoon turns sour. To Pepper’s surprise, Bonnie seems intimately connected to her family’s past. after Bonnie is murdered only days later, Pepper is determined to uncover the truth. 

But as Pepper roots out long-buried secrets, will she be digging her own grave?

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The 2015-16 president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

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