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.

Swing by my website  and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebookwhere I often share news of new books and giveaways from my cozy writer friends.


  1. Love this gingersnaps cookie recipe and the book sounds great! The favorite cookie in my house is white chocolate macadamia. EMS591@aol.com

  2. My favorite cookie is chocolate fudge cookie with peppermint.

  3. Thanks for the recipe! My favorite cookie is gingersnaps. Looking forward to reading the book! Dspinlexo@aol.com

  4. Congratulations on the release of your latest Spice Shop mystery, Leslie! You know I already got my copy of Killing Thyme, so please do NOT enter me in the draw. I love gingersnaps cookies, so thanks for the recipe.

    1. You early girl, you! What a tomato! (Uh-oh, launch day excitement has me breaking out in vegetable metaphors! Must be the influence of the cookbook you recommended!)

  5. The favorite cookie in this house is probably chocolate chip and second would be Oreos. But I do make gingersnaps from a recipe given to me by a friend years ago. dbahn(at)iw(dot)net

  6. I love anything with lemon. So one of my favorites is Anginetti, Italian Lemon Knot Cookies. I can't eat just one!

    1. Mary, there's a totally delish recipe for Lemon Thyme Shortbread in Killing Thyme -- I think you'll love it!

    2. I love shortbread cookies! Lemon will be even better!

  7. Happy bookday! Love the pepper in the cookies (it works well in gingerbread too), and the crunkly crust.

  8. Happy bookday! Love the pepper in the cookies (it works well in gingerbread too), and the crunkly crust.

  9. My favorite cookie is oatmeal raisin or chocolate chip.... I somehow missed this series and am looking forward to reading this one.
    afarage (at) earthlink.net

  10. My favorite cookie is lemon citrus. love the delectable flavor. Thanks for this great giveaway. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

    1. Petite, you MUST try the Lemon Thyme Shortbread Laurel makes in the book -- recipe included!

  11. Favorite cookie of all is maple oatmeal. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  12. My husband's favorite is chocolate chip, but I prefer a good gingersnap.

  13. My favorite cookie is chocolate chips!
    I can't wait to read this, great review thanks
    Penney penneyw(at)sbcglobal.net

  14. I make chocolate chip cookies for my grandchildren. That is their favorite. This sounds like a cookie I would enjoy! Thank you for the giveaway!
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

  15. Love ginger snaps! Now I have my own recipe Thankyou!!! vernagass@gmail.com

  16. Launch Day is such fun -- thank you all for celebrating with me!

  17. Leslie, congrats on release day! My husband's absolute favorite cookie is the Ginger Snap! So I will be making your recipe for my Mr. Right!

  18. Thanks for the recipe. I have alway loved gingersnaps so glad to know how to make them.
    The book sounds like a fun read.

    1. They really are easy, Joye -- no chilling dough, no rolling pin or cutting required. And the oil in the dough makes rolling them in your hands so easy!

  19. I'm super excited for this release today! I'm waiting for the bookstore to tell me shipment is in! I'm still reading the first in this series right now but I should get some good reading time in this afternoon while my daughter is at dance. Yay for mommy reading time! Thanks for the recipe and congratulations on release day!!!

    1. Thanks, Amanda! As a Dance Mom, you may appreciate some elements of this story -- I'll say no more for now!