Sunday, January 30, 2022

Cooking up crime with the Murder in the Mountains authors! #recipe #giveaway

LESLIE BUDEWITZ:  A couple of weeks ago, in her Spotlight Sunday post, Tina Kashian mentioned the upcoming Murder in the Mountains: A Destination Murders short story collection by nine authors, including both Tina and me. Today, I'm delighted to welcome back Cathy Wiley, co-editor and a contributor, who visited us last spring with contributor Shawn Reilly Simmons to share recipes from the earlier volume, Murder at the Beach. I'm chiming in with a yummy taste of Montana, too.

From the cover: Whether you love spring, summer, fall, or winter in the mountains, you’ll be elevated by nine new stories from award-winning and bestselling cozy mystery authors Gretchen Archer, Leslie Budewitz, Karen Cantwell, Barb Goffman, Eleanor Cawood Jones, Tina Kashian, Shari Randall, Shawn Reilly Simmons, and Cathy Wiley.

With mountainous murders galore around the world, this anthology is full of peaks and valleys!

Climb every mountain, search low and high
For clues to a murder, and try not to die

(Oh, dear. That's the second Sound of Music reference I've read in about an hour. Guess that earworm is stuck now. At least it's a good one!)

Murder in the Mountains launches this Tuesday, February 1. There's still time to pre-order the ebook at a great price -- or choose the paperback if you'd prefer. TWO lucky readers will win an ebook in the format of their choice! 

CATHY WILEY:  When I decided to set my mystery for Murder in the Mountains at a Hot Cocoa Festival, I knew I’d need a unique recipe that included cocoa.  While I’d contemplated going savory, perhaps with a chocolate mole chicken dish, I decided to go sweet. Especially since I already had something sweet: my husband, who loves to bake.

So I asked him to put on his creative hat, and we taste tested various cookies to replicate hot cocoa in a dessert (we suffer so for our craft).

The cookie sandwich version was chosen after we tried frosting hot cocoa cookies with marshmallow creme.  That DID NOT work.  Since the marshmallow oozed off and stuck to everything, we realized sandwich cookies were a less sticky, but still delicious, option.

I hope you enjoy the cookies, and that they remind you of snuggling down with a nice cup of cocoa.

 Hot Cocoa Cookie Sandwiches

3/4 pound (3 sticks) butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon salt

2 cups of hot cocoa mix (typically 8 packets of individual cup size)

2 ½ cups flour

Marshmallow creme for filling (you can use store bought or find a recipe for homemade)

Mix the first five ingredients together. If you don’t have a kitchen mixer, you can use a hand mixer… or if you have serious arm muscles, a whisk. 

Put one-tablespoon portions (a cookie scoop is best to get consistent portions) on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for eight minutes.  Remove from oven and leave on pan for two minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.

Once the cookies are no longer warm, use cooking spray on a knife or spatula to spread the marshmallow creme. Only use a small amount in the center. The marshmallow will spread. 

Cathy Wiley
 is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and the Short Mystery Fiction Society. She’s written two mystery novels set in Baltimore, Maryland, and has had several short stories included in anthologies, one of which was a 2015 finalist for a Derringer Award for best short story. Right now, she’s working on the Food Festival Fatalities series, featuring a former celebrity chef trying to rebuild her career.

Cathy lives outside of Baltimore, Maryland, with one spoiled cat and an equally spoiled husband. For more information, visit

LESLIE: Readers of my Food Lovers’ Village books know that the huckleberry is a prized wild berry that makes great jam, syrup, and truffles, and is probably Erin’s favorite treat. It’s also a bit of a challenge to find, as the shrubs resist garden cultivation and bears, both black and grizzled, share Erin’s good taste. In “The Picture of Guilt,” in Murder in the Mountains, Erin and Adam decide to try their luck and go huckleberry picking at a favorite spot, only to make an unexpected discovery.

Chocolate mousse seems difficult to make but it’s not. This version is a variation of the on in Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan, which she says comes from the back of the Nestle’s Dessert Chocolate wrapper in France! 

Huckleberry syrup can be found in or ordered from specialty food stores; you can substitute a tablespoon of strong coffee or espresso, always good with chocolate, or raspberry, hazelnut, blackberry, or another syrup. Start with a teaspoon and adjust to taste. 

In season, I’d add a few berries and mint leaves for garnish. 

Huckleberry Chocolate Mousse

3-1/2 to 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

3 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

2 tablespoons huckleberry syrup

pinch of salt

1-1/2 teaspoons sugar

whipped cream or creme fraiche, for serving (optional)

berries or mint leaves, for serving (optional)

Melt the chocolate using a microwave safe bowl, double boiler, or saucepan. Remove from heat and the egg yolks, one at a time, and syrup. 

In your stand mixer, beat the egg whites and salt until they start to form peaks. Continue to beat, gradually adding the sugar, until the whites are shiny and form stiff peaks, about 5 minutes.

Spoon about a quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate and stir in gently. (This lightens the chocolate and makes folding in the rest easier.) Spoon the rest of the egg whites into the chocolate and fold with a rubber spatula, being careful not to overwork or deflate the mixture. A few streaks are fine. 

Spoon into a serving bowl or six individual bowls, cups, or ramekins. Garnish and serve, or chill to serve later.

Serves 6. 

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers' Village and Spice Shop Mysteries, and as Alicia Beckman, standalone suspense. She's a three-time Agatha Award winner, including the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story. The latest Village mystery is Carried to the Grave and Other Stories: A Food Lovers' Village Mystery short story collection. Watch for Peppermint Barked, the 6th Spice Shop mystery, in July 2022, and Blind Faith, written as Alicia Beckman, in October 2022. She's a regular blogger here at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, where you can find her recipes on the first, third, and fifth Tuesdays. 

Readers, do you like hot/warm drinks? What’s your favorite? Coffee? Tea? Hot Cocoa? Apple Cider? or??? Two lucky readers will win an e-book of MURDER IN THE MOUNTAINS in the format of their choice. Winner will be chosen Tuesday, February 1! Be sure to leave your email address.

MURDER IN THE MOUNTAINS is available for pre-order now and will be published in ebook and paperback on February 1st


  1. Hot spiced apple cider for me!

    Thanks for the wonderful recipe.
    2clowns at arkansas dot

  2. Wow! Such great reads to look forward to.
    I love most hot drinks. Not a fan of hot apple cider but I will drink pretty much any other coffee or tea. My favourite coffee is from the Dominican Republic and I can actually buy it in my local grocery store. As for tea, Gingerbread is my favourite at the moment Chai is a close second.
    Looking forward to these new reads
    Thank you
    sandra shenton 13 at gmail dot com

    1. Love chai! If you'd like to try making your own, my girl Pepper's recipe is in CHAI ANOTHER DAY, my 4th Spice Shop mystery!

  3. Mostly I'm a tea person, though I'll occasionally drink spiced apple cider or its alcoholic kin, mulled red wine. Thanks for visiting MLK, Cathy. Looking forward to reading Murder in the Mountains. ~Maya

    1. Thanks, Maya! We hope you enjoy it. And mulled wine is very good when you are chilly.

  4. Welcome today. When it is cold, I like hot tea. When it is hot I like iced tea. And lots of water through out the year.
    quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

  5. Yes to warm drinks! Depending on the time of day, coffee or tea are the best.

    1. Right? Coffee in the morning, hot tea in the afternoon (except in summer)!

  6. Mostly I drink tea.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

  7. I'm a bit confused: "we tried frosting hot cocoa cookies with marshmallow creme. That DID NOT work." But then you fill the finished cookies with marshmallow creme.
    Both recipes sound like fun.

    1. It didn't work as frosting, since it was too sticky. But it was perfect in a sandwich cookie since it stuck them together.

  8. Love Chai tea! would like to make my own. so many recipes

    1. I had a lot of fun researching chai -- meaning some reading and LOT of tea drinking and baking! -- for Chai Another Day, my 4th Spice Shop mystery, which does include both a baking blend and a tea blend!

  9. Both of these recipes look great! I'm a hot tea drinker and I start my morning with caffeinated black tea, then end each evening with decaf green tea. Looking forward to the release!

  10. The recipe for the cocoa sandwiches sounds great. I'd love to try it.

  11. Love the recipes! Yum! I enjoy hot cinnamon apple cider! Thanks for the chance!


  12. Great recipes! Thanks for sharing! I love hot cocoa topped with marshmallows and whipped cream. cherierj(at)yahoo(dot)com

  13. I like hot tea or chai.