Sunday, February 27, 2022

Guest @LibbyKleinBooks with Crunch Coat Bars and #giveaway

MADDIE DAY, here, delighted to welcome the talented - and funny -Libby Klein - as my guest on the blog. She has a new Poppy McAllister mystery out, along with some memories, a delicious recipe for you, and a giveaway! 


But first, a little bit about Antique Auctions Are Murder:

B&B owner and gluten-free baker Poppy McAllister, along with her saucy Aunt Ginny, is on the case at the annual Cold Spring Village antique show in Libby Klein’s seventh deliciously witty, paleo-themed Poppy McAllister Mystery.
 


When vintage items go up for auction, gluten-free baker and B&B owner Poppy McAllister discovers some people will pay the ultimate price...
 
It’s peak summer season at the Butterfly House Bed and Breakfast in Cape May, with tourists fluttering in and out and wreaking enough havoc to rival a Jersey Shore hurricane. Also back in town is Courtney Whipple and his family of antique dealers for the annual Cold Spring Village antique show. Courtney’s son Auggie has a unique piece he believes will fetch them a fortune if he can get it authenticated in time—a piece rival dealer Grover Prickle insists was stolen from his store.
 
Poppy and her Aunt Ginny attend the auction, hoping to bid on an armoire for the B&B, and discover a veritable armory for sale—everything from ancient blades and nineteenth century guns to such potential killing devices as knitting needles and a blacksmith hammer. Strangely, they don’t see either Auggie or Grover—or the mysterious item they both claim to own. Then during the auction, a body falls out of the very armoire Poppy was hoping to acquire, stabbed through the heart. Now, surrounded by competitive dealers and makeshift weapons, she must find out who turned the auction house into a slaughterhouse…

Take it away, Libby!


I grew up in beautiful Victorian Cape May, NJ. I didn’t appreciate the gorgeous homes or the sound of the ocean as a kid like I do now. I was never one to lay out on the beach. But all winter long, I’d wait for the Wildwood Boardwalk to finally open Easter weekend. The games, the rides, Mack’s Pizza and Curly Fries. It was like Las Vegas for children.


Summer would burst into full swing as soon as school let out. Lines get aggressively long, prices double overnight, and you can barely see past the throng of people in front of you. Then there is the incessant cry of “Watch the tram car please.”

 

When you’re ten, it’s all part of the excitement. The sounds and smells. There used to be a sausage and peppers stand on the boardwalk that I can almost still smell in my memories. You just can’t beat the fun of a rattletrap rollercoaster or a water gun horserace overlooking a crowded beach. 


In Antique Auctions Are Murder, summer is in full swing and Poppy is experiencing firsthand the chaos that tourists can bring with them to the island. Her Butterfly Wings bed and breakfast is booked solid through Labor Day if she can survive their constant demands that long. Some of the most ridiculous antics that Poppy faces are not as made up as you might think. And while the Auction House is a bit of fiction, Cold Spring Village and the annual Antiques fair are very much real.


While Cape May is a little different today than it was in my youth, one thing that remains the same is the food. Douglas Fudge, Fralinger’s Saltwater Taffy, funnel cakes and frozen custard with crunch coat. Because Antique Auctions takes place at the height of the summer tourist season, I wanted Poppy to make her gluten free recipes around some of the most iconic Boardwalk sweets the shore has to offer. The apple pie caramel corn cupcakes are absolutely addictive. The cotton candy cupcakes are so beautifully simple I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of them before. And the funnel cake muffins with strawberry compote were one of the biggest hits I’ve ever seen at one of my tasting events. If you make the peanut butter fudge cupcakes, beware of how delicious that frosting is. You might as well make a double batch right from the start.

 


One of the highlights of any trip back home for me has to be frozen custard with crunch coat – a combination of peanuts, peanut brittle, and rainbow jimmies. (Jimmies is South Jersey for sprinkles.) Imagine my delight when I found crunch coat on Amazon for Poppy to invent a recipe around. These Crunch Coat Bars are a cross between peanut blondies and Millionaire bars.

Crunch Coat Bars

Yield 24 bars 

Ingredients

Peanut Butter Shortbread Crust

2 ¼ cups gluten free flour

½ cup peanut butter powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened 

⅓ cup sugar

⅓ cup light brown sugar, packed

1 large egg yolk 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Peanut Butter Caramel

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup crunch coat topping

*or ¾ cup peanut brittle chopped very fine mixed with ¼ cup rainbow jimmies 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F and line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper.

Combine gluten free flour, peanut butter powder, and salt. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy.

Add egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat until well combined, pausing to scrape down the sides.

Add flour mixture to the eggs and mix until a crumbly dough forms.

Scoop dough into prepared pan and evenly, press dough into the bottom of the pan. You may need to use an offset spatula to spread it out.

Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes -- edges should be lightly golden brown. Set aside and let cool.

Make the caramel.

In a dry heavy saucepan cook sugar over moderate heat, without stirring, until it begins to melt. Continue cooking sugar, without stirring, swirling the pan, until a deep golden amber. Remove pan from heat and add cream all at once (caramel will bubble and steam). Return pan to heat and simmer, stirring, until caramel is dissolved. Whisk in the peanut butter and simmer, stirring, until smooth. Pour over the baked crust. Let cool for about an hour, then top the caramel with crunch coat topping. Let cool in the refrigerator or overnight. Cut into bars and serve.


Doesn't that look delicious? 

Readers: What's your favorite boardwalk treat? I'll send one lucky commenter a copy of Antique Auctions Are Murder.



Libby Klein graduated Lower Cape May Regional High School in the '80s. Her classes revolved mostly around the culinary sciences and theater, with the occasional nap in Chemistry. She writes culinary cozy mysteries from her Northern Virginia office while trying to keep her naughty cat Figaro off her keyboard. Libby was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that prevents her from eating gluten without exploding. Because of her love for cake, she now creates gluten free goodies from her professional kitchen and includes the recipes in her Poppy McAllister series. Most of her hobbies revolve around eating, and travel, and eating while traveling. She insists she can find her way to any coffee shop anywhere in the world, even while blindfolded. Follow all of her nonsense at www.libbykleinbooks.com

Libby Klein
Author of the Poppy McAllister Mysteries
Antique Auctions Are Murder coming February 2022
Mischief Nights Are Murder coming soon

http://LibbyKleinBooks.com

54 comments:

  1. Those sound so yummy, Libby! Thanks for joining us on the blog today.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Thank you so much for having me!

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    3. Sorry, I am having a lot of trouble logging in it seems. Libby

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  2. Thank you the delicious and I'm sure addictive recipe for Crunch Coat Bars!

    As a child my favorite boardwalk treats were three things - foot long corndogs (loved the outer crunch and getting one longer than you could get anywhere else), funnel cakes (with enough powdered sugar that it covers everything - from the cake to your shirt and from ear to ear), and salt water taffy (Who doesn't get engrossed seeing it being pulled on that taffy puller). As an adult, I've still very much addicted to the salt water taffy with licorice flavor being my absolute favorite.

    Thank you for the chance to win a copy of "Antique Auctions Are Murder"! On my TBR list already and can't wait for the opportunity to dive in reading. Shared and hoping to be the very fortunate one selected.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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    1. Only boardwalk people like us know that funnel cake turns deadly if you breathe in too close to the powdered sugar. Libby

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  3. I've never been to a boardwalk but all the food you mentioned today sure made me hungry. ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. The food is one of the very best features of any vacation. The Boardwalk is no exception! It's also where I first discovered Swedish Fish! ~Libby

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  4. Great book! I was trying to picture crunch bars from the description. They look yummy.

    I've never been to a boardwalk, but my favorite fair food is funnel cake.

    Thanks for the chance.

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    1. These crunch coat bars are the very first recipe I've ever come up with that I couldn't find anything like them on the internet! ~ Libby

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  5. Those look great! I've never been to a boardwalk but I'd imagine they have cotton candy, taffy, and popcorn, all of which I love.
    kozo8989(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. They definitely do! And I've created recipes in this book around all of them! ~ Libby

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  6. Welcome back, Libby, and congrats on the new book! The equivalent experience from my childhood is probably the Midway at the fair, reeking of sugar from the cotton candy, SnoCones, and caramel corn.

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    1. Absolutely! Follow your nose to the fun! ~ Libby

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  7. I have not been to a boardwalk before. I think I would love boardwalk treats like funnel cakes, cotton candy, and caramel corn.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. The whole experience is delightful. The ocean, the breeze, the rides. ~ Libby

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  8. I haven’t been to the boardwalk in years but when I was a kid I always got the frozen chocolate covered bananas
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

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  9. My favorite boardwalk treats are Thrasher's Fries, pit beef from Bull On The Beach, chocolate from Dolle's, and Old Bay popcorn from Fisher's, all in Ocean City, MD. I can't pick just one. sue.stoner72@yahoo.com

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    1. You picked some good ones! I’m surprised you didn’t say the salt water taffy from Dolle’s. ~ Libby

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  10. Those bars look amazing! My favorite boardwalk treat is fresh salt water Taffy. JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. I discovered when making my saltwater taffy muffins, that saltwater Cathy completely melts into whatever you’re baking. ~ Libby

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  11. Growing up inland in Texas trips to a boardwalk weren't an option but I loved carnivals & cotton candy was and continues to be my favorite treat! The cotton candy cupcakes mentioned have me wanting to try that recipe. Thank you for sharing the Crunch Coat Bars recipe. lnchudej@yahoo.com

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    1. The secret to the cotton candy cakes, is to put some sprinkles in the cupcakes, and to make a very light frosting just enough to stick on the cotton candy. ~ Libby

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  12. My granddaughter would love these. She's a sprinkles/jimmies freak!
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

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    1. When I was young, I thought crunch coat was leftover toppings because of Jimmies. ~ Libby

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  13. I would never have tried it but for my friend buying one once when we were at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, but when I tasted that deep fried Snickers bar I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. And I knew right then that I could never, ever order one for myself--far too dangerous!

    Thanks so much for visiting the Kitchen today, Libby, and congrats on the new book--yippee!

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    1. That deep fried Snickers should come with a warning along with Nutella. ~ Libby

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  14. Never been to a boardwalk but of the food is similar to fair food then a funnel cake would be my choice- thanks for the chance to win- luvs2read4fun (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. We keep mentioning the powdered sugar on the funnel cake, but in Cape May and Wildwiid, they put fruit pie topping on it also. I’m not complaining. ~ Libby

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  15. I have never been to a boardwalk, but sounds like my kind of place. Reminds me a bit of like a county fair. One of my favorite treats, that I haven't had in oh my sooooo many years would be Elephant Ears. I used to make such a mess eating them when I was a kid. Thank you so much for the recipe. They sound delicious.
    lilyanngill56(at)Gmail(dot)com

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  16. I've always enjoyed funnel cakes! tWarner419@aol.com

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  17. Milk shakes. cheetahthecat1986ATgmailDOTcom

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  18. Boardwalk fries!! lindalou64(@) live(dot)com

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    1. Boardwalk fries were Itty Bitty Smitty’s favorite! ~ Libby

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  19. My two favorite loves...Cape May and cozies! Thanks for the yummy recipe too!
    Jess
    Maceoindo(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. I hope you give them a try! ~ Lubby

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    2. Pshhh. Lubby. That's it - no more typing on my cell phone.

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