Monday, September 24, 2018

Christmas Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke: Holiday Recipe + Giveaway (US/Can)

Christmas Cake Murder (Hannah Swensen #23)
Joanne Fluke
from Kensington Books

It’s Christmas many years ago, and topping young Hannah Swensen’s wish list is becoming the go-to baker in Lake Eden, Minnesota. But as Hannah finds out, revisiting holiday memories can be murder...

With her dream of opening The Cookie Jar taking shape, Hannah’s life matches the hectic December hustle and bustle in Lake Eden—especially when she agrees to help recreate a spectacular Christmas Ball from the past in honor of Essie Granger, an elderly local in hospice care. But instead of poring over decadent dessert recipes for the merry festivities, she instantly becomes enthralled by Essie’s old notebooks and the tale of a woman escaping danger on the streets of New York. Hannah’s surprised by Essie’s secret talent for penning crime fiction. She’s even more surprised when the story turns real. As Hannah prepares to run a bakery and move out of her mother’s house, it’ll be a true miracle if she can prevent another Yuletide disaster by solving a mystery as dense as a Christmas fruitcake...


Cocoa-Crunch Cookies

Preheat oven to 350°F., rack in the middle position.

  • 1 and 1⁄2 cups softened butter (3 sticks, 3⁄4 pound, 12 ounces)
  • 1 and 1⁄4 cups white (granulated) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1⁄4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
  • 2 and 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour (pack it down in the cup when you measure it)
  • 1 and 1⁄2 cups finely crushed plain regular potato chips (measure AFTER crushing. I used Lay’s, put them in a plastic zip-lock bag, and crushed them with my hands)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Nestlé)
  • 1⁄3 cup white (granulated) sugar for dipping

Hannah’s 1st Note: Use regular potato chips, the thin, salty ones. Don’t use baked chips, or rippled chips, or chips with the peels on, or kettle-fried, or flavored, or anything that’s supposed to be better for you than those wonderfully greasy, salty, old-fashioned, crunchy potato chips.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, sugar, eggs, salt, and vanilla extract until the mixture is light and fluffy. (You can do this by hand, but it’s a lot easier with an electric mixer.)

Add the quarter-cup of unsweetened cocoa powder. Mix it in thoroughly.

Add the flour in half-cup increments, mixing well after each addition.

Add the crushed potato chips and mix well.

Take the bowl out of the mixer and add the semisweet chips by hand. Stir them in so that they are evenly distributed.

Form one-inch dough balls with your hands and place them on an UNGREASED cookie sheet, 12 to a standard-sized sheet. (As an alternative, you can line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.)

Place the sugar in a small bowl. Spray the flat bottom of a drinking glass with Pam or another nonstick cooking spray, dip it in the sugar, and use it to flatten each dough ball. (Dip the glass in the sugar for each cookie ball.)

Bake your cookies at 350°F, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies are starting to turn golden at the edges. (Mine took the full 12 minutes.)

Let the Cocoa-Crunch Cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes and then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely. (If you used parchment paper, all you have to do is pull it over to the wire rack and let the cookies cool right on the paper.)

Yield: Approximately 6 to 7 dozen crunchy, chocolate, shortbread-like cookies, depending on cookie size

Giveaway!

Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of Christmas Cake Murder—yay!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me in the comments below:
What is your favorite Christmas/winter treat? Feel free to share the recipe if you know a good one!
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Joanna and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

I love thumbprint cookies filled with fruit jam.

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher—a huge thank you to the lovely folks over at Kensington Books!
Giveaway ends October 8th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada readers only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for the list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!