Friday, October 16, 2015

Cozy Food Friday!

That means it's time to share a recipe from 
another great cozy mystery!

Today I'm featuring a recipe from
Catherine Bruns
Book 1 in the Cookies & Chance Mystery series

Sally Muccio’s had her crosses to bear: a cheating ex-boyfriend, crazy Italian parents, and an unfaithful husband, just to name a few. After her divorce, she returns to her hometown to start a novelty cookie shop whose specialties include original fortune cookies, served with a sprinkle of foreshadowing. But there’s no warning when her ex-husband’s mistress drops dead on Sal's porch, and police confirm it’s a homicide. Determined to stop her life from becoming a recipe for disaster, Sal takes matters into her own hands. With two very different men vying for her affection, dead bodies piling up, and a reputation hanging by an apron string, Sal finds herself in a race against time to save both her business and life—before the last cookie crumbles. 

"The delightful whodunit kept me guessing until the end, and the tasty treats had my mouthwatering from start to finish! A fantastic culinary mystery in the vein of Joanne Fluke and Diane Mott Davidson!" —Gemma Halliday, New York Times & USA Today bestselling mystery author 

"Catherine Bruns has found a winning recipe for an exciting mystery mixed with a dash of humor and a heap of danger. Add in a little romance for spice, and you get one sweet reading treat." —Mary Marks, bestselling author of the Quilting Mystery series.

Available now on 


With divorce papers in hand and her cheating, former spouse in Florida, Sally Muccio has returned to her hometown in the Buffalo, New York region to start a novelty cookie shop with her best friend. All patrons receive a free, homemade fortune cookie with every purchase, accompanied by messages that are strangely foreboding. But there’s no warning when Sal’s ex-husband’s mistress turns up on her front porch one evening...dead.

“I wonder if she’ll get a huge crowd at her funeral,” my father mused aloud as he stared at his painting. He was probably wondering if his service would be larger.

“Dad,” Gianna said. “Her mother is the town socialite. They have more money than God. Amanda owned the only spa around here. Even if people didn’t like her, they’ll still go to the wake, at least for her mother’s sake.”

He waved her off and studied the paper again. “When I go, I want my obituary to take up an entire page. You’ll write it, Gianna. You’ve always been good with words.”

“Dear Lord,” my grandmother muttered under her breath. “All you think about is death! It is like living with the Grim Reaper.”

Dad shot his mother-in-law a look of exasperation. “You should be thinking about it too, old lady. You’ve got at least ten years on me. You’re liable to go anytime.”

“Sei pazzo.” Grandma Rosa shook her head.

“You’re the one who’s crazy.” My father frowned at her. “I bet you don’t even have a burial plot yet.”

I groaned. “Enough, please? Can we stop talking about funerals for one night?”

“Poor sweetie.” My mother wrapped her arms around me as I stared, eyes pleading for help, at my grandmother.

“Stop smothering her, Maria.” Grandma Rosa walked into the kitchen. “Sally is not a baby anymore, for crying out loud. She is a grown woman.”

My father snorted as he reached for his wineglass. “A divorced woman. I knew you never should have married that bum. Now his tramp is dead. They’re ruining your life.”

I put my weary head in my hands.

“You didn’t finish telling us what happened.” Gianna refilled her glass.

I blew out a breath. “There isn’t much more to tell. Brian made a call to the station and another policeman showed up. They searched the shop and waited while Josie and I locked the door, and then they left.”

“Will they close the place for a while and call in a forensics team?” Gianna, lawyer-in-training, asked.

I ate a small bite of braciole. “I don’t think so. They can’t be sure of the cause of death until the autopsy results come in, so they don’t know if it was an accident or—” I stopped myself, unable to say the word.

Gianna looked at me in surprise. “They actually think she might have been murdered?”

“Of course she was murdered,” my father bellowed. “The girl was evil!”

Grandma Rosa reappeared, setting a cup of espresso in front of me.

“If I have coffee now, I’ll be up all night.”

She handed me the cream and sugar from the nearby buffet table and shook her snow-white head. “Sally, my love, who are you kidding? There is no way you will sleep tonight, coffee or no coffee.”

I hated to admit it, but she was right. Sighing, I took a sip of the strong drink and almost choked, then cocked one eye at my grandmother. “What did you put in here?”

She shrugged. “Maybe a little Sambuca. It is good for you.”

My mother reached inside her cosmetic bag and pulled out a compact. She started removing her false eyelashes at the table. “Sal, the police don’t think you have anything to do with it, right? I mean, do they know what she did to you?”

I finished chewing another bite before answering. “I told Brian about our, shall we say, differences. He said they can’t speculate on anything until the autopsy comes back.”

“Who is this Brian?” Grandma Rosa raised one eyebrow and sat down across from me.

Gianna winked. “He’s the new cop on the force. I see him at Frank’s place all the time. He’s very nice. Cute too.”

“What are you talking about?” Heat rose through my face.

“Maybe we should invite him over for dinner.” My mother held the mirror out in front of her while she primped her long hair. It was dark like mine, but not as curly.

I looked at her in disbelief. “Mom, you don’t invite cops to dinner.”

“Why not? They have to eat too, you know.”

A small gurgle escaped from my mouth before I could stop it.

My mother stood, yawned, and stretched. “I need to get some sleep. I’m showing houses tomorrow morning.” She enjoyed dressing up and wearing her gold-plated name badge as she viewed homes with prospective clients. My parents didn’t need the extra money. Their house was paid off, and my father received a generous pension from the railroad, which was a good thing because in the six months since my mother started her real estate career, she’d made exactly zero in sales.

Mom ran around the table, kissing each one of us on the cheek and ending with my father. “Don’t be too long.” She wrapped her arms around his neck. “You know how I hate to sleep alone.”

He chuckled and swatted her behind. “I’ll be up in a minute, hot stuff.”

“Jeez Louise.” Gianna raised her eyebrows in disgust. “Do we really need to see this?”

Doesn't that sounds great? 
My review is after the recipe so you can know my thoughts on the book. 
But now, on to the recipe! 



6 eggs 
1 cup vegetable oil
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1½ teaspoon anise extract
4 cups flower 
Confectioners sugar and nonpareils

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whisk together eggs, and then add vegetable oil, sugar, baking powder, and anise extract to the mixture. Stir together, then add the flour by small amounts until mixture is no longer sticky. 

Roll out into a rope and then break out into six-inch long sections that should be about the thickness of a pinky finger. 

Wrap in coils up like a beehive, and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. 

Bake for 12 minutes or until the bottom is brown. Cool. 

Cookie can be frozen in an airtight container to be frosted at a later time or can be dipped in a glaze consisting of ½ cup confectioner's sugar with a few drops of water. 

Keep adding a few drops at a time until it's at desired consistency.

If the glaze is runny, just add more sugar. 

After topping, sprinkle with nonpareils before the glaze sets. 

Make approximately three-dozen cookies 

Food photos are from Google Images. 
Your finished cookie make vary in appearance. 

Don't these look wonderful? 
I can think of many occasions to serve these.


This was my first book by author Catherine Bruns, but it will not be my last.

Ms. Bruns has an easy, flowing way of writing that invites the reader to get lost inside her story and stay. And stay I did, finishing the entire book in one sitting.

I immediately liked the best friend team of Sally Muccio and Josie Sullivan. Sally being a peacemaker and Josie a bit more of a hot head, they played well off each other. Besides the BFFs, Ms. Bruns has also created a diverse group of characters that really kept the story interesting. Just so many personalities.

I loved the scenes in the cookie shop, Sally’s Samples. I honest to goodness smelled sweet baking cookies as I read. I was thrilled with the author’s choice of victim. I did not like that woman at all! LOL There were plenty of suspects in this mystery which keep me on my toes. And the surprise reveal made the ending of this book just perfect.

And make sure to check out the great recipes at the back of the book.

Note: Character Josie is feisty and uses some mild language from time to time. 

Please keep reading and check out my 
installments of 
Book Beginnings on Fridays
The Friday 56


My Book Beginnings and Friday 56
 for this week are also from

Book Beginnings on Fridays is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader
Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading

My Book Beginnings...

Mrs. Gavelli wagged her stubby finger. "You no forget my free fortune this time. I tell your grandmama if you cheat me."

My mouth fell open in surprise, but I knew better than to argue with the elderly Italian lady who stood before my display case, dressed in a drab gray housecoat. It was shocking how well her outfit matched her coarse hair, pulled back from her stern face in a severe bun. As she reached down to scratch her leg, she succeeded in pushing her knee-highs further down her calves. One more movement and they would be level with her black Birkenstocks. 

"No Mrs. Gavelli . You have my word."

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Freda's Voice
Rules: *Grab a book, any book. *Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that's okay.) *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you. *Post it.

My Friday 56...
Roughly page 56 of eBook

There were tears in my eyes as I drove away. 

Yup. That's all I'm giving for the 56. :-)


Catherine lives in Upstate New York with a male dominated household that consists of her very patient husband, three sons, and an assortment of cats and dogs. She has wanted to be a writer since the age of eight when she wrote her own version of Cinderella. Fortunately, Disney never sued. Catherine holds a B.A. and dual major in English and Performing Arts and is a former press release writer and newspaper reporter. In addition to the Cookies & Chance books, her real estate themed mystery series debuts in November with its first book, Killer Transaction.

As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

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clicking on the link in the 
upper right hand corner of this page.


  1. TASTES LIKE MURDER sounds like a great book, and I have added it to my TBR list. Thank you for the review Lisa! And for sharing the recipe. - Jen Scott

  2. Thanks, Lisa...and Yum! :)

  3. Sounds like a fun story. The recipe looks good too but a little fussy for my level of ambition. This week I am spotlighting Binding the Shadows by Jenn Bennett. Happy reading!

    1. Thanks for stopping by. Heading over to check your out now!

  4. This sounds like a crazy, funny cozy mystery and I'm adding this series to my list - sounds like a series I would really enjoy! Love the cookie pictures too and want to try them out. Thanks for visiting My Book Beginning & Friday 56

  5. Oh, I love the family dynamics in those scenes...great dialogue, too; it made me laugh.

    Thanks for sharing, and here's mine: “WHO DO YOU LOVE?”

  6. I look forward to your Friday posts every week. You always feature the most delightful cozies and delicious recipes! I like the opening of Tastes Like Murder because it lets me know that the character is a caring person -- someone who is respectful of her older customer and wants to be sure she is happy. I'd keep reading to get to know her better.
    My Friday post features The Beach Walkers.

    1. Thank you, Sandra. How nice of you to say! I have a lot of fun doing them. You book sounds wonderful. I just left you a message on your blog.

  7. Oh my gosh, that cover is perfect. Rest assured, I'd be freaking out if that was what my fortune cookie said. Happy Friday!

    1. LOL I know! I don't even want to get fortune cookies now. ;-)

  8. Yum yum! Those look delicious. I love the title and cover for this one. And I'm always up for a new cozy!

  9. Lisa, thank you so much for featuring "Tastes Like Murder" today! And thanks to everyone for the lovely comments!

  10. I have this one on my Kindle and it looks so good.

  11. Those cookies look so good! The books, too!

  12. We call those cookies, Tarelles, in my home. :-) Best with espresso.
    Happy weekend!