Friday, October 14, 2016

Cozy Food Friday

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

Today I'm featuring a recipe from
Book 3 in the Cookies and Chance Mysteries
Catherine Bruns

Just when things appear to be going well for baker and sometime sleuth, Sally Muccio, life turns up the heat again.

It’s summertime, and the living is easy for the Muccio clan. Sal’s wedding to her beloved fiancĂ© is rapidly approaching, Mom’s won a beauty contest, and sister Gianna is now a licensed public defender. But when the bakery Sal’s worked so hard for goes up in smoke—along with her dreams!—she’s not sure how much more she can stand. Even worse, the man found dead in the bakery’s back room is none other than Gianna’s latest client, Bernardo Napoli. 

The dough really hits the fan for Sal and Josie when they’re forced to temporarily relocate their bakery to the crazy Muccio home. Trouble is quickly stirred up as the best friend team must now contend with Sal’s father and his new mortuary business “undertakings,” a middle aged mother parading around customers in bikinis, and an Italian family hell bent on revenge. For Sal, several questions demand answers. Where has Gianna disappeared to? What role did she play in Bernardo’s death? What secret is Sal’s fiancĂ© hiding from her? Sal is determined to find answers...before she gets burned once again! 

**Recipes Included!**

About Catherine

Catherine is the USA Today best selling author of the Cookies & Chance mysteries. She lives in New York with her very patient husband, three sons, and assorted cats and dogs. Catherine has a B.A. in English and is a former newspaper reporter and press release writer. She also writes the Cindy York mysteries and coming next January, the Aloha Lagoon (Carrie Jorgenson) mysteries. 

To find out more about future releases and giveaways, you can sign up for Catherine's newsletter at 
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This tasty installment of the Cookies & Chance Mysteries had my stomach growing, and my inner sleuth working overtime!

Having read the first two books in this delightful series, I had no doubt I would enjoy BURNED TO A CRISP. Well, I liked it about as much as Sal’s costumers like her cookies. If you’ve read this series, you’ll know that means a liked it a lot! Haven’t read the series? You’ll see what I mean when you do. And you do need to read the Cookies & Chance Mysteries!

One thing is for certain, author Catherine Bruns knows how to write a story that draws emotions out of her readers. She burned down her lead character’s business! I was broken hearted for Sally when she came upon the scene of her bakery up in flames. Sally was devastated, and so was I! Then a man’s body is found in the backroom of the bakery, and Sally’s sister is missing. All in the first few chapters!

Everything I found enjoyable about the author’s writing in the first two books, and more, was present in BURNED TO A CRISP. Ms. Bruns has raised the bar in her story telling, and baked up a tale that is the best of the batch so far.

Don’t forget to check out the yummy cookie recipes in the back of the book!

Check after the recipe for a great 



Note: These can be made as simple shortbread bars
 or as slice-and-bake refrigerator cookies.


1 pound butter (4 sticks)
1 cup sugar, plus additional ¼ cup for sprinkling
4 cups flour

To make simple shortbread bars:

1) Place butter in a large microwaveable bowl, and microwave on low power (20%) for 2-3 minutes until very soft and creamy but not melted.

2) Add the cup of sugar to the softened butter, and stir with a spoon until fully blended.

3) Add the flour to the butter and sugar mixture, and mix gently with your hands until it comes together into a heavy dough. 

4) Do not over mix. The dough will be very sticky. 

Place dough in an ungreased 13 x 9-inch pan, patting it down evenly and into the corners with your fingers until the surface is smooth and even.

Prick dough all over, down to the bottom of the pan, with a fork. 

Sprinkle a few tablespoons of sugar evenly over the top.

Place the pan in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit. 

Bake shortbread for 5 minutes, and then without opening the oven, reduce heat to 300° and continue baking for another 50 minutes or so, until shortbread is a light golden color. 

Cut immediately into 32 bars and place on cooling rack for 15 minutes. 

Remove bars from pan, and continue to cool. Once completely cooled, place in tins or airtight containers. 

Makes approximately 32 bars.  

To make slice-and-bake refrigerator cookies:

Follow steps 1 - 4 above

After mixing the dough, separate it into 4 equal portions and place each onto a separate sheet of waxed paper. 

Shape and roll each portion of dough into an 8-inch log in the waxed paper, and fold ends closed. 

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat over to 375°

Unwrap from the waxed paper, and slice each long into 8 rounds. 

Lightly dip the top side of each cookie into the sugar, place several inches apart on two baking sheets, and prick each cookie through a couple of times with a fork. 

Bake cookies for 2 minutes then, without opening the oven, reduce heat to 300° and continue baking for another 20 minutes or so, until shortbread is a light golden color. 

Place pan on cooling rack for 5 minutes.

Remove cookies from pan, and continue to cool. 

Once completely cooled, put in tins or airtight containers.


I can't think of a better way to try out that shortbread recipe than to read it with a great book, and having a tasty drink!

Catherine Bruns is giving one lucky winner a 
Kindle copy of
and a 
$5.00 Starbucks Gift Card!

Use the Rafflecopter form 
at the end of this post 
for your chance to win!


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

I sat down on the front steps of my cookie shop, Sally's Samples, and took a rare moment to enjoy the warm June sunshine on my face. The sky was a perfect blue, with nary a cloud to be seen. A gentle breeze flapped around my apron and my curly, shoulder-length, black hair. I kicked off my sneakers and wiggled my toes, enjoying the feel of the overgrown blades of grass between them. Content, I closed my eyes and leaned back, thinking about my life. 

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

Josie and I spent the rest of the day making and freezing doughs and attempting to get things into some sort of  semblance of order for the bakery's grand reopening tomorrow. Since we were limited for space, there were some types of cookies we would not be able to make, unless people special ordered them. The smaller display case held less than half of what the other one in my shop had housed. I kept telling myself that working here was only a temporary situation, like having the flu or some other type of illness. 


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let me know what you think!

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  1. Thanks, Lisa. Easy recipe and the photos made me hungry! :) Happy Friday, to you.

  2. Always love shortbread cookies! Thank you for the recipe, Catherine.

    Have a great weekend!

  3. Sounds fun and a bit chaotic, so I'm eager to learn more. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

    Love the look of the goodies!

  4. Haha, burned to a crisp is what my dinner is, because I forgot to watch it while I was reading. Thanks for the recipe, looks delicious.

    Today I'm featuring The Underachieving Ovary by JT Lawrence.

  5. I love shortbread cookies, I'll have to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing. By the way, I love this series.

  6. Thanks for sharing about the book and the recipe, both look great! :-)

  7. I have a killer Shortbread recipe passed down through generations of my family. :-)
    Looks like a scrumptious cozy! Happy weekend!

  8. There's something perfect about fall and baking, they just go great together. Happy Friday!

  9. That cover! That title! That book! It's all good. And I smell something yummy. Cookies!!!

    My Friday 56 from Bulletproof Badge

  10. I've been wanting to read this series. Those cookies look delicious.

  11. I can't resist this kind of cookie! :)