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Monthly Archives: June 2013

Birthday Dinner, Part IX and Chocolate Raspberry Muffin

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Chocolate and raspberries–it doesn’t get any better than that, does it?

Take that most delectable and decadent of flavors–CHOCOLATE!–and mix it with the delicate yet complex flavor of raspberries–both tart and sweet, simultaneously potent and subtle–and you have a match made in Heaven. Then mix this perfect combination in a quick and easy made from scratch muffin, fresh-baked in the oven (can’t you already smell the wonderful blend of scents filling the room?) and still warm–ah, you’ve really got a special treat.

Then kick back with your favorite beverage on the side–a cup of coffee or herbal tea, maybe? a glass of wine would be o.k. too–and listen to the story of Zach and Becca as they try to consolidate their progress with Jonah, try to safeguard his future. Things look good at the moment; but there’s always the danger of Snake and Latonya lurking in the shadows of their world, waiting to bring the chaos back into Jonah’s life.

choc rasp muffin

Chocolate Raspberry Muffin

3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon fresh or frozen raspberries

1 Tablespoon chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line one muffin cup with a liner or spray with cooking spray.

Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar to a mixing bowl and stir ingredients together. Add the melted butter, milk, and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined, careful not to over mix. Gently fold in the raspberries and chocolate chips.

rasp choc muffin batter

Bake muffin for 21-23 minutes*, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing and allowing to cool completely.

*If you are using frozen raspberries, you might need to increase the baking time by a minute or two.

bite choc rasp muffin

{Adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie}

Birthday Dinner cover

Birthday Dinner, Part IX, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Birthday Dinner, Part IX, text © Jeffrey Anderson

To download the entire novel in the format of your choosing for $1.99 (and provide support for my writing), go to http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/298240.

Enjoy!

Birthday Dinner, Part VIII and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Chocolate Chip Cookies–they’re all about home and security.

So when Becca takes Zach a plate of chocolate chip cookies and a glass of lemonade while he’s doing repairs to a drug dealer’s house, she’s taking him more than just food. She could’ve taken him that North Carolina blue-collar standard (back then)–a Pepsi and a pack of Nabs. But it wouldn’t have been the same. It wouldn’t have been a reminder of home and security along with the snack.

Maybe these Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies will inspire the same feelings in you, summon the warmth of home and a wisp of security. And if not–well, you’ll still have four delicious chewy chocolate chip cookies to assuage your disappointment (and save one for tomorrow–maybe then you’ll get that touch of home and security!).

cookies

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons light brown sugar

1 Tablespoon egg substitute (or crack one egg, beat it, and use 1 Tbsp)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

pinch of salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)

1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick mat. Set aside.

Add the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar to a mixing bowl. Mix with a fork until ingredients are combined. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and combine all of the ingredients. Add the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt and slowly stir ingredients together. Fold in chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

back of cookie

Roll the dough into four balls and place on cookie sheet. Dot the top of each cookie with a few more chocolate chips. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes. Do not over bake! The cookies will appear soft and undercooked, but I promise they are done. Remove the cookies from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 4 cookies.

chewy cookies

{Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction}

Birthday Dinner cover

Birthday Dinner, Part VIII, audio © Jeffrey Anderson 

Birthday Dinner, Part VIII, text © Jeffrey Anderson

To download the entire novel in the format of your choosing for $1.99 (and provide support for my writing), go to http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/298240.

Enjoy!

Birthday Dinner, Part VII and Fudgey Brownies

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The secret lavishness of everyday life.

We all look forward to special events with high expectations. Weddings, anniversaries, and graduations are anticipated for months in advance. Sometimes the actual event meets our hopes, sometimes not.

But what about all the times in between. Are our everyday lives fated to a non-stop “ho-hum” or, worse, the dreaded unpleasant surprise? Or does everyday life occasionally sneak in a profound moment or revelation or treat? The three scenes in Birthday Dinner, Part VII are each in their own way examples of such secret lavishness bestowed on the everyday lives of first Becca, then Zach, then the two of them together.

These Fudgey Brownies just might fall into that same category. You might think it’s a ho-hum brownie on a ho-hum normal day, but once in a while everyday life will sneak in a little treat. See what you think (and feel free to pretend I didn’t give away the secret!).

brownie bite

Fudgey Brownies

5 Tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

pinch of salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, or any other candy

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 7x5x1.5 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a microwave safe bowl, add the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Microwave in 20 second increments, stirring after each time, until butter is completely melted. (I only had to microwave my mixture for 40 seconds total.) Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.

brownie batter before egg{Brownie batter before adding the egg. It’s a little grainy.}

After the mixture has cooled, stir in the vanilla extract. Next, add the egg and beat until it is fully incorporated. Add the flour and mix until just combined, careful not to over mix. Lastly, fold in the chocolate chips (or candy of your choosing).

brownie batter after egg{Brownie batter after adding the egg. Velvety smooth and shiny!}

Pour the brownie batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 24-26 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center only comes out with a few crumbs and the batter no longer looks liquidy. Cool in pan completely before cutting into brownies.

Makes 6 brownies.

baked brownie

{Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction}

Birthday Dinner cover

Birthday Dinner, Part VII, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Birthday Dinner, Part VII, text © Jeffrey Anderson

To download the entire novel in the format of your choosing for $1.99 (and provide support for my writing), go to http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/298240.

Enjoy!

Birthday Dinner, Part VI and Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough Bites

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Once upon a time–eating cookie dough before it was baked seemed the most wicked of culinary sins, and the most delicious! You’d keep looking over your shoulder to see if your mother was there, waiting to paddle you with a wooden spoon or at least give you a sharp scolding, even as you relished every delectable bite. Part of the pleasure was indulging in something before it was ready.

Well, look over your shoulder for chastising mom no more (at least not over eating cookie dough)! Cookie dough has gone mainstream, as the following recipe for Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough Bites will prove. You can eat it to your heart’s content, indulge your taste buds and your slightly wicked (or at least unconventional) side, and not worry about the ramifications. Better yet, there’s no waiting for baking or cooling with this recipe–just mix and eat, and maybe share, if you’re really nice!

And listen to Birthday Dinner, Part VI while you’re at it. Becca’s challenges hardly qualify as indulgent and decadent, but they are like cookie dough as her life is a work in progress, and her struggles full of rewards that’s she’s only vaguely aware of. OK–the comparison is a stretch. Maybe I should say–listen to the story and enjoy it as a work in progress, with plenty more to come. Now that’s like eating cookie dough bites!

oatmeal raisin bites

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough Bites

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 Tablespoon milk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup quick cooking oats

1/4 cup raisins

In a small mixing bowl, add the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Mix ingredients together until sugars are blended into the butter. To this mixture, add the milk, vanilla extract, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour. Mix all of these ingredients into the butter mixture, making sure everything is well incorporated. Lastly, fold in the quick cooking oats and raisins.

oatmeal raisin cookie dough

Roll the cookie dough into eight balls and place in muffin liners, or just eat the cookie dough straight from the mixing bowl.

Cookie dough will keep in refrigerator for up to four days.

oatmeal raisin cookie dough and bites

{Adapted from Dessert for Two}

Birthday Dinner cover

Birthday Dinner, Part VI, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Birthday Dinner, Part VI, text © Jeffrey Anderson

To download the entire novel in the format of your choosing for $1.99 (and provide support for my writing), go to http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/298240.

Enjoy!