A Hannah Swensen Mystery with Recipes!
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“The only problem with leaving four car lengths in front of you is that four cars come in to fill up the space!” Hannah Swensen complained to her sister Michelle, who was riding in the passenger seat of her cookie truck. “I‘m going forty. Do you think that‘s too slow?”
“Absolutely not. It‘s nasty out there, and anybody who drives faster than forty on a night like this is crazy.”
“Or they come from other states and they don‘t know anything about winter driving in Minnesota. I think I‘ll pull over as far as I can and let that whole herd of cars behind me pass.”
Hannah signaled and moved over as far as she could to encourage the other drivers to pass her. They probably thought she was being too cautious, but a thin film of water glistened on the asphalt surface of the highway, and the temperature was dropping fast. The water would turn into slick ice in a matter of minutes and there was no way Hannah wanted to sail off into the ditch and land in the mud that was just beginning to refreeze from the afternoon thaw. Some people said that Minnesota had two seasons; Shovel and Swat. Hannah knew that wasn‘t the case. The land of the frozen north had four seasons—Fishing Season, Duck Season, Deer Season, and Mud Season. This was the first Thursday in April and Lake Eden was having the worst Mud Season on record. In the past three days, Earl Flensburg had used his Winnetka County tow truck to pull eighteen vehicles out of the muddy ditches. This number included Hannah‘s cookie truck. Twice.
The current road conditions had been brought about by an extremely snowy winter that had yielded a record number of inches. Then, just last week, the days had turned warm with temperatures approaching a positively balmy fifty degrees. This unseasonably warm snap had melted the banks of hard-packed snow that lined the sides of the roads and had turned the shoulders into mud pits. To compound the problem, the nights, like tonight, were cold enough to refreeze the water from the afternoon runoff, but the mud in the ditches took much longer to refreeze. Hapless motorists on the highways skidded on the icy film. If they were lucky, they simply ended up in the ditch in need of a tow truck. If they were unlucky, they sideswiped several other cars, resulting in multiple injuries. Warnings about the hazardous road conditions filled the KCOW-TV evening news, but some drivers seemed perfectly oblivious. Until the weather evened out, one way or the other, accidents on the highway would continue to be more common than lost mittens.
Hannah gripped the wheel tightly. Road conditions would improve once they turned onto the gravel road that led to the Lake Eden Inn, but they still had over five miles to go on asphalt that resembled nothing so much as an improperly frozen hockey rink.
The two sisters rode in silence for several minutes and then Hannah glanced over at her sister. There was a smile on Michelle‘s face…
Copyright © 2012 by H. L. Swensen, Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted by arrangement with Kensington Publishing Corp.
Chocolate Caramel Pecan Bars
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F., rack in the middle position.
4 one-ounce squares semi-sweet baking chocolate (or the equivalent – 3/4 cup regular chocolate chips will do fine.)
3/4 cup butter (1 and 1/2 sticks, 6 ounces)
1and 1/2 cups white (granulated) sugar
1/8 cup (2 Tablespoons) caramel ice cream topping
3 beaten eggs (just whip them up in a glass with a fork)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups flour (pack it down in the cup when you measure it)
1 and 1/2 cups chocolate chips (that's 3/4 of a 12-ounce package -- I used Ghirardelli)
1 and 1/2 cups pecans
Prepare a 9-inch by 13-inch cake pan by lining it with a piece of heavy-duty foil large enough to flap over the sides. Spray the foil-lined pan with Pam or another nonstick cooking spray.
Microwave the chocolate squares and butter in a microwave-safe mixing bowl for one minute. Stir. (Since chocolate frequently maintains its shape even when melted, you have to stir to make sure.) If it’s not melted, microwave for an additional 20 seconds and stir again. Repeat if necessary.
Place the sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir in the chocolate and butter mixture, and continue stirring until it's well combined.
Hannah's 1st Note: The caramel ice cream topping comes next. It wills stick to your measuring cup unless you first spray the inside of the cup with Pam or another nonstick cooking spray.
Add the caramel ice cream topping to your bowl and mix it in thoroughly.
Feel the bowl. If it’s not so hot it’ll cook the eggs, add them now, stirring thoroughly.
Mix in the salt and the vanilla extract.
Mix in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring just until it’s moistened.
Hannah's 2nd Note: These are a form of brownies, and you don't want to stir the batter any more than necessary.
Put the chocolate chips and the pecans in the bowl of a food processor. Using an on and off motion, chop them together with the steel blade. (If you don’t have a food processor, you don’t have to buy one just for this recipe –simply chop everything up as well as you can with a sharp knife.)
Mix in the ingredients you just chopped, give one final stir, and spread the batter out in pan you prepared earlier.
Bake the Chocolate Caramel Pecan Bars at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes.
Cool your yummy creation in the pan on a metal rack. When the bar cookies are cool, slip them into the refrigerator at least an hour for ease in cutting.
When you're ready to serve them, lift the chilled cookie bars out of the pan, using the "ears" of foil you left at the sides. Place them face-down on a cutting board, peel the foil off the back, and cut them into brownie-sized pieces.
Place the squares on a plate and dust them lightly with powdered sugar. Everyone will think you're a genius when they taste them.
From the book CINNAMON ROLL MURDER.
Everyone wants a bite of Joanne Fluke’s delicious Hannah Swensen mysteries, as Hannah always cooks up a honey of a crime investigation. Now, in Cinnamon Roll Murder, she’s knuckle-deep in sticky business when the popular Cinnamon Roll Six jazz band heads to Lake Eden for the Weekend Jazz Festival. Hannah is more than happy to bake up a generous supply of their namesake confections. But tragedy strikes when the band's tour bus overturns on its way into town. Among those injured is Buddy Neiman, their beloved keyboard player.
At first, Buddy's injuries appear minor, until he suddenly takes a turn for the worse—as in dead. Hannah's no doctor, but she suspects the surgical scissors jutting out of Buddy's chest may have something to do with it.
Turns out Buddy Neiman isn't the victim's real name. In fact, no one's really sure who he is, or what secrets may be lurking in his past. And there’s a slew of local suspects, including Doctor Bev—who seems to know more about the victim than she'll admit—and Devon Murphy, a young keyboard player who aspired to a spot in the band. Hannah isn't sure just how she'll unravel this mystery, but there's nothing sweeter than bringing a killer to justice. Recipes.
Hardcover Book : 352 pages
Publisher: Kensington Books ( February 28, 2012 )
Item #: 13-523180
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 0.813inches
Product Weight: 13.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
bought the book for my mom and she loved it she said it was as great as the rest of the hannah murders.she can't wait till the nex book.she has all of the other hannah murders series books and just loves them.
Reviewer: anna c
I have read all her books and can not wait for the next one. Really love her cat.
Reviewer: Diane S
This book was no exception. You really like Hannah, her family and her friends and naturally you don't like the character(s) who is not a good person. The recipes are often very tempting, but I gave up floury products several years ago for good reasons. The side remarks made by Hannah within the recipes are fun to read.
I have never read anything by this author before but I sure am glad that that I read this one. It was wonderful. The main girl comes across a accident where the driver is killed & one man is hurt. She gets him to a hospital where someone kills him & she has to find out who.
i bought this book for my mom who has all of joanns book.she loved it she read the book in three days.wants to try some of her recipes will be getting her the book that comes out.my moms only reply is that joann dose not write them fast then she can read them.
Reviewer: anna c