When I am not writing, I bake. Quite simply, baking relaxes me and helps clear my mind. I have charted many a character’s path while separating eggs and creaming butter!
Taught to bake at the knee of my Slovak grandmother, I began taking formal cooking classes at age 10. Since then, no one and nothing has managed to keep me out of my kitchen! (If I had not begun writing at a much earlier age, I may have become a pastry chef rather than a writer.)
My two favorite recipes are turtle brownies, basically your standard fudge brownie recipe with a swirl of caramel, pecans, and mini-semi-sweet chocolate chips, and three chocolate mousse cake, which is a luscious four-layer devil’s food cake with white chocolate, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate mousse in between the layers. When feeling particular ambitious, I might even encase this chocolatey confection in whipped cream!
And when I want the sweet smell of fall, I make an apple-pie-in-a-bag, a local favorite in southeast Wisconsin, or a no-knead bread, made with good old Wisconsin beer!
While I bake everything from scratch, I have learned a few short cuts over the years. For example, when pressed for time, I may substitute a box mix for the brownies or cake, and simply add the extras. And sometimes, I may even make the mousse from store-bought faux whipped cream and mix it with pudding rather than melted chocolate. And I make apple pies two at a time, so I always have one in the freezer. Of course, when I am feeling the need to cut back on the sugar and/or fat, I may utilize natural sugar substitutes or pureed fruits. (Who knew Gerber’s pureed prunes worked so well as a fat substitute in brownies?)
When I am in a reading mood, I am likely to brew some cinnamon hazelnut coffee and bake one of the most mouth-watering coffee cakes I have ever eaten. It’s a recipe passed on to me by a librarian from the Missouri Court of Appeals when I was a law clerk. She spoiled us by bringing in baked goods at least once a week, and the recipe we loved most was her Cinnamon Coffee Cake. When you have the urge to curl up with a good book and a hot cuppa, this sweet treat will provide a nice little slice of heaven!
CINNAMON COFFEE CAKE
1/2 cup margarine 1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar 2 eggs
1 cup sour cream 1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour, sifted 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cream margarine, shortening and eggs. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Spread it in 9 x 13 pan. In a separate bowl, mix:
1 cup brown sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup margarine 2 cups chopped nuts
Layer on top of cake batter, swirl in slightly with a knife. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
KINKY BRIEFS, QUATRO
Take another kinky voyage through Lawyerland!
Indulge in a walk on the wild side with these sizzling short stories about lawyers in love, with a dash of kink. From painting well-hung nudes at a networking event or thwarting terrorists intent on harm to finding love despite a chronic illness or exploring kink on a train, these lawyers pursue love with a vengeance. And while affairs of the heart may come in all shapes and sizes—a law school ménage a trois, a middle-aged A.G. and a law firm associate, and a new marriage suddenly threatened by a spouse long believed dead—these relationships thrive despite the odds. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and yes, the resultant loin heating might even make you blush, but in the end, you’ll run out and buy a set of handcuffs. Because that’s the only way to defuse the sizzle created by these hot, sexy stories.