featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Food editor Cloris McWerther has invited a special guest to join us today, Bailey Cates. Bailey also writes the Home Crafting Mysteries as Cricket McRae. She believes magic is all around us if we only look for it. For more information about Bailey/Cricket, please visit her website. You can also visit Cricket's Hearth Cricket blog and her Katie Lightfoot character blog -- AP

What a treat to guest here, Anastasia! So, in honor of the release of my first Magical Bakery Mystery, Brownies and Broomsticks, I thought I’d offer a treat for your readers.

The main character of the series is twenty-eight year old Katie Lightfoot. In the first book she’s relocated to Savannah, Georgia from Ohio to start up the Honeybee bakery with her Aunt Lucy and Uncle Ben. As a baker – and a new hedgewitch – she loves to experiment with new recipes, but her all-time favorite self indulgence is Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies.

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

¾ cup chunky peanut butter
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup vegetable oil
½ cup boiling water
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil and flour a 9x13 baking pan.

Mix together the peanut butter, butter, confectioners’ sugar vanilla extract. Set aside.

Combine cocoa powder and baking soda in a medium bowl. Add 1/3 cup of the vegetable oil and mix together thoroughly. Add boiling water and stir until mixture thickens. Add the rest of the vegetable oil, eggs, and sugar and stir until smooth. Mix in flour, vanilla and salt until thoroughly blended. Pour brownie batter into the prepared baking pan.

Drizzle peanut butter mixture over brownie batter. Using a knife, cut through the topping and batter to create a marbled effect.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until brownies are set in the middle and peanut butter swirl topping begins to puff slightly. Allow to cool in pan before cutting.

Thanks for joining us today, Bailey, and best of luck on the new series. -- AP


Sheila Webster Boneham said...

Thanks a lot, Cricket - now I'll be thinking "chocolate and peanut butter" all day! ;-) The new series sounds like fun - my "to read" pile has just gotten bigger!

Jane R said...

I'm a huge fan of the Home Crafting Mysteries and I'm really looking forward to this new 'magical' series! Personally, I don't think you can go wrong with the word brownies in the title. It certainly got my attention! This recipe sounds yummy and since my family loves brownies in all forms, I'm going to definitely try it. Thanks for the great post!

Cathy Pritchard said...

This recipe looks amazing! Will definitely try it out. Good luck with the new series, Bailey!



Lynn was having trouble posting a comment. This is from her:

"The book sounds really interesting and the recipe you included will for sure help make me fatter! Thanks for sharing with us!"


Bailey Cates said...

There are worse things to think about all day, Sheila. The theme to the Brady Bunch, for example. ; )

So glad to hear you enjoy the Home Crafting Mysteries, Jane! Hope you have fun with the new series, too.

Thanks, Cathy and Lynn -- Katie usually eats these brownies in the middle of the night, which I highly recommend!

Kathy said...

I do love mysteries that involve food, especially the baked kind. Those brownies sound yummy. Guess I'll have to put my diet off for a few more days.

Bailey Cates said...

Calories don't count if the recipe is in a mystery, Kathy. Yes, I just made that up, but let's pretend it's true...

Anastasia and Cloris -- thanks so much for hosting me!