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.

Note: This site uses Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Monday, January 20, 2014


After writing romances for twenty years, award-winning author Karen Rose Smith is excited to see her Caprice De Luca home-stager mystery series published.  Her sleuth reflects many of her interests—interior decorating, cooking, retro fashion, gardening and most of all, taking in stray animals.  Learn more about Karen and her books at her mystery and romance websites and her blog. Today Karen stops by to tell us about her new mystery series and share with us one of her sleuth’s favorite cookie recipes.

What are some of my best memories with my mom and my grandmother? Baking bread, watching pizza dough rise, rolling biscotti.  I still have my mom's recipe boxes and turn to them often.  My sleuth Caprice De Luca in Staged to Death comes from a large Italian family who likes to cook.  Writing these mysteries returns me to my childhood in many ways, to family dinners with aunts, uncles and cousins, to those wonderful aromas wafting through the house, to the conversation, laughter and even arguments around the table.  To give my readers an additional recipe to those in Staged to Death, I developed Caprice's Choco Chunks and Chips Cookies.  My family and friends think they're a hit and I hope you do, too.

Caprice’s Choco Chunks and Chips Cookies

1/2 cup salted butter softened                             
1/4 cup peanut butter                                 
1 cup packed brown sugar                                   
3/4 cup granulated sugar                         
2 large eggs                                    
1/8 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 oz milk chocolate  (I use two 3 oz Dove bars broken into small pieces or chunks.  These bars break or cut up easily.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a mixer, cream softened butter and peanut butter.  Mix in brown sugar and granulated sugar until creamed.  Add eggs and mix well.  Add cinnamon and vanilla.  Add baking powder and baking soda.  Blend well.  Add 2 cups of flour, a quarter cup at a time with mixer on low speed, constantly scrapping bowl.  Stir in the other cup of flour, a quarter cup at a time, by hand until completely blended.  Stir in chocolate chips and chunks.

Roll into 1 1/2" balls, place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart and press down slightly with palm of hand.  (I usually put 12 on one cookie sheet.)

Bake 11 – 12 minutes until golden brown and set.  (The type of cookie sheet you use can affect the baking time.  Darker cookie sheets bake faster.)

Remove from the oven and let the cookies sit a minute on a cool surface.  Remove from pan.

Recipe makes about 30-36 cookies.  Let cool until the chocolate hardens.  Unless you eat all of them gooey warm!

Staged to Death 
Welcome to Kismet, PA, where home stager Caprice De Luca helps her clients shine in a lackluster real estate market—and where someone may only be in the market for murder...

Caprice De Luca has successfully parlayed her skills as an interior designer into a thriving home staging business.  So when her old high school friend Roz Winslow asks her to spruce up her mess of a mansion to perk up a slow buyer's market, Caprice is more than happy to share her skills.  But when Roz's husband Ted is found skewered by one of his sword room's prized possessions, it appears the Winslows have a few skeletons in their palatial closets.  With the stage set for murder, Caprice will discover she can track down an antique tapestry and a cold-blooded killer with equal aplomb—as long as she's not the next victim...

Buy Links:


Morgan Mandel said...

My Mom baked homemade bread. To this day, I remember being told once to turn off the oven. Being a kid, I wasn't too adept at that, and turned it all the way up instead of off, resulting in burnt bread!

Your series sounds as good as your cute cover!

Morgan Mandel

KRS said...

Morgan--i remember the cooking booboos when i was a kid! I just love this cover. I hope you enjoy the series. KRS

Cindy Sample said...

What a great idea for a mystery series, Karen. I can't wait to read about Caprice's adventures. I wish she could do a virtual staging of my house as well!

KRS said...

Once upon a time I was involved in home decorating and I've always done my own with themes. Stretching that with Caprice is so much fun. I hope you enjoy her adventures. KRS

Between the Pages with Katrina said...

Love this recipe. Thanks for sharing. This is a wonderful suspense. I am so looking forward to the next in this series.