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, October 4, 2016


Kathy Aarons is the author of the nationally bestselling Chocolate Covered Mystery series. Research for the series was such a hardship: sampling chocolate, making chocolate, sampling more chocolate, and hanging out in bookstores. Learn more about Kathy and her books at her website. 

Being a Chocolatier is Not for Wimps

When I started writing the Chocolate Covered Mystery series, I had no idea how to make chocolates. Luckily for me (and the readers), I didn’t have to create the recipes myself. I was able to use my local chocolatier’s recipes. Isabella Knack, owner of Dallmann’s Fine Chocolates, was a wonderful resource not just for recipes but also for insight into the life of a chocolatier.

All of what she taught me went into the character of Michelle Serrano. The long hours of creating products and running a small business with all the complications of suppliers, employees and customers. The crafting of new recipes and taste-testing on (what had to be) enthusiastic volunteers. The balance of work, family and life. The challenge and joy of matching customers to their favorite truffles.

Of course, I had to test all of Isabella’s recipes (a nice perk!) to ensure that they worked.

Over the course of three books, I’ve become a little better at making truffles, even though they’ll never be the pieces of art that Isabella creates. It’s easy to understand why someone would make this a career – just the scent of melting chocolate alone is worth all of the work.

And how fun it must be to give other people so much happiness in one little bite!

The following recipe is in Behind Chocolate Bars, the third book in the Chocolate Covered Mystery series. It was one of the most delicious recipes I’ve ever tried – simpler than it looks and totally amazing to taste.

(I visited Isabella in her kitchen and the attached photo is the finished product of this recipe, although she didn’t use premade molds. Those fancy truffles are the result of air-brushed melted chocolate.)

Irish Cream Ganache (yields 100 pieces)

3/4 cup Heavy cream
1/4 cup Glucose syrup
1-3/4 cups Dark chocolate
4 tsp. Butter
2 T Irish Cream

Premade chocolate molds – available at candy shops and online

Combine the heavy cream and glucose syrup in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes.

Using a spatula, stir the mixture in small circles of the bowl until it emulsifies.

Stir the soft butter into the ganache until it’s incorporated. Add the liqueur, stirring until the mixture is homogeneous.

Pipe into premade chocolate molds. Chill

Behind Chocolate Bars
Double, Double-boil, and Trouble…

Best friends and business partners Michelle and Erica have a monstrous to-do list as they prepare for the annual West Riverdale Halloween Festival. Their shop, Chocolates and Chapters, will have a booth at the event, where Michelle will serve spooky delights while Erica displays an assortment of spine-chilling books. Thank goodness the teenagers from Erica’s comic-book club are chipping in to help. But one of their volunteers winds up in trouble after a woman’s body is found in an abandoned house—with the teen’s superhero key ring close by.

The teen swears he didn’t do it, but he’s obviously hiding something—leaving Michelle and Erica with a witch’s cauldron of questions. Soon they discover that the dead woman was tricking a whole bunch of people out of more than just treats. Now these two friends must go door-to-door if they hope to unmask a killer…

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These look fantastic!

Angela Adams said...

CHOCOLATE! Thank you!!

Kathy Aarons said...

Can't go wrong with chocolate!