Devonshire Scream, Simply Scratch, The Love & Lemons Cookbook – Recipes & Giveaway

What do these books have in common:  the mystery Devonshire Scream and the cookbooks Simply Scratch and The Love & Lemons Cookbook? They are all great books with recipes and I have them all here for one in one giveaway!


In Devonshire Scream, New York Times bestselling author of Ming Tea Murder serves up robberies, murder, and tea blends in her latest Tea Shop mystery. I read the book on a recent flight to New York and thoroughly enjoyed Laura Child’s writing style as well as the recipes and tea tips. Our main character, Theodosia, owns Indigo Tea Shop and finds herself in the middle of a crime scene that involves a robbery with a side of murder while catering a show at a local jewelry store. At her dear friend Brooke’s insistence, who is the aunt of the victim, she begins playing detective. You will have to read the book to find out more!


The Love & Lemons Cookbook from Jeanine Donofrio has been discussed a great deal in The Cookbook Junkies and I had to get my hands on a copy. From Jeanine’s first line, “Why Love & Lemons? Because once, we walked by an Italian dog with a lemon in its mouth. Obviously” I was sold. Quirky – I like quirky.

The book is visually beautiful with 26 chapters from A to Z or Apples to Zucchini & Summer Squash. Not only do the recipes look amazing, but the author adds valuable information such as “How to Cook with What You Have” and “What to Have on Hand at all Times”. Her ease with words and encouraging tips instill confidence in cooks who might be newer to cooking. Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos, Curried Parsnip and White Bean Soup, and Spring Leek & Lemon Pasta all look like winners.

Special thanks to Jeanine and her publisher for sharing a tasty crostini recipe that will be perfect for your next tea party or brunch. This recipe is so easy and tasty – my son loved it (as did I).
apple-brie-and-thyme-crostiniAPPLE, BRIE & THYME CROSTINI = Serves: 4

8 slices ciabatta bread
8 (¼-inch/0.5-cm) slices brie cheese
1 Gala apple, thinly sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Honey, for drizzling
4 sprigs fresh thyme, thick woody stems removed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the ciabatta slices on the baking sheet and top each with a slice of brie, a few slices of apple, and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted. Remove from the oven and drizzle each crostini with honey. Top with a sprig of fresh thyme, season with salt and pepper, and serve hot.

Reprinted from The Love & Lemons Cookbook by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2016, Jeanine Donofrio


Simply Scratch by Laurie McNamara shares 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy. My favorite recipes in this book are those for Cream of Chicken Soup and Cream of Mushroom Soup – no more sodium laced cans in your casseroles. This weekend I’m going to be trying her Orange-Ginger Chicken and Rice – because it looks and sounds amazing. I also have the Mississippi Mud Pie (But Actually Texas Sheet Cake) and Pecan Toffee Oatmeal Cookies marked to be made. This is the perfect book to add to your collection as it provides scratch recipes from the Basics to Desserts.

Special thanks to the author and her publisher for sharing Laurie’s Lemon Ginger Scones with us another great option for a brunch or tea party. I love making scones and this recipe combine two of my favorite flavor combinations. A little trick I use to make perfect scones is that I grate the butter, spread it out on a small sheet pan and place it back in the fridge or freezer until I’m ready to use it.

lemon-ginger-sconesLEMON GINGER SCONES

This is the part where I confess that I once ate a whole batch of these scones in a record three days. I was testing the recipe and poof! They were gone. I didn’t mean to, but do we ever? For me, a scone served with a steaming cup of coffee or tea is perfection. I haven’t looked back since I was first introduced to scones by my friend Nichole, and this recipe does not disappoint. These scones are inspired by some I love at a bakery in a nearby town. A quintessential classic American bakery complete with exposed brick walls and a hodgepodge collection of cute tables and chairs, this place serves the most amazing breads and baked goods. Ever. It’s safe to say I’ve tried one of all their scones, and the lemon ginger are my number one favorite. These scones are lemony, with a subtle ginger flair, and are topped with a thick layer of powdered sugar. What’s not to love? So naturally when I tried them at home I ate them all. The end.

NOTE: The key to any good scone recipe is using ice-cold ingredients, so I cube the butter and keep it in the freezer, and keep everything else, with the exception of the dry ingredients, measured and combined in the fridge until I’m ready to mix them in.



½ cup cold heavy cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon organic lemon extract
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup (1½ sticks) ice-cold
unsalted butter, cut into cubes
¼ cup finely diced candied ginger
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
¼ cup powdered sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  • In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, use a fork to beat together the heavy cream, eggs, lemon extract, and vanilla until combined. Chill until ready to use.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Drop in the ice-cold butter and use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse wet sand.
  • Pour in the chilled cream mixture, ginger, and lemon zest and use a rubber spatula to stir until just combined.
  • Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it a few times before forming it into a ball. With floured fingers, flatten it out into a 11⁄2-inch-thick round. Cut the round into 8 equal-size wedges and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer the baked scones to a wire rack to cool. Once the scones have cooled, dust generously with powdered sugar before serving.

Reprinted from Simply Scratch by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2015, Laurie McNamara

GIVEAWAY:  My lovely friends at Avery Books and Berkley Books who provided me with copies of these books for this review want to share a set of them with one of you! This giveaway is open to U.S. addresses only. There are several options to enter – do one or do them all.

1) Leave a comment on this post (daily if you like) telling me something you love to serve or have at a brunch or tea party.

2) Share this post on social media – there are several icons on this page to make this easier. Leave a comment telling me where you shared.

3) Visit The Cookbook Junkies Facebook page. Likes are appreciated. Sharing the page is even more appreciated. I only post giveaways on that page. Leave an additional comment telling me you did so.

4) Visit Avery and Berkley’s Facebook pages. Likes are appreciated. Leave an additional comment telling me you did so.

5) Visit Eat Your Books Facebook page. Likes are appreciated. Leave an additional comment telling me you did so.

A random winner will be chosen on November 5th! Good luck.


Disclaimer: Links to Amazon are affiliate links and help to support this page. Please see the right side bar for links to my stores on Amazon and Book Depository – any purchases there also support this page. Lastly, the Dover Publications promotion is still going on until January 1st. See the ad on the right side bar. Using that link and code will result in a 25% discount on your purchases there.

There’s Always Room for Chocolate * Review & Chocolate Pecan Pie



There’s Always Room for Chocolate – the title says it all – and most folks would agree. This new cookbook is written by the owners of the The Chocolate Room, married couple Naomi Josepher and Jon Payson’s, who share some of their coveted recipes.

The Chocolate Room has two locations in Brooklyn and is touted as a “sophisticated malt shop”. Famous for their Brownie Sundae, Chocolate Layer Cake and Spiced Hot Chocolate, this shop is every chocolate lover’s dream. Can’t get to Brooklyn? No worries – now we can recreate these decadent recipes in the comfort of our own kitchens.

What impressed me right off the bat is the index at the beginning of the book listing recipes by their time commitment: set out as follows “Quick Gratification” “Intermediate Creations” and “Weekend Projects”. I often get so excited to try a recipe – I fail to allot the time required for the dish and end up rushing the job.

The recipes are organized by Cakes, Baked Goods, Pies, Puddings & Custards, Confections and ending with Drinks & Accompaniments. Instructions on how to assemble and frost a showstopping cake are highlighted as well as other helpful tutorials throughout the book – such as how to use a pastry bag. Chocolate Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Cake and a Peanut Butter Cheesecake are a few examples from the cake chapter. I love the construction instructions plus diagrams for assembling the Chocolate Mousse Cake – they leave nothing to chance.

Other recipes that caught my attention (well all of them did – but ones I should mention) are Chocolate Canoes with Vanilla Cream Filling, Black-Bottom Butterscotch Custard, and Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons. There are also recipes for sauces, crusts, ice creams and much more.

I made the Chocolate Pecan Pie and it disappeared. I made it in a tart pan so that I could make a few mini tarts to ward off the chocoholic hulk that transforms when he smells me baking (he’s 12, his name is Andrew). I’ve made many pie crusts before but this one was by far the best. It was incredibly easy to work with – I’ve had delicious, flaky crusts from other recipes but none that rolled out so perfectly.

Special thanks to the authors and Rizzoli for allowing me to share the recipe here.


This pie was not cloyingly sweet like some pecan pies are – I love their method which made it more like a decadent brownie-like pecan pie. I’m not a fan of chocolate pecan pie, or I should say, I have never been a fan of chocolate in my pecan pie – and that has now been rectified.



Chocolate Pecan Pie

Makes one 10-inch pie (Jenny’s note: that magically disappears)

There’s something decadent about adding a little bit of chocolate to a classic like pecan pie. The long-loved flavors are still there, but they’re amplified just a little bit by the richness of the chocolate. We make this pie with a regular pie crust instead of our usual chocolate crust; we think the classic flavor and flaky texture adds a nice traditional touch. If you’re particularly partial to the crisp, candylike surface that forms on top of the pie, you can use this same recipe to make an 11-inch tart, which will give you a wider surface area.

1¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon granulated sugar

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces

¼ cup ice water


2½ ounces dark chocolate (preferably 60% cacao), coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup light corn syrup

2 extra-large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon salt

1½ cups pecan halves

The key to flaky pie crust is to keep the butter very cold. After you’ve cut the butter into little pieces, it is best to leave it in the refrigerator until just before you use it.

Make the Crust

  1. In a food processor, combine the flour, salt, sugar, and butter and process for about 10 seconds, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Drizzle in the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing the processor a couple of times after each addition. Stop when most of the dough comes together into a single clump. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead it two or three times so that it all comes together. Shape it into a flat disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch circle. Fit the circle of dough into a 10-inch pie pan and tuck the overhanging dough under to fit snugly along the top edge of the pie pan. Pinch the edge of the crust to create a wavy pattern. Cover the crust with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Make the Filling

  1. Melt the chocolate and butter together in the top of a double boiler, stirring to keep the chocolate from burning, or microwave them together in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until they become liquid. Whisk the butter and chocolate briskly until combined, then set aside to cool a little.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and corn syrup over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring the syrup to a boil, then immediately remove from the heat to keep the mixture from bubbling over. Set the syrup aside to cool a little.
  3. Put the eggs in a large bowl and beat with a whisk until smooth. Add the chocolate mixture and whisk to combine; while whisking, drizzle in the sugar syrup, then add the vanilla and salt. Fold in the pecan halves with a wooden spoon.

Assemble and Bake the Pie

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour the filling into the chilled pie shell. (It will not fill the pie shell.) Place the pie plate on a sheet pan to catch any filling that bubbles over. Bake the pie for 1 hour, until the crust is golden, the filling doesn’t wobble much when you shake the pan, and the edges of the filling have a bubbling, crisp texture. Allow the pie to cool thoroughly before serving.

Make Ahead

The raw pie crust can be frozen for up to 1 month. The filling, without the nuts in it, will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. The baked pie can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days.



Disclosure: Special thanks to Rizzoli for sending me a copy of this book for review and for allowing me to share this scrumptious recipe. The Amazon link is an affiliate link and helps to support this site. Amazon, Book Depository and Dover Publication links are all to the right side bar.

Cooking with the Muse – Review, Recipe & Giveaway (closed)


Lucky you, I have a lovely book to write about today, Cooking with the Muse by Myra Kornfeld and Stephen Massimilla. This title released earlier this year is a beautiful book warmed with poetry, packed with historical facts about food writing and ingredients, and the recipes are a varied collection of comfort food, elegant offerings and everyday fare.

Myra Kornfeld is a chef, educator, and author while Stephen Massimilla is a poet, scholar, professor, and painter – and together they joined their incredible talents and created this masterpiece of food and the written word. Poetry and essays are scattered through this volume, falling onto the pages to surround the recipes and pull everything together.

There are dishes that contain an international flair such as Medallions of Dukkah-Crusted Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Spinach, Moroccan Braised Lamb Shanks or Short Ribs, and Creamy Carrot-Coconut Soup with Hot and Sweet Coconut Cashews. Desserts that will have you preheating the oven in no time include Fudgy Nibby Brownies, Chocolate Tart with Salt, Pumpkin Pie Souffle and Caramelized Pecans and Capri Peach Tart. Yam Waffles with Maple-Pecan Butter, Shepherd’s Pie with Colcannon Topping and Moroccan-Spiced Bastilla with Chickpeas Turnips, Cabbage and Vermicelli – every page holds something  delectable to excite your palate or engage  your mind.

Cooking with the Muse will be a valued addition to your collection for it’s fantastic content as a literary work and it’s delicious collection of recipes that are approachable by any level cook. Thanks to the author for allowing me to share one of their recipes. The recipe for Polenta Baked Eggs can be downloaded at this link: recipe here.


GIVEAWAY: The authors are generously offering one of my readers an autographed copy of this gorgeous title. (I’ll be reaching out for a bookplate to add to my copy).

Random Number Generator picked #48 Tina!

The giveaway is open to US addresses only.

To enter:

1. Leave a comment on this post telling me which recipes sounds like something you would like to make. (You may return here daily and leave another comment to enter – telling me hello.)

2. For a second entry share this post on social media. We need to spread the word about this book. Sharing icons are below the post to make it easier for you. Sharing on multiple platforms will provide you with a second entry.

3. For a third entry, visit Cooking with the Muse’s Facebook page. Likes are very much appreciated.

4. For a fourth entry, visit The Cookbook Junkies Facebook page. Likes are very much appreciated.

A random winner will be chosen on October 17th. Good luck and spread the cookbook love!