Authors in the Spotlight


Book Title: MY DANGEROUS PLEASURE


Category: Paranormal Romance

Description: In this fourth installment of the “My Immortals” series, Paisley Nichols has no idea that her landlord, Iskander, isn’t human. That is, until she’s stalked by an unstable mage and her smoking–hot landlord steps in to keep the mage from killing her, or worse.

 

Author Spotlight: Carolyn Jewel

Dear Reader,

Part of the reason Paisley Nichols, the heroine of My Dangerous Pleasure, is a pastry chef is that I love to bake, and at the time I started writing the book I was reading a lot about baking and trying out a lot of recipes. Some of the people I follow on Twitter are avid bakers and we’ve end up sharing recipes and tips. Did you know that the original Toll House cookie recipe called for the dough to be refrigerated at least overnight and ideally for three days? This resting of the dough is said to intensify the flavors. (True, in my test) If you prefer softer Toll House cookies, remove them from the oven when the tops are still white. (Also true, in my tests.) A light sprinkle of salt on top of these cookies intensifies the flavor. (True.) And, in my own personal discovery, the use of mini-chocolate chips rather than regular-sized chips disperses the chocolate flavor more thoroughly and results in a more intense cookie experience, and who doesn’t want that?

Another of my baking endeavors was an exercise I called “Extreme Butter Testing.” 

My test environment was a chocolate chocolate-chip cookie (CCC) recipe that calls for salted butter. Most bakers, as I was learning, use unsalted butter (because you have better control over your seasonings this way). This contradiction intrigued me. If salt intensifies the flavor of chocolate, why use unsalted butter in a chocolate dessert? 

Over the next few weeks I made multiple versions of the CCC’s each with a different brand of butter, both salted vs. unsalted varieties. I live in rural Sonoma County, which as it happens, is now particularly noted for the quality of its dairy products. Clover is our local dairy brand and I grew up on it. It’s not sold as a premium brand around here, it’s just what we locals use. What I discovered was that, despite the cachet of brands like LurPak (an excellent Danish butter) Clover butter gave as good as or even a superior result. In terms of consistency and taste Clover butter (salted or unsalted) ranked with premium butters.

The take away, for the curious, is that among these high-quality butters, the difference comes down mostly to a taste preference. And you will be in the happy position of making several favorite recipes to decide which butter you prefer. It’s a sacrifice I chose to make.

For the CCCs, after multiple single-batch tests involving the various brands of butter, I made two batches, one with Clover salted butter, the other with Clover unsalted butter. I then offered one of each to various taste-testers ranging in age from 9 to 83 and asked them to try both and tell me which one they liked better.

Everyone picked the salted butter version.

And, indeed, in my own taste test, I confess the version made with salted butter had a richer, more intense chocolate flavor. I ate several of each to be sure.

Enjoy!

- Carolyn Jewel

 

Excerpt

Paisley had to juggle her groceries to make it through the gate that led to the back of her landlord’s yard. Her apartment was a tiny one-bedroom located over his garage. She had her iPod playing the Greycoats too loud for the safety of her hearing, and she was singing along as best she could with her keys dangling from her mouth. She’d be dancing, too, if her arms weren’t overloaded with canvas bags containing flour, Lurpak butter that had been on sale, and ten bars of high-quality, no soy-lethicin dark chocolate.

Her bra strap was falling down her shoulder, along with the sleeve of her sweater, and driving her absolutely batty. In order to free up a hand, she lifted a knee to trap one of the bags between her torso and the neighbor’s wooden fence. Then she reached across her body, under the headphone wires, and hitched everything into place. There. Now she wasn’t going to arrive home with her clothes half off.

She got her bags rebalanced and headed for her apartment. Or she would have if the walkway hadn’t been blocked by her smoking-hot landlord and a man she didn’t recognize, who was also pretty darn hot. She hardly ever saw her landlord, despite the fact that she lived over his garage. The bakery meant she was usually sleeping or at work when most other people were home. The last time she saw him had to be at least three or four months ago when she’d noticed he was home and dropped by on her way to work to tell him her garbage disposal was jammed again. He’d told her he’d take care of it, and, in fact, when she came home, the disposal had worked just fine.

Her landlord quirked his eyebrows, grinned and said, “Hey, Paisley.”

With her house keys clenched between her teeth the only thing she could say was “Nnhh.” One of her earbuds fell out, and the tinny sound of music drifted on the air. It was plain her landlord and his friend had, like her, only just arrived.

No doubt about it, her landlord was the most beautiful man she’d ever seen.

 

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