SPRINKLED IN MALICE, the seventh book in the Cookies & Chance Mystery series by Catherine Bruns captured my attention from the very first page with its endearing introduction to protagonist Sally Muccio Donovan. We also meet her best friend, sidekick, and baker all rolled into one feisty woman: Josie. I was lulled into a sense of well-being, reading with a smile on my face, enjoying the fun Sally is planning to celebrate her husband’s birthday when wham… the action starts and it was an edge of your seat read from then on out. Ms. Bruns has written a well-plotted mystery that brings the reader on a roller coaster ride of emotions. There are plenty of suspects that kept me guessing and the subplots add to the layers of entertainment. The conclusion and wrap up of the story left me cheering and made SPRINKLED IN MALICE one of my new favorites in this series so far.
I also greatly enjoy how the author expertly inserts just enough humor to lighten the mood at the right times using Sally’s parents and grandmother. In particular her father, Domenic Muccio, brings outrageous shenanigans to the page. His “Father of Death” blog and his new book covering the subject of death, had me laughing out loud. Sally’s Grandma Rosa is adorable as she manages to mix up cliché sayings with cute results. I never knew there were so many clichés out there, but Ms. Bruns provides ample examples over the course of this series.
Sally’s bakery sells mouthwatering cookies to the community. While Josie is the full-time baker, Sally is trying to learn and increase her baking skills by starting out with some easy to make recipes. I was delighted when Catherine asked if I’d like to provide a recipe for her book and I loved the theme of sprinkles… and knew my granddaughters would love any cookies that utilized lots of sprinkles too. While I bake all kinds of cookies, sometimes it’s nice to have a basic, mix up in minutes, type of recipe so I came up with Sprinkled with Fun Cookies which start with a cake mix. These cake-like cookies take mere minutes to scoop onto a baking sheet and the grandkids and their parents alike, loved the taste. I’ve made these several times, swapping out the colors of the sprinkles, to fit whatever holiday theme I need to serve them at, making them versatile year round.
Spring has officially arrived, and while the weather outside may still be frightful, Sally Muccio is feeling especially delightful as she prepares a family dinner in honor of her husband’s birthday. Sal’s determined to make it an unforgettable night for Mike and even includes homemade fortune cookies like the ones her bakery serves, with messages personalized for each guest.
The evening is memorable, but not as Sal had hoped, when Mike and a friend find themselves in the middle of an armed robbery…and only one will make it out alive. It’s just the beginning of more grief for Sal, who soon discovers the robbery is related to a scheme that spells financial ruin for her family. Add in her morbid father’s book signing at the bakery complete with coffin shaped cookies, a sister who won’t stop eating them, and an accidental gig at a local strip club, and Sal once again finds herself in deep dough. Only this time, there may not be a way out…
A special thanks to Catherine Bruns for providing a winner with their choice of print or an e-book copy of SPRINKLED IN MALICE. Contest ends Thursday, March 21, 2019 at 11:59 pm PST. Print is limited to U.S. residents. Please use the Rafflecopter box located below to enter. The winner will be announced on this page and on Cinnamon & Sugar’s Facebook page, as well as notified by email (so check your spam folder!)
- 1 box Funfetti cake mix (15.25 oz.)
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (optional, but helps develop crust on frosting)
- Pinch of salt
- 3 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 - 3 tablespoons half and half or milk
- 1/4 cup sprinkles
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
Add all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until completely combined.
Scoop cookie dough into tablespoon-sized portions and roll into a ball. Place on prepared baking sheets and lightly flatten the dough balls with either your hands or a spatula.
Bake, one pan at a time, for 9 - 11 minutes. The tops of the cookies should start to crack a bit but the centers should remain soft.
Cool cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then remove to a wire cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, whip the butter, vegetable shortening (if using) and a pinch of salt until creamy, about 2 minutes on medium speed.
Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and slowly add in approximately half of the confectioners' sugar and beat until incorporated.
Add the vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons half and half (or milk) and beat until smooth.
Beat in the remaining confectioners' sugar.
Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat for 2 minutes. If frosting is too stiff, slowly add additional half and half until desired consistency is reached.
Frost the completely cooled cookies and garnish with sprinkles. Allow the frosting to set before storing in an airtight container.
For seasonal-themed Sprinkled with Fun cookies, substitute 15.25 ounces white or yellow cake mix for the Funfetti mix. Gently stir in 1/3 - 1/2 cup seasonal-colored sprinkles to the batter AFTER all the cookie ingredients have been mixed together. Bake according to directions above.
*Feel free to use your favorite pre-made canned frosting.
Makes 30 - 32 cookies
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I was provided an advance copy with the hopes I would review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.