It's a picture postcard December in Minnesota, and Main Street is brimming with festive holiday decorations. Best of all, it's time for the annual Holiday Cookie Exchange at the Community Center—catered by none other than The Cookie Jar! Gathered together for the delicious event, the Swensen clan and their friends share their favorite juicy tales of Lake Eden—and their favorite scrumptious cookie and luncheon recipes, including:
Candy Cane Cookies
Heavenly Eggnog Cookies
Merry Berry Cookies
Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies
Regency Ginger Snaps
Razzle Dazzle Champagne Cocktails
. . . plus all the recipes from Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder to Carrot Cake Murder. Now you can bring the irresistible flavors of The Cookie Jar into your very own kitchen!
"Joanne Fluke is the doyenne of deadly desserts with her deliciously popular Hannah Swensen series." —Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Joanne Fluke's LAKE EDEN COOKBOOK
Hannah Swensen's Recipes from The Cookie Jar
By Joanne Fluke
Copyright © 2011 H. L. Swensen, Inc.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneHannah Swensen frowned as she turned a slow circle in the center of the kitchen at The Cookie Jar, her bakery and coffee shop in Lake Eden, Minnesota. The timer had just sounded a one-minute warning, the latest batch of cookies was about to come out of the oven, and this had all the earmarks of a baking disaster. Every available surface was filled with various kinds of Christmas cookies.
"There's no more room!" Hannah complained, not expecting an answer since she was the sole occupant of the kitchen. But just then her partner, Lisa Beeseman, came in through the swinging restaurant-type door that separated the kitchen from the coffee shop.
"I can fix that. No problem." Lisa held up two of the giant glass jars they kept behind the counter in the coffee shop to display their daily cookie offerings. "I'll just fill up these jars and you'll have lots of room. And if you need more room than that, I've got three more jars that are running low."
By the time the oven timer sounded for the second time, Lisa had cleared cookies from several tiers of the baker's rack. Hannah filled them up again with trays of fresh, hot cookies, and then she slipped more cookies into the oven. The thing to do while this new batch was baking was to clear more space.
Her mother's cookies were cool, and Hannah arranged them in individual boxes. Delores Swensen was hosting her fourth annual Christmas cookie exchange this afternoon, and Hannah and Lisa were catering the luncheon at the event. Each lady Delores had invited would arrive with a dozen cookies for each of the other ladies attending, plus an extra dozen for charity. That meant everyone went home with a lovely assortment of Christmas cookies and this year's charity, the Winnetka County Children's Home, would have homemade cookies for the children.
Hannah picked up the boxed cookies intending to stash them in her cookie truck to clear even more counter space, but all it took was one step outside to cause her to change her mind. It was the second Wednesday in December, and according to Rayne Phillips at KCOW Radio, Lake Eden, Minnesota's news and weather station, the temperature would dip to minus double-digits today. It seemed that Rayne was right for a change. Turning on her heel, Hannah stepped back into her warm kitchen. The day was cold and blustery, it was already well below zero, and her mother's cookies would freeze in a matter of minutes if she stored them in the back of her cookie truck.
Hannah had just re-stacked the cookie boxes in a safe corner of the kitchen when the phone rang. She grabbed the phone on the wall so that Lisa wouldn't have to leave the customers to answer it. "The Cookie Jar," she said. "Hannah spreading."
"Hello, Hannah. It's Bertie." Hannah could hear the high-pitched whine of hair dryers in the background and she knew that Bertie was calling from her beauty shop, the Cut n' Curl. "You'll be at your mother's cookie exchange, won't you?"
"I'll be there. Lisa and I are catering the luncheon."
"Perfect! I was wondering if you'd share something with me."
"Share what, Bertie?"
Hannah began to smile. To her, share meant dividing something tangible into pieces, and she couldn't help forming a mental picture of Bertie grasping one side of a printed recipe while she held on to the other and awaited the signal to tear it in half. Of course that's not what Bertie meant, and Hannah didn't mind giving out her recipes to anyone who asked. The chances of Bertie refusing to order something Hannah sold at The Cookie Jar just because she could go home and bake it herself were negligible. "Which recipe would you like?" she asked.
"The one for that appetizer you made for the film shoot. It was on a round cracker and you said it had cream cheese in it."
"Cream Cheese Puffs?"
"That's it. I'd like that one. You said it was easy."
"It is, but you have to serve it hot out of the oven."
"I can do that. Will you bring the recipe to your mother's luncheon?"
"Sure," Hannah promised. "I'll see you there, Bertie."
"Marge and Dad are here early," Lisa announced, entering the kitchen only seconds after Hannah had hung up the phone. "I came to relieve you so that you can make the morning deliveries."
"That's great. This last batch of cookies has five minutes to go. Do you want me to stay until they're out?"
"You go. I'll take care of it."
"Okay." Hannah retrieved the steno pad they kept by the phone, flipped to the right page, and jotted a note about the recipe Bertie wanted.
"Another cookie order?" Lisa guessed.
"No, it's a list of all the recipes I have to print out before we go to Mother's cookie exchange. Everybody wants something."
"Like who? And what do they want?"
"Like Carrie Rhodes. She's supposed to bring a pie to a Christmas party and she needs a recipe. I'm going to bring all of my pie recipes so she can choose. And then there's Mother. She wants a recipe for shrimp bisque that she can make in a crockpot."
"Your mother's going to cook?" Lisa looked horrified.
"I doubt it. She'll probably ask me to mix it up so all she'll have to do is plug in the slow cooker. They're having a potluck at the hospital, and shrimp bisque is Doc's favorite soup."
"Who else is on your list?"
"Claire. She wants to make homemade candy for the church Christmas packages."
"But Grandma Knudson makes great candy! Why doesn't Claire just ask her for recipes?"
"She did, but Claire read them and she said they all mentioned stages like soft ball, and hard ball, and crack. Grandma told her not to worry about it, that all Claire had to do was use a candy thermometer, but Claire just started learning how to cook and she didn't think she could handle anything that complicated."
"Okay. I guess that makes sense." Lisa pointed to a name on Hannah's list. "Rose McDermott wants a cake recipe? And she bakes some of the best cakes in town?"
"She told me she's looking for something new. Almost everyone Mother invited wants me to bring some type of recipe."
"Then you'd better go home right after you make the deliveries and start printing out those recipes. Print out enough sets for everyone there. That way you won't have to do it again the next time they ask you."
"Good idea. But can you get along without me for a couple of hours?"
"Of course I can. I already told Herb I'd need some help, and he's going to move all our supplies to the community center kitchen. And Andrea's doing the tables, so we don't have to worry about that. The pies are all ready, and you made the chicken salad this morning. What else is there?"
"The champagne cocktails, but I'll bring everything I need for those."
"Then we're all set." Lisa glanced over as the oven timer gave a one-minute warning. "Did you print out the luncheon menu so I can put one by each place setting?"
"They're in a blue folder on the passenger seat of your car. You really ought to lock it, Lisa. Your husband's going to give you a ticket."
Lisa laughed. Everyone in town knew that Herb took his job as the Lake Eden marshal, the only law enforcement officer hired directly by the mayor, very seriously.
The timer started to ring for the second time and Lisa hurried to the oven. But she looked up as Hannah slipped into her parka and picked up the stack of cookie boxes set aside for delivery. "Your recipes are really popular, Hannah. Doesn't that make you happy?"
"Yes, and no."
"Because I've got so many recipes to print. And that means I'll have to run out to the mall on my way home to buy more paper and ink cartridges."
"Ready or not, here they come!" Hannah said, giving a relieved sigh. She'd just dipped the rim of the last champagne flute in red decorator sugar when she'd heard the sound of women's voices and the clatter of high heels on the stairs.
"We're ready." Lisa answered, removing a baked brie from the oven. She carried it to the counter they'd designated as their staging area and placed it next to a second baked brie and several baskets of assorted crackers. "Do you want me to put the appetizers out on the table now?"
"Yes. They'll need something to munch on while I mix the cocktails. Do you have the individual appetizer knives?"
"They're on the table."
Hannah glanced over at the long table in the banquet room. Before she'd gone upstairs to wait for their mother to arrive, Hannah's sister Andrea had decorated it with a red and green tablecloth, several small Christmas trees with colored lights, and some stylized gold deer that were frozen in the act of browsing on faux evergreen and holly centerpieces. The appetizer knives were there, one at each place setting.
Bertie Straub was the first one to enter the room, and she rushed over to Hannah. "Did you bring my recipe, Hannah?"
"Yes, and I also brought the recipe for the appetizer we're having today," Hannah answered, gesturing toward the small card table she'd set up in the corner. "I'll pass them out just as soon as I serve the Razzle Dazzle Champagne Cocktails."
"That sounds heavenly," Bertie declared. "Addie Borgia had to tell me all about her grandson's wedding while I colored her hair this morning, and she's told me the exact same stories three times before!"
Hannah hurried to the kitchen when Bertie left to stack her boxes of cookies on the long table against the wall. She found Lisa assembling several pans of biscuits. "Those should be wonderful," she said, eyeing the melted butter in the bottom of the pan.
"They will be. It's Marge's recipe, but she gave Herb the credit. She loved calling them Herb's Herb Biscuits." Lisa gave a little smile when she mentioned her mother-in-law's name. "Marge is wearing the new beaded sweater Herb and I got her for her birthday. Does your mother have a new outfit?"
"Do bears ... uh ... growl in the woods?" Hannah sanitized the popular saying for her young partner. "I'm sure Mother will have a new outfit. She always does."
"Welcome, ladies!" Hannah watched as her mother took her position at the head of the table. "I'm so glad you could come to our annual cookie exchange. Please find your place card and be seated. I understand my daughter, Hannah, will be making champagne cocktails for those of us who want to indulge and faux champagne cocktails for those who don't. And while we're waiting for our libations, let's take a look at the appetizer and beverage recipes that Hannah has printed out for us. And then we'll start in on this lovely baked brie."
That was Hannah's cue to carry out the champagne flutes rimmed in red sugar and play her part as the bartender. She picked up the tray, took a deep breath, and walked out to pour the bubbly.
CREAM CHEESE PUFFS
Hannah's Note: If you're not going to serve these right away, you can mix up the cream cheese part and refrigerate it until it's time to spread it on the crackers.
8-ounce package cream cheese (the firm kind, not the whipped) 2 Tablespoons (1/8 cup) mayonnaise (We used Hellmann's) 3 Tablespoons minced green onion OR 3 Tablespoons minced dried onion OR 3 Tablespoons minced shallots 1 beaten egg
A box of salted crackers (We used Ritz Crackers and they were great!)
Unwrap the cream cheese and put it in a microwave-safe bowl. Nuke it on HIGH for 30 seconds, or until it begins to soften.
Mix in the mayonnaise and stir until the mixture is smooth.
Mix in the onion. (If you use green onion instead of shallots or dried onion, you can use up to one inch of the stem.)
Mix in the beaten egg.
Lay out the crackers on a broiler pan, salt side up. (We used a disposable broiler pan so we could trash it at Granny's Attic and we wouldn't have to carry it back to The Cookie Jar.)
Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the crackers in a circle that reaches the edges of the crackers. If you don't cover the crackers completely, they tend to burn under the broiler. Use about 2 teaspoons of cheese mixture per cracker and mound it slightly in the center.
Position the rack approximately three inches below the coil of the broiler and turn it on HIGH. Wait until the coil gets hot and then put in the cheese puffs. Broil the crackers (with the oven door open to the first latch so the broiler doesn't kick on and off) until the cream cheese puffs up and is just starting to turn golden. This should take about 90 seconds if the rack is correctly positioned. Remove them from the oven immediately.
Let them cool for a minute or two, so your guests won't burn their tongues. Then transfer the Cream Cheese Puffs to a platter and serve.
Yield: Approximately 2 dozen hot and yummy hors d'oeuvres.
Another Note from Hannah: I haven't actually tried this, but I'm willing to bet a dozen of my best cookies that you could also add a quarter cup chopped smoked salmon to the cream cheese mixture.
• Razzle Dazzle Baked Brie
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, rack in the middle position.
1 cup salted cashews, finely chopped (measure after chopping) 2 large eggs 2 Tablespoons heavy cream (that's 1/8 cup) 1 small wheel of Brie with rind all over it (I used a 13-ounce baby Brie that was approximately 5 inches in diameter.) ¼ to 1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam (I used Knott's Berry Farm)
a basket of assorted crackers small appetizer knives and spoons for serving
Chop the salted cashews in a food processor or by hand. The pieces should be no larger than coarse grains of sand.
Place the finely chopped cashews in a glass pie plate sprayed with Pam or another nonstick cooking spray. (A flat-bottomed, oven-safe dish with sides will also work just as long as it's several inches larger than your wheel of Brie.)
Whisk the eggs and the heavy cream (that's whipping cream) together in a small bowl until they're thoroughly blended. Pour the resulting mixture into a second shallow dish or bowl (or pie plate).
Unwrap your wheel of Brie. Leave the rind on. You need the rind intact so that the cheese will hold its shape.
Dip the bottom of the Brie into the egg and cream mixture. Then pick it up by its sides and set it in the finely chopped cashews. Move it around a little so that the nuts will adhere to the egg and cream mixture.
Lift the Brie and take it back to the dish with the egg and cream mixture. Tip the cheese on its side and roll it in the mixture until the sides are coated with egg and cream.
Carry the Brie to the dish with the finely chopped nuts and roll it around in there so that the nuts adhere to the sides. You can press the nuts on with your hands to make them stick even better. When you're through, position your Brie in the center of the dish with the chopped cashews, the bottom side down and the top side (without any nuts) up.
Heat the raspberry jam for 5 to 10 seconds in the microwave on HIGH until it's easily spreadable. Then spoon it on top of the Brie, right in the middle. Use a rubber spatula or a frosting knife to spread it out to the edges.
Use a small spoon or your impeccably clean fingers to scoop up some chopped cashews and sprinkle them on top of the raspberry jam. Put on as many as you like as long as a bit of the red raspberry color shows through.
Leave the rest of the chopped cashews right there in the pie plate or ovenware dish.
Bake your Razzle Dazzle Baked Brie at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese is beginning to melt inside.
Hannah's Note: I've also made this with other double and triple cream cheeses and with other flavors of jam. Mother loves it with apricot jam and Andrea is crazy about Brie with peach jam.
FAKE ORANGE JULIUS
3 cups orange juice (you'll need 6 cups in all) 1 envelope dry Dream Whip (the kind that makes 2 cups) 1 package dry vanilla pudding mix (the kind that makes 2 cups) 3 more cups orange juice
Pour the 3 cups of orange juice into a blender. Add the envelope of dry Dream Whip and the dry pudding mix. Blend for one minute on LOW and then for another minute on MEDIUM speed.
Excerpted from Joanne Fluke's LAKE EDEN COOKBOOK by Joanne Fluke Copyright © 2011 by H. L. Swensen, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I thought the book was to contain all the recipes from the series, including new ones. Many of my favourite recipes were missing. The variety, and amount of recipes, from the 'Christmas Cookie Murder' book had more to it, than this book. I wish I would have looked through the book, befor buying. I would not have bought the book. I wouldn't even give it away to a friend, since I don't like short changing my friends. I'm extremely disappointed!
I would have preferred more recipes and less story. The author's website said that the upcoming book would include ALL the recipes listed there - along with some new ones. It's nice to have the new ones, but I was hoping for the rest of those that were previously published. Having them all in one book would be handy. If I had seen this book in the store instead of ordering online, I might not have made the purchase. Also, Ms. Fluke should stop talking down to us in her instructions. I would think that most of us enjoy this series because of the recipes (let's face it, there are better mysteries out there) and we don't need such simplified directions. By the way, for an author who takes pride in her character's language skills, she should know that Monterey jack only has one "R" in it.
Not bad, but could have been better. A lot of recipes from the series werent there:( overall it is pretty good
I was disappointed that this did not have all the recipes mentioned in her previous books but that would have been handy but I'm glad to get more! I was originally scared off buying this book from the previous reviews but went ahead and bought it becuase I didn't want to miss any interactions between Norman, Mike and Hannah. If you're worried like I was - don't be. There's only about 6 pages of "story" line in the whole book. I'm still pleased that this book continues with her simple recipe explanations and tasty recipes. Good buy if you want to cook cool and interesting foods.
JOANNE FLUKE’S LAKE EDEN COOKBOOK by Joanne Fluke Love Joanne Fluke books and just thought this would be a recipe book but I was wrong. There is a story in there about the cookie swap they have. It's easy to keep track of everybody over the years and I love these series. Book also includes a hard copy of a recipe along with all the recipes from the Cookie Jar which Hannah runs in Lake Eden. Love how the recipes give you not only tips on how to make them but other most useful tips on brands, measurements and how to serve-hot or cold and anything else she feels might be needed. I can't wait to try some of the ones in this book. Love hand drawn pictures of different vegetables, dishes, etc. I wish this book was spiral bound so the print would be bigger and it'd fit on my recipe holder better. Can't wait to make the Angel Kiss Cookies. Love the tip about the size of baking pans! Loved hearing all the stories they shared while feasting at the cookie swap. The stories brought a smile to my face! Love end result of the charity. I received this book from The Kennsington Books in exchange for my honest review
Fans of the Hannah Swensen culinary whodunits will enjoy the sweet tooth recipes from nine of the fourteen tales and more (some new ones not in the novels). Hannah, her partner Lisa Beeseman and Grandma Knudsen offer baking tips like the size of eggs in a recipe and the definition of butter. If you live in Lake Eden, Minnesota waking up in winter means room temperature is a bit cooler than the average and baking heats the kitchen. Hannah and Lisa cater Swenson's mom Delores' cookie exchange with Razzle Dazzle Baked Brie and Peanut Butter and Jelly Pie. There is much more like Herb's Wedding Cookie Cake and Boggles (the mind) with many more recipes. With commentary and pearls of wisdom (hide candy to be used in a recipe inside the vegetable crisper as kids never go there) throughout enhancing the fun, readers who bake will enjoy the best of The Cookie Jar. Harriet Klausner
I too, was mistakenly under the impression that this would be an inclusive cookbook. Did not have as many recipes as some of the mysteries. Definitely, money poorly spent!
I was somewhat disappointed when I went through the book to not find my favorite recipe that was in The Devil's Food Cake Murder. I was hoping that I could share all my books to my elderly mother and just have the one book with all the recipes. However this is not the case. :(
In the Hannah Swenson mysteries, when she's not helping the local police solve murders, Hannah is running a tea shop/cafe/bookstore known as "The Cookie Jar". Throughout her stories, Hannah shares the recipes for the yummy treats she serves up to her customers. Alas, the last three of these I've read, I've enjoyed in the audio format and it's a little difficult to jot down the recipes while I'm swimming or driving, so I was thrilled to see this one on the shelves at the local library and picked it up to thumb through. In it Fluke gives us not only the recipes, but the hints that Hannah gives us along the way. I'm especially grateful when she says DON"T PREHEAT THE OVEN, or tells you just where to position the racks in the oven. She also gives great hints about substitutions that are acceptable and what one can expect if one uses ingredient "a" instead of "b". The book includes new - never before published- recipes as well as those we are all familiar with from reading the mysteries. There's a great table of conversions and a section on substitutions. Each chapter opens with an excerpt from one of the mysteries. I was finally able to get the recipe for Rhubarb Custard Cake (our rhubarb should be ready to harvest in about a month), and for Hannah's famous Doll Face cookies. And for those of us who need a little extra potassium, there's always Hannah's Bananas...small rolled cookies that freeze well, use up those over-ripe nanas in the bowl, And the biggest bonus is the absolutely fabulous map of Lake Eden on the end papers of the book. If you're a Hannah Swensen fan, or if you love cookies and treats, this one's for you.
Mainly a cookbook, this does have a few scenes with the Lake Eden gang. But you can't go wrong with the delicious mostly cookie and dessert recipes collected here in one place. And did I mentioned there are new ones as well?
Being a fan of the Hannah Swensen Mysteries, and having a love of cookbooks, the JOANNE FLUKE’S LAKE EDEN COOKBOOK was a must have for me. Every time I read a Hannah Swensen book, I practically drool over the recipes. Having them all in one book is a dream come true. (The amount of cookie recipes alone . . . amazing!) Plus there are new recipes that at the time this book was published had never been in any of the mysteries. If you’re looking for a cookbook with big, beautiful, glossy photos, you won’t find them with this book. What you will find is a delightful book with the feel of a personal recipe book. Think along the lines of the old timey church cookbooks. Even the pages themselves (paper) reminds me of those treasured books. You do not have to be a fan of the Hannah Swensen mysteries to love, and enjoy this cookbook. That being said, along with the recipes, and helpful tips, Joanne Fluke has written within the book, a short Hannah Swenson story (murder and mystery free), that is a good way to learn a little bit about the characters. It takes place during a cookie exchange with the ladies of Lake Eden. Everyone wants Hannah’s wonderful recipes, so she gives each lady a book of their own. They exchange fun stories based around the recipes, and each story leads to the next chapter of this wonderful cookbook. Between the covers of this book, you’ll find chapters such as . . . Bar Cookies, Breads & Muffins, Cakes & Cupcakes, Candy, Quick and/or Easy Meals, just to name a few, filled with recipes like . . . Chocolate Overload Cookie Bars, Mango Bread, Rhubarb Custard Cake, Jamaican Rum Balls, Cashew Crisps, Desperation Cookies, Neverfail Fudge Frosting, Apricot Bread Pudding, Salmon Cakes with Dill Sauce, Shrimp Bisque, and so many, many more. You’ll even learn how to make your own Brown Sugar, and Powdered Sugar! Joanne Fluke’s Lake Eden Cookbook: Hannah Swensen’s Recipes from The Cookie Jar is a wonderful addition to any cookbook collection, and a must have for culinary cozy mystery fans!
I cant wait to try these recipes out!
Used several of the cookie recipes for a church function, resulting in numerous requests for the recipes (including from my Mom!) Several tips included in most of the recipes (possible substitutions to change up the recipes, what brand of an item is preferred, how to freeze the recipe, etc.) Loved the book so much, I bought and sent it to my Mom for Mother's day. She loves it too.
Most of the books I have read by Joann Fluke have a great mystery included with the recipes. I did not think in terms of this just being a cookbook. I was disappointed.
I am from Minnesota so these stories are fun for me. But no matter where you live it's a book you can not set down. It is a clean easy read. A real page turner. A good book to read for the joy of reading.
Pretty good but it was more a beginners cookbook than a novel.
A nice cookbook with some helpful hints and interesting twists on recipes. Ingredients are not things that you would normally stock in the kitchen, but still nice to see the recipes from the series in one collection.
It is so nice to have so many of the story's recipes all in one place! I was finding myself hunting through my large collection of "Cookie Jar" mysteries every time I wanted to make a new delicacy, and that was frequent. THANKS!
I love this cookbook. The recipes are easy to follow and delicious. I have already "created" three versions of one cookie. I have tried recipes from her mystery books and was excited when the cookbook came out. I bought one for my step-mother and she is from Wisconsin. I know she is going to love it, she loves the books the same as I. I can't wait for cookbook number two!!!