Hello and welcome to Romance Recipes where I am happy to introduce you to a new author and a new recipe! Two of my favorite things! Today I am bringing you author, Mindy Klasky, and her recipe for Almond Lust along with an introduction to her paranormal chick-lit romance, Single Witch’s Survival Guide. Please join me in welcoming Mindy and savor her recipe for Almond Lust as you read about her new book!
Thanks, Jennifer, for the chance to share one of my favorite recipes in the world – Almond Lust.
In Single Witch’s Survival Guide, Jane Madison opens a school for witches, only to find that nothing goes exactly as she plans. Fortunately, Jane’s best friend runs the Cake Walk bakery, an outpost for delectable sweets. One of those treats (and the favorite of Jane’s boyfriend and hunky astral warder) is Almond Lust.
When I first wrote about Almond Lust I didn’t know what it was. Sure, I had a vague idea – shortbread, and chocolate, and, um, almonds. But I didn’t know how they combined, or what they would actually taste like.
Fortunately, my sister-in-law came to my rescue. Lee is an incredible baker, and she’s not afraid to experiment until she builds the perfect recipe. In short order, Lee had developed Almond Lust. And now I can share it with you:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled
1/4 cup slivered almonds (roasted and finely chopped)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup toffee bits (butter brickle bits)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup (5 1/2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon water
1 cup white chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup sliced almonds (roasted and chopped)
Note: To roast almonds, spread in single layer on cookie sheet and place in preheated 300°F oven for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until you see the beginning of golden color and the almonds smell sweet. Remove from pan immediately, then cool.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter bottom and sides of 8-inch square baking pan.
Make the bottom layer: Combine flour, brown sugar, and salt in food processor. Pulse until mixed. Cut chilled butter into small pieces and add to flour mixture. Pulse processor on/off until the mixture resembles coarse meal/fine crumbs. Place mixture in work bowl. Mix in almond extract, then stir in almonds and toffee bits. Press the dough firmly and evenly in the bottom of buttered baking pan. Bake for 13 – 15 minutes; base will be slightly golden but still soft to the touch. Remove from oven while preparing middle layer.
Raise oven temperature to 375°F.
For middle layer, combine brown sugar, butter, and water in a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil; once boiling steadily, cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Carefully pour mixture over base and return to oven. Bake 11 -14 minutes, or until mixture is rapidly bubbling over entire surface. Remove pan from oven and cool for 30 minutes or more.
For top layer: Place chocolate chips and butter in microwave safe bowl and microwave on high in 15 – 20 second increments, stirring after each burst until chips are completely melted. The mixture will be very thick. Spread mixture over previously baked layers. Sprinkle almonds on top and press into chocolate. Hint: Use almonds to press chocolate into the corners of the pan, remembering that the nuts will hide imperfections.)
Allow pan to cool thoroughly. Using a sharp knife, edge all the way around the pan before cutting into bars. Wrap individually and place in an airtight container, or freeze for storage of more than a few days.
Take your Lust to the next level: Place cut bars onto a sheet of wax paper and drizzle with melted white chocolate. Allow chocolate to set completely before wrapping or serving. They will look as good as they taste!
Jane Madison’s life is perfect: She’s left her unsatisfying librarian job, moved to the country with her boyfriend David (who is also her hunky astral warder), and opened a school for witches.
Alas, Jane never thought her students would be so challenging. And she didn’t think Hecate’s Court would mandate a Major Working by Halloween. And she never imagined she and David would end up fighting about … everything!
Before long, Jane wonders if she should ditch the Madison Academy. But that would have dire magical repercussions – in addition to tossing her love-life in the trash. Jane needs a Single Witch’s Survival Guide!
THIS IS A story about what follows “happily ever after.” After the girl gets the guy, after she outgrows a job she loved, after she figures out who she is and who she wants to be.
Because, really? It doesn’t take long for things to go sideways. Sometimes, you don’t even realize that the entire world is fracturing all around you, because on the surface everything seems happy and easy and perfect. Spoiler alert: those are the times you really need to open your eyes. Otherwise, it just might be too late.
“Earth to Jane! Paging Jane Madison!”
I shook my head as I looked up from the smooth orb of rose quartz I balanced on my palm. The stone was supposed to represent love and peace and happiness, but I wasn’t getting a hint of spiritual warmth. I was just trying to find a good place to store a rock in the mess that surrounded me. “I’m sorry, Neko,” I said. “I wasn’t listening.”
“Obviously.” My familiar clicked his tongue in disapproval. “What I said was, ‘What are you doing with this garbage?’” He sighed in theatrical disgust as he pinched a slender paperback book between his dainty thumb and forefinger. His disdain harkened back to his feline roots—Neko might present as a human male now, but he’d begun life as a giant onyx statue of a cat. Many days, I was tempted to send him back to that form.
Now, though, I cringed as I glanced at the book he was holding. Better Spellcasting in Seven Days. The title was picked out in a lurid swirl of purple and pink. Neko started to read from the back cover. “Are your spells low energy? Is your astral focus flagging? Looking for a lift in your magical life?” My familiar raised one leering eyebrow. “I didn’t realize you spent good money on magic porn.”
“I didn’t buy that! They just sent it to me. I’ve been on some mailing list ever since I registered the magicarium with Hecate’s Court.”
The magicarium. It had sounded so glamorous when I first came up with the idea: A school for witches, an exclusive institution of higher learning devoted to teaching the extraordinary witch how to access her inner powers. The Jane Madison Academy.
I’d actually shivered the first time I said the name to myself. Problem was, it was a lot easier to complete the Court’s registration paperwork than it was to get the academic ball actually rolling. Eight months had gone by, and I was still settling into my new home, the farmhouse owned by my warder and boyfriend, David Montrose.
(Boyfriend! That sounded like I was fifteen years old. But “beau” belonged in a historical romance, and “lover” left too little to the imagination. “Significant other” might appear on some government form. “Steady”, “sugar”, “flame”… Yeah. Right. My mother called David her sin-in-law, but that didn’t exactly help me. I’d grit my teeth and live with “boyfriend.”)
In any case, the magicarium had been slow getting out of the gate. Here in the Maryland countryside, an hour from Washington D.C., I was still unpacking boxes. Still organizing books and crystals and herbs. Still trying to figure out what I’d do if I ever enrolled an actual student. Or hired an actual teacher. Or, really, did anything substantive to make the magicarium more than a figment of my overactive imagination.
David was losing patience with me. I was losing patience with me. And that was why I’d vowed on the first day of June that I would have the entire basement organized by the end of the month. Two hours a day. That should have been more than enough to bring order to my magical life.
I didn’t need to look at a calendar to know that there was only a single weekend left between me and defeat. No problem. I could pull an all-nighter tonight, and Saturday, too. I could stay down here, working without interruption. Without distraction. Without—
“Come and get it!” David’s voice rang down the stairs.
Fine. I’d start my marathon after dinner. I needed sustenance to work through the night. Neko followed me up the stairs to the kitchen, and I swear I could hear him smirking with every step.
Buy the Book:
Mindy Klasky learned to read when her parents shoved a book in her hands and told her she could travel anywhere in the world through stories. She never forgot that advice.
Mindy’s travels took her through multiple careers – from litigator to librarian to full-time writer. Mindy’s travels have also taken her through various literary genres for readers of all ages – from traditional fantasy to paranormal chick-lit to category romance, from middle-grade to young adult to adult.
In her spare time, Mindy knits, quilts, and tries to tame her endless to-be-read shelf. Her husband and cats do their best to fill the left-over minutes.
As a special treat Mindy is giving away an electronic copy of SINGLE WITCH to one commenter so be sure to leave your EMAIL so she can contact you if you win!!!
Thank you for joining us for another Romance Recipes! I hope you’ll stop by next week to meet another author, try a new recipe and pick up a new book!