Jessie, enjoying the cool evenings and soup and sweater weather!
I am delighted to welcome Debra Sennefelder to the Wickeds once again. Her books are fun and clever and the covers are charming! Not only that, she provided a scone recipe!Take it away, Debra!
I’m so thrilled to be here today. I love hanging out with the Wickeds and you! I just had a release, THE CORPSE IN THE GAZEBO, a Food Blogger mystery, on September 28th. Turns out it was also National Neighbor’s Day. Who knew? Well, perhaps if I’d consulted a social media planning content calendar, I would have known and planned accordingly. But that didn’t happen. No fear, I found it early in the day and used it in my social media posts. Luckily, that was a week before the Great Facebook Outage of 2021.
I thought it was awesome that the release of THE CORPSE IN THE GAZEBO fell on National Neighbor Day because the murder plot in the book revolves around Hope Early’s neighbor. Now Birdie Donovan isn’t your average neighbor (well, at least I hope not), and neither is Hope Early. It seems there are two extremes of neighbors living on Fieldstone Road in Jefferson, CT. Hope is a food blogger and sharer of all things whipped up in her kitchen. At the same time, Birdie is a curmudgeon of a woman circulating a petition to force Hope to move. It seems Birdie has had enough of the chaos Hope’s sleuthing creates. Yes, there has been police activity and crime scenes on the usually quiet road but Hope really shouldn’t be held responsible for that. Clearly, these two women find it challenging to get along because one of them ends up dead.
I am grateful that I don’t have a neighbor like Birdie, and in my hood, I’m more like Hope. It’s not unusual to spot me heading out of my house with a plate of cookies or a container of muffins in hand to deliver to a neighbor. My husband and I have lived on our street for close to thirty years. Over the years there’s been little turnover among the other homeowners. This means we’ve all known each other for a long time, and there are a few neighbors who feel like family. We’ve been there for each other during extended power outages, deaths in families, illnesses, and life celebrations. In fact, last month we celebrated our neighbor’s marriage, and yes, there was a group of us from our road. It was wonderful to have shared that special day with people who have become a big part of my life.
It’s these types of relationships that have made their way into the Food Blogger Mystery series. Hope has good relationships with most of her neighbors. There’s Gilbert and Mitzi Madison and their Golden Retriever Buddy. Buddy is the bestie of Hope’s pup, Bigelow. There’s Leila Manchester and Dorie Baxter, retirees who power walk the neighborhood and occasionally share gossip. When Hope starts asking questions, like looking for alibis, she ruffles some feathers in THE CORPSE IN THE GAZEBO. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have a choice because she’s a suspect in Birdie’s murder, and it jeopardizes not only her freedom but her career. I loved writing this story, and I hope you’ll find it an enjoyable, satisfying read.
As I wrote this post, I realized that I hadn’t shared any recipes in my previous posts. Why not? I have no good answer, but I have a yummy recipe to share with you today. From THE CORPSE IN THE GAZEBO is Hope’s Chocolate Chip Scone recipe. Slightly sweet and crunchy on the edges, soft and moist in the center. . Like Hope, I love a good scone, and I have a hard time not eating all the scones when they come out of the oven. That’s why I usually share a few with my neighbors.
Hope’s Chocolate Chip Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
½ cup heavy cream (plus 2 tablespoons for brushing and a little extra if dough is dry)
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 large egg
1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups mini chocolate chips
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling on scones before baking
Confectioners’ sugar for sifting on scones after baking and they are cooled
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together. Set aside.Cut in butter, with pastry cutter, two forks or your fingers, until the mixture resembles coarse meal but there are pieces of butter throughout. Set bowl in refrigerator while you combining the wet ingredients.
In a small bowl, whisk together ½ heavy cream, brown sugar, egg and vanilla extract. Remove flour mixture from refrigerator. Drizzle wet mixture over flour mixture and add in the chocolate chips. Mix until everything appears moistened, but don’t over mix.
Transfer dough onto a floured surface and work into a ball. Dough will be sticky. Add a little more flour to work more easily or add up to 2 tablespoons of heavy cream if the dough is too dry. Gently pat and shape dough into an 8-inch disc. With a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut into 8 wedges.
Transfer wedges onto prepared baking sheet lined. Set them 2-3 inches apart. Brush scones with the 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and then sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Place scones in refrigerator for up to fifteen minutes before baking. If space is tight, you can place the scone wedges on plates and then transfer to parchment lined baking sheet or baking stone (my preferred method) just before putting them into the oven.
Bake for 22-25 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and lightly browned on top. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and then serve. These are best eaten the same day but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Thank you for spending some time with me today. I love hanging out with you guys! I hope you have a wonderful day!
Readers, what is the most neighborly thing you’ve done for a neighbor? One randomly selected commenter will win a print copy of The Corpse in the Gazebo.
Debra Sennefelder is the acclaimed author of the Food Blogger Mysteries and the Resale Boutique Mystery Series. An avid reader who reads across a range of genres, mystery fiction is her obsession. Her interest in people and relationships is channeled into her novels against a backdrop of crime and mystery.
Her first novel, THE UNINVITED CORPSE (A Food Blogger mystery) was published in 2018.When she’s not reading, she enjoys cooking and baking and as a former food blogger, she is constantly taking photographs of her food. Yeah, she’s that person.
Born and raised in New York City, where she majored in her hobby of fashion buying, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She’s worked in retail and publishing before becoming a full-time author. Her writing companion is her adorable and slightly spoiled Shih-Tzu, Connie.