Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cookie Bookie Kick Off-The Element of Surprise

Mwah, ha, ha. Welcome to Cookie Bookie 2010.
I've been bursting with excitement for this, my third annual installment of Cookie Bookie. For my new readers, one week each October, I review spooky stories for perfectly chillingly fall reads, and provide a scrumptious cookie as a suitable literary companion. I've had an entire year to read, shiver, bake, eat, and ponder. So let us begin.
Six months ago the charges and I went on a field trip to see the play, "Mousetrap" at a local high school. I didn't really expect to be frightened by a bunch of teenagers with mock English accents and developing talents, but I was wrong. Dead wrong. The charges and I held hands through the second act, and they never knew that it was my grown-up sweat that made our hands clammy. Thus began my timorous love affair with Agatha Christie. If you haven't read Agatha Christie, get started with some short stories. One of my favorites is Suprise, Suprise! an eclectic collection of some of her famous characters, like Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot.
As the title implies, one of Christie's greatest strengths is her mastery of the suprise ending. (Die-hard fans are even rallying to have her endings removed from plot summaries on Wikipedia.) Her grandson reported that old Agatha would be angry at any critic that gave away any of points of plots in a review. The well-guarded suprises pack a suspenseful punch and keep the reader biting her nails till (and beyond) the last page. One of my favorite stories from the collection is Double Sin, a short and suspenseful story of Hercule Poirot and his Captain Hastings on a train ride to solve a mystery, only to encounter another mystery in the form of a gorgeous victim of petty theft. I won't spoil the ending for you, but I will provide something for you to gorge yourself on besides your own fingernails. It's this Doubly Sinful Suprise Chocolate Cookie. The suprise is a puffy marshmallow hiding between two evil layers of chocolate. Bite down and your mouth senses the tender cookie, the smooth glaze, but then your teeth can't quite take hold of the molten marshmallow, stretchy and sweet. It's perfect for reading with Agatha Christie. You'll want to sink your teeth into the plot, but there's some element of mystery that will slip deftly away from your understanding...until the end. But then it's too late, because Agatha will have you right where she wants you. And you'll have to go back for more, both stories and cookies.
Double Chocolate Suprise Cookies
recipe from Martha Stewart-Suprise Cookies
Estimated Cost: $4.00 for 2 dozen
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12 large marshmallows, cut in half horizontally
See below for Chocolate Frosting recipe
Halloween sprinkles
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add reserved flour mixture; mix on low speed until combined.
Using a tablespoon or 1 3/4-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto ungreased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies begin to spread and become firm, 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove baking sheets from oven, and place a marshmallow, cut-side down, in the center of each cookie, pressing down slightly. Return to oven, and continue baking until marshmallows begins to melt, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Spread about 1 tablespoon of frosting over each marshmallow, starting in the center and continuing outward until marshmallow is covered. Sprinkle with Halloween sprinkles.
For Frosting
2 cups confectioners' sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in butter and cocoa powder. Add milk and vanilla, and whisk until well combined.
Be back tomorrow with More Cookie Bookie!
P.S. If you like this post, become followers (upper right link) and tell your buddies. I think we could get up to at least six hundred followers this week, don't you think? Thanks for reading!


Jessica @ Barefoot by the Sea said...

WOW - looks super yummy! All calorie free, right?

Michal said...

I inhaled all of Agatha Christie's books in high school. Lucky for me, I can't remember most of the endings and enjoyed Murder on the Orient Express recently without remembering (most) of the surprise.

This cookie looks delightful. We will have to try it soon, and with a book.

The JR said...

You are getting me in the mood to start back reading.

Of course never out of the mood to eat something good!

Catherine said...

I think I'm off to the library. . .and the market, too. I love these cookies, but I've never had them with Halloween sprinkles and now no other way will do. =D

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

I loved Agatha Christie. When I was in my 20's, I owned almost every story in paperback. I haven't re-read her in a long time (I'll put it on my list). But I love the PBS Hercule Poirot series and any movies.

Great looking cookies there too!

Tightwad Mom said...

Love,love,LOVE Agatha Christie. She is a "once-you-start-reading-her- book-you-can't-put-it-down-until-you-finish-the-whole-thing" kind of author. I guess I had better make a double batch of cookies, so I will have enough strength to endure to the end!

MK and Co. said...

Yeah!!!!! Cookie Bookie week is my very favorite! I think I might be heading off to Barnes and Noble to get this book tonight! I would go to the Library but my fine there is so devastating heavy that it is actually more economical to go to the bookstore! Now how pathetic is that! I can't wait to try this book and the cookie. Is the cookie soft or a little crunchy?
And thanks dear Prudy for taking the time to do cookie bookie week. I really do look forward to it all year.

Prudy said...

MK-This cookie is thoroughly soft and surrendering. The marshmallow helps them resist getting stale, so even in the desert, they're good the next day. Unfortunately, I know what you mean about fines....

Leslie said...

I love these cookies. They are Erin Leigh's, The Marshmallow Queen's favorite.
We make them all the time.
As for Agatha, I agree with her about not wanting her surprise endings known. I feel like that about everything, and not just endings, you know. I never want to know too much about a book or a movie so I can discover things on my own.
I'm looking forward to the book tomorrow, and wish I had a batch of these delicious cookies today.

Emily said...

Mmm, those look good! And I just bought a bag of ghost-shaped marshmallows that would make them doubly spooky. :-)

I love Agatha Christie, too. Have you ever read The Man in the Brown Suit? It's one of my favorites.

Prudy said...

I'm putting it on my list now! Thanks!

LaRee said...

I was going to gear up to sew, but it looks like I'll have to bake first, my kitchens makin' me do it.

Adrienne said...

If you like Agatha Christie, you'd probably like Anne Perry. She's like Agatha Christie meets Charles Dickens.

Yay for Cookie Bookie week! My life is complete!

Anonymous said...

Agatha Christie is my all time favorite author! I've read all her mysteries multiple times and they always manage to grab me. These cookies look amazing. Keep up the cookie bookie!

crabigail adams said...

I love Agatha -- my favorites were the Tommy and Tuppence novels, especially their first, "The Secret Adversary." The two friends decide on a partnership, the Young Adventurers, and wind up involved in intrigue that involves Socialists, traitors, and the sinking of the Lusitania. Try it! I hope you love it!

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Hines said...

WOW - looks super yummy! All calorie free, right?