Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mr. Forever...and the Quest for the Perfect Scone Recipe!

Today, I have the pleasure of welcoming my long-time friend and Chicago-North chaptermate, Sara Daniel, to Brant Flakes! Her new novel, Mr. Forever, was just release from Musa Publishing a few weeks ago. It's already garnered some great reviews, including one that gave the story 4 Hearts and called her heroine, Olivia, "fantastic ... feisty and fierce" -- congrats!

Mr. Forever is a contemporary romance in which the discovery of a secret baby threatens the hero's professional reputation. Falling for the woman who loves this baby would ruin him. Take a peek at the blurb:

Marriage therapist Caleb Paden has just found out he has a son from a one-night stand, making a mockery of his core belief of stable relationships — “friendship above all physical encounters.” On his way to take the child for a paternity test, a snowstorm leaves him stranded with single mom Olivia Wells, who blames his advice for breaking up her marriage. Caleb finds himself fighting the urge for the most basic of physical encounters. Olivia would like nothing more than to destroy the career he spent a lifetime building, but her maternal instincts draw her to help Caleb bond with his child. Soon, she finds herself falling for both of them. Nowhere in any of his advice does Caleb have an answer for how to make a relationship work if he loses his heart to love.

Ooooh, sounds good, doesn't it?! Sara is here to share with us her search for the kinds of amazing scones her heroine Olivia makes. Since she knows I'm a confirmed sweet tooth and lover of carbs, she came to the right place to be appreciated ;). Welcome, Sara!

Marilyn, thanks so much for hosting me today. I've noticed you like to talk about food. Usually when it comes to cooking and baking, I prefer to do the bare minimum to keep my family from starving. But ever since I started writing Mr. Forever where my heroine Olivia makes scones as the specialty of her inn, I've been obsessing about scones. I'm hoping you and your readers can help me in my quest for the perfect scone.

See, my heroine has been called a "scone sorceress" and "scone goddess." She's gotten instant marriage proposals because of her amazing scones. Did I mention she makes plain scones along with two flavors of the day every day? All of this was fabulous in my imaginary writing world until I wanted to connect with my inner goddess and make scones delicious enough that men would take a bite and instantly fall in love.

My journey started off on an inspiring note. The drive-thru man at my local coffee shop promised me his pumpkin spice scones were so good they would change my life. Of course, I jumped on that offer. Story research and a new improved life--talk about getting the most out of my four dollar investment! I took notes at my desk while I ate it. It was good, but I have to admit my life seemed pretty much the same routine of laundry, dishes, groceries, etc.

I was ready to take the next step -- making my own scones. At this point I also had some very brown bananas on my counter in desperate need of being turned into banana bread. As I looked up scone recipes, I discovered one for banana scones. Perfect.

Alas, the banana scones were … not perfect. The dough was a sticky, gooey mass. Cutting it into triangle wedges was a disaster. The oddly shaped lumps were edible when they were warm straight from the oven, but they were dry and heavy. Basically, I had baked a really bad banana bread. This was not how I envisioned my scone sorceress's amazing creation would taste, at all.

A few days later I went to a children's tea party, where the girls sipped hot peppermint tea and nibbled store-bought blueberry scones. These scones were sweet. They weren't as good as the pumpkin spice scone I'd started my adventure with but were certainly better than the banana disaster.

I worked up my nerve to try one more recipe. I found one for almond-poppy seed scones. This time the dough shaped nicely, just like the instructions promised, and came out of the oven looking beautiful. I was excited. I tried one, and they were good but not quite as sweet as I hope. I checked the recipe again. I'd forgotten the sugar! How could I have forgotten such a simple thing? So, I coated them in powdered sugar to make up for it, and they were pretty darn good. But still not perfect.

So, I made another batch -- remembering the sugar (duh!) AND adding powdered sugar and sliced almonds after they came out of the oven. This time the dough was a little stickier, but overall they proved to be a sweet, yummy snack. (I had them for snacks and breakfast.)

I've come to the realization that no matter how much I try to channel my inner heroine, I am no scones goddess. My life is pretty much the same, and I'm happy with it--thank you very much Mr. Over-Caffeinated Drive-Thru Man.

However, I am still on the search for the perfect scone recipe that will evaluate me to goddess status. (I don't need any men to fall instantly in love with me, but I'd love to have my children obey my every command.) Anyone have a scone recipe they can offer to help me out?


Edie Ramer said...

I've never made scones. Rice Krispie treats are pretty much impossible to screw up, and they work for bribing.

I love the secret baby twist in your book. Great blurb, too. Congrats on your release!

Jill Thomas said...

Congratulations on the new release, your book sounds intriguing! A perfect scone recipe I cannot give, but I made biscotti for the first time over the holidays and was pleasantly surprised with it's simpleness. Best of luck for continued success with your writing!

Marilyn Brant said...

Edie, my son would be in heaven if I would regularly make him Rice Krispie treats -- he LOVES those!! Maybe if he's really nice to me over this upcoming MLK, Jr. weekend... ;)

Jill, you made biscotti??!! Did you blog about it?! I've never tried to make it, but I love having biscotti with my coffee. Then again, if someone were to make me, say...chocolate-covered strawberries *grin*, I'd love to have THAT with my coffee, too...or, really, just anytime!

Sara Daniel said...

Edie, Rice Krispie treats are a perfect stand-by snack. I've used them as quick and easy birthday treats too! I'm going to remember them the next time I need to bribe someone...

Jill, ooh, biscotti! I've never tried that. I have to admit it sounds ... intimidating!! I'm with Marilyn, I'd love some with my coffee. And if it's simple to make, hmm, maybe I'll have to look into trying it.

Marilyn, really you can't go wrong with any kind of chocolate with your coffee!!

Robin Kaye said...

I've got a wonderful recipe for cinnamon chip scones that I just love, sometimes I replace the cinnamon chips with chopped dates--they're yummy too. I put the recipe up on a blog recently. I'd be happy to email it to you oh, and I have a killer recipe for cranberry pistachio biscotti - talk about yummy!

Sara Daniel said...

Robin, thanks for stopping by! Just yesterday I was ogling the cinnamon chip scones in the Starbucks case and wondering how good they were. They sound yummy. And I love dates! (Sadly, the rest of my family does not.) Cranberry-pistachio biscotti--I'm very curious about this. I love pistachios, not as crazy about cranberries, but I think I could be persuaded!

Robin Kaye said...

Here's the link to the cinnamon chip recipe. http://thebookreadinggals.com/2011/12/robin-kaye-guest-blog.html

Here's the link for the cranberry pistachio biscotti -


It's awesome (using the dried cranberries) and so incredibly easy!

Marilyn Brant said...

Sara, chocolate...always, always chocolate. It *is* the answer ;).

And, Robin, you are SO AWESOME!!! Thank you for posting the links to both of these recipes! I am going to read your blog on the cinnamon chip scones right now!


Pamala Knight said...

Is it any wonder that I kept going back to the pumpkin spice scone bit of the interview? Oh my! The book sounds WONDERFUL, Sara and I can't wait to read it. Preferably with a large cup of tea and a number of scones. Yum! Congratulations on your release!

Sara Daniel said...

Pamala, thanks so much for coming by. I do like that yummy pumpkin spice scone and confess to going back to buy more, although no one else quite had a flair for selling them like the first guy who convinced me to try them. Thanks for the kind words about my book. I hope you enjoy it!

Sara Daniel said...

Robin, I think your cranberry-pistachio link might have gotten cut off. I searched the site and got this:


I love how they give a video demonstration too!

Sara Daniel said...

Hmm, my link cut off too ...

Trying one more time.


Sara Daniel said...

http://www . joyofbaking . com / biscotti / CranberryPistachioBiscotti . html

Marilyn Brant said...

Pamala, I agree! That pumpkin spice scone sounds so tasty...but I loved the look of Sara's almond-poppyseed, too. Mmmm! My all-time favorite kind is orange-cranberry. My mom bought some once in WI that were SO GOOD :).

Robin Bielman said...

Congratulations on your new release, Sara! No perfect scone recipe to share here, but I do so love to eat them too! Blueberry is probably my favorite.

Sara Daniel said...

Thanks Robin! I enjoyed the blueberry scones when I tried them but must confess I like my blueberries in muffins better!

Marilyn, lucky for you, I am letting you have all the orange-cranberry scones for yourself! Orange and my taste buds do not mix, at all! On the other hand, I've been craving those almond-poppy seed scones, so I might just have to practice my baking and make another batch.

Liz said...

I've not tried this:
but I love the blog

Marilyn Brant said...

Robin, I loved blueberry scones (and muffins) too...yum!

Sara, LOL!! I'd forgotten you weren't a big fan of orange. Does that mean I get all the orange-chocolate bar squares, too? :)

Liz, thank you for sharing this! I'll check out the link right now...

Sara Daniel said...

Liz, thanks for the link to Gluten Free scones. I'm very curious how they taste. The picture makes me think of southern biscuits.

Marilyn, yes, all the orange-chocolate bars are for you. Enjoy!