Friday, April 25, 2008

Michele Dunaway on Writing and Recipes

Michele Dunaway
The Marriage Recipe
Publisher: Harlequin Enterprises
Pub date: April 2008
Agent: Jessica Faust

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Author Web/Blog links: &

One of my favorite pastimes is baking. I love to cook. I have a full set of All-Clad pots hanging from the rack in my ceiling. A trip to Williams-Sonoma is a trip to nirvana. I always find a pan I must add to my collection. My brother is a chef, and he wishes he had my kitchen, which I sadly don’t use as much as I should.

So what does this have to do with writing? My latest book is about a pastry chef who has to return to her hometown and enlist the help of the boy next door to help her save her recipes. It still amazes me that I made an intellectual property case sexy. I’ll thank a good friend, a media lawyer who once worked with Oprah, for the great media law class I took as part of my MA degree!

When I created Rachel’s character, I had an excuse to cook. As a mother of two with a full-time teaching job (who also is on a permanent diet—aren’t most of us?) I don’t dig out the recipe book as much as I used to. I’m not sure why, especially since I’m a firm believer that anything you bake yourself does not go straight to your hips—and it’s all those ingredients with words I can’t pronounce that cause weight gain.

So since I was researching, I pulled out my cookbooks. I made pumpkin bread, cupcakes, cookies, and some of my old favorites, like chocolate cake! I also got to think back to college, when I would bake constantly—for the way to a guy’s heart was through his stomach—and my brownies and chocolate chip cookies were legendary.

In the spirit of cooking, since I can’t send you any cookies virtually, here is my brownie recipe:

4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup Hershey’s Cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 350. Grease a 9-inch square pan. In medium bowl, stir butter, sugar, and vanilla together. Add eggs, and with a wooden spoon beat well. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Add to egg mixture, beat until well blended. Spread batter into a pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until brownies begin to pull away from the pan. Cool completely in pan. While cooling, make frosting. To make frosting, in a small mixer bowl beat 3 tablespoons softened butter, 3 tablespoons cocoa, 1 tablespoon light corn syrup or honey, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until blended. Add 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 cup milk; beat until smooth and of spreading consistency. Add additional milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, if needed. Spread over cool brownies and cut brownies into squares. (PS—you can add nuts and chocolate chips to the batter before baking.)

For one more recipe, be sure to check out or on April 30. You will not want to miss Rachel's cupcake recipe.

Enjoy the brownies and the romance!

Michele Dunaway