This Chick Read: How to Love Your Elf (Embraced by Magic #1) by Kerrelyn Sparks

Synopsis: Sorcha knew the mission was dangerous. Leaving the safe grounds of her brother’s kingdom and parlaying with the elves across their border . . . well, treachery seemed at least as likely as true peace. But to support her sister, Sorcha would brave far more than the underhanded ways of the elves. Or so she thought, before she was taken hostage.
 
Of course, her captors didn’t count on her particular abilities—or on the help of the Woodsman, the mysterious thief who made his home in the forest. He saw the battle from the trees, saw the soldier attacking against incredible odds to save a comrade—and then saw the valiant fighter revealed as Princess Sorcha of Norveshka. He can’t tell if he wants to kidnap her or kiss her. But despite Sorcha’s stubbornness, his inconvenient honor, and a rebellion on the cusp of full war, something burns between them that neither can let go . . .

REVIEW: The series name Embraced by Magic #1 implies that this book is the first in the series, doesn’t it? Foolish me! As I was reading this novel I quickly realized this was not the first novel. There were clearly a few couples already covered in a previous series which normally would make me mad. I kept reading because I had to, as I was given an ARC of this novel to review. At this point you’re probably thinking that I got lost in the story and soon forgot that the publisher misled me….you’re wrong! I only got more mad because this novel was so poorly written! Even though I’ve never read a Kerrelyn Sparks novel before, I know this is an author who has written a whole bunch of novels and well, this novel felt like it was a first attempt by a high schooler. If it had been? Well, maybe I would be a little less harsh, but it wasn’t. So, how did I feel about this book? Disappointed would be putting it mildly.

I’m not a reviewer that normally writes scathing commentary. It’s not worth my time unless I feel like I need to take a stand on behalf on women for a horrible topic like romanticizing sexism or rape. This novel didn’t have any of those topics, it was a fantasy romance about a bunch of elves in a forest. It should’ve been fun, but was really just bad. That happens. I get it. That’s why I usually just choose to pass on the review. However, I feel like I need to make a point about how putting this novel, which was clearly the third or fourth in a different series and titling it as #1 in a new series clearly misleads the reader. Added to that is that it was just poorly written and juvenile and well, you’ve got one really unhappy reader and I got this book for free!

Setting the publisher’s intentions aside, why didn’t I like this book? This story was in 2-D. The character’s weren’t developed, the love story was contrived, and the sex scenes truly awful. The dialog was pretty comical. Our hero was a wood elf and our heroine Sorcha jokes about his wood-like erection. Yeah, it was really bad and I found myself rolling my eyes and skimming the pages hoping it would get better. It didn’t. So, despite our hero’s wood-like penis, I was left totally unsatisfied.

Maybe this style of writing is what Kerrelyn Sparks is famous for and I’m going to anger a bunch of fans of this author, but I hope it’s just one bad book in her catalog and I just chose the wrong one to test the waters.

I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley for my honest review and, well, it was honest!

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved.

This Chick Read: A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh

What makes a woman who writes paranormal romances switch genre’s and try her hand at a mystery? I really don’t know but I was curious enough to pick up her novel and take a look at the back cover. There were a couple of things that jumped out and made it sound interesting. The mystery takes place in New Zealand and the synopsis made it sound different than other novels I’d read lately. As I started reading I found myself amazed that this was the same author who I’d read in the past. The pace was slow and deliberate, and whereas the two main characters were a man and a woman, this was not a love story.

After the sudden death of her husband, Anahera moves back to her hometown and a childhood friend, Miriama, immediately goes missing. As she gets to know her old friends again she starts to wonder if the long ago case of some missing hikers is connected to her friends disappearance. As police officer, Will and Ana investigate they uncover secrets that had been buried for years and Ana realizes that someone she knows may be a killer.

Lately, my tastes have run towards reading mysteries. More of a whodunnit kind of reader, A Madness of Sunshine was right up my alley. I enjoyed getting a feel for a country I don’t really know that much about, and loved the atmospheric outback feeling the character’s names and scenery provided. Despite the slow pace it held my interest and I couldn’t help but like the two very flawed main protagonists and the mystery they were solving.

Is this the start of a new series by Nalini Singh? I don’t want her to quit writing romances but I hope so, or at least I hope that she’s found a genre she enjoys writing and can continue to throw me a bone every year or two. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“The complex mystery, vivid characters and a homecoming story with a twist make A Madness of Sunshine fresh, gritty, and real.  I am very happy Nalini Singh has decided to branch out in this new direction.” Whiskey With My Book

“I think that if you are a thriller fan who isn’t used to a mix of other genres, “A Madness of Sunshine” may not satisfy your reading itch. But if you are going in with the expectation of a little bit of romance and angst, it might be a pretty good fit!” The Library Ladies

Click this link to purchase!* A Madness of Sunshine

Copyright The Reading Chick 2020 All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- I’ll receive a very small reward if you purchase through the above link.

The Reading Chick Also Bakes: Bouchon Bakery- Madeleines (Plain and Pistachio)

Madeleines – a cake like cookie that shouldn’t be confused with my cousin Madalaine who is also sweet but should never be baked… or well, no. I’m going to let that comment lie. Anyhow, madaleines are one of those things where I always think, wow, that’s so pretty! But, again, never thought I’d actually be baking. Mostly because you have to have a special pan that creates a fluted shell like shape, and it was never important enough for me to actually purchase that pan. UNTIL NOW.

The main characteristic of a madeleine is that when they bake they have a slight hump, which my Bouchon Bakery cookbook says mean they are “pregnant with flavor.” I decide since there are two madeleine recipes that I’ll bake both because they are essentially the same recipe although one calls for pistachio paste. Cue the screeching brake noises! Pistachio paste? Definitely not something I have in my refrigerator! I Google it and see that there are a ton of companies that sell it, but it’s pricey! Anywhere from $16.99-$35.00! Those must be some golden pistachio’s! I decide to go on Pinterest and see how hard it would be to make my own pistachio paste. It doesn’t look hard at all!

The day before I’m going to bake my madeleines I go out and purchase a bag of raw, shelled pistachio’s. I need to blanch the pistachio’s, which is to basically put the nuts in just boiled water and let them soak for a couple of minutes. The blanching makes the green in the pistachio even brighter and also helps loosen the papery skin that’s surrounding the nut. That skin has to be removed before blending or it will affect how green your paste will turn out. Thankfully, my husband decided to help me because, you know, that’s 30 minutes of quality time with moi. Yep, great fun. Once done, you blend them into a paste and voila! Pistachio paste!

But, whoa! It made a LOT of pistachio paste and my recipe only calls for 46 grams or 3 Tablespoons. I’m seeing lots of pistachio flavored goodies in my future. LOL Note- you don’t need to actually blend the entire package of pistachio’s, maybe just a half cup would do the job.

The madeleine recipe is actually pretty simple. I was happy to see that I get to use my just learned Pommade technique again but this time on my eggs and sugar. The thought being that if you warm the bowl before mixing them together that you’ll melt the sugar a bit. Don’t overheat though because you could cook your eggs. Luckily, I did not do that. My egg mixture did seem to whip up nicely after warming, so I guess it worked! Once I make my batters they need to spend the night in the fridge.

You can see that the pistachio batter on the right is a little greener than the other. Before baking I must prepare the pan. Now, normally I’d just spray on some baking spray, but since I’m trying to grow my experiences I decide to brush the madeleine tray with butter as instructed and freeze the tray for a few minutes before filling up my batter. Surprisingly those madeleines popped right out! I think in part because it was a brand new non stick tray too, but you know, we’ll say the butter thing worked too.

If you are trying this recipe at home be aware that this recipe makes exactly twelve madeleines. Not even one more! They baked so nicely and even got that little pregnant hump that is indicative of a good madeleine! yay!

My color could have been a little bit darker but overall I’m pretty happy with them. If you’ve never had a madeleine before they really are like little cakes. Moist and airy and delicious!

Now, I’m a girl that likes a little extra, extra. So I added white chocolate and coconut to the plain madeleines and semi-sweet chocolate with crushed pistachios. Yum!

Purchased for this recipe : 1 Madeleine tray $10.99 and 1 bag of pistachio’s $15.89. OK, I know I could’ve bought the pistachio paste for that price, but it’s all about the learning!

I have to say, I would definitely make this recipe again, although I’d double the batch.

Click this link to purchase! Bouchon Bakery (The Thomas Keller Library)

This Chick Read: Aurora Blazing (The Consortium Rebellium book #2) by Jessie Mihalik

As the third oldest child in House Von Hasenberg, Bianca has always been the dutiful daughter. Marrying for a political alliance instead of love, now widowed she’s vowed to live life by her own rules. When her house comes under attack and her brother is kidnapped, Bianca’s underground informants give her a lead on his kidnappers. She’s determined to go after them alone, but the Head of Security for her house is fast on her trail and they have to come to an agreement about how to investigate the situation. Action, danger, and romance, all rolled into one, Aurora Blazing was exactly as I’d hoped. Even better than the first novel in the series.

Bianca was so fascinating! A horrible marriage changed her both physically and mentally. A fact that she’s hidden from her family and friends. Ian Bishop knows there’s something different about her but it’s not until they go on the search for her brother together that he’s given the chance to get close and see the consequences her disastrous marriage had on her psyche. He’s determined to protect her from both herself and from her enemies.

I thought Polaris Rising had a lot of promise but it left me feeling a little disappointed. Aurora Blazing lived up to that first book’s promise and then some! The characters were fully fleshed out, the mystery detailed and enthralling, and Bianca and Ian’s relationship was full of tension and burned slow. A Sci-Fi fantasy novel full of heat, heart, and heartache.

I get the feeling as this series moves forward and every little detail of the Von Hasenberg’s are revealed I’m going to love the series even more. Bianca’s back story was pretty horrible and really really interesting. I can’t imagine how any other character could be as interesting but in Aurora Blazing we are given little hints into a couple of future novels that may live up to my expectations. I hope this author is writing fast and furious because I want the next novel out soon! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Aurora Blazing: A Novel (The Consortium Rebellion)

Copyright 2020 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- If you purchase the book through the above link I’ll receive a very small stipend.

This Chick Read: Alone in the Wild (Casey Duncan #5) by Kelley Armstrong

While on a camping trip with her boyfriend Detective Casey Duncan here’s a baby crying. With a foot of snow on the ground Casey searches out the sound and finds a baby lying in the arms of a dead woman buried in the snow. Casey and Eric take the baby back to the safety of Rockton determined to investigate. Was the dead woman the baby’s mother? Or had she taken the baby from it’s mother. Alone in the Wild shows us a different side of Casey and pushes she and Eric into making an emotional decision.

I really enjoyed how Alone in the Wild was this great mystery but it was also a self discovery novel that pushed Casey and Eric into making decisions about their future. Which one was more interesting? Truly they were both great. The mystery was excellent and it each discovery gave a little more information about this world and some of it was eye opening.

This series is now in it’s fifth installation and my interest in the town of Rockton and Casey and Eric in particular has not waned at all. The two of them keep getting more interesting and as their romance becomes more emotional I want to learn even more about them. While taking care of a baby we see a softer side of both Casey and Eric and I kind of liked it. They are both so tough that it’s nice to see that they can have deeper emotions, not just for each other, but for someone that needs their care and support.

I was really looking forward to this novel and it lived up to my expectations. It was not just a mystery it was a look into the souls of our two main characters. Luckily, the depths of these two characters held up and made this novel even stronger. I’m really looking forward to what their future holds and can’t wait for the release of the next novel!

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher for my honest review and it was honest!

Click this link to purchase!* Alone in the Wild: A Rockton Novel (Casey Duncan Novels)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (2/3/20)

After a gorgeous weekend spent watching two football teams battle it out for the supreme title of Super Bowl Champion, it’s finally Monday! I’ve decided to have a positive outlook despite the fact I’m dragging due to lack of sleep. As I do every Monday, let’s talk books! This post originated over on Book Date , so thanks for the idea and letting me continue on the discussion.

JUST FINISHED

First Sentence Read: “Molly and the kids and I were eating a big lunch when the lightning hit.”

JUST STARTED:

First Sentence Read: “ I wake buried under a hundred forty pounds of dog. “

From urban fantasy to mystery! What genre are you in the mood for today? I need some book suggestions!

Have a great week!

Deb

This Chick Read: Connections in Death (In Death #48) by J.D. Robb

Once again Homicide cop Eve Dallas and her gorgeous billionaire husband Roarke’s lives cross closely with murder. Dr. Rochelle Pickering has just been hired as psychologist at their youth shelter when her brother Lyle is found dead by an apparent drug overdose in their apartment. As Eve investigates his troubled past as a gang member emphasizing the reasons their shelter is being built.

There have been sooooo many In Death books that after 47 you would think it would be hard for the author to come up with an original mystery. I really felt Connections in Death delivered! I could be wrong, but I don’t remember Eve investigating gangs in any of the previous novels. I found this brought a grittier feel to the mystery. The bulletproof vests were on and doors were being broken down, it was similar to an episode of Law & Order! The contrast between that gang lifestyle and Lyle’s rehabilitated world made the reason for his murder even more sad.

I enjoyed this novel more than quite a few others in the series because the detectives felt more like cops than investigators. Yes, Peabody in her pink coat and boots is adorable and brilliant, but I enjoyed seeing her pummel a gang member and get physical.

This was a fast paced story that I easily read in a few hours and enjoyed tremendously. The characters didn’t advance any storylines further it was just a straight mystery with no sidebar distractions, and I really liked it! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Connections in Death: An Eve Dallas Novel (In Death, Book 48)

Copyright 2020 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase the book through this link I will receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: Whiteout (Survival Instincts #1) by Adriana Anders

In her final day as cook at a remote Antarctica camp, Angel Smith is making her last meal before heading back to the mainland when their camp is attacked. Angel escapes but is stuck alone on this base with no power and no way to contact anyone for help. Ford Cooper, glaciologist, was out in the field during the attack and when he returns to an empty base he finds Angel locked into a sub basement cavern, almost frozen. Despite their differences and the obvious tension between them, they work together to get themselves out before their enemy returns to finish the job.

Adriana Anders does a great job of turning up the heat in this atmospheric, ice cold thriller. As a setting, the Antartica seems to be the antithesis of a hot romance, but she does such a great job of creating tension between Angel and Ford that you can’t wait for that moment when they are both warm enough to strip off all of those layers and create their own heat. Angel and Ford also seem to be the complete opposite of the other with Angel beaming in good nature a direct contrast to Ford’s glowering disapproval. Yet as they work together Angel’s good humor seems to rub off on Ford and his scowl turns upside down. Not that he ever gets comfortable showing his emotions but you can feel him thawing out and warming to her until they become partners in surviving the elements and the dangerous situation.

I don’t believe I’ve ever read a romantic thriller set in the Antarctica before and loved how the setting became as big an integral part of the story as what happens between our characters. The Antarctica and the low temperatures became another evil character to survive and I really liked that they could conquer or be killed by the land as well as the bad guys. Because the novel started off with the bad guys taking over, you knew who they were the entire time so the Antarctic and its elements added the mystery to the story.

I really enjoyed Whiteout and this story of a mysterious virus found in the ice in the Antarctica. Even more than the mystery, I enjoyed how the characters worked with and conquered their time in the elements and loved how much the tension sizzled even though they wore clothes (a LOT of them) through much of the story. Angel and Ford had completely different personality types but as a couple they became whole. I loved that because I think for a large part that’s how it works in real life too. Opposites attract! This novel was a quick, fun ride and I’d recommend it if you’re in the mood for an exciting action adventure novel. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!

Click this link to purchase!* Whiteout (Survival Instincts)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: My 5 Most Anticipated Book Releases -Feb'20

Each month as I take a look at the Goodreads list of books that are being released in the upcoming month I realize even more that my taste in books doesn’t seem to align with whoever comes up with this list! It really does bring home the fact that there are so many great authors that thank goodness we each have different taste in novels that help bring attention to these authors hard work.

#5 MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE

I never get tired of Eve, Peabody, and the luscious Roarke. I’m not sure how this author keeps the stories fresh, but she does an excellent job keeping me coming back! This is book #50 in this series, wow!

Synopsis:

Pediatrician Kent Abner received the package on a beautiful April morning. Inside was a cheap trinket, a golden egg that could be opened into two halves. When he pried it apart, highly toxic airborne fumes entered his body—and killed him.

After Eve Dallas calls the hazmat team—and undergoes testing to reassure both her and her husband that she hasn’t been exposed—it’s time to look into Dr. Abner’s past and relationships. Not every victim Eve encounters is an angel, but it seems that Abner came pretty close—though he did ruffle some feathers over the years by taking stands for the weak and defenseless. While the lab tries to identify the deadly toxin, Eve hunts for the sender. But when someone else dies in the same grisly manner, it becomes clear that she’s dealing with either a madman—or someone who has a hidden and elusive connection to both victims.

Click this link to purchase!* Golden in Death: An Eve Dallas Novel (In Death, Book 50)

#4 MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE

I really enjoyed this authors Mask of Shadows duo and really look forward to her world building and amazing characters.

Synopsis:

Emilie des Marais is more at home holding scalpels than embroidery needles and is desperate to escape her noble roots to serve her country as a physician. But society dictates a noble lady cannot perform such gruesome work.

Annette Boucher, overlooked and overworked by her family, wants more from life than her humble beginnings and is desperate to be trained in magic. So when a strange noble girl offers Annette the chance of a lifetime, she accepts.

Emilie and Annette swap lives―Annette attends finishing school as a noble lady to be trained in the ways of divination, while Emilie enrolls to be a physician’s assistant, using her natural magical talent to save lives.

But when their nation instigates a terrible war, Emilie and Annette come together to help the rebellion unearth the truth before it’s too late.

Click this link to purchase!* Belle Révolte

#3 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

I usually don’t like books where the heroine falls for her ex’s brother, but for some reason this one looks fun. It must be the really clever cover. It shouts fun, doesn’t it?

Synopsis:

Mia Sosa delivers a sassy, steamy #ownvoices enemies-to-lovers novel, perfect for fans of Jasmine Guillory, Helen Hoang, and Sally Thorne!

A wedding planner left at the altar? Yeah, the irony isn’t lost on Carolina Santos, either. But despite that embarrassing blip from her past, Lina’s offered an opportunity that could change her life. There’s just one hitch… she has to collaborate with the best (make that worst) man from her own failed nuptials.

Marketing expert Max Hartley is determined to make his mark with a coveted hotel client looking to expand its brand. Then he learns he’ll be working with his brother’s whip-smart, stunning—absolutely off-limits—ex-fiancée. And she loathes him.

If they can nail their presentation without killing each other, they’ll both come out ahead. Except Max has been public enemy number one ever since he encouraged his brother to jilt the bride, and Lina’s ready to dish out a little payback of her own.

Soon Lina and Max discover animosity may not be the only emotion creating sparks between them. Still, this star-crossed couple can never be more than temporary playmates because Lina isn’t interested in falling in love and Max refuses to play runner-up to his brother ever again…

Click this link to purchase!* The Worst Best Man: A Novel

#2 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

I am a sucker for a great historical romance and Lisa Kleypas is one of my go to authors for that historical fix. Her dialog is always great and her characters unique. I can’t wait to read her newest release!

Synopsis:

Everything has a price . . .

Railway magnate Tom Severin is wealthy and powerful enough to satisfy any desire as soon as it arises. Anything—or anyone—is his for the asking. It should be simple to find the perfect wife—and from his first glimpse of Lady Cassandra Ravenel, he’s determined to have her. But the beautiful and quick-witted Cassandra is equally determined to marry for love—the one thing he can’t give.

Everything except her . . .

Severin is the most compelling and attractive man Cassandra has ever met, even if his heart is frozen. But she has no interest in living in the fast-paced world of a ruthless man who always plays to win.

When a newfound enemy nearly destroys Cassandra’s reputation, Severin seizes the opportunity he’s been waiting for. As always, he gets what he wants—or does he? There’s one lesson Tom Severin has yet to learn from his new bride:

Never underestimate a Ravenel.

The chase for Cassandra’s hand may be over. But the chase for her heart has only just begun . . .

Click this link to purchase!* Chasing Cassandra: The Ravenels

MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE OF FEBRUARY’20

This Rockton series has been an unexpected delight. I love Kelley Armstrong’s fantasy novels and never thought I’d enjoy a creepy mystery series and I do SO MUCH!

Synopsis:

Every season in Rockton seems to bring a new challenge. At least that’s what Detective Casey Duncan has felt since she decided to call this place home. Between all the secretive residents, the sometimes-hostile settlers outside, and the surrounding wilderness, there’s always something to worry about.

While on a much needed camping vacation with her boyfriend, Sheriff Eric Dalton, Casey hears a baby crying in the woods. The sound leads them to a tragic scene: a woman buried under the snow, murdered, a baby still alive in her arms.

A town that doesn’t let anyone in under the age of eighteen, Rockton must take care of its youngest resident yet while solving another murder and finding out where the baby came from – and whether she’s better off where she is.

Click this link to purchase!* Alone in the Wild: A Rockton Novel (Casey Duncan Novels)

Are you looking forward to any of these book releases or do you have your own favorites?

Deb

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase a book through any of the above links I will receive a small stipend.

The Reading Chick Also Bakes: Bouchon Bakery- Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

When I challenged myself to bake every recipe in Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery cookbook I fully expected to learn some new things. After all, that’s kind of the point to this whole thing, right? When I turned the page on the first chapter titled cookies and saw Oatmeal Raisin, I figured I had this one in the bag. After all, I’ve made oatmeal raisin cookies dozens of times! Surely I could follow this recipe and conquer Keller’s oatmeal raisin cookie recipe. Well….

I borrowed my sister’s food scale. Thank god we had one in the house because I kind of forgot about needing a scale when I was looking over the ingredients and buying stuff from the store. The scale was in working order, but it didn’t take things down to the .10 degree. It rounded up. I thought to myself, ok, here’s the first challenge. Even though the teaspoon, cup, etc. measurement is right next to the grams, I really wanted to tackle the skill of measuring and bake exactly as it was intended when following the recipe. As I measure my flour, cinnamon, soda, and salt into the bowl I try to put in just enough to get a .5 gram and I realize that the scale has a couple of blips. Sometimes it doesn’t measure the weight properly. I tried to adjust accordingly but wrote myself a note. BUY A NEW SCALE.

Measuring out the dry goods.

This is also where I accepted the next challenge. When reading the recipe I saw that it called for Kosher salt. I could’ve sworn I had kosher salt in the house, but alas, I did not. I did have Mediterranean Sea Salt.

Mediterranean Sea Salt is NOT the same as Kosher salt.

It’s coarse like kosher salt, so I figured why not? What I didn’t take into account is that first, again, the scale wasn’t working properly, and second, sea salt is a LOT more salty than kosher salt. So, I overdosed the cookies. Not to a drastic uneatable degree, but they are definitely a tad salty.

When I got to the creaming of the butter and sugar I saw the words “Turn to medium-low speed and cream the butter, warming the bowl if needed (see Pommade, page 190)”. Pommade? Warm the bowl? What’s this all about? I turned the page to 190 and read about how if you warm the mixer bowl with the butter in it, over an open flame, like on your stovetop, when you beat it, the butter will turn into the consistency of mayonnaise. This process is called Pommade. More excited at the process of turning butter into a mayo like cream, I flipped on the gas burner and lightly warmed the bowl. I should mention that I was working with a glass mixing bowl so was able to control the temperature. I put the bowl back onto the mixer and beat the butter. Low and behold, it worked! I was so excited, I dragged my sister into the kitchen to show her and got a raised eyebrow of praise. I then added in the two sugars and turned on my stopwatch app to cream them for 3 to 4 minutes until nice and fluffy. Along with measuring on a scale, I was also determined to pay more attention to the timing of the mixing process. This seemed to work well because I got a cloud like sugar butter mixture that I’d never seen before! I, of course, forgot to take a picture of it. But, lucky you, I did take a very blurry picture of the mayo like butter below.

Butter in a mayo consistency. Picture blurred by my excitement that it actually worked.

When I was prepping for baking I tried to find vanilla bean paste at my local Kroger and needless to say, was not successful. I picked up a jar of actual vanilla beans instead. When I got to this point in the recipe where I’d add in the eggs and vanilla I saw I’d need 7.7 grams or 1 1/4 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste and saw my maybe 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla scrapings wasn’t going to get me there. Google is my best friend and I got on my phone for help. I found this great article from kitchn.com. https://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-vanilla-extract-vanilla-bean-vanilla-paste-169336 It was very helpful in giving me the differences between all of the vanilla types but it was also too little too late. Deciding a mixture of two would be better than none, I scooped in my vanilla bean goop (pulp?) into the bowl and then added in 1 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract. You can’t have too much vanilla, right? Note: buy VANILLA PASTE. Who knows how many more recipe’s in this book will call for it, right?

I add in my dry ingredients, oats, and raisins and mix them all in my trusty Kitchen Aid mixer. If you don’t have one, go out and buy a mixer. I only use mine for baking but you can make pasta, grind meat, and so much more. They are awesome and except for the fact they are heavier than a, well, I don’t know what, but they are danged heavy! AND they are wonderful.

With the exception of being just a touch too salty, I could already tell this was going to be a great cookie. The batter was fluffier than any oatmeal raisin cookie that I’d baked previously. Excited, I measured out each cookie with a scoop and baked. Again, using my trusty stopwatch on my phone.

C’est Voila! They looked truly delicious! Not sure why my cookies turned out so much darker than the Bouchon Bakery picture maybe it was my high quality cinnamon, but otherwise looked identical. I’d only messed up a couple of times but learned a LOT!

Bouchon’s on the left, The Reading Chick’s on the right.

What I learned: 1) You really need a good scale. 2) Pommade! 3) The type of salt does matter. 4) Vanilla comes in all shapes and sizes but they don’t all measure in the same increments.

Purchase list: 1) Scale 2) Vanilla paste

Would I make this again? YES. I think my mom would cry if she couldn’t lick the mixing blade clean. Seriously, I had to lightly tap her hand with my spatula. LOL

Next week I jump to the Scone and Muffin chapter so I hope you’ll come back for the next dish!

Deb

To find the recipe for the above Oatmeal Raisin Cookies check out the book Thomas Keller | Bouchon Bakery at your local library or click this link to purchase the cookbook.* Bouchon Bakery (The Thomas Keller Library)

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.