I think now is a good time to tell you a little about my new book–a few tasty tidbits. [Warning: some of the themes of this book lend themselves far too well to food/writing puns]

Tidbit 1: Food is pretty important to the story. I guess you could say I’m trying to even the food-novel playing field, given that Hannah’s got such a fantastic one to her name already. In my new novel there is a food club, handmade pasta, trifle, and then a climax of baked goods. Oh my, did I just coin a new collective noun? There are many other non-food-related things, such as Haiku (Bam! Weren’t expecting that, were you?), but I’ve got to save some surprises for future posts…

Tidbit 2: There is a certain breed of brownie mentioned several times in the book, a breed I sort of made up (as made up as any brownie can be, given that it’s generally guaranteed that someone somewhere has thrown together the same ingredients. It’s brownies, after all.). And my excellent publisher has agreed to print the recipe at the back of the book! I’m clearly biased, but I do think that all good books need recipes at the back. Even if the books aren’t about food. [Tangent: Wouldn’t it be amazing if the author chose a recipe that reflected the tone, theme or even setting of the book and included it for the reader’s eating pleasure? Hmmm–I smell a good game in this. Quick–what recipe would go with Life of Pi? The Great Gatsby? The Tiger’s Wife?]


So the other night I found myself in the kitchen with an array of ingredients and a much-scribbled-on notepad with a recipe that generally resembled what I was trying to make, but with some important tweaks. As we say around here, Same same, but different.

I’m a big fan of the chocolate-cherry-cream combination that is balanced so well in Black Forest Cake. I make a Pavlova with the same flavours. So I thought, why not try it with brownies? At one point I was thinking of maybe cream cheese, but it was already past 10pm and my freestyling of recipes goes decidedly downhill the later it gets. So I went for white chocolate chunks. It worked. They were gungy, not too sweet, studded with sour cherries and small surprises of white chocolate. Mmmm.

So when the book comes out in September, you’ll be able to make these and deeply understand the connection between story and baked good.


I’ll be able to reveal the fantastic cover for my book in the next few weeks, along with more (tasty) details, so stay tuned!




Ashlyn’s* White Chocolate Sour Cherry Brownies
1 3/4 cups butter
1 1/2 cups chopped dark chocolate
6 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chunks
1 cup dried sour cherries
Put the sour cherries into a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to the boil on the stove. Turn the heat off and leave the cherries to get plump in the water, about ten minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven  to 350 degrees. Line a baking pan (about 13 by 9 inches) with baking parchment or tin foil. Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar and vanilla. Measure the flour into another bowl and add the salt. Add the slightly cooled chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and combine well. Then add the flour and mix to get a smooth batter. Add the white chocolate chunks. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth, making sure it’s even all over. Drain the cherries in a colander and press to get some of the water out of the fruit. Sprinkle the cherries over the brownie batter. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Watch them closely and check to see if the centre is just solid, but not fully cooked; you want moist brownies, not dry ones. They will keep cooking as they cool. Let the brownies cool completely before carefully using the sides of parchment as handles to lift onto a cutting board. Cut into squares. Find some friends to help you eat them.
*The character in the novel who loves these brownies to an almost unhealthy degree. It seemed only fair to make them hers, even though, technically, The Author did all the recipe creation–and character creation, for that matter.