Cooking the Books: Marshmallow Malice by Amanda Flower
By Doreen SheridanJune 24, 2020
Bailey King is thrilled to be the maid of honor for the wedding of her boyfriend’s mother, Juliet Brody, to longtime beau, Reverend Simon Brook. Unfortunately, she can’t help worrying that the marshmallow-frosted cake that she and her team at Swissmen Sweets, her Amish candy shop, have spent so much time and effort working on might not survive the happy couple’s outdoor summer reception. Thoughts of the cake are quickly scattered, however, by the appearance of a distraught and seemingly drunk young woman demanding a halt to the nuptials. The woman is ejected from the church, but Bailey runs into her more than once later that day under circumstances that do not improve Bailey’s opinion of the wedding crasher.
But with Juliet and Simon safely married and about to head north for their honeymoon—leaving Bailey in charge of Juliet’s beloved pet potbellied pig, Jethro—Bailey figures that’ll be the end of any drama. Little does she know that she’ll be stumbling across the woman’s corpse the very next morning, sprawled at the top of the church steps.
At first, Bailey wants nothing to do with the case despite her success in assisting her boyfriend, Sheriff’s Deputy Aiden Brody, with investigating prior murders. In those instances, her unique connection to the local Amish community of Harvest, Ohio, gave her an invaluable in with a people who mostly distrust the English, as they call it, law enforcement. Without an Amish connection here, Bailey is more than happy to sit this one out.
Juliet, however, has other ideas, begging for Bailey to do whatever she can to help clear the reverend’s name when he inevitably falls under suspicion for murder. As Bailey reluctantly starts to dig, she discovers a surprising Amish connection that a murderer will go to great lengths to keep hidden.
This was another smart installment in the Amish Candy Shop Mystery series, with a heroine who’s easy to root for and a deftly written mystery that will keep readers guessing. The insights into Amish vs. English life are interesting, especially as several characters straddle both, though each under quite different circumstances. There is also a trio of adorable pets to cause our cast of characters either cheer or chagrin as they navigate small-town life while solving deadly crimes.
As with all culinary cozies, this novel included a recipe, that in this case was more than thematically appropriate.
Charlotte’s Easy Marshmallow Sticks
Three marshmallows per skewer
Decorations of your choice such as sprinkles, M&M, Reece’s Pieces, nuts etc.
Put three marshmallows on a wooden skewer.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler.
Dip marshmallows on the skewer into the melted chocolate and spoon chocolate over them to make sure they are fully coated.
Put the different decorations on plates, one for each type.
If you choose, decorate with sprinkles, M&Ms, or any of the other decorations: roll the marshmallow sticks through the decorations while the chocolate is still warm.
I do love a chocolate-dipped marshmallow, but my mild sweet tooth balked at the idea of rolling these treats in even more candy, hence the relatively healthy alternatives you see in the pictures I took. I sliced several strawberries and bananas thinly to wrap around each chocolate-coated marshmallow, or I crushed some graham crackers to sprinkle on, creating a deconstructed s’more. Even so, I found myself unable to eat too many in one sitting. Of course, if your tolerance for sugar is much higher than mine, by all means, get as creative and sugary as you like! These are a quick and easy treat to make—even easier if you just microwave your chocolate chips like I did, heating them on high for 30 seconds, then stirring and heating again if necessary until I had the right consistency—and are a fun portable dessert for kids of all ages.
Next week, we leave the Midwest for the West Coast, enjoying regional cuisine as we unbury dread secrets. Do join me!