Costumes are always part of the TTP signing near Halloween. Last year, Nora dressed as a cowgirl but I’m not really into costumes. I said I’d dress as what I am, a cranky publicist. Kat kindly made me a button that said just that. I was very happy.
So I thought I might use The Cranky Publicist moniker from time to time to answer questions or address comments, starting with this:
For nearly 11 years, I’ve watched trends in reader questions come and go. Usually the top three are:
- Can you add another book to the [fill in the blank] series?
- Why do we have to wait so long for the next book [In Death or trilogy]?
- The dread In Death baby question (applied to nearly every character except Anna Whitney and Sheila Feeney).
But the question currently trending with a bullet (as Billboard magazine used to say) is:
Can you share your recipe?
For soup (after a Nora-at-home blog) or pancakes, bread, stew (after reading a book). Most recently it’s for Mr. Mira’s Hot Chocolate.
Nora and I have explained quite a bit that she doesn’t actually have the recipes she creates in books. She imagines food as the characters would create them and charts the ingredients, some of the prep, usually amid conversation that’s propelling the story.
But still there are the requests — pleading, straightforward, sarcastic — to share a recipe so a reader can really feel like she/he is living in the book.
In the seven days since Brotherhood in Death hit the shelves, the Mr. Mira Hot Chocolate requests have escalated to the point where I decided to refresh my memory of the scene. I grabbed the book, a notebook and started reading chapter 6 when Dennis first puts a pot on top of a pot, then adds chocolate.
Ok, I thought, melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Wrote that down.
He puts a bowl into the freezer, to Eve’s confusion. Ahh, I thought, the cold bowl for homemade whipped cream. (Side note for those interested: Nora and I have long discussed how homemade whipped cream is both delicious and easy to make.)
Eve questions, Dennis answers and as he does, he adds milk to the melted chocolate. Then puts a bean in a bowl and crushes with a wooden dowel. I’m going to go with vanilla on that one, which he adds with sugar to the milk.
Then he gets the frozen bowl, pours cream in it, adds some sugar and then beats it until — to Eve’s utter amazement — he has whipped cream.
I finished the scene and thought — OK we have the process, not the amounts. What would I do if I were curious about that?
I googled “double boiler hot chocolate recipe” and there were five immediate results — the first was pretty much the same steps I’d read.
(Which set this Cranky Publicist to wondering if I somehow am magic with the Google searches or if people really just want things handed to them. That’s an entirely different post.)
If you’re itching to try your hand at creating something akin to Dennis Mira’s Hot Chocolate here are a couple fun ways to do it. But really, the best part is that you can take the basic recipe and add dark chocolate or a little chili or some mint or coffee — to make it suit your tastes to a T.
Fancy-Ass Hot Chocolate via A Cozy Kitchen (this recipe has the chocolate going into the milk instead of Dennis’ method).
This one just has chocolate added to hot milk: Ina Garten Hot Chocolate Recipe
Belgian Hot Chocolate (via David Lebovitz)
Since there may be questions on other techniques, you might enjoy these two links:
How to melt Chocolate in a double boiler (video)
How to make Whipped Cream via The Kitch’n blog