5 Killer Recipes from Josi Kilpack's Culinary Mystery Novels

by | Jul. 22, 2017

Josi Kilpack’s culinary mystery series is a two-for-one deal: each book holds a clean, fun whodunit as well as a handful of scrumptious recipes. Here are a few decadent dessert recipes from the books. The real mystery is how you’re going to keep your family from eating all the treats before you get the chance to try some yourself!

Mom’s Lemon Tart

(from Lemon Tart)


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into smaller pieces

Preheat oven to 425˚ F. In a food processor or mixer, combine ingredients for crust. Pulse together until a dough starts to form in clumps. Press onto tart pan, making sure to cover bottom and sides evenly. Pierce the bottom of the crust with a fork and place in freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Place tart pan on a cookie sheet and bake until crust is golden-brown, approximately 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.


  • 5 ounces cream cheese
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (you might like an extra ¼ cup sugar in the filling)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 large lemons—do not use concentrated lemon juice)
  • zest from one lemon

Reduce oven temperature to 350˚ F. Mix cream cheese with electric beaters until smooth. Add sugar. Mix until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each egg. Stop and scrape bowl halfway through. Add the lemon juice and zest and mix until smooth.

Pour filling into tart crust and bake on cookie sheet for 20 to 30 minutes or until filling is set. Let tart cool on wire cooling rack. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled.

Use whipped cream as an optional topping. It can be piped on in stars or served on top with each piece. For extra flavor in the whipped cream, add a teaspoon of lemon zest.

Butterfinger Cookies

(from Key Lime Pie)

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ¼ cup peanut butter (chunky or creamy)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 5 (2.1-ounce) Butterfinger candy bars, chopped* (about 2 cups)

Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Cream butter and sugars. Add egg; mix. Add peanut butter and vanilla; mix until smooth. Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix well. Add Butterfingers; mix. Roll into 1-inch balls, use 1-inch scoop, or drop by 1-inch spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until just browned. Allow cookies to cool 2 minutes on baking sheet before moving them to a cooling rack. Makes 4 dozen.

*Chop Butterfingers with a chef’s knife or put in a zip-top bag and crush with a rolling pin. Food processors make the pieces too fine and you lose the crunch.

Cinnamon Ginger Cookies

(from Lemon Tart)

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves

Cream butter and sugar. Add corn syrup and eggs. Mix well. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix well. Roll into teaspoon-sized balls (refrigerate if dough is too soft) and bake at 350˚ F for about 6 minutes or until bottom edges are barely browned.

Remove cookies from oven and press flat with a glass dipped in sugar. (Spray bottom of glass with cooking spray for first “press,” and then dip back into sugar between each cooking thereafter.) Let cookies cool 1 minute on baking sheet before removing to cooling rack.

To make sandwich cookies, spread a layer of cream cheese frosting between cookies.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • ¼ cup butter or margarine
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (Neufchâtel or fat-free works fine)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar

Cream butter and cream cheese. Add vanilla and mix until smooth. Add powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached; you want a thick frosting to hold the cookies together. If frosting is too thick, thin with evaporated milk. If frosting is too thin, thicken by adding more powdered sugar. Spread between cookies when cookies are cool.

Makes about 2 dozen sandwich cookies (or 4 dozensingle cookies).


Angel Snowball Cake

(from Devil’s Food Cake)

  • 1 loaf angel food cake, sliced into ½- to 1-inch slices (day-old cake is easier to slice)
  • 1 (8-ounce) package semisweet baking chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 5 eggs, separated and at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar

Line a 4- to 6-quart bowl with wax paper. Line the bottom and sides of the bowl with slices of angel food cake. In a double boiler, break up chocolate and melt on low heat, adding water and 3 tablespoons powdered sugar when chocolate is mostly melted. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat and add egg yolks, one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Add vanilla. Carefully fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, stirring until combined. Pour chocolate mixture over the sliced cake. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 12 to 24 hours.

An hour before serving, carefully invert bowl onto a large platter. Remove wax paper. Whip whipping cream and ¼ cup powdered sugar. Frost the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (Save leftovers in refrigerator for up to 4 days.)

Serves 12 to 18.

Chocolate-dipped Coconut Macaroons

(from English Trifle)

  • 1 2/3 cups flaked sweetened coconut* (don’t pack into measuring cup)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • chocolate for dipping

Mix coconut, sugar, flour, and salt together in a small bowl. Set aside. Beat egg whites in a medium-sized bowl until frothy—about 30 seconds. Add extracts and mix until combined. Add coconut mixture and stir until combined. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto well-greased baking sheets, parchment paper, or silicone baking sheet (macaroons are notorious for sticking to the pan). Shape with fingers so they are nice and round. Bake at 325˚ F for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown along the bottom edges. Let cool completely before removing from pan to prevent sticking. Dip bottom half of cookie into a bowl of melted chocolate.

Cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

*For a tasty option, toast half the coconut by spreading coconut in single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350˚ F for about 15 minutes or until coconut is light brown. You can also put coconut in toaster oven on “dark” cycle. Check frequently to avoid burning.

lemon tart

A recipe for murder!

  • 5 families living on Peregrine Circle
  • 1 flowered curtain tieback
  • 1 missing child
  • 1 body in the field

Mix with a long list of suspects and top with two very different detectives. Increase heat until only the truth remains.

Award-winning author Josi S. Kilpack introduces a new series of culinary cozies that is sure to tantalize mystery lovers. In this debut volume, cooking aficionado-turned-amateur detective, Sadie Hoffmiller, tries to solve the murder of Anne Lemmon, her beautiful young neighbor a single mother who was mysteriously killed while a lemon tart was baking in her oven. At the heart of Sadie's search is Anne's missing two-year-old son, Trevor. Whoever took the child must be the murderer, but Sadie is certain that the police are looking at all the wrong suspects including her!

Armed with a handful of her very best culinary masterpieces, Sadie is determined to bake her way to proving her innocence, rescuing Trevor, and finding out exactly who had a motive for murder.

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