Please welcome my guest today, C. Hope Clark, author of the Carolina Slade mysteries:
Her grandmother came from Mississippi, but my main character, Carolina Slade, grew up in South Carolina. She investigates crime in the country. Crimes the average urban dweller would never understand. In her latest escapade in Palmetto Poison (February 2014, Bell Bridge Books), she tackles politics in the state capital that could involve peanuts and a lethal aflatoxin. She feels it rather unladylike to talk about spoiled peanuts only to offer up a recipe using the goobers, so she came up with a great substitute that's just as decadent.
Like any Southern lady, Slade loves to eat. Her favorite quick snack is Golden Flake Hot Potato Chips with tons of cayenne pepper, but when it comes to sweets, here's the recipe that suits her fancy, taking her back to her Mississippi roots. It's crazy chocolaty and exploding with calories, but like Slade, it's messy yet over-the-top, tongue-smack-your-face sweet.
Mississippi Mud Cake
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup butter (not margarine)
1 four-ounce semisweet chocolate baking bar, chopped
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp salt
1 ten-ounce bag mini-marshmallows
Chocolate Frosting (see below for recipe)
Bake pecans on baking sheet at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Melt butter and semisweet chocolate over double boiler. Take off heat. Whisk sugar, flour, cocoa, eggs, vanilla and salt into chocolate mixture. Pour batter into greased 10 x 15 x 1-inch pan/baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with marshmallows. Put back in oven just until marshmallows are golden on top. Don't let them melt! Drizzle with Chocolate Frosting and sprinkle with pecans.
Chocolate Frosting (to go on Mississippi Mud Cake)
1/2 cup butter (yeah more butter, not margarine)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/3 cup milk
1 sixteen-ounce package of confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Stir butter, cocoa and milk in medium saucepan over medium heat until butter melted. Cook, stirring constantly, for two minutes. Remove from heat. Beat in the sugar and vanilla on medium-high until smooth.
Big money, big politics, crime, greed, and big farming—Slade, an agriculture department investigator in the steamy state of South Carolina, once again finds herself planted in a dangerous mystery.
Her assignment? Find out if there’s a sinister connection between the drug-dealing arrest of wealthy peanut farmer Lamar Sheeler and the gruesome death of Lamar’s teenage son in a car wreck. Especially since the dead teen is Governor Dick Wheeler’s nephew. Of course, the governor’s people practically sky-write STAY AWAY FROM THE FIRST FAMILY over the Palmetto State’s capitol dome in Columbia, which doesn’t make Slade’s job easier. Couldn’t she simply back off from what appears to be a tragic and ugly—but private—family matter?
Not with hot-tempered DEA agent Pamela Largo on the case. Ex-wife to Senior Special Agent Wayne Largo, Slade's romantic interest, Pamela's hell-bent on using Lamar Wheeler's situation to re-open a cold case involving an Atlanta drug lord and Wayne's long lost sister, Kay. Soon Slade’s shoveling shooflies uphill against Pamela’s obsessions, the drug lord’s vendettas, the Governor’s secrets, and the bizarre realization that those secrets involve toxic peanuts.
C. Hope Clark
Editor, FundsforWriters, www.fundsforwriters.com
Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers
Author, The Carolina Slade Mystery Series
Lowcountry Bribe, Feb 2012
Tidewater Murder, April 2013
Palmetto Poison, Feb 2014