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March 22, 2011

Sarah Addison Allen: THE PEACH KEEPER

Posted by Stephen

Sarah Addison Allen is the New York Times bestselling author of such books as Garden Spells, The Sugar Queen and The Girl Who Chased the Moon. Known for combining elements of popular fiction, magic realism and food, she has virtually created a genre all her own. In this special piece, Sarah talks about some of the book-inspired dishes groups have shared with her while sharing her own delectable recipe. Sarah's latest book, The Peach Keeper, is in stores now!

peach keeper.JPGA book club reading my first book, Garden Spells, once sent me a photo of the magic apple tree from the story they’d created for their garden lunch meeting. A reader once wrote me about her book club meeting for The Sugar Queen, where she hid candy in the closet like the main character, and invited the her group to take candy from the closet. And for The Girl Who Chased the Moon, a club recently sent a photo of the members holding Blue Moon martinis.

I continue to be impressed by the creativity and care that go into book club meetings. They are events, events created around a book, a celebration of reading. How great is that? And when there’s food involved, well, I think that’s the trifecta:  Books, Friendship, and Food.
For my new book, The Peach Keeper, the food element comes from a magical, quirky barista who thinks how people take their coffee says a lot about their personalities. She creates snacks and sweets to sell that all have coffee as an ingredient: Cappuccino doughnuts, coffee oatmeal cookies, espresso brownies.
I need to share this brownie recipe with you. You and your book club will know no other brownie recipe after this one. I promise. (For more recipes from my books and book club ideas, check out my website
Double Chocolate Espresso Brownies 

     Butter-flavored cooking spray
     1 1/4  cups  all-purpose flour
     1/4  teaspoon  baking soda
     1/8  teaspoon  baking powder
     1/8  teaspoon  salt
     14  (1-ounce) squares semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
     1  cup  sugar
     1/2  cup  butter or margarine
     1/4  cup  light corn syrup
     1/4  cup  espresso or strongly brewed French roast coffee, cooled
     3  large eggs
     1  tablespoon  vanilla extract
     1  cup  chopped walnuts (this can be optional)
     6  ounces  premium Swiss dark or milk chocolate, coarsely chopped


Coat a 13" x 9" pan with cooking spray. Line pan with aluminum foil, allowing ends to hang over short sides of pan. Tuck overlapping ends under rim on short sides. Coat foil with cooking spray; set pan aside.

Combine flour and next 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Place chopped semisweet chocolate in a large bowl; set aside.

Combine sugar and next 3 ingredients in a saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar and butter melt and mixture comes to a rolling boil. Remove from heat, and pour over chopped chocolate in bowl; let stand 2 minutes (do not stir).

Beat mixture at low speed of an electric mixer until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture; beat at medium speed until well blended. Stir in vanilla, walnuts, and dark chocolate.

Spoon batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake at 325° for 45 to 48 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cover brownies with overlapping foil; chill at least 2 hours.
Carefully invert brownies from pan, using overlapping foil as handles; remove foil. Invert brownies again onto a cutting board; cut into squares or diamonds.
Happy reading…and eating!

-Click here to watch a special trailer for The Peach Keeper.