I'm happy to welcome Mrs. Gunderson to the blog today. You can find her on the pages of the Professor Prather Mystery series. A Very Merry Murder is the third book in the series and was released this week!
Mrs. Gunderson’s Marshmallow Nut Masterpiece
Marshmallow nut masterpiece—those are Emmeline’s words for my fudge, not mine. I’m Emmeline’s next-door neighbor, and I, like many people, enjoy baking during the holidays. There’s something comforting about feeding others during the season. Emmeline says it’s my Christmas gift to the world, but you know how fond she is of overstating things. She gets it from her books, I think. She likes them so much I knew she’d enjoy a hardback edition of First Lutheran’s Christmas Cookbook. Unfortunately, following recipes proved harder for her than finding mistakes in her students’ papers.
To her credit, she did use the cookbook. I don’t believe it’s in her nature to let a book go unread. But her sugar cookies were a dismal failure. They didn’t resemble the picture at all! She rushed through the recipe without refrigerating the dough, which every good baker knows is a formula for disaster. Bakers must be careful and methodical. One would think a professor would be better at following directions.
But back to my fudge. I suppose it is sort of a masterpiece. It was passed down by my mother, who made the recipe many times for the church bazaar. It was there that she met my father. He purchased all four pounds and married her six weeks later. Mother always said it was because he ran out of fudge, but they had a loving relationship, and I always think of them when I make it. Recipes are like that, aren’t they? Little memories passed down from one generation to another.
So maybe you will think of me when you make the fudge—or Copper Bluff and our own Winter Festival. I promise you, you’ll want to see what happens there. I have a feeling it might just make your holiday season a little sweeter.
Mrs. Gunderson’s Marshmallow Nut Masterpiece
2 ½ cups sugar
½ cup butter
5-oz. can (2/3 cup) evaporated milk
7-oz. jar (2 cups) marshmallow crème
12-oz. pkg (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips
¾ cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp. of vanilla
2 cups of miniature marshmallows
1. Line a 9x9 pan with foil. Make sure ends extend over the sides of the pan for easy lifting. Butter foil, and set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, combine butter, milk, and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil over medium heat for five minutes. Keep stirring!
3. Remove from heat. Stir in marshmallow crème and chocolate chips. Add vanilla.
4. Stir in walnuts. Then add two cups of marshmallows. Stir gently. Don’t let the marshmallows melt. (You may omit them and the walnuts if desired.)
5. Spread in prepared pan. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until firm (about an hour).
6. To cut, remove fudge from pan using foil as a handle. Turn onto a glass cutting board, and remove foil. Use a large knife to cut into pieces. Store fudge in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
A Very Merry Murder (A Professor Prather Mystery) by Mary Angela
About the Book
Cozy Mystery 3rd in Series
Camel Press (October 1, 2018) Paperback: 258 pages
It’s December in Copper Bluff, and from hillside to hallowed hall, everyone is merry—or will be as soon as semester break arrives. Students are studying, professors are grading, and Emmeline Prather is anticipating the university-sponsored holiday concert. Friend and colleague Lenny Jenkins will be accompanying the visiting quartet, Jazz Underground, and Em can’t think of a better way to kick-start the holiday season.
But before she can say “Jingle Bell Rock,” trouble arrives at Candlelight Inn, the bed and breakfast where the quartet is staying. One of the band members dies unexpectedly, and suspicion falls on Em, whose altercation with the man ends with him on the floor. He never recovers, and now she’s worried her reputation might not either. When Emmeline starts to see parallels between an Agatha Christie novel she’s teaching and the victim, Lenny claims she’s read one too many mysteries.
As the clues unravel, so does the murderer’s patience. Em is close to finding the truth, but will the truth—or the murderer—push her over the edge? It will take a Christmas miracle to solve this case, but if there’s one thing in surplus this time of year, it’s faith.
About the Author© Julie Prairie Photography 2016
Mary Angela is the author of the Professor Prather academic mystery series, which has been called “enjoyable” and “clever” by Publishers Weekly. She is also an educator and has taught English and humanities at South Dakota’s public and private universities for over ten years. When Mary isn’t writing or teaching, she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family.
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