Wednesday, October 2, 2019

CHOCOLATE INDULGENCE: Guest post by Nancy J. Cohen

Nancy J. Cohen: 
Chocolate Indulgence

In my Bad Hair Day mystery series, amateur sleuth Marla Vail’s best friend, Tally, is a chocoholic. You’ll find scenes in a chocolate shop in Hair Brained and Trimmed to Death. I based this place on a visit to World of Chocolate in Orlando, where I was impressed by the artisan methods of production and the chocolate sculptures.

In my stories, we learn more about chocolate. This food counters the taint of murder in a mystery. When you’re in a bad mood, do you tend to pop a piece of chocolate into your mouth? Or maybe you’ll reward yourself after a task well done with your favorite chocolate indulgence. We always feel better after savoring the sensation of chocolate on our tongue.

Here’s a snippet of conversation between Marla and Teri, a chocolatier. They’re discussing the health benefits of chocolate.

“Cocoa contains flavonoids that are powerful antioxidants. These prevent cellular damage due to free radicals and help to lower your risk for heart disease. Flavonoids also improve blood flow to your brain and cause your body to release endorphins. Dark chocolate has a higher content than milk chocolate. You’ll want to avoid cocoa powder that has undergone Dutch processing. It’s been treated with alkali agents that reduce the flavonoid value.” 

“How about caffeine? Like, if I eat too much chocolate, won’t it make my heart race?” Marla asked. 

“Cocoa contains some caffeine, but it also has theobromine. Both of these compounds can increase your heart rate. Again, dark chocolate has a higher concentration than milk chocolate. And these chemicals are usually not present in white chocolate.” 

It came as no surprise when I wrote a cookbook that some of the recipes include chocolate. Some desserts are rich indulgences, such as the coconut fudge pie. Or they include healthy ingredients, like the chocolate zucchini cake. Since I like to include a splash of liqueur in my cakes on occasion, you’ll find a Kahlua chocolate cake among the recipes. Here is one sample item:


2 1⁄4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 3⁄4 cups sugar
1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1⁄2 cup buttermilk
2 cups grated, unpeeled zucchini
6 oz. package semisweet chocolate chips
3⁄4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13x2 inch baking pan. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together into a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the sugar, softened butter, and oil until blended. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. Add vanilla, and then mix in dry ingredients alternating with buttermilk. Mix in grated zucchini.

Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Sprinkle semisweet chocolate chips and nuts on top. Bake for 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

What is your favorite chocolate indulgence? A candy bar or a brownie? Chocolate ice cream or a chocolate chip cookie? 


Recipes from Nancy J. Cohen’s Cozy Mystery Series 

Are you having a bad hair day? Whip out your whisk, snatch up your spoon, and prepare your palate. Inside the pages of this cookbook are recipes that will bring you good cheer.

Enjoy 160+ tasty recipes from Nancy J. Cohen’s popular Bad Hair Day cozy mystery series. Included in this cookbook are excerpts, cooking tips, and anecdotes written by hairstylist and savvy sleuth Marla Vail. From appetizers to desserts, Marla offers cooking tips and tricks along with commentary about the dishes she prepares for her family. Whether you’re a skilled cook or an eager novice, this cookbook will unravel the mystery of cooking. Put on your apron and plan to make some killer recipes! Bonuses Include:

Meet the Sleuth 
Introduction by Marla Vail 
Cooking Tips 
Excerpts from Series Titles 
Themed Menu Suggestions 
“A Sabbath Dinner” by Nancy’s Mother

For Home Cooks, Food Lovers, Mystery Fans and Cookbook Collectors 

Amazon Kindle:
Amazon Print: 
Apple Books: 

Nancy J. Cohen writes the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Vail. Her latest title is Trimmed to Death. Nancy’s books have won numerous awards, including her instructional guide, Writing the Cozy Mystery. When not busy writing, Nancy enjoys cooking, fine dining, cruising, visiting Disney World, and shopping. 



Nancy J. Cohen said...

Thanks so much for having me here!

Cynthia said...

I love chocolate ganache made with excellent grade chocolate. I would eat ganache on most any dessert or even by giant spoonful. I also love flourless chocolate cake with ganache and topped with whipped heavy cream. Yes, I’m a chocoholic!!!!

Best of everything to you Nancy. Looking forward to getting your book!

Cynthia Blain