Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Recipes 'n Reads Series with Susan Bernhardts' Recipe for CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY TRUFFLE TORTE and a Halloween Mystery, #recipesnreads, #mystery


Recipes 'n Reads Series
Guest author Susan Bernhardt

Let's welcome my friend and talented mystery author Susan Bernhardt to our Recipe and Reads series which is scheduled every third Wednesday of the month. Susan shares her favorite recipe and the reasons why she chose this particular one. And Susan has a mystery that is perfect for the Halloween season, The Ginseng Conspiracy. It is one of my favorites in her Kay Driscoll Mystery series.

Mysteries by Susan Bernhardt

Thank you for sharing this yummy chocolate dessert with us today!

Thank you so much, J.Q. for inviting me to be on your new blog series, Recipes 'n Reads.

Before you know it, Halloween will be drawing near...the days will get shorter with a chill in the air. Time for some hot tea and a thrilling mystery. Curl up with a killer...The Ginseng Conspiracy.

In the Halloween cozy The Ginseng Conspiracy, Kay Driscoll and her friends, the free-spirited herbalist Deirdre and the untamed modern woman Elizabeth, discuss new clues over tea and pastries at Sweet Marissa's Patisserie, their crime-fighting headquarters.

Below is the recipe for Kay's favorite chocolate dessert. She had two pieces of this shockingly rich, chocolate torte at Sweet Marissa's as she agonized over the frightening events that occurred the evening of a Halloween Ball, when she witnessed a murder.

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Torte 

I often make this scrumptious Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Torte for dessert.  


12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
Pinch of salt 3/4 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 Tbsp raspberry-flavored liqueur or 2 tsp. vanilla extract
Cocoa powder, for garnish
Raspberries, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper. Butter the paper and the sides of the pan.

 2. Combine the chocolate, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process until the chocolate is finely ground. With the processor running, add the boiling water through the feed tube and process for about 15 seconds, until the chocolate is completely melted. Scrape down the sides of the processor bowl, then add the butter and process for about 5 seconds, until the batter is smooth. Add the eggs and Chambord and process until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

3. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until the edges of the torte are puffy and cracked and the center is just set (it will still look moist). Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes (the torte will sink as it cools). Cover the pan and refrigerate for 3 hours.

4. Remove the sides of the springform pan and invert the torte onto a flat serving platter. Lift off the bottom of the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to garnish the torte.

5. Sprinkle with cocoa powder and garnish with the raspberries.

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 Like Kay Driscoll, in her cozy mystery, The Ginseng Conspiracy, Susan is a retired public health nurse who volunteers at her local free clinic. She also writes the Irina Curtius mysteries that take place in Manhattan. 

Mystery Author Susan Bernhardt
An avid reader of mysteries, she is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Wisconsin Writer's Association. Susan's town in northern Wisconsin is the inspiration for the quaint setting of her Kay Driscoll novel. Ninety-five percent of American ginseng is grown in this region. When not writing, Susan loves to travel, bicycle, kayak, and create culinary magic in her kitchen. She works in stained glass, daydreams in her organic garden, stays up late reading mysteries, and eats lots of chocolate.


* * * * 

The Ginseng Conspiracy by Susan Bernhardt


 On her way to attend a Halloween Ball, Kay Driscoll, a newcomer to town, witnesses the murder of a local professor. When the official coroner's report rules the cause of death to be accidental and the community accepts the judgment, Kay decides to uncover the truth for herself. Through her personal investigations, Kay exposes a complex conspiracy, woven deep within the thriving local ginseng industry, that involves some of the more prominent figures and families of Sudbury Falls.

With her new friends, the free-spirited herbalist Deirdre and the untamed modern woman Elizabeth, Kay discusses new clues over tea and pastries at Sweet Marissa's Patisserie, their crime-fighting headquarters. As Kay gets closer to the heart of the conspiracy, additional murders happen in quick succession. Before long, Kay learns that the villains are gunning for her, too. Phil, her musically talented but preoccupied husband, determined to keep her safe, withholds from her the one thing she needs most: the truth.


The Ginseng Conspiracy (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 1) - https://amzn.to/2DglFzk

Murder Under the Tree (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 2) - https://amzn.to/2T9v5C1

Murder by Fireworks (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 3) - https://amzn.to/2QClpyl

Paradise Can Be Murder (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 4) - https://amzn.to/2DBp0do

Murder Misunderstood (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 5) - https://amzn.to/2SWzUCy

The Neighborhood (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 6) - https://amzn.to/3RApkKB

A Manhattan Murder Mystery (An Irina Curtius Mystery) - http://amzn.to/2cPlxqq

Dress to Kill (An Irina Curtius Mystery) – https://amzn.to/3kJuzrF

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Sandra Cox said...

Kay's dessert looks luscious:) The Ginseng Conspiracy sounds purrfect for Halloween.

'Lo, cuz:)

Susan Bernhardt said...

Thank you so much, J.Q. for having me on your Recipes 'n Reads Blog Series! It was fun!

J.Q. Rose said...

Sandra, the story is perfect for Halloween or anytime if you like mysteries with a twist. Thanks for stopping in.

J.Q. Rose said...

Susan, thanks for sharing your recipe and Halloween story!

Susan Bernhardt said...

Thank you so much, Sandra!! The Ginseng Conspiracy is a fun and exciting Halloween read. Enjoy your weekend and thanks for commenting!!

Sandra Cox said...

Doesn't that dessert look yummy?

J.Q. Rose said...

Sandra, Yes indeed. I love chocolate!

Marsha said...

Hey, Susan & JQ. Sorry to just now be seeing this. October was a busy month, and I'm playing catch up. Love your books, Susan, and I confess, I frequently have to go find something sweet to eat when I'm reading them. LOL I've shared.

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