Friday, December 12, 2014

#HolidayRecipe Chocolate Crack and Her Best Man by Jana Richards #Giveaway

Rest easy, Mazeites, I'm not corrupting anyone's morals today by sharing this recipe for Chocolate Crack, contributed by 
Her Best Man author Jana Richards!

Chocolate Crack
Approximately 200-250 grams whole graham wafer (about ½ of a small box)
250 ml. (1 cup) salted butter
250 ml. (1 cup) brown sugar
500 ml. (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F). Line a 25 x 38 cm. (10 x 15 inch) jelly roll pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray or grease well with butter or margarine. Line the pan completely with a single layer of graham wafers, breaking wafers up, if necessary, to make them fit. Set aside.

Combine the butter and brown in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Boil for exactly 5 minutes, stirring constantly. You might need to adjust the heat; if the mixture sputters too much, reduce the heat. If it stops boiling increase the heat; a bull boil will have breaking bubbles all over the surface.

Pour the mixture over the graham wafers as evenly as you can. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. Let the chips melt for a minute or two and then spread them as evenly as you can with a heat-resistant spatula or wooden spoon. Let cool to room temperature and then place pan in the fridge to chill. When the pan is chilled, peel the foil from the wafers and break the slab into random pieces.

Baker’s note: The name of this cookie comes from the fact that you “crack” the final slab into irregular chunks, but the taste is almost as addictive as the other stuff! The boiling time and stirring is important for the success of this cookie, so pay attention. For variation you can sprinkle the warm chocolate with nuts, marshmallows or crushed candy canes.

Her Best Man
by Jana Richards

Sarah Stevens experiences a bride's worst nightmare; being dumped at the altar. When she goes on the Caribbean cruise meant to be her honeymoon in order to lick her wounds, she discovers her ex-fiancé has sent his brother, Will Marshall, the former best man, on the cruise as well. Everyone on board thinks they're newlyweds, and Sarah is too embarrassed to set them straight. How is she supposed to share a tiny cabin with a man she barely knows? How is she supposed to pretend that she and Will are on their honeymoon? Even worse, how can she keep from falling in love with him? Sarah discovers the best man for her really is the best man.

“You have a beautiful engagement ring,” Josie commented.

Sarah felt her positive resolve slip a little.  She stared at the ring, uncertain why she still wore it.  Did she miss Brad that much, or was it the idea of being married she missed?

“Thank you,” she said simply, hoping Josie would drop the subject.  Apparently, that was too much to hope for.

“Why is it you and Will don’t wear wedding bands?”

“Josie, that’s really none of our business,” Ted rebuked gently.  He took his bride’s hand and planted a tender kiss on each of her fingers.  “We talked about this, sweetie.  Boundaries, remember?”

Ted’s love for Josie shone in his eyes, despite her lack of tact.  He knew all her foibles, weaknesses and plain old stupidities and he still loved her.  Sarah wondered why someone couldn’t love her like that.  She stared at her engagement ring and thought of the day Brad had given it to her.  She’d been so happy and so hopeful of a wonderful future.  But now all her plans and dreams were gone, her hopes of having a family of her own dashed.  How could he have done that to her?

The sob seemed to come from the pit of her stomach, working its way up her body until it just burst uncontrollably out of her mouth.  She covered her mouth with her hand, shocked by the emotion as well as by the tears flooding out of her eyes.  To her surprise she found herself being drawn into Will’s embrace.  She sniffled against his shirt, embarrassing herself further by getting his shoulder wet.

“It’s okay, Sarah,” he whispered.  In a louder voice she heard him speak to the rest of the group who had stopped in mid-chew to stare at her.

“Sarah’s had a very difficult couple of weeks,” he began.  This was it, she thought.  This was where she got outed as a fake bride.  She sucked in a breath.  If he told the truth would he go to jail?  Would she?

“We don’t have any rings because a few days before the wedding the jewelry store where we purchased our rings burned to the ground.  Our rings were lost and Sarah was devastated.  As you can see, she’s still emotional about it.”

Sarah sniffed against Will’s shoulder.  What?

“Oh Sarah, how awful for you!” Josie said.

“But that’s not everything,” Will continued, his voice taking on a serious note.  Sarah stopped sniveling to listen to what he’d say next.  “The wedding dress she’d ordered was lost in transit.  She had to wear a dress off the rack.”

Josie took in a sharp breath.  “No!”

“But the last straw came when a pipe broke at the hall where our reception was going to be held and the place was flooded.  We had to cancel.”

Again, more ohhs and ahhs sounded around the table.  Where did he come up with these crazy stories?

Beatrice chuckled. “I’ve heard some wedding disaster stories, but yours take the cake. Don’t worry, Sarah. Someday you’ll look back and laugh, I promise.”

Gladys raised her glass. “Here’s to Sarah and Will. May their marriage be luckier than their wedding.”

“Hear, Hear.”

Everyone raised his or her glass in a toast. As Sarah wiped her eyes, Will made a toast of his own. “To Sarah. Nothing but blue skies from now on.” He took a drink from his glass, his blue eyes full of compassion, with a hint of humor twinkling under the surface.

Sarah picked up her wineglass. How had he done that? She knew Will’s stories were more about saving his butt than protecting her from humiliation, but still, she’d rather be thought of as the girl whose wedding blew up then the girl who got dumped at the altar. For that she was grateful.

And how had he made her feel so safe and comforted in his arms? She shivered a little, remembering the gentle touch of his hand sliding up and down her back. For that she was less grateful. She was confused enough already about her feelings.

Sarah reluctantly tipped her glass to Will. “To blue skies.”

Buy Her Best Man at:
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