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  • Writer's pictureVirginia Cornue and Linda Lombri

Ring in the New Year with Wonderful Sweets from Around the World

This New Year’s Eve post takes you around the world to enjoy an international new year sampling from each book in the SANDRA TROUX MYSTERIES. In this time of renewal and resolutions, understanding each other in our differences and likenesses can certainly be one of the best promises we can make to ourselves and each other wherever we live. And what better way to do that than to take part in one of the most basic of human needs and pleasures: eating delicious food. Ring in the New Year with the following recipes drawn from Culinary Clues around the World 2.0: one from each volume of the SANDRA TROUX MYSTERIES - a sweet beginning to the new year.

From Mystery of the Ming Connection, enjoy sticky rice balls, a type of dumpling stuffed with red bean paste and coated with coconut. So simple to make and so delicious.

Tang Yuan

(Sticky Rice Balls)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sweet red bean paste

1-1/2 cup glutinous rice flour (also called sticky rice flour)

1/3 cup light coconut milk or sweet condensed milk

1/2 teaspoon oil

1/2 cup coconut flakes

Boiled water

Take a heaping teaspoon of red bean paste and roll into a ball; coat with brown sugar. Make at least 10 balls; cover and set aside. Place rice flour in a mixing bowl and slowly add the coconut or condensed milk, stirring with a fork to mix. Slowly add enough boiling water to form a dough; knead at least a minute, adding more water a little at a time as needed until you have dough the consistency of play dough (add more flour or water as needed). Roll into a 10-inch log and cover.

Next, cut off a 1” piece of dough, roll into a ball and flatten with the palm of your hand. Place a red bean paste ball in the center and carefully fold the dough over it. Gently squeeze the dough and re-form it into a ball. Continue with remaining dough and balls of bean paste.

Place all ten balls into a pot of boiling water and cook at medium heat for a few minutes until the balls rise to the surface (a few minutes). Gently remove them from the water and coat them with the coconut flakes. If desired, place each one in a miniature muffin wrap.

From Masquerade on the Net, sip a most refreshing beverage that's a Nigerian classic. Not only is it delicious, but it is a gorgeous, deep magenta color with a deep purple flavor.


(Hibiscus Tea)

1 cup dried zobo (hibiscus) petals

4 cups boiling water

Juice of one lemon

Sugar to taste

Place the petals in a large bowl and cover with boiled water. Set aside to steep for 2 to 4 hours. Pour the drink through a sieve or strainer to separate the fluid from the petals. Add some ice, lemon juice and sugar to taste.

From Secrets at Abbott House, cut generous slices of Miss Espie’s Fabulous Pound Cake. Like her cake, Miss Espie was a treat: a crisp apron, tight iron grey curls, pithy humor, and a head full of wonderful recipes.

Miss Espie’s Pound Cake

Pound Cake has a history that dates back to the 18th century when ingredients in recipes (or receipts) were measured in pounds and ounces, instead of cups. A typical recipe of the time would consist of a pound each of sugar, butter and flour plus eggs, salt and lemon. Miss Espie, a retired North Carolina elementary school lunch lady, made her moist cake from the following traditional “receipt.”

1 pound (2 cups) sugar

1 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 pound (4 cups) all purpose flour

12 large eggs

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 cup fresh lemon (or 1 teaspoon vanilla)

1 tablespoon lemon rind, finely grated (or half one vanilla bean, scraped)

Preheat oven to 325°F (177°C). Grease a tube or loaf pan with butter; dust with flour. Combine butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream until smooth. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together; gradually add to egg and butter mixture, beating well until mixture is smooth. Add lemon juice and rind (or vanilla and scraped vanilla bean). Pour batter into greased pan.

Bake for one hour, plus an additional 15 to 30 minutes, testing for doneness with a toothpick. Cool. Gently cut around edges with a sharp knife and turn cake onto a serving plate or platter. Serve alone or with whipped cream and fresh fruit.

All of books in the SANDRA TROUX MYSTERIES collection, including our recipe book Culinary Clues around the World 2.0, are available in eBook and paperback formats on Amazon. The eBook only versions are also sold via Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. Why not treat yourself and your friends and loved ones to some fun reading experiences this winter by ordering some copies?

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