Christmas Cupcake Murder By Joanne Fluke: Review/Giveaway/Recipe

Nov 14, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Food Fun, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy
& Joanne Fluke

This week we have a review of the latest Hannah Swensen mystery by Joanne Fluke, along with a recipe from the book! Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and links to purchase it.

Christmas Cupcake Murder: A Hannah Swensen Holiday Mystery by Joanne Fluke
Review by Sandra Murphy

Hannah Swenson’s popular Cookie Jar Bakery has been open for two years. Baking is a soothing activity and brings happiness to so many of Lake Eden’s residents. Coming up with new cookie and cupcake recipes is always fun, too.
One especially cold morning, a homeless man knocks at the back door, looking for work. Hannah invites him in for coffee and German chocolate cupcakes. He’s polite, eager to work, and has trouble with his memory. He leaves, promising to return the next day to do odd jobs.

Hannah’s mother, Delores, drops by to ask a favor—or two. She needs help moving a heavy sofa in storage so she can get to Christmas ornaments. Hannah can help retrieve the ornaments, help decorate, and by the way, bring six dozen of the new cupcakes for the staff. With Delores, resistance is futile. Joanne Fluke

While they’re moving furniture, Delores’s friend Carrie comments on how much furniture she has too and comments between them they could open a store. Hannah suggests they rent a space where they could refinish items and sell, too. After decorating the hospital, they stop by the real estate office to see what’s available. Hannah hadn’t thought there would a space available two doors down from her shop—that may just be too much togetherness.

While they’re checking out the space, Hannah finds what she first thinks is a body but instead it’s the homeless man, alive, but in poor shape. He’s hustled off to the hospital, and Hannah’s left with the mystery of who is he. He doesn’t qualify as a missing person—he’s not missing, he’s right there. No one is looking for him. He can remember a few things but not his name or where he’s from. With a few scant clues, Hannah begins to put together a picture of his background.

This is a prequel to the series, taking place before Hannah’s involved with murder cases on a regular basis. Her sister, Andrea is a new mom, Michelle is dating a college boy, Delores is a widow, and Moishe, well, he’s a twenty-three pound cat who generally gets his way. This is book 26 of 27, with Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder coming in February 2021, available for pre-order now. To see a list of all 27 books in order, go to tinyurl.com/y5khmydq.

Recipes include: German chocolate cupcakes with cooked pecan coconut frosting or chocolate buttercream frosting, pink peppermint cookies, white chocolate eggnog cupcakes, English eggnog, Christmas baked brie, sugar plum cookies, cinful sugar cookies, cocktail munchie mix, Christmas date cupcakes, holiday cheer cherry cupcakes with cherry frosting, milk chocolate oatmeal cookies, rainbow pickles (dill spears, colored), pineapple white chocolate bar cookies, blue apple pie, Christmas wreath or Santa hat pancakes, coconut crunch cookies, chocolate cherry frosting and strawberry cupcakes, Vegas cookies, and golden raisin rum cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. There’s also a baking conversion chart for measurements and temperatures.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. A Murder of Crows, edited by Sandra Murphy (a popular title so you need her name to search), has twenty-one cozy stories. Each features the collective name of an animal and a crime. The animals range from tarantulas, koalas, wolves, bears, jellyfish, toads, cats, dogs, alpaca, goats, penguins and more. No animals were harmed. The people weren’t so lucky. Available at the usual outlets, print or ebook.

CHRISTMAS COCONUT CRUNCH COOKIES
by Joanne Fluke

DO NOT preheat oven—dough must chill before baking.

Hannah’s 1st Note: This recipe makes approximately 10 dozen cookies. If you like, you can reduce the yield to approximately 5 dozen, by cutting each ingredient by half.

• 2 cups melted butter (4 sticks, 16 ounces, 1 pound)
• 2 cups powdered sugar (don’t sift unless it’s got big lumps and then you shouldn’t use it anyway)
• 1 cup white (granulated) sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon coconut extract
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon cream of tartar (critical!)
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
• 1 cup white chocolate or vanilla baking chips
• 4 additional cups flour (don’t sift—pack it down in the cup when you measure it)
• 1/2 cup white DECORATORS sugar in a small bowl (for coating dough balls)

Melt the butter in a microwave-safe mixing bowl. Place the mixing bowl on your kitchen counter.

Add both of the sugars and mix thoroughly. Let the mix cool to room temperature.

Stir in the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg is added.

Add the vanilla extract and coconut extract. Mix them in thoroughly. Sprinkle in the baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Stir until they are well mixed in.

With the steel blade in place on your food processor, sprinkle in 1 Tablespoon of flour.

Measure out the sweetened coconut flakes and add them to the food processor on top of the flour. Now add the white chocolate chips on top of the coconut.

Sprinkle the remaining Tablespoon of flour on top of the white chocolate chips.

Use an on-and-off motion with the steel blade to process the coconut/white chocolate chip mixture. Continue to process until everything has been chopped into very small pieces.

Hannah’s 2nd Note: One of the reasons that some people don’t care for coconut in cookies is that the coconut flakes stick between their teeth. Chopping the coconut up into tiny pieces eliminates that problem.

Transfer the finely chopped, flour-coated coconut/white chocolate chip mixture to your mixing bowl. Stir thoroughly.

Add the remainder of the flour in half-cup increments, mixing after each addition.

Use your impeccably clean hands to round up the cookie dough into a ball.

Place the cookie dough in a sealable plastic bag and refrigerate it for at least one hour. (Overnight is fine, too.)

When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees F. with the rack in the middle position.

Prepare your cookie sheets by spraying them with Pam or another nonstick cooking spray. Alternatively, you can line them with parchment paper, leaving a little ear at the top and a little ear at the bottom so that you can easily pull the parchment paper, cookies, and all, to a wire rack after they are baked.

Place the white decorators sugar in a shallow bowl. Use your impeccably clean hands to roll the dough
into walnut-sized balls.

Roll each dough balls in the bowl of decorators sugar to coat it.

Place the sugarcoated dough balls on the cookie sheets you’ve prepared, 12 cookies on each standard-sized cookie sheet.

Flatten the dough balls with the back of a metal spatula or the palm of your impeccably clean hand.

Bake your Christmas Coconut Crunch Cookies at 325 degrees F. for 10 to 15 minutes. (The cookies
should have a tinge of light golden brown on the tops and outer edges.)

Remove the cookies from the oven and transfer them, still on the cookie sheets, to cold stovetop burners or wire racks on the kitchen counter.

Cool the cookies on their cookie sheets for 2 minutes and then remove them to wire racks to cool completely.

Yield: approximately 6 dozen buttery, sugary cookies.

To enter to win a copy of Christmas Cupcake Murder, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “cupcake,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 23, 2020. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. BE AWARE THAT IT WILL TAKE MUCH LONGER THAN USUAL FOR WINNERS TO GET THEIR BOOKS DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode went up this week!

You can use this link to purchase this book from indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy, and KRL gets a portion of the sale:

You can use this link to purchase these book from Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.

154 Comments

  1. I love this series.

    Reply
    • I absolutely love Joanne’s books! I count down for each new one

      Reply
  2. I like the intriguing plot of a homeless man who has difficulty remembering. So many possibilities!

    Reply
  3. I have enjoyed Joanne Fluke’s previous mysteries and cannot wait to read this one. I love reading seasonal themed mysteries.

    Reply
  4. Christmas cupcake Murder sounds so good and I love the book cover! Thank you for the yummy recipe and the chance to win this great giveaway!

    Reply
  5. Thank you for the chance to win Christmas Cupcake Murder!
    Wonderful giveaway!!

    Reply
  6. I love this series. Thank you for sharing the recipe and for this chance to win! areewekidding(at)yahoo(dot)com

    Reply
  7. Cute cover. It sounds like a good mystery. Thanks for the chance.

    Reply
  8. This looks like a wonderful seasonal cozy mystery. I love reading books to match the season!

    Reply
  9. Thanks so much for the article and the contest. I love this series!

    Reply
  10. I’ve been hearing a lot about this one, sounds good! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com

    Reply
  11. This looks like good fun, and recipes to boot. I’d love to have a copy. Thanks! crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com

    Reply
  12. Sounds like a great holiday read. Thanks for the chance.

    Reply
  13. I would love to read and review as love her books!

    Reply
  14. Love Hannah and adore German Chocolate cake/cupcakes!
    Thank you for the wonderful giveaway and review!

    Reply
    • I love these series of books. I have read them over and over again, and make all the cookies quite often. They are a big hit. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for Hannah

      Reply
  15. Sounds like a great way to begin the series. I am a fan of the movies but haven’t read the books yet and would love to win a copy of this to get myself started. I’ve seen Charlaine at conferences and on Zoom — she’s much like her characters: curious, outgoing, and a quick thinker.

    Reply
    • As I said, the books are way better. A couple of the movies used the basic plot but changed a lot.

      Reply
  16. DOH! I meant Joanne Fluke, not CH (that’s what I get for being up so early every day). Moderator, please forgive me!

    Reply
    • My favorite series!??

      Reply
  17. I love this series! Would love to win this one.

    Reply
  18. Great series. Started because of the hallmark movies but the books are way better.

    Reply
  19. I love these books??

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  20. Thank you for the chance!!

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  21. My daughter and I both love reading this series. We love a good mystery, and enjoy the recipes.

    Reply
  22. I love this series very much. Cant wait for the next book in feb for my birthday. I really love hannah in murder she baked hallmark movies. Please make movies for all the books. I cant wait to read this one to start off the series so I can re read all the books. Keep up the good work on bringing more hannah books. Joanne you have such an awesome talent. Ty for giving us a chance to win.

    Reply
  23. I love this series of books and the recipes are great!

    Reply
  24. Can’t wait to read this book! Already on the library waitlist!

    Reply
  25. Thanks for the chance to win! I enjoy reading the books in this series!

    Reply
  26. I would love to win this!

    Reply
  27. I love following Hannah and her adventures! It’s a great escape from Covid and single parenting; especially working and homeschooling at the same time. Hannah and her family are so refreshing and inviting, and I love trying to solve the mystery!

    Reply
  28. I absolutely love all the Hannah Swensen Cozy Murder Mysteries! They are a get away from the hectic life many of us lead, they allow us to follow someone we can admire. You get sucked into life in a small town in Minnesota. Thank you for this series, I hope there are many more Hannah books to come

    Reply
  29. I so Love this series

    Books and movies!!!

    Thanks for the chance!!

    Reply
  30. Love this series, ready for a new book!

    Reply
  31. Oh I love Joanne Fluke’s books. I’d love to read this one!

    Reply
  32. Absolutely love this series! Can’t wait to read this!!

    Reply
  33. I love some of her other works and this one is on my TBR list. Can’t wait to dive into it!

    Reply
  34. These are great book!

    Reply
  35. I’m very excited!!

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  36. I love this mystery! !

    Reply
  37. I would love to win this!

    Reply
  38. So excited for another Hannah mystery!! My favorite series, by far?? And who doesn’t love good books and great recipes?!

    Reply
  39. I love Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen books!

    Reply
  40. I have enjoyed reading these mysteries over the years. I espionage enjoy mysteries with ladies as the sleuth. It’s an added bonus to try out the wonderful recipes included in each book.

    Reply
  41. Love this series. Always impatient waiting for the next one.

    Reply
  42. I love this series so much! Been reading these books for years. Thanks for the chance to win!

    Reply
  43. thank you for the recipe and for doing this giveaway i love the books and movies <3

    Reply
  44. Love Joanna’s books!!

    Reply
  45. Joanne Fluke is my favorite author and I absolutely love every Hannah book!! I’ve gotten the chance to meet her twice and she’s simply a joy who engages with her fans.

    Reply
  46. I love the whole series. The recipes and the mysteries. So glad that Ross is out of the pucture!!

    Reply
  47. I love this series and especially the recipes in them.

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  48. I love these books so much. I can’t wait for the next one!

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  49. I love all of your books! And hope to win the new 1 Thank you for sharing all that you can do with us

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  50. I love this series and the recipes are awesome!

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  51. Love this series and think its time reread.

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  52. I enjoy this series so much, my mom got me hooked as she knows I love to bake.

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  53. If I win please send my copy to my local library!

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  54. This series sounds so fun!

    Reply
  55. I love this series! Hopefully more will be coming out.

    Reply
  56. Adore this sweet series! Looking forward to reading this installment.

    Reply
  57. I LOVE this series but have not read this one yet!! So wonderful!

    Reply
  58. I am reading the book now and really enjoying. I was little confused until I realized it was a prequel. I have read the whole series and always look forward to more. I also enjoy the recipes even though I am diabetic.

    Reply
  59. I love these books, so fun. And I have made several of the delicious recipes. Always yummy.

    Reply
  60. I love this series and enjoyed following along with Hannah, another great mystery. I can’t wait for the next one!

    Reply
  61. OMGOSH I am obsessed with this series, always so anxious for the next one to come out.

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  62. Can’t wait to read it!!

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  63. I just discovered this series and I love it!

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  64. I absolutely ?????? This series!!! I have read every book and shared with friends. Thanks so much!!

    Reply
  65. I have all of the Hannah Swenson books! My mom introduced me to her books years ago and we read them together. I would love to give my 80 year old mom one for Christmas ??

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  66. I love this series, and what better way to spend the winter curled up with a good book!

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  67. I’ve bought all her books – they’re my favorites. A prequel sounds interesting.

    Reply
  68. I love this series! I have read everyone of Joanne Fluke’s books! Thanks for the chance and the recipe!

    Reply
  69. I absolutely love this series, my grandmother got me hooked like 7 years ago and we try to best each other at who gets the books read first. I usually can get a book read within 2-3 days for a normal sized book. The small ones take me a day or 2 at most.

    Reply
  70. I have read all of the Hannah Swensen series of books. Absolutely love them! The recipes are fantastic! Especially in this time of unrest ,reading these books brings a glimpse of small town life.The characters are friendly, kind people with shared values, and common sense.Thank-you, Joanne Fluke, for sharing your gift of writing with the world!

    Reply
  71. I look forward to every new book in this series. Winning this would be a great morale booster since I’m fighting COVID and my birthday is next week.

    Reply
  72. Love your books, love the recipes, have made a lot of them. Will make these tomorrow.

    Reply
  73. I love the Hannah Swenson series.

    Reply
  74. To be honest, I haven’t read a Swenson mystery in a while and I do believe it’s time to remedy that. Not real sure why I stopped. I absolutely love them and the recipes, oh my word, if I could only cook well enough to try them out. Thank you for the opportunity to try to win the awesome prize ?

    Reply
  75. I am anxious to read this book. I think solving the mystery of a homeless man could lead us in many directions. I really enjoy this series

    Reply
  76. I can’t wait to read the next installment! I love Hannah Swenson and I recommend Joanne Fluke to everyone!!

    Reply
  77. Please enter my name into the contest! I love the Hannah Swenson series and have not read Christmas Cupcake Murder…yet! Thanks!

    Reply
  78. I love all your books and recipes. I would love to read this while recuperating from my surgery!

    Reply
  79. Can’t wait! love the series!

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  80. Sounds like a great book.

    Reply
  81. Really enjoy this series. Thank you for the chance to win.

    Reply
  82. I wish they would make more Hallmark movies of this series. Why did they stop? Allison was the perfect Hannah, and Mike and Norman? Love them! The whole cast was just perfect More, please!

    Reply
  83. I love this series. I wish there was a second cookbook with more of the recipes!

    Reply
  84. I love this whole series. Hannah is an amazing character that I can relate to, well at least the baker side of her. I enjoy trying her recipes too.

    Reply
  85. I’m looking forward to reading the book!

    Reply
  86. I love this series!!! Moishe is a love and Hannah of course is wonderful!! Would love to win a copy of this book!

    Reply
  87. Love reading her books. Have read all of them so far and have read all of the Dianne Mott Davidson as well. Love series books.

    Reply
  88. Love Hanna and all her adventures! Looking forward to this one and trying a few new recipes!!! Thanks for the chance to enter the contest.

    Reply
  89. Love this series! Have been reading since the beginning and watch for new books all the time!Love all the recipes that are included

    Reply
  90. What a wonderful Christmas gift this would be!!! ???

    Reply
  91. Love this series. I had this book but lost it in a tornado in 2013 along with some other books I had in storage at the time. The tornado decided it needed to be eaten. I just haven’t replaced the books I had lost.
    I would love to have another copy.
    Thank you for writing a fantastic series.

    Reply
  92. I am so in love with everything you do. I cant wait to get get another book of yours to read. Thank you for always bringing me up when im down.

    Reply
  93. I have really loved this series and just purchased this new cupcake book. Will start reading it today! Thanks for sharing your talent in writing books for us to enjoy!

    Reply
  94. I love these books and miss the movies on Hallmark.

    Reply
  95. So excited to read another Joanne Fluke, she is definitely on my shortlist of favorite authors!

    Reply
  96. I would love the opportunity to read this one.

    Reply
  97. So excited to read this one

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  98. Absolutely love all of the Hannah Swenson/murder she bakes series. The books are absolutely amazing! Thanks for this opportunity! marykmcdaniel31@icloud.com

    Reply
  99. I would love to win a copy of this book! The Hannah Swensen series is one of my favorite things to read!

    Reply
  100. Ooooh, pick MEeeeeee! I snatch up every one of Joanne Flukes books ! Always a wonderful read. I am making many of the recipes too. Looove it !,

    Reply
  101. This series makes me so happy. The recipes are always killer and Hannah is so much fun to read about.

    Reply
  102. This is one of my favorite series! I haven’t had a chance to get this one yet, and I can’t wait to find out what happens.

    Reply
  103. Can’t wait to read this book-with fresh baked cookies and a yard full of snow!

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  104. i lovve this series its the one that will actually get me to sit down and read a book!:)

    Reply
  105. Can’t wait for this book and the next!

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  106. Love this series!

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  107. This is my favorite series of cozy mysteries. I love all of the characters and count them as old friends.

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  108. My favorite series! Plus the recipes are perfect for a cold, snow day or holiday get together!

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  109. I can’t wait until this comes out!!!

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  110. Have read all your books and I loved them. Tried a few of the recipes. Need to come out with a new cookbook.

    Reply
  111. I love the series…I literally LOL every time!

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  112. I just love Joanne Fluke books! I would gladly give this one a happy home.
    I hope everyone has a very Happy Thanksgiving.

    Reply
  113. I love the Hannah Swenson series and can’t wait until I get the next book. I look forward to the story as well as the recipes. In this story, I love the ending!!!!!

    Reply
  114. Love this series! Thanks for offering the giveaway!

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  115. Love all your books! They are my cozy wintertime go to, when I need some ME time! ??

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  116. I love this series I love your books can’t wait to read this one!!

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  117. Sounds great! I love this series.

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  118. This book series is so much fun!
    It’s a wonderful read to melt the troubles of the world away for a bit.
    Thank you.

    Reply
  119. I love this series and the wonderful recipes!

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  120. I really enjoy the books and the Hallmark movie versions as well. Hope there are more in the works for both!

    Reply
  121. Christmas Coconut Crunch Cookies sound fabulous. I have made several of Joanne’s recipes and they always taste delicious. Thank you for the book give away!

    Reply
  122. I so enjoy reading this series!!!

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  123. Love the series. I read them then pass on to sister. Already read the book and look forward to further adventures with Hannah! Love the movies too.

    Reply
  124. I absolutely love reading these books. I would love to win a copy of Christmas Cupcake Murder. I have the next book on pretty order already.

    Reply
  125. sweet love the books and recipes

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  126. Love the books! And adore Allison Sweeney as Hannah in the movies <3

    Reply
  127. Thank you for the recipe, it sounds yummy! I would love to win this book. Thank you for the chance. Please stay safe and healthy. I wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving.
    madamhawk at gmail dot com

    Reply
  128. I love your books and coconut, so I am going to try this cookies.

    Reply
  129. I love this series and have all the books except this one. My Barnes & Noble closed without explanation and I have been unable to find it around where I live. I don’t shop online, so winning a copy would be heavenly!

    Reply
  130. This is one of my favorite series. So hard to wait for the next book to come out. Thank you Joanne Fluke for interesting and intriguing books to read!

    Reply
  131. I love your books! Always keeps me guessing!!

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  132. I can’t wait to read this! Your books are always a great break from the craziness of the world.

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  133. I love your books and would love to share my love with a friend. I’ve read all of Hannah’s stories.

    Reply
  134. I love this series and so does my husband. When we make cookies he always asks “are your hands immaculately clean?” We have the Lake Eden cookbook and it is heavily used. I’ll print this free recipe and tuck it in the book. Thank you so much!

    Reply
  135. love the Hannah Swensen books have read them all and some of the cookie recipes have made my yearly Christmas cookie list

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  136. I absolutely love this series. I feel like Hannah is a friend who keeps me entertained.

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  137. Can’t wait to read this one – I am a HUGE Hannah fan!

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  138. Have read them all and would love to win a copy for my mother.

    Reply
  139. I can’t wait to read this book and try this recipe! I love all of them!

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  140. The Hannah Swenson series is one of my top series of books that I so look forward to reading & rereading. The mystery, humor and the awesome recipes make this an all time winner for me. Thanks!

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  141. I love all your books as they are absolutely wonderful!

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  142. Lake Eden is one of my favorite places to escape to in a book and just love trying the recipes!

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  143. I love this series and the cookie recipe is perfect for gift giving since it makes so many cookies.

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  144. I am looking forward to reading this next installment in the Hannah Swenson series. If I win, I’ll read it and then send it to my mom, as she also is a fan of this series.

    Reply
  145. I love your books they are truly wonderful. I can read some in a couple of days. I enjoy the character Hannah & her cat. Even the Mike the detective he is good looking. Hannah should decide who she wants to Merry.

    Reply
  146. I have also made the Blueberry Muffins as a Blueberry Coffee cake and it tasty.

    Reply
  147. We have a winner!

    Reply

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