Novel Recipes

Kitty’s Mantecadas

Here is Kitty’s recipe for Lucy’s favorite cookie in Ruby Among Us. My real-life friends Kim, Kathie, and Lynn used this recipe to make dozens of Mantecadas for my launch party. Make them for your book club or just to enjoy. (The picture is of the actual mantecadas at my launch party. They tell me they used Almond Extract instead of the Anise flavored liquere)

Copyright by Tina Ann Forkner for the Laramie County Library Foundation Book Release Party for Ruby Among Us.

Makes Four dozen (about)

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more to sprinkle after baking
Pinch of salt
¾ cup chilled, good quality lard or unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (May also use ½ cup butter and ¼ cup lard)
2/3 cup toasted almonds, ground
1 teaspoon Almond Extract OR 2 Tablespoons anise-flavored liqueur

1. Combine flour, 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, and salt in food processor. Add lard or butter and pulse until the pastry resembles coarse crumbs. Blend in almonds, add liqueur, and process for several pulses more until dough just begins to come together. It should not form into a ball.

2. Place mixture in large bowl; press into ball. (If pastry is still too crumbly to stick together, wait a few minutes until the butter softens a little.) Cover ball with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1½ hours.

3. Line two cookie sheets with parchment. Break off walnut-size pieces of dough; briefly roll dough piece between palms to form 3-inch ropes. Bend ropes into crescent shapes and place on cookie sheets. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

5. Place cookie sheets in middle of oven and bake until crescents are light, golden (12-15 minutes).

6. Cool on wire rack.

To serve, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

Store in airtight container in cool place for up to one week.

These cookies were made by friends from the Laramie County Library Foundation who sponsored the book launch for Ruby Among Us, a novel by Tina Ann Forkner. The photo belongs to the author and the Library’s foundation. Please credit the author and the novel if you share this recipe. Thank you!

Tina’s Easy Strawberry-Lemon JELL-O Cake

Joy Talley, in Waking Up Joy, is famous for her strawberry-lemon cake and people in the book want to get the secret recipe. As the author, I like to make the easy version that my Mom made when I was a little girl. You won’t believe how simple it is. Joy’s friends could have just made this one and it would have tasted almost as dreamy.


One Prepared 13x9x2 inch Lemon Cake (From a mix, of course or it wouldn’t be easy.)
One Unprepared 3 oz. Pkg Strawberry JELL-O
1 Cup boiling water
½ Cup cold water
2 Prepared Pkg Dream Whip topping. (It has to be Dream Whip. Be careful not to let the berries “bleed” onto the dream whip. That’s why you prepare both packages. The thicker the cloud the better.)
2 pkg sliced fresh strawberries
1 thinly sliced lemon

Let prepared lemon cake cool
Dissolve JELL-O mix in the boiling water. Mix in the cold water. Set aside.
Use the end of a fork to poke holes evenly (or randomly) in the cake.
Ladle the JELL-O liquid over the cake evenly ensuring all holes have been filled.
Place cake in fridge for one hour. (Or hurry it up by putting it in the freezer.)
Lay 1 pkg of the sliced berries on top of the cake.
Prepare Dream Whip. Spread it on the cake until it looks like a fluffy cloud.
Add the rest of the strawberries to the top of the cake.
Refrigerate for another 2 to 3 hours. (Or hurry it up by… you guessed it…the freezer.)
When you slice it, the pretty yellow cake should have pink stripes. Serve it on a pretty paper plate and garnish with one of the thin lemon slices.

Alice J. Wisler also shared my recipe over at her blog here: Cooking with Author Tina Ann Forkner

Cheri’s Kentucky Derby Chocolate chip Pie

My sister Cheri has always been one of the biggest supporters of my writing, even getting involved in the publishing process at times. She gave me this recipe years ago when I needed something special for an Easter dinner. It was a special event because I ended up marrying my date, Albert! I’ve been making it for years now and it’s always a hit. 


1/2 C Flour

1 C Sugar

1 C Pecan Nuts (chopped just a little)

1 C Semi-sweet Chocolate chips 

2 Eggs (slightly beaten)

1 Stick Butter (melted and cooled – must be completely cooled or it will melt the chocolate chips)

1 tsp Vanilla

1 Pie Crust

Prepare pie crust (do not bake). Combine sugar and flour. Add melted, cooled butter to the chocolate chip pie ingredients, as well as eggs and vanilla to flour mixture. Mix until well-blended and smooth. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips. Spread the chocolate chip pie ingredients in unbaked pie shell. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Cool over night (does not need refrigeration). Best served the next day. Serve warm if you like. This is great with a good scoop of vanilla ice cream, or try chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream on the side!

My family and friends love this  pie. I hope yours do too.


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