We’re so pleased to welcome author Bru Baker to TNA today to share a recipe and chat a bit about her newest novel Tall, Dark, and Deported, a part of DSP’s Dreamspun Desires line.
Hi, everyone. I’m Bru Baker, and I’m here on The Novel Approach today to promote my latest release, Tall, Dark, and Deported, which is book #31 in the Dreamspun Desires series. It’s a fluffy romance, which won’t be a surprise to anyone–and today, I’ll be talking about food, which if you know me won’t surprise you, either.
Almost all my books feature food in some way, even if it’s just characters cooking and eating together. Food is important in all my own relationships, so it’s part of my frame of reference for intimacy. And in Tall, Dark, and Deported, the first time Mateus and Crawford meet it’s in an airport over an Auntie Anne’s pretzel. If you’ve never had one, you’re missing out.
That’s exactly what Crawford tells Mateus when he realizes Mateus has never had a hot pretzel before. Mateus finds the entire thing pretty disgusting, from the glistening butter to the over-sized salt, but the sounds Crawford makes as he eats one convince him that he needs a taste–especially because Crawford seems willing to hand feed a bite to him.
Keep in mind that they literally just met a few minutes before, though Mateus had been creeping on Crawford (aka The Handsome Businessman in Mateus’s thoughts as he observed him) as a source of entertainment while they waited for their flight at the Seattle airport.
For me, the airport has always felt like a place that exists outside of regular time. Between the crowds and the constant blaring of the PA speakers, harried travelers always seem to be seeking out comfort–through comfort food, coffee that somehow costs twice as much as usual, or trying to relax by chatting with strangers. Or in Mateus and Crawford’s case, using comfort food to flirt with strangers.
I’ll be reading an excerpt of their initial meeting (and subsequent pretzel flirting) on April 4 over on Love Bytes. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with my copycat Auntie Anne’s pretzel recipe in case you have anyone in your life you’d like to hit on via baked good. *grin*
(Almost Like) Auntie Anne’s Pretzels
1 cup warm water
1-½ teaspoon dry active yeast
3 cups flour (bread flour or all purpose)
¼ teaspoon of kosher salt
2 tablespoons of white sugar
1 tablespoon of honey
Kosher salt or pretzel salt for sprinkling on formed dough
Oil or cooking spray
(Optional) melted butter
For the pretzel bath:
Large pot filled with water
½ cup baking soda
Combine the warm water and the yeast and let it proof for a few minutes, either in a medium-sized bowl if mixing by hand or in the bowl of the stand mixer if you’re using that. (Alternatively, you can toss all these ingredients into a bread machine on the dough setting.) Stir to dissolve the yeast, then add in the flour, sugar, honey, and the ¼ teaspoon pinch of kosher salt. Mix until a dough forms, then turn out onto a floured surface to knead for 5 to 7 minutes or until it can hold its shape as a ball. Coat a large bowl with cooking spray or oil, then place the ball into it and cover lightly, letting it rise until doubled in size (about an hour).
After dough has risen, put the pot of water on the stove and add the baking soda. Heat until it comes to a simmer. Preheat the oven to 425 F and get ready for the baking soda bath by laying out waxed paper (to put the formed dough on) and some kitchen towels (to drain the pretzels after their bath).
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it lightly until it forms a ball again. Using a knife or a board scraper, divide your dough into even pieces. Eight pieces will give you fairly decently sized pretzels. Set seven of the dough balls aside and roll one into a snake-like shape. The longer the snake, the thinner and larger your pretzel will be. Form the pretzels on the wax paper. Lay the dough out in a U shape, then twist the ends together twice (pictured). Bring the ends down and tuck them on top of the bottom of the U. If you’d rather make pretzel bites, just use your knife or board scraper to cut the rope of dough into bite-sized pieces.
Most recipes call for another short rise here, but Auntie Anne’s pretzels are not puffy, so if you want a pretzel true to that style, they can immediately go into the baking soda bath. Use a slotted spoon to gently place a pretzel or two at a time into the simmering water. Make sure it’s immersed, flipping it once. The pretzel should only stay in the bath 20 seconds before it’s removed and placed on the towels to dry.
Once all your pretzels have been dipped in the water, coat two cookie sheets with spray or oil and transfer the wet pretzels to it, leaving space for them to expand. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt or pretzel salt (do NOT use table salt) and put them in the oven for six to ten minutes, checking often after the first five minutes to make sure they don’t burn.
The pretzels are tastiest right out of the oven. You can either eat them as-is or give them a dunk in melted butter to coat them. Enjoy!
About Tall, Dark, and Deported
Title: Tall, Dark, and Deported
Author: Bru Baker
Release date: April 1, 2017
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 236 pages
Tags: Gay; M/M; Dreamspun Desires
Blurb: Crossing the border into love.
Snap decisions and misguided ideas bring Portuguese national Mateus Fontes and businessman Crawford Hargrave together at the Canadian border crossing.
Mateus is caught in a catch-22. With his almost-expired tourist visa, entrance to Canada is denied, but the US won’t let him back in either. Crawford thinks he’s solved things when he tells the border agent they’re engaged, and it works—except now they have to actually get married before either of them can get back into the United States. But Crawford has been burned by marriage once, and he’s determined not to make that mistake again.
Neither of them expects real feelings to bloom out of their fake marriage, but they do. And the two of them have to learn how to be honest with each other to make things work, which is especially hard when their entire marriage is based on lies.
About the Author
Bru Baker spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now balances her time between writing and working at a Midwestern library in the reference department. Most evenings you can find her curled up with a mug of tea, some fuzzy socks, and a book or her laptop. Whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s, there’s no denying that Bru is happiest when she’s engrossed in a story. She and her husband have two children, which means a lot of her books get written from the sidelines of various sports practices.