My favorite thing about the Hannah series is the PG rating. It's hard to find modern books that don't contain bad language, way too much sex, and graphic violence. Obviously murder mysteries contain some violence, but Fluke keeps it subtle and far from graphic. And Hannah manages to string along two beaus without doing more than doling out a few good-night kisses.
My next favorite thing about Fluke's books, a very close second, are the delicious recipes packed into every installment of Hannah's sluething career. I have tried one or two recipes from each book and I'd say there has been a 90% success rate for me. Obviously there are a lot of cookie recipes, but plenty of other sweets and a sprinkling of old-fashioned Minnesota potluck recipes. The latest book, Carrot Cake Murder had over twenty recipes and I have already tried three of them, even before my copy is due back to the library. The Viking Cookies were delicious, a new twist on a chocolate chip cookie with some different spices and white chocolate chips. They were a bit sweet for me (gasp! I know) so I would just use a bit less sugar and chips next time. A keeper though. Then there are the Cocoa Fudge Cake and the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake. I had to throw out everything I knew about cake making and just follow the recipe. Despite the odd mixing instructions, everything turned out divine, or probably because of the different ordering of ingredients. The Fudge Cake especially was very moist and dense, leaning more towards brownies, but definitely still a cake. I'm trying the Scandinavian Almond Cake next and actually have a savory dish of Salmon Cakes on my menu for next week. And there's still the title recipe for Carrot Cake. I think I've been through three pounds of butter already.
I would love to reproduce a recipe here but I imagine it would violate copyright violations. Check out Joanne's website, Murder She Baked, for a featured monthly recipe. Clever title for the site! Or even better, pick up a copy of a Hannah Swensen book and try out seven or eight of the dishes - you won't be disappointed!
Check out this post for the Cocoa Fudge Cake recipe and a giveaway of two Hannah Swensen books!