Archive for the ‘Pink I’ Category

Pink Carnation Cookery: May Madeleines!

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

In honor of the merry, merry month of May, Christine brings us… Madeleines!

With this cookie, we go back to the very beginning of the series, to The Secret History of the Pink Carnation….

And now over to Christine!

Pink 1 coverIn the Spring of 1803, Amy Balcourt, along with her cousin Jane Wooliston, and chaperone, Gwen Meadows, set sail for France, which would lead to the birth of the Pink Carnation. It’s been a long, cold winter, but spring has finally definitely arrived (or at least, at the time of this writing, I hope it has!), so we celebrate Miss Amy, the Purple Gentian, the Pink Carnation, and France with Madeleines.

The only previous experience I’ve had with Madeleines are a desperation hunger grab during a trip to Starbucks and that episode of “Friends” when Ross described Freddie Prinze Jr.’s Madeleines as “lighter than air.”

There are about a million Madeleine recipes online but I opted for one that looked simple enough, for the novice baker, and had a ton of great reviews (the only negative review said that Madeleines should not be light and airy, but rather should be dense and buttery, like the ones at Starbucks. I decided to stick with the opinions of the 100 other people who said it was a good recipe).

The recipe below is taken from

2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon zest (I substituted orange)
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup powdered sugar for decoration (the recipe says granulated sugar but I assume that’s a mistake based on every picture of Madeleines I’ve ever seen)

1. Preheat oven to 375 and grease 12-Madeleine pan.
2. Melt butter and let cool to room temperature.
3. Beat eggs, vanilla and salt together at a high speed until airy (this only took about a minute).
4. While continuing to beat, add the granulated sugar. Continuing beating until the mixture is thick and forms ribbons when the beaters are lifted. This will take about 5-10 minutes (mine looked somewhere between thin frosting and thick pancake batter).
5. Sift flour into egg mixture, 1/3 at a time, gently folding.
6. Add lemon (or orange) zest, then pour butter around the edge of the mixture. Quickly but gently, fold it in.
7. Spoon batter into the pan. The batter will mound over the tops.
8. Bake 14-17 minutes. Cakes should spring back when you gently press a finger into them.
9. Loosen the Madeleines with the tip of a knife and invert onto a wire rack to cool, with the shell-side facing up (I had greased a non-stick pan and they slid out without any effort).
10. Quickly dust the hot Madeleines with powdered sugar (I used far less than the 1/3 cup stated in the recipe).

This was actually much easier than I thought it would be, and they came out looking good. Well, the dusting could’ve been neater, but the cakes were pretty. I baked them for 15 minutes and I think they were a tad over-baked. A little too dense and crunchy along the edges (though I LOVE crunchy cookies). And absolutely delicious.

photo (35)

I consider my first foray into Madeleines close to a success, and I’m looking forward to trying some of the ones on this impressive list from Huffington Post.


Don’t those look amazing? I am thrilled to hear that these were easier than they look, because they are very popular chez moi– and those little boxes of them from the supermarket don’t tend to last long. (My spouse swears it’s the fault of Francophile gnomes.)

Thank you so much, Christine! I will definitely be trying this recipe.

Here’s the big question: lemon zest, orange zest, or plain?

Pink Carnation en Francais!

Friday, May 9th, 2014

I have very happy news! The first three books in the Pink Carnation series– The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, The Masque of the Black Tulip, and The Deception of the Emerald Ring– are being published in French in Canada!

The publisher is Ada of Quebec. As soon as I have release dates, and covers, and all that sort of thing, I’ll be sure to share here!

And on Nook….

Monday, July 29th, 2013

For those of you who are Nook readers, it’s just come to my attention that Pink I, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, is also on sale for $2.99 on Nook right now!

Here’s the sale round-up:

Pink I: currently $2.99 on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo.

The Orchid Affair: $2.99 today only on Kindle as the Amazon Daily Deal; $2.99 in hardcover at Barnes & Noble.

Happy reading!


Monday, July 29th, 2013

Excitement! For the first time ever, the e-book of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation is on sale! It’s currently only $2.99 on Amazon.

If you have friends who have been wanting to try the Pink series, let them know!

The Pink Carnation Recap: Pink I

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Let’s go all the way back to the very beginning… Pink I, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation.

Who: Amy Balcourt and Richard Selwick
Where: England and France
When: Spring, 1803
What: Amy Balcourt is determined to track down the Purple Gentian—so she can join him. Mistaken identities and deeds of derring-do ensue.
Historical Cameos: Assorted Bonapartes

Having been out for a while, Pink I has all sorts of add-ons: there are the Pink Carnation comics, designed in celebration of Pink’s 5th anniversary back in 2010, foreign editions in ten languages, and even a special sequel, the Christmas novella, Ivy & Intrigue.

Along the way, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation has had three separate covers (not counting all the foreign covers): the chick lit version that never went to press, the fine art version that you’ll see on the hardcover and trade paperback, and a more playful photo cover for the mass market.

My favorite scene? The scene where Miss Gwen goes after Bonaparte is a close second, but my favorite scene to write was what I think of as “the mob scene”: when the intrepid Purple Gentian’s extended family– and best friend– all descend on him in his Paris town house. And give him a very hard time.

What’s your favorite scene from The Secret History of the Pink Carnation?

If You Like….

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

To make up for not doing an If You Like yesterday, I am shamelessly piggybacking off Shelf Awareness, which just posted a list of novels in which Napoleon makes a cameo appearance– including our own The Garden Intrigue.

For today’s Shelf Awareness recommendations, click here. For a much longer list of Napoleonic-set novels (including Pink Carnation!), try here.

Share the Pink!

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

As part of their “sharing the love” promotion, my UK publisher is offering the e-version of the original Pink Carnation for 99p.

(Seeing that 99p price sticker brings up such fond memories of my time in London– mostly attached to large blocks of Cadbury.)

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation will be available to UK readers for 99p for the rest of the month of February from Amazon, Kobo, Apple, and Waterstone’s.

Other books in the promotion include Susanna Kearsely’s The Rose Garden, which I love love love– if you’re eligible for the promotion, snap it up now!

Tell a UK friend and share the love!

“Pure Regency delight…”

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Pink I got a shout-out in the “Great Reads” section of today’s Shelf Awareness!

Shelf Awareness calls The Secret History of the Pink Carnation “pure Regency delight”. Thank you!!

Turnip in the Ballroom

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Come visit the party at the Ballroom Blog, where Turnip has unexpectedly blundered in… much to the indignation of his hostess and Miss Gwen!

Read Pink!

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Tomorrow, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation comes out in a special Read Pink edition for the benefit of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

So, instead of our usual Monday “if you like”, I thought it might be appropriate to list our favorite pink (and Pink) items. Here are some of mine:

— pink icing sugar on petit fours;

— the Pink comics drawn by Joanne Renaud;

— pink in your cheeks on a crisp winter’s day;

— pink cupcakes on Valentine’s Day;

— BCRF’s pink ribbon– and the amazing researchers, scientists, and fundraisers who make that mean what it does.

What are your favorite pink things?