When I told some of my friends I was going to write a cookbook . . . they laughed.

Now hold on, I am a mighty fine baker. I just haven’t been as interested in cooking as I have baking. Baking is fun. It gives me zen moments. I love it. Cooking . . . not as much fun — especially if you’re STARVING.

The project started out as a way to put all my great aunt Lizzie’s recipes in one place. She brought me up and we often baked together. She’d been a cook in a pub in Scotland before she came to this country some twenty years before I was born. When my parents were killed, I had only one living relative: Aunt Lizzie, a woman already in her sixties.

Still, we managed not to kill each other that first week. And then she baked scones. That was it. I was hooked.

As I began to work on the project, vendors at Artisans Alley, the fine arts and crafts arcade I own and manage, wanted to help by adding their own recipes. And then the members of the Victoria Square Merchants Association wanted to get in on the act, too, and . . . well, it’s now finished.

Each recipe has a little story connected with it, either from me or the person who donated it. I learned a lot about my neighbors and vendors and I hope you enjoy becoming friends with them just as much as I did.

Of course, since baking is my favorite thing to do, the desserts and tea time sections are my favorite. And just to tease you, I’ll give you a sample recipe for my Aunt Lizzie’s cream scones.

2 cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
4 tablespoons butter
1 egg and 1 egg yoke well beaten
1/3 light cream
1 egg white, slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 450F. Sift flour once. Measure, add baking powder, salt, and sugar, and sift again. Cut in butter. Add egg and cream all at once and stir carefully until all flour is dampened. Then stir vigorously until mixture forms a soft dough. Turn out on slightly floured board and knead 30 seconds. Roll ½ inch thick and cut in triangles. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Brush tops lightly with egg white, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 12 to 15 minutes.
Yield: 12 scones.
You can find more recipes created by Katie and her friends in RECIPES TO DIE FOR: A VICTORIA SQUARE COOKBOOK.

Lorraine Bartlett writes the Victoria Square Mysteries, the first of which, A Crafty Killing, is now available. She also writes the Booktown Mysteries as Lorna Barrett, and the Jeff Resnick Mysteries as L.L. Bartlett. Please visit her web site: www.LorraineBartlett.com and her blog www.LLBartlett.typepad.com.

The cookbook is available at online booksellers.

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