Chocolate and Creativity by Kate Moore

A lot goes into a novel—inspiration, daydreaming, research, problem-solving, and chocolate. Unlike the old hard-boiled male writers of the American novel, known for their drinking habits, as if the scotch or whiskey were necessary to the creative process, when I encounter a stuck place in a book, my go-to substance is chocolate. Hero and heroine not cooperating? Plot crumbling? It’s time for cookie dough! Not your garden-variety cookie dough, and no raw eggs, but a special blend of sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract, instant coffee, flour, and dark, dark chocolate chips. In a bowl on my desk, the special dough gets the writing process back on track. Maybe, it’s the anti-oxidants in the chocolate! Sadly, I can’t share the recipe with you, as it was my mother’s, and my sisters and I are sworn to secrecy. However, English desserts are another source of inspiration for my British Isles set stories, and my favorite is Sticky Toffee Pudding.

Here’s a link:

Here’s my version:


¼ C unsalted butter, softened
6 ounces  (1 C lightly packed) pitted dates, coarsely chopped (Medjools)
1 tsp baking soda
¾ C plus 2 tbsps fine golden sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla
2 large eggs
1 and ¼ C self-rising flour sifted


½ C packed light brown sugar
¼ C honey
½ C unsalted butter
¼ C heavy cream

To make CAKE: Heat oven to 350. Butter an 11×7-inch nonstick pan at least 1 inch deep. Line with buttered parchment and butter sides.

Put dates in a small saucepan with 1 C water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until softened about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in baking soda and set aside. (You get quite a chemical reaction; it’s normal.)

Combine butter and sugar and mix about 4 minutes until light in color. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well. With spoon, stir in flour and then date mixture for a sloppy batter. Pour into pan and bake until risen, deep golden brown, and firm to touch but still springy (35-40 min).

To make SAUCE: Put sugar, honey, and butter in small saucepan and heat gently until sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer and cook until thick and bubbly about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in cream, let it bubble down, and remove from heat.

Remove cake from oven; let rest 5 minutes; turn out onto cutting board. Cut warm cake into slices or squares, drench with sauce, and add ice cream for total decadence.

“A writer to treasure.” —Sabrina Jeffries, New York Times bestselling author

Beauty, wit, and charm may catch a gentleman’s eye, but nothing attracts suitors quite like property . . . as beloved, award-winning author Kate Moore reveals in this delightful Regency romp. For an innkeeper’s daughter new to the dance, a discreet volume of courtship wisdom may help discern the intentions of a mysterious newcomer.

Lucy Holbrook has recently inherited her father’s south London inn, the place she’s always called home. Now her fashionable friends, arming her with The Husband Hunter’s Guide to London, are urging her to sell the establishment and become a society lady, just as her father always hoped. Lucy would rather toss the little book into the hearth—she could never desert the alehouse or its patrons, including an elderly blind man who depends on her care. But she may need every bit of good advice when a handsome stranger arrives with a secret agenda and a baffling crime to solve . . . and Lucy finds herself navigating a most dangerous attraction!

Praise for Kate Moore’s previous novels:

“Moore writes with a lyrical beauty that will leave no heart untouched.” –RT Book Reviews

“Fans will hope for more of Moore’s sinful delights to come.” –Library Journal (starred review)

“Moore skillfully whets readers’ appetites . . .” –Booklist