Alison Sweeney is Sifting, Stirring and Sleuthing in “Murder, She Baked: A Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery”

Alison Sweeney
Credit: Katie Yu

The newest (and dare we say tastiest) addition to the stable of mystery movies at Hallmark Movies & Mysteries will get your mouth watering for a delicious whodunit filled with suspense, intrigue and tantalizing treats. From the pen and whisk of Joanne Fluke, best-selling author of the Hannah Swensen book series, comes Murder, She Baked: A Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery.

Alison Sweeney stars as Hannah, the proprietor of the Cookie Jar, which is known as the source of her sleepy Minnesota town’s freshest cookies and coffee, and the hottest gossip. Hannah and her shop might even be considered the town’s egg — the binder that holds everything and everyone together. But when Hannah’s friend — a local delivery driver — is found dead behind the bakeshop, Hannah is pulled into the mystery when she’s recruited to help chase down the killer. The arrival of a handsome Minneapolis detective (Cameron Mathison) gets a rise out of the intuitive woman as her inquisitive nature turns her from baker to sleuth. “She isn’t quite satisfied by the way that the big-city detective is handling this case,” explains Sweeney, “and she’s going to do something about it.”

Alison Sweeney
Sweeney rediscovered a love of baking while whipping up tasty treats for the film. Credit: Bettina Strauss

Starring in a film about cookies seems like a dream come true, and Sweeney says she most enjoyed scenes where she got to make the tasty treats. “We did a bunch of montage baking scenes and there was one where I’m rolling out the dough and shaping the cookies into crescents to make Italian wedding cookies, and that was really fun,” she shares. “I really came away with an appreciation for each cookie’s differences and the idea that each cookie tells a story.”

For the actress, stepping into the role of a master baker has reinvigorated her love of the culinary arts. “I found myself baking more and looking at it from her perspective and how she enjoys the process of it and the whole beauty of it,” she reveals. Sweeney also mentions a favorite line from the film that explains her character’s philosophy of people — and food. “I don’t believe the person chooses the cookie; I believe the cookie chooses the person.”

Sweeney grew up watching TV mysteries and shares, “My mom was such a big fan and I grew up watching Perry Mason and Matlock and Murder, She Wrote and Columbo, and it is nice to bring to life my own mystery series.” She adds, “My mom is going to love these movies!”

And not only are you going to love the film, you’re going to drool for the delicious baked treats featured in it. Fluke’s books are packed with tasty recipes, and the author shared her recipe for the chocolate chip crunch cookies inspired this book…

Alison Sweeney
image courtesy NutmegNanny

Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies
1 cup butter (2 sticks melted)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 beaten eggs
2 1/2 cups flour (not sifted)
2 cups crushed corn flakes (just crush them with your hands)
1-2 cups chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place rack in the middle position.

Melt butter, add the sugars and stir. Add soda, salt, vanilla and beaten eggs. Mix well. Then add flour and stir it in. Add crushed corn flakes and chocolate chips and mix it all thoroughly.

Form dough into walnut-sized balls with your fingers and place on a greased cookie sheet, 12 to a standard sheet. Press down slightly with a floured or greased spatula.

Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then remove to a wire rack until they’re completely cool. (The rack is important — it makes them crisp.)

Yield: 6 to 8 dozen, depending on cookie size.

Hannah’s Note: If these cookies spread out too much in the oven, reduce temperature to 350 degrees and do not flatten before baking.

Source: Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke

Murder, She Baked: A Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery > Hallmark Movies & Mysteries > May 2

Bonus: While we were chatting, Alison hinted that she had something big in the works with Hallmark Channel. I’m pleased to share the news that Alison is currently shooting a new original film for Hallmark Channel titled Radio Hype. Sweeney stars as a radio host who moves to Chicago for her boyfriend and a new hosting gig. But when the relationship suffers a quick demise, she shares her troubles with a fellow colleague, (played by Raising the Bar’s Jonathan Scarfe), not realizing he is a competing shock jock. “She ends up doing a program with her nemesis and it’s like a he said/she said radio show, and the banter is really clever,” says Sweeney, hinting that the rivals learn they have more in common than their radio personas reveal. And not only is Allison starring in the movie — which is slated to premiere in the fall, she’s the flick’s executive producer! “It’s a fun premise and I’ve had so much fun bringing it to life,” she revealed

All images © 2014 Crown Media United States, LLC