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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Book Cooks: Jungle Crossing Chill from Sydney Salter

I've been lucky enough to meet sassy and sweet Sydney Salter, author of MY BIG NOSE AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS. So it doesn't surprise me one bit that her recipe, inspired by her latest novel JUNGLE CROSSING (now available!) would have a lot of sweetness and a pinch of fire. (Plus I am a big fan of spicy chocolate...)

Sydney shares her inspiration, a chili pepper dessert contest....and a TV appearance!


I never thought about creating an official recipe for Jungle Crossing—until I found out that a Mexican restaurant chain was hosting a chili pepper dessert contest. The grand prize was having your dessert on the menu in September (my book’s release date!). I didn’t exactly have any chili-related desserts, but I do like to cook with chocolate. I adapted a recipe, figuring it was a long shot, but would be a great way to promote a book set in Mexico.

A few weeks later I was shocked to receive a phone call telling me that I’d made the finals in the dessert contest. And then I found out that I would be cooking my recipe live on FOX 13 news. Yikes! I’m not much of a camera person—my first novel is called My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters for a reason! But I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

I tried not to think about the huge camera, all those bright lights, or my lacking makeup skills as I fake measured my ingredients to “look busy” and joked around with the chef. And I had fun—it helped that my 9 and 13-year-old daughters sat in the audience making faces at me.

I didn’t win the grand prize, but I got to talk about Jungle Crossing on TV and place a copy of the book next to my finished dessert. What a camera-shy author will do for book promotion!

Jungle Crossing Chill


8 oz semi-sweet chocolate
8 oz bittersweet chocolate
6 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon of chipotle chile powder
2 cups of whipping cream

Whipped cream
Chocolate shavings
Cinnamon-sugar tortilla chip (if you want to go all Martha Stewart)


1. Melt the semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate. Set aside to cool.
2. Beat eggs until thick. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, ancho chile powder, and chipotle chile powder.
3. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until thickened (but not stiff). Stir in eggs. Beat slightly.
4. Add cool, melted chocolate to mixture. Stir thoroughly.
5. Pour into molds or ramekins. Freeze.
6. Take dessert out of the freezer a few minutes before serving. Garnish with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and a cinnamon-sugar tortilla chip.

Serves 8-12, depending upon ramekin/mold size


And here's Sydney making Jungle Crossing Chill on Fox 13 News!


  1. Thanks so much for hosting me, Holly!

  2. You're welcome, Sydney! That's so cool that you got on TV because of a recipe inspired by your book. Finally, kidlit getting the recognition it deserves! (oh, and I can't wait to try the recipe.)