Posts made in February, 2020

New story at Daily Science Fiction: “The Best Horses Are Found in the Sea…”

Posted by on Feb 27, 2020 in anthology:story, Blog | 0 comments

“The Best Horses Are Found in the Sea, and Other Horse Tales to Emerge Since the Rise” might be my longest story title ever, and it’s the title of my latest story at Daily Science Fiction. It’s a thousand-word look at a far-future California where horses are the stuff of mythology.

#SFWAPro

Read More

Bready or Not Original: Chocolate Chip Espresso Shortbread

Posted by on Feb 26, 2020 in Blog, Bready or Not, chocolate, cookies | 0 comments

Basic Scottish shortbread is one of the awesomest things in the world. It’s also a blank canvas for variations beyond count. Chocolate chips and a jolt of espresso add extra oomph to this new spin!

Bready or Not Original: Chocolate Chip Espresso Shortbread

Pride O’ Scotland Shortbread was one of the first recipes I considered ‘mine’ as a teenager. It became the one thing I made each year for our family’s Thanksgiving potluck.

Bready or Not Original: Chocolate Chip Espresso Shortbread

Appropriately, it’s also something I made for my husband the very first day I met him when I was 18. (Yes, he was an almost total stranger. Yes, I welcomed him with shortbread. Because that’s what I do.)

Bready or Not Original: Chocolate Chip Espresso Shortbread

I considered the recipe sacrosanct the past two decades… and then I got an idea. Chocolate. Espresso powder. It had to be good, right? Or would it be a crumbly mess?

Bready or Not Original: Chocolate Chip Espresso Shortbread

Yes indeed, it turned out to be delicious. No, it remained as cohesive as ever. Yay!

Bready or Not Original: Chocolate Chip Espresso Shortbread

Espresso powder is fantastic along with chocolate; I include it in most every brownie recipe. The coffee flavor doesn’t come in strong (I actually hate coffee), but it make the chocolate taste bolder and more nuanced.

Bready or Not Original: Chocolate Chip Espresso Shortbread

Bready or Not Original: Chocolate Chip Espresso Shortbread

My original Pride O' Scotland Shortbread, now with additional caffeine! Espresso powder and mini chocolate chips add extra oomph to buttery, tender triangles of shortbread.
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Scottish
Keyword: chocolate, coffee, cookies, shortbread
Servings: 16 pieces
Author: Beth Cato

Equipment

  • two basic 9-inch pie plates

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened, 2 sticks
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Place flour, sugar, espresso powder, and salt in mixing bowl; add butter, egg yolk, and vanilla. Mix with fingers until dough holds together, then fold in the mini chocolate chips. Once chips are distributed, divide dough into two balls and press each ball into a pan. Flatten evenly with palms and prick surface all over with floured fork. Slash into wedges.
  • Bake for 17 to 22 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Remove from oven. Immediately cut again following slash marks and carefully run the blade around the edge of the crust to loosen the shortbread.
  • Let shortbread cool. Cut again along slash marks and the crust, then remove wedges to eat. Shortbread keeps in sealed container for several days.

OM NOM NOM!

    Read More

    Book Blog: The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz

    Posted by on Feb 21, 2020 in Blog, book blog | 0 comments

    I review everything I read and post reviews on Goodreads and LibraryThing. That’s not enough. Good books are meant to be shared. Therefore, I’m spotlighting some of my favorite reads here on my site.

    dark lord clementine

    The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz
    out now; Indiebound, B&N, and Amazon

    I received a gratis copy of the ebook for award consideration.

    The Dark Lord Clementine is an incredibly witty, fun middle grade frolic in a fresh new fantasy world. I would have adored this book as a kid and enjoyed it as an adult too–and had to fight the urge to giggle aloud more than once as I read in a waiting room.

    Clementine is the only child of the Dark Lord Elithor. She’s been raised in isolation, instructed in the importance of villainy as she helps to manage their silent farm with nightmares and flaming chickens. When her father comes down with a dreadful curse, Clementine does her best to manage the estate, but as loneliness and desperation sets in, she is determined to take on the witch who cursed her father… and instead falls in with some people who might, possibly be her first friends.

    What I loved about this book was that it’s delightfully amusing and that the moral lesson of the book is always kept fun, never preachy. Clementine–and her dad–can’t be TOO evil, after all. The end of the book is packed with surprises, too. Really, it’s a fantastic read start to finish. How can I not love a book that has a spell-book-turned-into-a-chicken?

    Read More

    Bready or Not Original: Hazelnut Praline Bars

    Posted by on Feb 19, 2020 in Blog, blondies, Bready or Not, chocolate | 0 comments

    These delicious Hazelnut Praline Bars are a lot like praline candy, but it fantastic bar form.

    Bready or Not Original: Hazelnut Praline Bars

    The top of these bars caramelizes. These things are very sweet, with the nuts rendered softly crunchy. The combination of textures is just divine.

    Bready or Not Original: Hazelnut Praline Bars

    The slight drizzle of chocolate on top is the perfect accent, too. Funny how the tiniest bit of chocolate adds so much in terms of flavor.

    Bready or Not Original: Hazelnut Praline Bars

    A 6 ounce bag of hazelnuts will be the perfect amount for both the crust and nut layer, too.

    Bready or Not Original: Hazelnut Praline Bars

    Can you use other nuts? I haven’t tried it in this recipe, but why not? Praline candy traditionally uses pecans, after all. I bet using other nuts–or a combo–would be fine.

    Bready or Not Original: Hazelnut Praline Bars

    Hazelnuts are sure delicious and fun, though!

     

    Bready or Not Original: Hazelnut Praline Bars

    These very sweet, softly crunchy bars combine hazelnuts with just a touch of chocolate for a delectable treat. A 6-ounce bag of hazelnuts will give you the perfect amount.
    Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
    Cuisine: American, Southern
    Keyword: bars, chocolate, hazelnuts
    Author: Beth Cato

    Equipment

    • 13x9 pan
    • food processor
    • small saucepan

    Ingredients

    Crust

    • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
    • 1 cup brown sugar packed
    • 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened, 1 1/2 sticks
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour

    Nut Layer

    • 1 cup hazelnuts
    • 13 Tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar packed

    Topping

    • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line a 13x9-inch pan with foil and apply nonstick spray or butter.
    • Place the 1/2 cup hazelnuts in a food processor. Process until finely ground.
    • In a medium bowl, beat together the next two crust ingredients, the brown sugar and butter. Add the flour and ground hazelnuts. Press crust into pan; a piece of wax paper and a heavy glass makes it easy to form an evenly compressed layer. Bake for 10 minutes.
    • In the meantime, put the remaining hazelnuts in the food processor and give them a quick pulse, just to coarsely chop them.
    • As soon as the crust comes out, sprinkle the hazelnuts over the top. In a small saucepan, warm the butter and brown sugar to boiling at medium heat. Boil for a minute. Pour over hazelnuts.
    • Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until edges are bubbling and center is set. Cool completely.
    • In a small microwave-safe bowl, zap the chocolate in 25 second bursts, stirring well between each pass, until it can be stirred smooth. Use a fork to drizzle the chocolate over the bars.
    • Chill in fridge for 30 minutes, or until chocolate is set. Use the foil to lift contents onto a cutting board and slice into bars.
    • Store in a sealed container at room temperature or in the fridge with waxed paper or parchment between the layers.

    OM NOM NOM!

      Read More

      Bready or Not: Chocolate Cherry Bundt Cake

      Posted by on Feb 12, 2020 in Blog, Bready or Not, breakfast, bundt, cake, chocolate | 0 comments

      Chocolate and cherries team up to delicious results in this delicious Chocolate Cherry Bundt Cake!

      Bready or Not: Chocolate Cherry Bundt Cake

      I first encountered this lovely combo in the Queen Anne Cordial Cherries my parents would buy around Christmas. The combo is pretty amazing in cake form, too.

      Bready or Not: Chocolate Cherry Bundt Cake

      You use both cherries and cherry juice in this recipe. That infuses the crumb with cherry flavor, even if your bite lacks cherry chunks.

      Bready or Not: Chocolate Cherry Bundt Cake

      Chocolate is swirled throughout. Make sure you don’t swirl it too much–you want distinct layers of chocolate, not only for the flavor, but the lovely appearance.

      Bready or Not: Chocolate Cherry Bundt Cake

      This is a special kind of bundt cake, perfect for a birthday, brunch, special dessert, breakfast, and–of course–Valentine’s Day.

      Bready or Not: Chocolate Cherry Bundt Cake

      Bake up this beautiful thing and indulge. Plus, it can always be sliced up and frozen for later!

      Bready or Not: Chocolate Cherry Bundt Cake

      Chocolate and cherries team up to delicious results in this delicious Chocolate Cherry Bundt Cake! This is a special sort of bundt cake, but a very straightforward one to make.
      Cook Time1 hr
      Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
      Keyword: bundt cake, cherries, chocolate, sour cream
      Author: Beth Cato

      Equipment

      • large bundt pan

      Ingredients

      • 13 1/2 ounces maraschino cherries with juice
      • 3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
      • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
      • 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks, room temperature
      • 2 cups white sugar
      • 3 large eggs room temperature
      • 1/4 cup water
      • 2 teaspoons almond extract
      • 1 1/2 cups sour cream or plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
      • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

      Instructions

      • Drain juice from cherries into another bowl; reserve 1/2 cup of juice. Remove stems from cherries and roughly chop up the fruit. Set aside.
      • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Grease and flour a large bundt pan.
      • In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and baking soda. Set aside.
      • In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time. Pour in the cherry juice, water, and almond extract. Start adding the flour mix and the sour cream in small amounts, going back and forth until everything is just incorporated. Fold the cherries into the batter.
      • In a microwave safe dish, heat the chocolate chips in short bursts until they can be stirred smooth.
      • Spoon some cherry batter into the base of the bundt pan. Add dollops of chocolate, then more batter. Keep going back and forth until all of the batter and chocolate is in the pan. Drag a butter knife through--without touching the metal--to swirl everything together a bit more, then smooth the top.
      • Bake for about 1 hour, until an inserted knife comes out clean. Set on a rack to cool for 20 minutes, then invert the cake and remove the pan so it can completely cool.
      • Store covered at room temperature. Slices can also be frozen for later enjoyment.
      • OM NOM NOM!
      Read More