Posts made in February, 2020

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!
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Book Blog: The Body Under the Piano (Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen #1) by Marthe Jocelyn

Posted by on Feb 7, 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.

body under the piano

The Body Under the Piano (Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen #1) by Marthe Jocelyn
out now; Indiebound, B&N, and Amazon

I received an advance copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley.

I need a time machine so I can go back to 1990 to hand my 10-year-old self this book. Almost-40-year-old me ADORED this novel, and I know my 10-year-old self would love it even more. Why? Because the book is smart, savvy historical fiction with an honest depiction of the era, and a heroine with a morbid bent that reminds me lot of myself–though Aggie is actually inspired by the childhood of the Queen of Mystery Writers herself, Agatha Christie.

Aggie is a young girl in 1902, growing up in a small British coastal town. She has a wild imagination and a taste for the macabre, and she can’t help but get involved when her music teacher’s cruel mother is found dead–dead of poison! Aggie and her friend Hector set out to investigate. Their methods are smart, but they also cause a lot of problems along the way, especially when a meddlesome local reporter gets tangled up in everything.

The characters are fantastic and fun, just as you expect in a cozy British mystery village; plus, they have fun portraits at the front of the book. One of the things I loved most was the honest depiction of the past. It was not sugar-coated. The book deftly addresses bigotry (Hector is a “foreigner,” a Belgian refugee inspired by Hercule Poirot), sexism (girls can’t/shouldn’t do many things), and the complications that arise in this period from a child born out of wedlock. The book feels quite cozy with its fun mystery and whimsical characters, but also grounded in realism because of how these other issues are handled. The balance is so well done.

I highly recommend this book for kids and their parents. If the child isn’t already into classic whodunits, this novel could very well be what kicks off a life-long love of the genre.

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Bready or Not: Sable Breton (French Shortbread)

Posted by on Feb 5, 2020 in Blog, Bready or Not, cookies, French | 0 comments

Last month I shared my recipe for Almond Sable. This time I present another French (from Brittany, to be specific) take on shortbread: Sable Breton!

Bready or Not: Sable Breton (French Shortbread)

These cookies are much more straightforward than the previous recipe. The ingredients are shortbread basics: butter, sugar, flour.

Bready or Not: Sable Breton (French Shortbread)

What sets this apart is, foremost, that it is not as sweet as its counterparts across the channel.

Bready or Not: Sable Breton (French Shortbread)

I also recommend that you use a kitchen scale to get that European-style precision–along with actual French butter. President-brand is expensive but widely available, even where I am in Arizona.

Bready or Not: Sable Breton (French Shortbread)

These cookies are downright pretty, too, with a crosshatched pattern and an egg yolk wash. They are perfect alongside a cup of coffee or tea!

Bready or Not: Sable Breton (French Shortbread)

Modified from the original at Mon Petit Four.

Bready or Not: Sable Breton (French Shortbread)

Bready or Not: Sable Breton (French Shortbread)

This French version of shortbread cookies is gorgeous to behold, and delicious to eat. Measurements are provided in grams as well as standard American measurements; a food scale is helpful here for precise measurements. Use salted French-import President butter, if possible; one stick is 198 grams, meaning a smidgen more of another butter will provide the perfect amount--plus, the end taste will be more like the French original! If making with unsalted butter, add 1/2 teaspoon salt to compensate. Recipe makes about 22 cookies.
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: French
Keyword: cookies, french
Author: Beth Cato

Equipment

  • parchment paper
  • small cookie cutter
  • food scale

Ingredients

  • 200 grams salted butter 1/2 cup plus 5 Tablespoons, President butter recommended
  • 120 grams white sugar 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon
  • 3 egg yolks divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 280 grams all-purpose flour 2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons, plus more if needed to dust work surface

Instructions

  • Preheat oven at 375-degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or use a silicone mat.
  • Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add two egg yolks and vanilla extract. Add flour until just incorporated.
  • Lightly flour work surface and hands. Using rolling pin or hands, press dough to about 1/4-inch thickness.
  • Use a small round cookie cutter on dough. Transfer rounds to cookie sheet, spaced out a bit. Use a fork to scratch a crosshatch pattern in the top, like a hashtag with more lines.
  • Beat remaining egg yolk in a small bowl. Brush tops of cookies with yolk.
  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until cookies are a consistent golden color. Transfer to a rack to completely cool.
  • Store in a sealed container.
  • OM NOM NOM!
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