Bready or Not

Bready or Not recipe blog

Bready or Not Guest: CASSANDRA COMPLEX author Wendy Nikel with Chocolate Blueberry Cupcakes

Posted by on May 7, 2019 in Blog, blueberry, Bready or Not, chocolate, guest recipe | 0 comments

I’m happy to welcome back author Wendy Nikel for the release of the 3rd book in her time-traveling novella series with World Weaver Press. The Cassandra Complex is out TODAY. Be sure to print out her previous recipes for Continuum Coffee Cupcakes and Grandmother Paradox Cherry Cupcakes.

The third book in my Place in Time novella series, THE CASSANDRA COMPLEX, is now out into the world, which means it is once again time to make some celebration cupcakes!

My original plan was to use one of the original Harvey Girls recipes, which have been collected online by Stephen Fried in the Harvey Girls Cookbook Project. The Harvey Girls were waitresses who worked at one of the “eating houses” (and later dining cars) of Fred Harvey, a restaurant pioneer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His goal was to serve good food to people traveling west on the new railroad lines, and he was very successful in doing so, thanks in part to the thousands of women who came out west to serve his food – including the protagonist of my story, Cass.

I soon found out, though, that in trying to bake from a classic recipe like this one for Homemade Blueberry Cake, I was biting off a bit more than I could chew. Even after doing all the math to figure out how much 5 ounces of sugar is in tablespoons and how much 1 gill of milk is, my dough didn’t rise as it was supposed to, and I ended up with a sticky mess.

It was time for Plan B. I pulled out a tried-and-true cupcake recipe, made some tweaks, and created a chocolate cupcake, topped with blueberry frosting and fresh chocolate-covered blueberries for my own version of a blueberry cake.

I started by melting down some chocolate chips with a tiny bit of coconut oil. I created my garnishes by dropping a nickel-sized dot of chocolate on waxed paper, then stacking five blueberries together and sprinkling with sea salt before throwing them in the freezer. These are some of my favorite snack treats, so I made a couple extra.

After that, I started on the cupcakes, mixing the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, and baking powder) in one bowl and the wet ingredients (sugar, butter, and eggs) in another before combining them together, along with some milk. These then went in cupcake trays with a couple chocolate chips on top, and went into the oven for 16 minutes at 350 degrees.

While those were cooling, I made up my blueberry frosting. I started by blending a cup of butter until it was smooth and then alternated adding powdered sugar and blueberry pie filling until I had the consistency I wanted. I loved the color the blueberries turned the frosting – a perfect match for my new book!

Then, it was time for my favorite part: decorating! I added two kinds of sprinkles to the top.

And, for the final touch, I pulled my frozen chocolate-covered blueberries out of the oven and plopped them on top. And there you have it: a tasty treat for an afternoon of train riding, reading, or traveling through time.

 


About The Cassandra Complex:

Cass is a 22nd century university student who – like most young adults – has always believed her parents were a bit stuck in the past. But on her eighteenth birthday she learns exactly how true this is: not only are her parents time travelers, living in an era different than either was born in, but now, to ensure that history plays out as it’s supposed to, she must travel to the year 1914 to live out her adult life.

Cass isn’t the type, though, to just sit back and watch while all the tragic events she’s learned about in her history courses play out in front of her. Not when she’s the only one in the world with the foreknowledge – and determination – to change it.

 

The Cassandra Complex: Amazon Barnes & Noble | iTunes/Apple Books | World Weaver Press

 

About the author:

Wendy Nikel is a speculative fiction author with a degree in elementary education, a fondness for road trips, and a terrible habit of forgetting where she’s left her cup of tea. Her short fiction has been published by Analog, Nature: FuturesPodcastle, and elsewhere. Her time travel novella series, beginning with The Continuum, is available from World Weaver Press. For more info, visit wendynikel.com

THE CASSANDRA COMPLEX Chocolate Blueberry Cupcakes by Wendy Nikel

A chocolate cupcake with blueberry buttercream frosting, inspired by THE CASSANDRA COMPLEX by Wendy Nikel

  • Cupcakes:
  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons milk
  • Chocolate chips
  • Frosting:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons blueberry pie filling
  • Topping:
  • Blueberries
  • Melted chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift together flour, cocoa, and baking powder.

In separate bowl, blend sugar and butter.

Add eggs to sugar mixture one at a time.

Gradually add the dry mixture and milk into the sugar mixture until well blended.

Fill cupcake liners half full, add a few chocolate chips on the top, and bake for 15-17 minutes. Let cool.

Melt chocolate chips and make nickel-sized dots on waxed paper. Create a pyramid of blueberries on each dot, with 4 berries on the bottom and 1 on the top. Drizzle melted chocolate over them, sprinkle with sea salt, and freeze.

Beat butter until creamy. Alternate adding 1c powdered sugar and 2T pie filling, mixing well after each addition, until all ingredients are mixed in.

After cupcakes are cool, frost and top with frozen blueberries and sprinkles. Enjoy with a good book!

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Bready or Not Original: Caramel Apple Chip Blondies

Posted by on May 1, 2019 in apples, Blog, blondies, Bready or Not, chocolate, cookies | 0 comments

Caramel Apple Chip Blondies! This recipe is what happens for you buy a big bag of apple chips at Costco and your kid doesn’t like them.

Bready or Not Original: Caramel Apple Chip Blondies

Apple chips are pretty expensive at the grocery store, so buying them at a big membership club is a great way to get them. They are seriously delicious, crisp like potato chips but made of pure apples.

Bready or Not Original: Caramel Apple Chip Blondies

When baking with apple chips, break them into small pieces. They will soften up as they bake, taking on a raisin-like chewy texture with loads of apple flavor. Larger pieces will be even chewier, though, and get caught on the knife when slicing.

Bready or Not Original: Caramel Apple Chip Blondies

The chips are easy to break up. You can do it with your fingers or throw them into a sealed sandwich bag and smash them with a rolling pin of the bottom of a heavy glass.

Bready or Not Original: Caramel Apple Chip Blondies

In the end, these blondies are sweet and chewy with a mild but very present apple flavor throughout that’s complemented nicely by the caramel and white chocolate chips.

Bready or Not Original: Caramel Apple Chip Blondies

 

Bready or Not Original: Caramel Apple Chip Blondies

Bready or Not Original: Caramel Apple Chip Blondies

Apple chips are crisp like potato chips. For this recipe, break them small, to the size of raisins. Otherwise, larger pieces stay chewier and will be more likely to catch on the knife when the bars are sliced.

  • 2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 cubes), room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup caramel chips
  • 1 1/2 cup crumbled apple chips (Bare Brand recommended)

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and apply nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix butter and sugars together until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Slowly add dry ingredients. Stir in the white chocolate and caramel chips followed by the apple chips.

Pour blondie dough into the prepared pan and smooth out with uneven spatula.

Bake for 28 to 30 minutes or until the top of the blondies are light golden brown and the middle passes the toothpick test. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Once they are cool, use foil to lift blondies onto cutting board to slice into bars.

OM NOM NOM!

 

Bready or Not Original: Caramel Apple Chip Blondies

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Bready or Not: Cheesecake Brownies

Posted by on Apr 24, 2019 in Blog, Bready or Not, brownies, cheese galore, chocolate | 2 comments

Cheesecake Brownies. Beautiful to behold. Delicious to eat.

Bready or Not: Cheesecake Brownies

I’m not a cheesecake person. But the pairing of chocolate and cheesecake? That makes it work.

Bready or Not: Cheesecake Brownies

This recipe is all about that balance of different kinds of sweetness. The addition of semisweet chocolate chips complements both and adds a different texture, too.

Bready or Not: Cheesecake Brownies

I have to say, I love the swirl effect on the top of these brownies. There’s something especially pleasing about food that looks as amazing as it tastes.

Bready or Not: Cheesecake Brownies

If you want a similar, stronger (and more expensive) pairing, my Swirled Goat Cheese Brownies will also interest you.

Bready or Not: Cheesecake Brownies

Modified from All Recipes Magazines, November 2017.

 

Bready or Not: Cheesecake Brownies

Bready or Not: Cheesecake Brownies

This take on a classic pairs brownies with rich cream cheese. The semisweet chocolate chips throughout complement in a delicious way.

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar, divided
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 1/4 cup (half cube) unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line an 8x8 or 9x9 pan with heavy foil and apply butter or nonstick spray.

Beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 egg until fairly smooth; some small chunks are fine. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips.

In a microwave safe bowl, heat the butter and remaining 1 cup chocolate chips in brief bursts until fully melted and smooth; watch it carefully and stir well between each burst. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, followed by the 2 eggs, flour, baking powder, and salt.

Pour half the chocolate batter into the ready pan and spread into an even layer. Gently spread the cream cheese batter on top. Drop dollops of the rest of the chocolate batter on top. Use a butter knife or narrow spatula to swirl the layers together for a marbled effect.

Bake until the top is crinkled and edges are pulling away from the sides of the pan, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool at room temperature for an hour, then stash in the fridge for another few hours to completely cool.

Use the foil to lift the contents onto a cutting board to slice into bars. Store in a sealed container in fridge, waxed paper between stacked layers to prevent stocking, for up to three days, or freeze for later enjoyment.

OM NOM NOM!

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Bready or Not: Cappuccino-Caramel Oat Bars

Posted by on Apr 17, 2019 in Blog, blondies, Bready or Not, cookies | 0 comments

Cappuccino-Caramel Oat Bars are essentially a casserole-sized platter of delicious homemade candy bars. That is reason enough to make them.

Bready or Not: Cappuccino-Caramel Oat Bars

These are simultaneously chewy (from the oats), crunchy (because pecans), and sweet (caramel).

Bready or Not: Cappuccino-Caramel Oat Bars

Oh yeah, then there’s the coffee flavor that is imbued throughout every bite. I don’t like drinking coffee, but espresso powder is sheer magic in baked goods.

Bready or Not: Cappuccino-Caramel Oat Bars

Needless to say, these bars are perfect paired with a cup or coffee or tea.

Bready or Not: Cappuccino-Caramel Oat Bars

Plus, if the number of bars seems excessive, the leftovers can be frozen. Just freeze and store them between waxed papers layers so you can easily thaw as many as you’d like at a time.

Bready or Not: Cappuccino-Caramel Oat Bars

Modified from 100 Best Cookies Magazine.

 

Bready or Not: Cappuccino-Caramel Oat Bars

Bready or Not: Cappuccino-Caramel Oat Bars

These Cappuccino-Caramel Oat Bars are essentially a casserole-sized platter of delicious homemade candy bars with the distinct flavor of coffee throughout.

  • 3 cups rolled (old fashioned) oats
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped pecans, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon instant coffee crystals or espresso powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup jarred caramel

Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line a 13x9 pan with foil and apply butter or nonstick spray.

In a medium bowl, stir together oats, flour, 1 cup of pecans, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a big mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy, then add brown sugar. Follow up with the eggs, coffee/espresso powder, and vanilla. Carefully stir in the dry ingredients; it looks like a lot, but it will fit in the pan! Reserve 2 cups of the dough for the topping.

Spread the bulk of the oat mixture in the pan. Using floured hands or waxed paper and a heavy glass, press down the mix to form a solid even crust. Spread the caramel topping over it, bringing it to within 1/4-inch of the edges. Dollop the reserved oat mixture over the top, along with the remaining 1/2 cup pecans.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges are set. Cool completely in pan before using the foil to lift it onto a cutting board to slice into bars. Store in sealed containers with parchment or waxed paper between the layers. Bars can also be frozen.

OM NOM NOM!

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Bready or Not Original: Cranberry Candied Ginger Blondies

Posted by on Apr 10, 2019 in Blog, blondies, Bready or Not, breakfast, chocolate | 0 comments

Cranberry Candied Ginger Blondies pack tart cranberries, zesty little nuggets of candied ginger, and mellow white chocolate in a chewy blondie base, to delicious results.

Bready or Not Original: Cranberry Candied Ginger Blondies

This begins a small spate of dried cranberry recipes that will be on Bready or Not over the next while.

Bready or Not Original: Cranberry Candied Ginger Blondies

This is because I bought a massive bag of dried cranberries on sale at Costco, and I had an existing stockpile to use up, too. Cue a “oh crap, I need to use up some of this stuff!” response.

Bready or Not Original: Cranberry Candied Ginger Blondies

This recipe proved to be a fantastic one, too. The blondies are sweet and chewy, and that combination of dried cranberries, candied ginger, and white chocolate complements and contrasts in an amazing way.

Bready or Not Original: Cranberry Candied Ginger Blondies

I’ve been asked before about where to find candied ginger. Sometimes brands will sell it jarred alongside spices on the grocery store aisle. Also, check the bins at your local health food store or co-op. I’ve bought candied ginger at my local Sprouts.

Bready or Not Original: Cranberry Candied Ginger Blondies

The good news is that candied ginger (like dried cranberries) keeps well for ages, so you can stock up and enjoy it for months. Though space might be an issue if you’re buying at Costco…

 

Bready or Not Original: Cranberry Candied Ginger Blondies

Bready or Not Original: Cranberry Candied Ginger Blondies

Cranberry Candied Ginger Blondies pack tart cranberries, zesty little nuggets of candied ginger, and mellow white chocolate in a chewy blondie base, to delicious results.

  • 2 stick (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped candied ginger
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line a 13x9 inch dish with aluminum foil and apply nonstick spray.

Place butter and both sugars in a large bowl and beat until creamed together. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Follow up with the flour, baking powder, and salt, until just combined. Fold in the cranberries, candied ginger, and white chocolate chips.

Spread batter in the ready pan and even out. Bake for 27 to 30 minutes, until edges are firm and the middle passes the toothpick test. Cool on a wire rack.

Use foil to list contents onto cutting board. Slice into pieces. Store in an sealed container at room temperature.

OM NOM NOM!

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Bready or Not Original: Pecan Caramel Chip Cookies

Posted by on Apr 3, 2019 in Blog, Bready or Not, chocolate, cookies | 2 comments

I love creating new recipes using my favorite grocery find in recent years, caramel chips! This original recipe for Pecan Caramel Chip Cookies is sublime and delicious.

Bready or Not Original: Pecan Caramel Chip Cookies

This recipe was inspired by my favorite recipe for White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies. The secret to success in that recipe is white chocolate chips are melted and mixed into the dough.

Bready or Not Original: Pecan Caramel Chip Cookies

I considered a bag of caramel chips and thought, hey, if it worked for white chocolate chips, why not caramel?

Bready or Not Original: Pecan Caramel Chip Cookies

I opted to use pecans because 1) they go so well with caramel, and 2) they are cheaper and generally more accessible to people.

Bready or Not Original: Pecan Caramel Chip Cookies

The melted caramel chips don’t simply add sweetness to the dough, but a smooth, silky texture that helps these cookies to bake up fat and chewy.

Bready or Not Original: Pecan Caramel Chip Cookies

You might need to hunt around for caramel chips. I’m still mad that my local Walmart carried them for a year then stopped, but most grocery stores around still carry them. Kroger even stocks their own version, which doesn’t look or taste quite as amazing as Hershey’s or Ghirardelli’s, but it’s still good. And cheaper, for sure.

Bready or Not Original: Pecan Caramel Chip Cookies

 

Bready or Not Original: Pecan Caramel Chip Cookies

Bready or Not Original: Pecan Caramel Chip Cookies

This original recipe requires caramel chips. A cup of these chips are melted and blended into the dough, transforming these cookies into something magical!

  • 1 bag cup caramel chips, divided
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2/3 cup (11 Tablespoons) butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325-degrees. Place 1 cup of caramel chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on 50% power in short increments, 20-25 seconds, and stop to stir between passes until the chips blend smoothly. Set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together both sugars, butter, vanilla extract, and eggs until they're creamy. Mix in the melted chips. Stir in flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Fold in the remaining caramel chips, chocolate chips, and chopped pecans.

Use a tablespoon cookie scoop or spoon to place dough in rounded lumps on cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until the tops just begin to turn light golden brown. Cool on the sheet for several minutes, then move to a rack to cool.

OM NOM NOM!

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