Some foods are delicious but not particularly photogenic. These Pumpkin Nutella Swirl Muffins, however, have it all going on.
Chocolate and pumpkin are a fantastic pairing. Nutella works so well here, creating a shiny chocolatey cap to these bright orange muffins.
The texture of these is magnificent: cakey and fresh, with a light pumpkin taste. Plus Nutella. We can’t forget the Nutella.
Speaking of which… if your Nutella is older or you’re near the bottom of the jar, it can be lumpy and hard to spread. To fix that, put the Nutella in a microwave-safe dish and give it a zap in the microwave.
Trust me, that lumpy Nutella may still be delicious, but you want it to be soft enough to create a beautiful swirl on these muffins!
Modified from The Novice Chef.
Eat your morning coffee in this luscious Cardamom Coffee Pound Cake!
Weird fact: I actually considered skipping the glaze on this because I figured it would be a delicious cake on its own. What was I thinking? The glaze makes this cake.
My husband’s workplace lives on coffee. He brought this loaf cake and it was consumed almost instantly. Apparently, the loaf was practically divine when paired with a hot cup of coffee.
This recipe has coffee going on all over the place, too. Espresso powder is in the cake batter. Brewed coffee is infused in the baked cake, and is also the primary liquid in the glaze. Plus, it uses one of my favorite spices: cardamom. Which happens to be perfect along with coffee.
Modified from Relish Magazine.
Today we wrap up the Baileys Coffee Creamer theme with an amazing pound cake that’s perfect for breakfast or snack.
The original version of the recipe used alcoholic Baileys and also included it in a chocolate glaze. I decided to do without the glaze (I know! Gasp!) but I think it was a good call. The cake is perfectly sweet on its own, and the mini chips add the perfect amount of chocolate taste.
The combination of the nonalcoholic coffee creamer and sour cream lend this a tender yet dense crumb. It slices easily because of the mini chips.
The most impressive thing about this pound cake was that it was delicious fresh, and it was just as delicious five days later. We kept it shrouded in plastic wrap at room temperature.
This is a pound cake you’ll want to pound into your mouth, again and again.
Modified from Lemon Tree Dwelling.
I’m happy to welcome author Megan E. O’Keefe! Her debut novel Steal the Sky is out from Angry Robot on January 5th. It features airships and con men and a gorgeous cover. She’s here today to share a delicious-looking recipe for baklava.
When I was first considering what to bake for Bready or Not I knew that, due to the time of year, I wanted to do a holiday bake. Something the people of the Scorched Continent would make for a winter celebration. My first thoughts were fruitcake-esque, as dried fruit is pretty much the only way people on the Scorched eat fruit, but that didn’t quite work.
You see, the Scorched Continent, as its name implies, is an arid climate. It’d be okay for growing wheat, if it weren’t for the fact the whole continent suffers a really nasty monsoon season once a year. Great for replenishing aquifers, not so great for growing wheat.
Which isn’t to say they don’t get wheat. They do – they just have to import it from their mother empire. So by the time mid-winter rolls around, wheat is looking pretty scarce. Which means no cake, unless you’re stupidly rich. There are some people on the Scorched who could afford such a luxury, but I wanted to capture a snack that the everyday populace might stand a chance of getting their hands on.
The Scorched is also home to a species of wild, oversized bee which builds massive hives. This means that honey and beeswax are both plentiful, and cheap. Another common foodstuff on the continent is a wide variety of nuts, as they preserve well and are full of protein. And what better way to make use of scarce wheat than to roll it into a very, very thin sheets?
I’d never made baklava before, but I figured hey, if I’m assuming my characters can do it, so can I! Of course my characters can also move magical gas around and take one hell of a beating, but that’s beside the point.
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 package phyllo dough (16oz) defrosted
1 cup butter
1 lbs chopped nuts
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
The real secret to baklava is that, to keep it crispy, you either have to combine cold baklava with hot syrup, or cold syrup with hot baklava. Hint: it’s much easier to do it the second way. So, before you even preheat that oven, combine 1 cup caster sugar, 1 cup water, and boil until all the sugar is melted.
Is the sugar melted? Coolio. Throw in 1/2 cup honey and a tsp vanilla. Well, don’t actually throw it, because boiling sugar water splash back is enough to peel skin. Pour it gently. If you’re having trouble getting all of the honey out of your 1/2 cup scoop, and if your scoop is metal, just scoop up some of the hot sugar water and swish it around until the scoop is clean. Don’t do this with plastic. If I have to tell you why, you probably shouldn’t be reading this. Mix until everything is combined, lower your heat and simmer it for 20-25 minutes until it’s begun to slightly thicken, then set aside to cool.
Get yourself a wee tiny saucepan, and chunk about a cup of butter into it, then set it on the very lowest setting to melt.While you’re simmering and melting, best prepare your nuts. You can use any kind of nuts you’d like for baklava, though the traditional varieties are walnuts, pistachio, and pecans. I used all walnuts. I’m a vegetarian and, because of that, fish are friends, not food, so I have to get those omega-3’s somehow. You can buy your nuts pre-chopped, or you can use chopping them as an excuse to eat some like I do. Either way, mix up 1 pound chopped nuts with 1 1/2 tsps cinnamon and set aside. Have you preheated your oven to 325F yet? Probably not, since I haven’t told you to. Do that now, and while you’re at it get to buttering a 9×13” pan – use some of that butter you’ve got melted.
Now it’s time for the part everyone hates: the phyllo. Depending upon who made your phyllo (and I’m going to guess it wasn’t you, because only a masochist would make that stuff themselves) you’ll either have one large roll or two smaller ones. If you have a large one, unroll it and chop it in half to fit your pan.
Now that you have phyllo that fits your pan, cover it with a layer of saran wrap or wax paper and then cover that with a SLIGHTLY damp paper towel. This helps keep the phyllo from drying out while you work – but do not get water directly on the dough. Then you’ll have mush. You do not want mush.
To create the base of your baklava: layer two sheets of phyllo (pick them up together, it’s easier than going one by one) in the bottom of your pan. Use a pastry brush to coat with melted butter. Add another two layers of dough – then butter – and another two layers – then butter. Repeat until you have a total of eight layers of pastry with butter in between every two layers. Good? Good. That wasn’t too painful, right?Now sprinkle some of your nut mixture on that, about 3 tablespoons. Cover with two more layers of phyllo, then brush with butter. Repeat the phyllo-butter-nuts routine until you have 8 sheets of phyllo left. Use those last 8 sheets to make the top, putting butter between every two layers just like you did to make the base. Brush the top with more butter, then cut your unbaked baklava into triangles with a very sharp knife while it’s still in the pan. Trust me, it’s way easier than trying to do it once it comes out of the oven.
Pop the baklava in the oven and your honey sauce in the fridge. Bake the baklava about 50 minutes, or until golden brown on top.Remove the baklava from the oven, and immediately spoon the honey sauce over the top. Let it cool, then pop it out of the pan to serve up in cupcake wrappers or something equally sticky proof. This stuff is good, but man is it sticky.
Toast your success, and vow to buy baklava from the store next time.Read More
I’m happy to welcome Pat Esden to Bready or Not! Her novel A Hold On Me comes out in February from Kensington. I have never tried popovers (shocking, I know!) and her recipe for them looks fantastic.
My novel A HOLD ON ME is a new adult paranormal tale of love and revenge. The main character, Annie, grew up dealing antiques and traveling with her father. When he’s diagnosed with dementia, she’s forced to return to her estranged family’s estate in Maine.
One of the few people on the estate she sees as a potential ally is Laura, an employee whose main job is to produce a seemingly endless supply of comfort foods. Laura lived on the estate as a child. She went away in her teens and returned a few years later with a young son in her arms. What happened to her in those years is a mystery. But, now—almost twenty years later–Annie shouldn’t mistake where Laura’s allegiance lies. This cook may be known for her strawberry jam and popovers, but she also knows her way around the darker side of the kitchen’s garden.
LAURA’S SKYSCRAPING POPOVERS:
Position oven rack in lower part of oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heavily grease popover pan cups with butter (I use 4 ceramic custard cups for this recipe or a traditional six cup cast iron popover pan) Just BEFORE filling cups with batter, preheat them in oven until sizzling hot.
Whisk eggs and milk together
Add flour, salt, and melted butter
Whisk lightly (batter will be lumpy). Let batter sit for 5 minutes, then whisk lightly again. Repeat letting batter sit and whisking lightly until white flour lumps disappear. This process of whisking lightly and letting the flour be absorbed into the batter slowly is the key to extra-tall popovers.
Fill pre-heated popover cups ½ way with batter.
Bake for 45 minutes without opening oven.
Eat right away. Popovers shrink quickly. A hole poked in the top of the popover to vent the steam will slow the shrinking, but not for long.
A HOLD ON ME (Dark Heart Book #1) by Pat Esden
Release date: February 23
She never wanted to return.
He wants nothing more than for her to leave.
But the fire between them is as strong as the past that haunts them.
Annie Freemont grew up on the road, immersed in the romance of rare things, cultivating an eye for artifacts and a spirit for bargaining. It’s a freewheeling life she loves and plans to continue—until her dad is diagnosed with dementia. His illness forces them to return to Moonhill, their ancestral home on the coast of Maine—and to the family they left behind fifteen years ago, after Annie’s mother died in a suspicious accident.
Once at Moonhill, Annie is shocked when her aunt separates her from her father. The next time Annie sees him, he’s a bizarre, violent shadow of his former self. Confused, she turns to an unlikely ally for support—Chase, the dangerously seductive young groundskeeper. With his dark good looks and powerful presence, Chase has an air of mystery that Annie is irresistibly drawn to. But she also senses that behind his penetrating eyes are secrets she can’t even begin to imagine. Secrets that hold the key to the past, to Annie’s own longings—and to all of their futures. Now, to unlock them, she’ll have to face her greatest fears and embrace her legacy…
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PAT ESDEN would love to say she spent her childhood in intellectual pursuits. The truth is she was fonder of exploring abandoned houses and old cemeteries. When not out on her own adventures, she can be found in her northern Vermont home writing stories about brave, smart women and the men who capture their hearts. An antique-dealing florist by trade, she’s also a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and the League of Vermont Writers. Her short stories have appeared in a number of publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, the Mythopoeic Society’s Mythic Circle literary magazine, and George H. Scither’s anthology Cat Tales.Read More
Let’s finish up CAKE MONTH with something that’s bright, fresh, and perfect for summer!
I modified this King Arthur Flour lemon cake and made it in two gift-size pans, as one was indeed given as a gift to dear family friends who came for a visit. My husband pretty well inhaled the loaf that we kept.
Like last week’s chocolate cream cheese cake, this is the kind of cake that isn’t heavy duty on sweet. It’s really perfect for breakfast, brunch, or dessert. Eat it by itself or pair a slice with fruit, ice cream, or whatever else sounds good.
I made this using sour cream, though the original recipe suggested yogurt or buttermilk. I bet this would be amazing with lemon yogurt. MORE LEMONY GOODNESS!
Modified from King Arthur Flour’s Lemon Bread.