Posts made in December, 2021

End of 2021 Publication Round-Up

Posted by on Dec 31, 2021 in anthology:poem, anthology:story, Blog | 0 comments

2021 is finally at end. Surely 2022 must be better. Right? RIGHT?

The end of the year brought a flood of new publications. These have also been added to my complete Short Works Bibliography.

Short stories

Poetry

#SFWAPro

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Bready or Not Original: Rum Bundt Cake

Posted by on Dec 29, 2021 in alcohol, Blog, Bready or Not, bundt, cake | 2 comments

This Rum Bundt Cake is luscious–soft and moist, with rum baked-in and soaked-in. It’s perfect for an indulgent New Year’s Eve treat, or make it any time of year!

Bready or Not Original: Rum Bundt Cake

The most basic form of this recipe came to me on a postcard sent by my mother-in-law’s husband. He travels a lot, and sent me a card from the Virgin Islands that included a rum bundt cake recipe on the front.

Bready or Not Original: Rum Bundt Cake

The thing was, the recipe was squeezed into limited space and quite basic. The baking temperature was low and strange, too–no way was an enriched bundt cake baking at 300-degrees in 45 minutes.

Bready or Not Original: Rum Bundt Cake

So, I rewrote the recipe. I also added more rum. I used the return-to-pan soaking method I learned from Bake Off years ago to make sure this baby was really rummy. That liquid gold shouldn’t drip off. No, it needs to be used to bathe a cake.

Bready or Not Original: Rum Bundt Cake

The end result is fragrant with rum. The outside is crisp while the crumb is tender and moist without being soggy. It’s not a super-sweet cake, either, but it is definitely lush.

Modified greatly from a souvenir postcard.

Bready or Not Original: Rum Bundt Cake

This incredibly moist bundt cake has rum baked in and is bathed in it as well, creating a cake that is indulgent and delicious.
Course: Dessert
Keyword: alcohol, bundt cake, cake
Author: Beth Cato

Equipment

  • large bundt pan
  • pastry brush
  • chopstick

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks, room temperature
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 6 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup rum

Rum soak:

  • 1/4 cup rum divided
  • confectioners’ sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Heavily grease or use nonstick spray in a large bundt pan.
  • In a mixer, blend together butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Follow up with the flour, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and rum.
  • Pour batter into pan. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the middle passes the toothpick test. Let cool for about 20 minutes, then invert cake onto a cooling rack. Don’t wash the pan!
  • After the cake is completely cool, tip it back into the pan. Stab the top (the future base) all over with a chopstick or similar tool. Drizzle 2 Tablespoons of rum over the surface. Let it sit a few minutes. Invert the cake onto a plate. Again, stab the surface all over with something like a chopstick. Brush the remaining 2 Tablespoons rum over the top and sides, mopping up any droplets to brush on again. Let set a few minutes.
  • Before serving, sprinkle on confectioners’ sugar. Slice and enjoy! Keep covered in fridge or at room temperature. Cake can be frozen in individual slices for later enjoyment, too.

OM NOM NOM!

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    Bready or Not: Peppermint Bark Cookies

    Posted by on Dec 22, 2021 in Blog, Bready or Not, chocolate, cookies, mint | 0 comments

    These incredible Peppermint Bark cookies really do taste like peppermint bark, but in chewy, beautiful cookie form!

    Bready or Not: Peppermint Bark Cookies

    These cookies even look holiday-colorful due to the bits of crushed candy cane throughout. I used a Hershey’s Chocolate Mint Candy Cane, but many varieties of candy cane would do. You could even mix it up with different colors and flavors!

    Bready or Not: Peppermint Bark Cookies

    I kept things easier by using chocolate chips, but this would be great with chopped chocolate, too, for different textures and flavors. Peppermint Bark itself comes in different variants, after all!

    Bready or Not: Peppermint Bark Cookies

    These cookies would be fantastic for a holiday cookie exchange, or to serve at a gathering. Or, if you’re cheap like me, bake them later on in January using candy canes scored on clearance!

    Bready or Not: Peppermint Bark Cookies

    Modified from Bake from Scratch Magazine Holiday Cookies 2019.

    Bready or Not: Peppermint Bark Cookies

    These cookies really do taste like peppermint bark, but in chewy cookie form! Recipe makes about 42 cookies using a tablespoon scoop.
    Course: Dessert, Snack
    Keyword: candy cane, chocolate, cookies, mint
    Author: Beth Cato

    Equipment

    • tablespoon scoop
    • parchment paper

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar packed
    • 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks, melted
    • 1/2 cup white sugar
    • 2 large eggs room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
    • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
    • 4 ounces white chocolate chips
    • 4 ounces dark chocolate chips
    • 4 peppermint candy canes crushed

    Instructions

    • In a mixer, beat brown sugar, butter, and white sugar until combined. Add eggs one at a time followed by the extracts.
    • In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Fold in the two chocolates and candy cane bits. Cover top of dough with plastic wrap and chill it for 15 minutes.
    • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
    • Use a tablespoon scoop to parcel out dough, spaced out, on baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until cookies are set and just turning golden. Keep on sheet for a few minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.
    • Store cookies in seal containers at room temperature. Keeps for at least 3 days.

    OM NOM NOM!

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      Bready or Not Original: No Bake Pecan Praline Cookies

      Posted by on Dec 15, 2021 in Blog, Bready or Not, cookies, no-bake dessert, nutty | 0 comments

      Do you need cookies ready, FAST? These no-bake wonders are prepared in minutes and just need 15 minutes to set.

      Bready or Not Original: No Bake Pecan Praline Cookies

      Traditional pecan pralines are crunchy and sweet. This no-bake cookie version definitely has all that going on, with added chewiness from coconut.

      Bready or Not Original: No Bake Pecan Praline Cookies

      I highly recommend using unsweetened coconut flakes or shreds here, as these cookies are not lacking at all in the sugariness department!

      Bready or Not Original: No Bake Pecan Praline Cookies

      It’s amazing to me how something so goopy and hot can so quickly become set and easy to handle. This is the ultimate in fast-and-delicious cookies.

      Bready or Not Original: No Bake Pecan Praline Cookies

      Bready or Not Original: No Bake Pecan Praline Cookies

      These no-bake wonders are prepared in minutes and just need 15 minutes to set. No candy thermometer required! Each bite is crunchy, sweet, and oh so good! Makes about 35 tablespoon-sized cookies.
      Course: Dessert, Snack
      Keyword: coconut, cookies, no bake, pecans
      Author: Beth Cato

      Equipment

      • large saucepan
      • cookie sheet
      • waxed paper
      • tablespoon scoop

      Ingredients

      • 2 1/2 cups pecans chopped or whole
      • 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes or coconut shreds
      • 2 1/2 cups white sugar
      • 1/2 cup milk
      • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
      • 1 stick unsalted butter 1/2 cup
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

      Instructions

      • Prepare a large cookie sheet, or several sheets, with waxed paper. In a bowl, stir together the pecans and coconut.
      • In a saucepan on medium-high heat, stir together the sugar, milk, corn syrup, and butter. Continue to stir while bringing the mixture to a rolling boil. Stabilize the heat so that it continues to boil for 3 minutes.
      • Remove pot from heat. Pour in the vanilla. Follow up with the pecans and coconut, stirring well to coat everything in goopy hot sugar.
      • Use a tablespoon scoop to dole out cookies on the waxed paper. If they fall apart a bit, carefully use a spoon or the scoop to shape them again. Let cookies set, at least 15 minutes. Carefully peel them away from the waxed paper; note that the first scoops may be more prone to stick.
      • Store cookies in a sealed container.

      OM NOM NOM!

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        Giftmas 2021 Blog Train: Help Those in Need & Enjoy a Story, Too!

        Posted by on Dec 10, 2021 in Blog, giftmas | 2 comments

        giftmas 2021

        I’m taking part in Giftmas again this year, an annual effort coordinated by Rhonda Parrish for the benefit of the Edmonton Food Bank. I don’t need to state the reasons why helping food banks is more important right now than in past years. We need to help each other. We can’t connect in person, but we can connect with a few bucks that will help fill bellies and add warmth to the world through kindness. If you’re American like me, your dollars will deliver extra bang with each buck, too. $1 = 3 meals.

        Please help.

        This year, Giftmas is giving something extra to readers: a story: Eleven of us are participating in what is called an “exquisite corpse” story. One person begins, and each person adds another section in the sequence. There is no planning, no plot. The story zigs and zags with each new raconteur.

        Begin with part 1, here.

        Yesterday’s story segment was by Iseult Murphy. My contribution is below. The story will continue to grow and change over the next week! Keep reading, and please, donate.


        Agnes certainly felt like a living person, her warmth muffled by her fuzzy woolen coat. “They said you headed off to the store, in a snow storm, to buy cheese. You were never found, but they thought…” Cherie’s stomach lurched with every incredible leap taken by the fox, snow crunching and squealing beneath his paws each time he landed.

        “They,” scoffed Agnes. “The town police? It’s a wonder they can find a donut shop! At least I vanished for a noble cause. I did get that cheese, by the way, and it was far superior to anything found at that neon blight called Buy-It-Rite back on Earth.”

        Right. She was most definitely not on Earth now. Cherie squinted her eyes shut as snow pattered her face. Septimus had landed in an especially deep bank. “Okay,” she said, spitting out some flakes. “You’re alive after all. Yay. You came through a fantasy portal for cheese. Yay to that, too. I might have come here more readily if I’d known that good cheese awaited me. But why do I have a bad feeling that those snowmen want to eat us?”

        “You’re a smart girl, listening to your intuition,” said Agnes.

        Septimus glanced back. “It helps when carnivores let it be known they are carnivores.” He flashed his own pointed teeth. They were icicles. “Now hold on!”

        He advised such with a reason. Cherie’s frantic check showed the snowmen still trailed them all-too-closely, their rounded bottoms gliding over the snow. Cherie clutched Agnes impossibly tighter as Septimus sped up. Rather than lap, he plowed through the snow. Cherie grunted and held on as the world turned black with whiteness.

        Then suddenly, they were through. His claws tapped on icy rocks as they climbed a slope–a slope to an incredible castle on high, its peaked towers threatening to puncture the very clouds.

        “Oh.” The reaction escaped Cherie like a gasp.

        “As you can see,” Agnes said with blatant smugness, “I have upgraded my domicile somewhat.”

        “Lady A!” sang a voice from above. “You in a difficult spot today, love?”

        Why did that voice sound familiar? Cherie craned up her head to see a pegasus. An honest-to-goodness flying horse with a shimmering white coat and faint gray dapples across the hindquarters. Broad wings flapped outward, fanning back Cherie’s hair as the pegasus dove low.

        “Oh, it’s those snowmen again. They are always hungrier on colder–“

        “Clover?” Cherie cried out. “Clover, is that you?”

        Clover had been her so-called imaginary friend during her lonely, awful childhood. Together they had romped across field and fen and made everything into a grand adventure. Back then, Clover had been an awkward colt to match Cherie as an awkward girl.

        He’d become the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.

        The pegasus’s hooves clattered as he landed beside them, keeping pace with Septimus’s continued run. “Cherie?” his voice cracked. “You’re real?

        “I’m real?” Cherie sounded almost hysterical to her own ears. She wanted to glare accusingly at Agnes but had to settle for giving her an additional squeeze.

        “I can explain,” Agnes said airily.

        As heavily as Septimus panted, he managed an incredulous cackle. “Oh, this should be good,” he said as they pounded across the long drawbridge to the castle gate.

        To be continued… by Jemima Pett tomorrow!

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