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Bready or Not Original: Peach-Almond Bars

Posted by on Aug 17, 2022 in Blog, blondies, Bready or Not, breakfast, cookies, nutty | 0 comments

These Peach-Almond Bars are peachy-keen, if you ask me! They aren’t super sweet and they really let the flavors of the fruit shine through.

Bready or Not Original: Peach-Almond Bars

I don’t do a lot with peaches because I live in Arizona and the peaches available here are not the best. There are a lot of things I miss about Central California, and the fresh fruit is a big one. (Oh, don’t start my yearning for strawberries…)

Bready or Not Original: Peach-Almond Bars

The good news is, you don’t need ripe or especially sweet peaches for this recipe because you add a touch of sugar and cook down the fruit. Lyle’s Golden Syrup is a British ingredient that can be found in the import section of a lot of grocery stores; there is no exact American substitute, but a mix of half light corn syrup and half honey is one I have seen in recipes more than once.

Bready or Not Original: Peach-Almond Bars

These bars are a pleasant mix of softness, crispness, peachiness, and crunchy almonds. Not only would they make for a good dessert or snack, but a fine breakfast as well.

Bready or Not Original: Peach-Almond Bars

These bars bring out the best in peaches without being hardcore sweet.
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Keyword: almond, bars, peaches
Author: Beth Cato

Equipment

  • 9×13 pan
  • aluminum foil
  • nonstick spray

Ingredients

Peaches

  • 6 small peaches about 4 cups, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon corn starch

Bars

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup almond flour sifted to remove lumps
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup) room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons sliced almonds

Instructions

  • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line a 9×13 pan with foil and apply baking spray
  • In a medium saucepan, cook the peaches, water, and golden syrup about 15 minutes at a simmer, until peaches are soft. Add corn starch and stir well to bring the liquid together. Let set a few minutes to gel.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine flour, almond flour, confectioners’ sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat in the butter until it forms a lumpy dough.
  • Press about 2/3 of dough into the prepared pan. Use a piece of waxed paper and a heavy glass to really compress it. Spread the peach mixture on top. Add clumps of the remaining dough to sporadically cover. Sprinkle almonds on top.
  • Bake for about 40 minutes, until middle is set, not jiggly, with a golden brown crust across the top. Cool completely, speeding the process in the fridge if desired. Use foil to lift contents onto a cutting board to slice up. Store in a covered container, with waxed paper between the layers or with bars individually wrapped.

OM NOM NOM!

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    CoKoCon 2022 Schedule

    Posted by on Aug 15, 2022 in Blog, public speaking | 0 comments

    I’m attending my first in-person convention in about three years this Labor Day weekend. CoKoCon is a small con in the Phoenix area. This year, it’s at a new location at the DoubleTree in Tempe. I’ll be there Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and early Monday morning. Feel free to talk, ask to have books signed (which I’ll gladly do unless I’m on the run to a panel!), and generally hang out. I’ll be in a black mask, channeling my old favorite Mortal Kombat ninjas.

    Panels are always subject to change; I’ll post any updates via Twitter and Facebook.

    Friday, September 2

    4:30pm Writing on the Spectrum

    Fiesta Ballroom 2, 4:30pm – 5:30pm

    Neurodiverse writers talk about how their unique filter on the world impacts their writing and about neurodiverse representation in books.

    Saturday, September 3

    10am Beth & Mike’s Book Club: The City We Became

    Coronado, 10am – 11am

    Michael Senft, who runs the Sci-Fridays Book Club at the Poisoned Pen, and Nebula Award®-nominated author, Beth Cato, will be leading a discussion on The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin. Read or listen to it ahead of the event or come in blind, but beware of spoilers!


    6pm Writing Speculative Poetry

    Fiesta Ballroom 2, 6pm – 7pm

    Join our award-winning poets as they discuss the craft and market for speculative poetry, and maybe even share some of their own award-winning work!

    Sunday, September 4

    1pm Literary Charcuterie

    Coronado, 1pm – 2pm

    Let’s talk about the glories of food in literature and reality and inspire everyone to scamper for the nearest cheese shop (and there are several near the hotel!)


    6pm Author Self-Care: Not Post-COVID Yet

    Fiesta Ballroom 2, 6pm – 7pm

    We’re back in person, but are we really back to normal? This popular panel returns in a world that still hasn’t gotten through the COVID times.


    7:30pm Historical Fiction Meets Fantasy

    Fiesta Ballroom 2, 7:30pm – 8:30pm

    What is the proper proportion of facts with fiction when writing historical fantasy? What resources the perils and joys of research.

    #SFWAPro

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    Bready or Not Original: Almond Graham Cookies

    Posted by on Aug 10, 2022 in Blog, Bready or Not, cookies, nutty, Uncategorized | 0 comments

    I’m a chewy cookie person. These Almond Graham Cookies fit that description nicely, being chewy, crisp, and perfectly sweet.

    Bready or Not Original: Almond Graham Cookies

    Graham cracker crumbs are integral to the cookies. You can buy a box and mash them yourself using a food processor or the old Ziplock bag-and-rolling-pin method or buy a container of the prepared crumbs. This recipe can be a good way to use up graham crackers you have idling in your cupboard (which is totally how I came about this recipe).

    Bready or Not Original: Almond Graham Cookies

    This is a fast cookie to mix up, too. For me, the longest step was sifting the almond flour, which I must do because it tends to clump badly. However, that’s also a step that can be done the day before.

    Bready or Not Original: Almond Graham Cookies

    Be ready to enjoy a lot of cookies. I used my teaspoon scoop for even measurements and got 52 cookies.

    Bready or Not Original: Almond Graham Cookies

    Bready or Not Original: Almond Graham Cookies

    This original Bready or Not recipe makes unique sweet and nutty cookies using a base of pulverized graham crackers and almond flour. They are both chewy and crisp, and downright pretty to behold. Makes about 50 cookies using a teaspoon scoop.
    Course: Dessert, Snack
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: almond, cookies
    Author: Beth Cato

    Equipment

    • parchment paper
    • teaspoon scoop

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup shortening
    • 1/2 cup white sugar
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
    • 1 cup almond flour sifted
    • 1 Tablespoon sliced almonds

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
    • In a mixing bowl, cream together the shortening and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in graham cracker crumbs and almond flour until just combined.
    • Use a teaspoon scoop or teaspoon to dole out dough onto the baking sheet, spaced to allow some spreading. Place a few almond slices atop each cookie.
    • Bake for 9 to 10 minutes, until top is crackled. Let cookies set on baking sheet for about 10 minutes then transfer to a rack to completely cool.

    OM NOM NOM!

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      Bready or Not: Chocolate-Frangipane Bundt Cake

      Posted by on Aug 3, 2022 in Blog, Bready or Not, brownies, bundt, cake, chocolate | 0 comments

      This Chocolate-Frangipane Bundt Cake is a show-stopper: a rich chocolate cake with a hidden frangipane layer inside, crowned with drippy icing and almonds.

      Bready or Not: Chocolate-Frangipane Bundt Cake

      This cake would be perfect for the holiday season–or any time of year you want to go all-out on a delicious cake.

      Bready or Not: Chocolate-Frangipane Bundt Cake

      There are a lot of directions and ingredients, but the cake is really quite straightforward to make. I tried to simplify some elements from the original in Bake from Scratch Magazine (who would notice browned butter in a cake that’s already rich in several ways?) and made the ingredient division friendlier, too.

      Bready or Not: Chocolate-Frangipane Bundt Cake

      I have a deep, abiding love for frangipane, and this recipe balances the sweet almond paste against a nice, dense chocolate cake. It’s a fine combo.

      Bready or Not: Chocolate-Frangipane Bundt Cake

      If you want to save some baking day effort, make the frangipane a day ahead and stash it in the fridge. I do that quite often with recipes like this.

      Bready or Not: Chocolate-Frangipane Bundt Cake

      This is a fancy bundt cake that looks and tastes fancy. Perfect for the holiday season or any time of year you want to go all-out on a bundt cake! Modified a lot from Bake from Scratch Magazine Nov/Dec 2018.
      Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
      Keyword: almond, bundt cake, cake, chocolate
      Author: Beth Cato

      Equipment

      • 10-cup bundt pan or larger

      Ingredients

      Frangipane

      • 1 cup almond flour sifted
      • 1/2 cup white sugar
      • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) melted and cooled
      • 1 large egg room temperature
      • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
      • 1 teaspoon almond extract

      Bundt Cake

      • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) plus more for pan
      • 2 cups whole buttermilk or soured milk*
      • 2 large eggs room temperature
      • 1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder
      • 1 teaspoon almond extract
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      • 2 cups white sugar
      • 2 cups all-purpose flour
      • 3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder sifted, plus more to dust pan
      • 2 teaspoons baking soda
      • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
      • 1 teaspoon baking powder

      Frosting

      • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
      • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
      • 3 Tablespoon half & half or heavy cream
      • sliced almonds

      Instructions

      • First of all, make the frangipane. In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients until a smooth paste forms. This can be made a day or hours ahead of the cake assembly; if it is made ahead, press plastic wrap to directly cover the frangipane and refrigerate until it is used.
      • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Generously grease interior surface of a 10-cup bundt pan with butter, then sift extra cocoa powder to coat it as much as possible. Rotate pan to distribute cocoa powder, tapping out excess if necessary.
      • Melt butter in microwave or on stovetop and let it cool a few minutes. Pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Add the buttermilk, eggs, espresso powder, almond extract, and vanilla, beating until smooth.
      • In a separate large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Switch from the whisk to the paddle attachment. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet until just smooth.
      • Pour half the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Dollop the frangipane over the batter and smooth out, if possible. Top with remaining cake batter and smooth it again.
      • Bake until the middle passes the toothpick test, about 55 to 60 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Let pan cool for about 20 minutes and then carefully invert it onto a rack to completely cool. Bits might stick to the pan; if so, pry them out and try to patch the cake. Remember that frosting will help mask any damage.
      • Once the cake is room temperature, make the frosting. Beat the confectioners' sugar, almond extract, and half & half together to together to form a thick consistency, then drizzle over the cake. Sprinkle sliced almonds on top.
      • Cake will be moister on the first day but keeps fairly well for a few days. Slices can also be individually wrapped and frozen for later.

      OM NOM NOM!

        Notes

        To make soured milk, pour about 1 Tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Add half & half or cream to reach the 2-cups line. Let sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes; it should start to curdle. Use entire contents in recipe.
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        Bready or Not: Kerrygold Almond Breakfast Cake

        Posted by on Jul 27, 2022 in Blog, Bready or Not, breakfast, cake, cheese galore, lemon, nutty | 0 comments

        This Kerrygold Almond Breakfast Cake is moist, light, and delicious thanks to Irish butter, ricotta cheese, and a vivid spark of lemon.

        Bready or Not: Kerrygold Almond Breakfast Cake

        I found the original version of this recipe on the Kerrygold website and modified it quite a bit to make it work for a square 9-inch pan. I also added a glaze because, well, I thought it needed one–and it does. Not only does it boost the sweetness, but it helps that layer of sliced almonds adhere more.

        Bready or Not: Kerrygold Almond Breakfast Cake

        Using ricotta cheese in a cake like this doesn’t make it taste cheesy. The ricotta adds moisture, creating a soft, tender crumb, and it plays beautifully with the potent Kerrygold butter.

        Bready or Not: Kerrygold Almond Breakfast Cake

        Now, about that Kerrygold. For baking purposes, I like to buy it at Costco when it goes on sale a few times a year. Stash it in the freezer and it keeps for a long, long time. It’s sure more cost-effective than buying it at the grocery store.

        Bready or Not: Kerrygold Almond Breakfast Cake

        This cake is lemony-bright in flavor with a crisp-top crust thanks to the almonds. It keeps at room temperature for a few days or can be frozen for later.

        Bready or Not: Kerrygold Almond Breakfast Cake

        This light, delicious cake gets a moist boost of flavor from ricotta cheese, with lemon and almond being the boldest flavors. Recipe modified from the original on the Kerrygold website. [If you can only get salted Kerrygold butter, reduce the added salt in the recipe to 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.]
        Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
        Cuisine: irish
        Keyword: almond, cake, cheese, citrus
        Author: Beth Cato

        Equipment

        • 9-inch square pan
        • aluminum foil
        • uneven spatula

        Ingredients

        Cake

        • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
        • 2 teaspoons baking powder
        • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
        • 8 Tablespoons Kerrygold unsalted butter (1 stick) 1/2 cup, room temperature
        • 1 cup white sugar
        • 1 lemon zested and juiced
        • 2 large eggs room temperature
        • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
        • 1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
        • 3/4 cup sliced almonds

        Glaze

        • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
        • 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

        Instructions

        • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line 9-inch pan with foil extended up all four sides. Apply nonstick spray.
        • Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
        • In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, sugar, and lemon zest until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs and almond extract.
        • To the mixing bowl, alternatively add the flour mixture and the ricotta. Batter will be thick.
        • Pour it into the prepared pan. Level off with an uneven spatula. Sprinkle sliced almonds to cover the top.
        • Bake for 33 to 38 minutes, until the middle passes the toothpick test.
        • Cool in pan for at least 45 minutes, then use foil to lift it onto a rack to completely cool at room temperature.
        • Make glaze and drizzle across the top. Let set for 30 minutes before cutting. Cake will keep at least two days at room temperature, or pieces can be individually wrapped and frozen for later.

        OM NOM NOM!

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          Bready or Not Original: Cookie Butter Shortbread

          Posted by on Jul 20, 2022 in biscoff spread, Blog, Bready or Not, breakfast, british, chocolate, cookies | 0 comments

          The Cookie Butter Shortbread is a new riff on my classic Shortbread recipe that I’ve also made with espresso powder and chocolate chips–and also with an infusion of lemon and a glaze. It’s a versatile base recipe.

          Bready or Not Original: Cookie Butter Shortbread

          Now, I bet some of you are asking–what is cookie butter? It’s essentially pureed spice cookies with oil, forming a spreadable consistency just like peanut butter. You can find it in stores by the nut butter; Trader Joe’s carries it under the name Speculoos. What cookie butter does is make cookies taste more… cookie. You’ll know what I mean when you try it.

          Bready or Not Original: Cookie Butter Shortbread

          This is not a crisp shortbread like the traditional Walker’s brand (which is delicious in its own right). No, this shortbread is cakey and soft, only crisp at the very edge.

          Bready or Not Original: Cookie Butter Shortbread

          Sometimes the first piece out of the pan can even be fussy and break in half; a metal pie spatula helps, but sometimes it can still happen. That’s no major problem, though, because of every bite of Shortbread is good, even if it’s not perfectly photogenic.

          Bready or Not Original: Cookie Butter Shortbread

          Enjoy this Cookie Butter Shortbread for breakfast or snacks, or in proper fashion at tea time.

          Bready or Not Original: Cookie Butter Shortbread

          This new twist on my classic Shortbread mixes cookie butter and chocolate chips into the dough! These are cookies with an extra oomph of cookie flavor.
          Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
          Cuisine: British, Scottish
          Keyword: chocolate, cookie butter, cookies, shortbread
          Author: Beth Cato

          Equipment

          • 2 pie plates

          Ingredients

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

          Instructions

          • Preheat oven at 375-degrees. Apply nonstick spray to both pie plates.
          • Stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter, egg yolk, vanilla extract, and cookie butter. Use hands to compress dough together. Add the chocolate chips and mix, bringing dough together again to form a ball. Divide in half, placing one in each pie plate. Flatten dough with palms to create an even surface. Prick surface all over with a fork then use a knife to slash dough into triangular wedges.
          • Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until edges are golden brown and middle is set. Remove from oven and cut again along slash marks. Let shortbread cool completely, then cut again along existing marks.
          • Shortbread keeps for several days at room temperature. It can be stored covered in pie plates, or stacked in a sealed container with wax paper between the layers.

          OM NOM NOM!

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