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Listen to “Toilet Gnomes at War” at The Overcast

Posted by on Aug 24, 2020 in anthology:story, Blog, podcast | 0 comments

Are you taking proper care of your household gnomes? You’ll find out the hard way if you don’t!

My story “Toilet Gnomes at War” is an old favorite for many of my readers, and it has now been podcast for the first time! If you want to start your week with a story that is fun and whimsical with a lot of genuine heart, this is the story for you.

Listen to it at The Overcast!

#SFWAPro

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Bready or Not Original: Spiced Maple Macadamia Nut Cookies

Posted by on Aug 19, 2020 in Blog, Bready or Not, chocolate, cookies, maple, nutty | 0 comments

These Spiced Maple Macadamia Nut Cookies mix maple sweetness and warm spices and chocolate with the wonderful crunch of macadamias. They are perfect for fall–and throughout the year.

Bready or Not Original: Spiced Maple Macadamia Nut Cookies

A food processor will be a big help in this recipe. The nuts and chocolate need to be in fine slivers. If the chunks are too big, the sliced cookies won’t be cohesive.

Bready or Not Original: Spiced Maple Macadamia Nut Cookies

These are fridge cookies. Form the dough into tube shapes, wrap up well, then stash them in the fridge or freezer. Then thaw, slice, and bake when you need cookies.

Bready or Not Original: Spiced Maple Macadamia Nut Cookies

If you do the full batch at once, you’ll likely get a lot of cookies, depending on your tube size and how you slice them. I got about 70 cookies.

Bready or Not Original: Spiced Maple Macadamia Nut Cookies

These are perfect cookies to warm up your belly on a cool autumn or winter night (or in Arizona, to make-believe in such a temperature shift).

Bready or Not Original: Spiced Maple Macadamia Nut Cookies

Bready or Not Original: Spiced Maple Macadamia Nut Cookies

These sliced cookies are a delightful blend of sweet maple and warm spices with added nuance from chocolate and crunchy macadamias. Mix up the dough and stash in the fridge or freezer for future baking! Makes about 70 cookies.
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chocolate, cookies, macadamia nuts, maple
Author: Beth Cato

Equipment

  • food processor

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter 3 sticks, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips semisweet or dark or mixture
  • 1/3 cup candied ginger finely chopped

Instructions

  • In a food processor or by knife, finely chop macadamia nuts, followed by the chocolate chips. Set aside. (If these are not in fine pieces, the dough will fall apart when sliced.)
  • In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in maple syrup.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, spices, salt, and baking soda. Gradually work this into the creamed mixture. Fold in the nuts, chocolate, and candied ginger until incorporated.
  • Divide dough in half and shape into foot-long logs. Encase in plastic wrap. Chill at least two hours, or freeze for later baking.
  • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Unwrap log and cut dough into 1/4-inch thick medallions, reshaping with fingers as needed. Place spaced out on parchment-covered cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until set with a firm, golden base. Cool on pan for 5 minutes then move to rack to completely cool.
  • Cookies keep for at least 3 days in sealed containers at room temperature.

OM NOM NOM!

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    Bready or Not Original: Chewy Filled Bars

    Posted by on Aug 12, 2020 in apples, Blog, blondies, Bready or Not, cookies, pumpkin | 0 comments

    I present to you my Chewy Filled Bars: a versatile recipe that can use any number of fruit preserves, fruit butters, or other sweet filling, combined with different nuts or seeds, all to unique, delicious result.

    Bready or Not Original: Chewy Filled Bars

    These pictures display the recipe using Sprouts Cherry Preserves (with slivered almonds and almond extract) and Sprouts Maple Pumpkin Butter (with pepitas and almond extract).

    Bready or Not Original: Chewy Filled Bars

    However, I also made the same recipe using Trader Joe’s cinnamon bun filling (with chopped pecans and vanilla extract) and Apple Cider Spread (with chopped walnuts and vanilla extract). Every single version was awesome.

    Bready or Not Original: Chewy Filled Bars

    The jarred filling I used varied from 12 to 14 ounces. All worked well, though the Cinnamon Bun Filling required a 40 minute bake to set. I liked mixing in different nuts or seeds to pair with the filling, but you could also omit that ingredient completely, if desired.

    Bready or Not Original: Chewy Filled Bars

    No matter the mix-ins, the result is a pleasantly thick, chewy bar that is just sweet enough.

    Bready or Not Original: Chewy Filled Bars

     

    Bready or Not Original: Chewy Filled Bars

    This versatile base recipe can accommodate many different fillings, all of them delicious. Pick a jar of fruit preserves, fruit butter, or other sweet filling. Pick a complementary nut or seed. Pick an extract. Mix up. Enjoy!
    Course: Appetizer, Snack
    Keyword: almond, bars, oats, preserves, pumpkin, walnuts
    Author: Beth Cato

    Equipment

    • 13x9 pan

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
    • 2 cups brown sugar packed
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 teaspoon almond extract or substitute vanilla extract
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
    • 1/2 cup slivered almonds or sliced almonds or substitute other nuts or seeds
    • 12 to 14 ounce fruit preserves or fruit butter or other sweet filling; possibilities include cherry preserves, pumpkin butter, cinnamon bun filling, etc

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Line a 13x9 pan with aluminum foil and apply nonstick spray or butter.
    • In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add brown sugar and baking powder. Follow up with egg and almond extract. Gradually mix in flour, oats, and sliced almonds.
    • Set aside 1 cup of dough. Press the rest into the bottom of the prepared pan. A piece of waxed paper and heavy glass will help to compress it into a form, even layer. Spread preserves over top. Crumble the reserved dough over the fruit.
    • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until top is lightly brown and no longer wobbly in the middle. Completely cool at room temperature, speeding process in the fridge, if desired. Use foil to lift contents onto cutting board to slice up.
    • Store in sealed containers with waxed paper or parchment between the layers. Keeps at room temperature for days, and can also be frozen for weeks.

    OM NOM NOM!

      Bready or Not Original: Chewy Filled Bars

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      Recent Poetry Publications

      Posted by on Aug 7, 2020 in anthology:poem, Blog | 0 comments

      I’ve had a bunch of poems released in the last month. If you have a spare few minutes and need to escape this dreadful world, perhaps give these a read!

      – “I Make Myself a Dragon,” The Book of Dragons
      “Great-Great Grandmother’s Recipe,” Polu Texni
      – “The Luck Eaters” (co-written with Rhonda Parrish) and “When the Company Pays,” Star*Line 43.3
      “The Way is Long and Fraught with Perils,” Polu Texni

      book of dragons

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      Bready or Not: Harvest Apple Challah

      Posted by on Aug 5, 2020 in apples, Blog, Bready or Not, breakfast, yeast bread | 0 comments

      Welcome autumn with this big beautiful Harvest Apple Challah, packed with fruit and spice.

      Bready or Not: Harvest Apple Challah

      This recipe might look intimidating, but let me assure you, it’s not. The cutting stage is supposed to be messy.

      Bready or Not: Harvest Apple Challah

      Take comfort that this is not a loaf that is supposed to look tidy. The end goal is rustic–and delicious.

      Bready or Not: Harvest Apple Challah

      Challah is an enriched dough. Eggs and honey add extra richness plus soft texture.

      Bready or Not: Harvest Apple Challah

      The final result is best served warm with an additional dollop or drizzle of honey. Use the good stuff here! I found that using the toaster oven for 5 to 7 minutes was about perfect for thick slices of bread.

      Bready or Not: Harvest Apple Challah

      I also found that this bread was great to freeze in slices. Pull out frozen pieces to thaw overnight, and breakfast is quick, convenient, and delicious the next morning!

      Bready or Not: Harvest Apple Challah

      Modified from a recipe at King Arthur Flour.

      Bready or Not: Harvest Apple Challah

      Bready or Not: Harvest Apple Challah

      This big round of rustic-looking sweet bread is laden with apple chunks and beautiful to behold--and eat! This kind of bread is traditionally served at Rosh Hashanah along with some honey, but it's so good, it's worth baking all year long. Modified from a King Arthur Flour recipe.
      Course: Bread, Breakfast, Snack
      Keyword: apple, yeast bread
      Author: Beth Cato

      Equipment

      • deep 9-inch round cake pan or casserole dish
      • bench knife
      • kitchen thermometer

      Ingredients

      Dough

      • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
      • 6 Tablespoons vegetable oil
      • 1/4 cup honey
      • 2 large eggs room temperature
      • 4 cups all-purpose flour
      • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
      • 1 Tablespoon instant yeast or active yeast

      Filling

      • 2 medium apples
      • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
      • 1/4 cup white sugar

      Topping

      • 1 large egg
      • coarse sugar optional
      • honey for serving optional

      Instructions

      Make the dough

      • Mix together the dough ingredients by hand or using a mixer with dough hook, until well-incorporated and not stiff. Place dough in a greased bowl to let rise about 2 hours, or until puffy; if poked with a finger, the dent in the dough should remain and not bounce back.
      • Prepare a deep round cake pan or casserole dish (at least 4 inches) by greasing thoroughly.
      • Also lightly grease a large stretch of counter top or table. Gently deflate dough and transfer to the surface, and flatten dough to an 8x10-inch rectangle.

      Prepare the filling

      • Core the apples but leave on the peels. Chop apples into chunks about 1/2 to 3/4-inch in size. Should equal about 3 cups total. Toss pieces in cinnamon and sugar.

      Assemble the bread

      • Spread half the apples in the center of the dough. Fold one short edge over the apples to cover them, and press down the edge to seal them inside.
      • Place the remaining apples on top of the existing apple-dough mound. Cover these apples with the other flap of dough, patting again to seal. It's okay if it is bulging and messy!
      • Use a bench knife or paring knife to cut the dough down the middle, long-ways. Then cut again along the long side, edge to edge, to create a series of broad, messy stacks of dough with apples overflowing onto the surface.
      • Start transferring pieces of dough and scattered apples into the prepared pan, forming a bottom layer, then keep stacking more dough and fruit on top until everything is in the pan.
      • Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise for another hour, until it is puffed again.
      • Preheat oven at 325-degrees, with a rack in the lower third of the oven.
      • Uncover the dough. Brush the top with an egg beaten with a tablespoon of water. If desired, sprinkle coarse sugar all over the top.
      • Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, until the top is deep brown. As the dough is so thick, if a kitchen thermometer is available, use it to test the middle; bread should be at least 190-degrees.
      • Set pan of bread on a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Carefully remove bread from pan.
      • Serve challah warm, ideally with extra honey drizzled on top. Store covered at room temperature up to 4 days. Bread can also be sliced and frozen.

      OM NOM NOM!

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        Bready or Not Original: Greek Yogurt Lemon Bundt Cake

        Posted by on Jul 29, 2020 in Blog, Bready or Not, breakfast, bundt, cake, lemon | 0 comments

        This Greek Yogurt Lemon Bundt Cake bakes up fluffy and light, with a fresh tang of lemon.

        Bready or Not Original: Greek Yogurt Lemon Bundt Cake

        I’m not going to lie: this cake is going to dirty a lot of dishes, including two large bowls. The extra work makes for delicious results, though.

        Bready or Not Original: Greek Yogurt Lemon Bundt Cake

        The texture of this cake is what makes it special. The Greek yogurt adds moisture, while the six eggs–with whites separated and beat to stiff peaks–adds a lot of loft.

        Bready or Not Original: Greek Yogurt Lemon Bundt Cake

        My batter bowl ended up being full to the top and tricky to mix. I was worried that my bundt pan would overflow during baking and kept an eye on it, but it ended up being fine. Even so–be wary of your own pan.

        Bready or Not Original: Greek Yogurt Lemon Bundt Cake

        The baked cake is fancy and simple all at once. This needs no glaze. A sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar makes the cake prettier without adding any heavy sweetness.

        Bready or Not Original: Greek Yogurt Lemon Bundt Cake

        This cake is great for travel, either sliced or whole, because there’s nothing about it that can melt or ooze. I imagine it freezes well in slices, too, but I didn’t try that with this particular cake.

        Bready or Not Original: Greek Yogurt Lemon Bundt Cake

        Bready or Not Original: Greek Yogurt Lemon Bundt Cake

        This big cake bakes up with a light, fluffy crumb thanks to stiff egg whites folded in with the rest of the batter. Sure, making this dirties a lot of dishes, but the end result is delicious! This is a great cake for travel, either whole or in slices, as it can neither melt or ooze.
        Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
        Keyword: bundt cake, lemon
        Author: Beth Cato

        Equipment

        • 10-cup minimum bundt pan or tube pan

        Ingredients

        • 3 cups cake flour or substitute 3 cups all-purpose flour with 6 Tablespoons removed
        • 1 teaspoon baking soda
        • 1/4 teaspoon salt
        • 6 large eggs room temperature, separated
        • 2 cups white sugar
        • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) room temperature
        • 2 medium lemons finely grated and juiced
        • 1 cup Greek yogurt plain or vanilla
        • confectioners' sugar optional, to dust over finished cake

        Instructions

        • Preheat oven at 350-degrees. Grease and flour the bundt or tube pan.
        • In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
        • In a large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly add in 1/2 cup of the white sugar and continue beating until stiff, glossy peaks form. Their mass will increase immensely.
        • In another large bowl, beat together the butter, remaining 1 1/2 cups white sugar, egg yolks, 1 Tablespoon lemon zest, and 3 Tablespoons lemon juice. If using electric mixer, beat on medium until everything is creamy and pale yellow, which takes about 3 to 5 minutes.
        • Add the dry mixture to the yolk bowl, alternating with the addition of the Greek yogurt, until both are incorporated. Gently fold in the egg whites; this will create an enormous amount of airy batter.
        • Pour and scoop into prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes; if the pan is full to the top, keep an eye on it in case it overflows. Cook until the middle passes the toothpick test. Let cool for 10 minutes, then invert cake onto a wire rack to completely cool.
        • Store beneath a cake dome or otherwise covered, at room temperature. Before serving, dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired.

        OM NOM NOM!

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