I’m waiting on fall. With temps at or above 80 degrees (even up to 90) I’m growing impatient. Hear that, Mother Nature? Baking pumpkin bread while wearing flip-flops is just wrong. Well, except for you who live down south. But here in New England? It’s not normal. Though, while I’m waiting on fall to arrive I can take a moment to review my pantry and make sure I’m well stocked.
There’s nothing more depressing than having a spur-of-the-moment urge to bake something and find that I’m missing one or two ingredients. Either I’d have to run out to the store or get excited about baking something else. And this fall, I don’t have the time for last-minute trips to the grocery store. Not with a book coming out and two manuscript deadlines back-to-back coming up real soon.
Okay, so here’s my list. Give it a look over and let me know if there is anything you have in your Fall Baking pantry that I’m missing. 🙂
Baking chocolate: unsweetened, bittersweet, milk chocolate, white chocolate
Nuts: almonds, pecans, walnuts
Canned pumpkin (many, many cans)
Now that the list is all taken care of, I thought I’d share a snippet of THREE WIDOWS AND A CORPSE, the third book in the Food Blogger Mystery series. While participating on a town scavenger hunt, food blogger Hope Early finds one thing not on her scavenger list – a dead body. And what follows with three women claiming to be the dead man’s wife has Hope smack in the middle of a murder investigation and possibly the next target of a vengeful murderer.
Hope and her team have arrived at the Avery Bistro with their hunt list in hand. While her team heads inside the restaurant, something catches Hope’s attention to the back of the parking lot and she’s drawn away from her team – Claire, Drew and Jane. What she finds is a very dead man.
* * *
He was laying on the asphalt with a large red stain spread out on his white shirt and his beady eyes were wide open but lifeless.
Her stomach clenched and a wave of dizziness threatened to knock her to the ground. She pressed her hand down firmer on the hood of the car and willed herself not to pass out.
“What are you looking at? We’re going to lose.” Drew came up behind Hope. He grabbed her shoulder. “Oh. My. God!”
“What’s going on with you two?” Claire reached Drew and tugged on his arm. “Come on. I thought you wanted to win this year?”
Hope’s mind raced with competing thoughts–she was going to be sick, the police had to be called, and Claire needed to be moved away from the body. The body. A roll of nausea nearly sent Hope heaving.
A bloodcurdling scream, which all of Jefferson had to have heard, jolted Hope. She swung around. It was Claire screaming. She’d discovered what Hope and Drew were looking at. She’d finally seen the body.
Jane came up to the three of them and gasped, grabbing ahold of Hope’s arm. “You’ve done it again. You’ve found another body.”
Debra Sennefelder is an avid reader who reads across a range of genres, but mystery fiction is her obsession. She’s the author of the Food Blogger Mystery series and the Resale Boutique Mystery series. Her interest in people and relationships is channeled into her novels against a backdrop of crime and mystery. Born and raised in New York City, where she majored in her hobby of fashion buying, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She’s worked in retail and publishing before becoming a full-time author. Her writing companion is her adorable and slightly spoiled Shih-Tzu, Connie.
I’m in the final stages of my Christmas cookie baking. Just a few more to bake and then I can package up the cookie tins and make my deliveries. 🙂 This past weekend the Cozy Mystery Crew held it’s first Virtual Cookie Exchange and I shared a recipe and also posted a few photos of my baking in progress and I had a request for this recipe so here it is.
I love biscotti. And there’s nothing like homemade biscotti. Nope. This cookie I dip into a pool of bittersweet chocolate and then when it’s hardened, I dip it into my coffee or tea and it’s heaven!!!
If you decide to make this recipe, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
*To roast almonds, position a rack int he center of the oven & preheat to 350 degrees. Spread almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet & roast for 8-10 minutes, shaking the pan 2 or 3 times. Keep an eye on the almonds, they can overcook quickly.
For the cookies:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixing bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt & cinnamon until blended. Add the butter and beat until well combined.
In a small bowl whisk together the almond extract & the eggs. At low-speed beat in the egg mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and stir in almonds.
Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface & divide into thirds. With lightly floured hands gently roll each third into a 10-inch long log.
Carefully place the logs onto baking sheets. I always use silicone sheets for lining my cokie sheets. Flatten each slightly with the heel of your hand to a width of 2½ inches.
Bake for 25 minutes, until the logs start to brown & bounce back when gently pressed with a finger. Set the cookie sheet on a wire rack & cool the logs for 10 minutes.
With a long metal spatula, carefully transfer the logs to a cutting surface. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the logs on the diagonal into equal thick slices. Place the biscotti, cut side down on a baking sheet.
Bake an additional 5 minutes on each side. Be careful not to overbake. Transfer the biscotti to wire racks and cool completely.
Coating biscotti in chocolate:
Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler.
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Dip one end of each biscotti into the melted chocolate. Place the biscotti onto the paper-lined sheet. Let the biscotti stand at room temp for one hour to set the chocolate. Store between layers of waxed paper in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Yields about 36 cookies depending on wide you slice them.
Last week while driving home along the hilly, curvy road I saw something that made me smile. I’m talking about a big, big smile. I spotted leaves turning!!! First, I’m thrilled to see another sign fall is on its way. Second, I’m excited that this year thanks to all the rain we’ll have a beautiful, colorful fall. I’m ready for sweaters, boots, and socks. And I’m ready to bake.
Chilly autumn weather is not that far away and it makes me want to get all cozy and bake. The last thing I want to do is to have to dash out to the grocery store because I’m missing one ingredient for the recipe I want to bake. I just want to tie on my apron and get baking.
Now is a great time to review my baking pantry and make sure I have everything on hand so when I make a spur-of-the-moment decision to whip something up I have everything I need on hand. This is where Hope Early, my fictional character and food blogger in THE UNINVITED CORPSE, are very much alike. I know she’d approve of my list.
Do you feel like summer is slipping away? Are you looking for a way to prolong it just a wee bit more? I’m not, but I know people like summer. And I think this variation to my White Chocolate Scones has a summery vibe to it – blueberries. When it was peak blueberry season, I had a bunch of blueberries for muffins and pancakes and cereal but I still ended up with leftover blueberries and I also had a yen for scones so I thought – substitute the raisins for blueberries. What’s the worse that could happen? Well, the answer to that question is me eating too many scones, that’s what.
When to scones came out of the oven I had a pretty good idea I made the right decision in tossing the blueberries into the batter. When they cooled just a bit and I took a bite – the brightness of the blueberries mingling with the melty-yumminess of the white chocolate chips – I knew I made the right decision. Heaven. And from my friends who I gifted some scones I’d heard the same feedback. These scones will be on a staple on baking list .
The scones come together quickly and easily, just be careful when combining the blueberries to the batter. This little extra love when mixing is well worth it when it comes time to eat one. 🙂
Ready for the recipe? I’ve made these scones a few times over the summer and I found that anywhere from 3/4 cup of blueberries to 1 cup of blueberries works, the more the better. 🙂
Place egg in a liquid measuring cup. Add enough buttermilk to equal 1 cup, set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in white chocolate chips and blueberries. Add milk and egg mixture. Stir until dough clings together.
Drop dough, use ¼ cup measure, onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
With an electric mixer set at medium speed, beat butter and sugar until fluffy and light in color. Beat in vanilla and egg until well combined. Reduce speed and beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.
Don't worry if the dough seems a little crumbly or dry. Work the dough gently with your hands to bring it together into a ball and then gently press down so it's flattened and easy to start forming balls.
Shape dough into approximately 1¼ inch balls (I use a tablespoon measure for this part). Then roll the ball into a log about 3 inches long and taper the ends.
Bend each log into a crescent shape (for uniform crescent shapes, use a donut cutter, gently shaping the log inside the cutter and remove the cookie cutter).
Place cookies about 2 inches apart on a prepared baking sheet (either with parchment or silicone baking sheet) and bake until the edges are set but still soft, about 10-13 minutes.
Carefully remove from the cookie sheet and immediately dredge in confectioners' sugar. If not handled carefully they will break. Let cool completely before dredging them a second time in confectioners' sugar so that they are completely coated.
Depending on how uniform in size the cookies are you can get two dozen cookies.