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Baking & Book-Stuff

Welcome! You're here because you subscribe to my Newsletter. 

Every Newsletter, I'll be posting a recipe inspired by a scene/character/setting in my debut novel, Mischief & Matchmaking, coming 2024 from Avon Books.

Thank you for subscribing to my Newsletter. I hope we can enjoy delicious treats and books for many recipes to come!

March 2023

Mrs. Gilpe's GF Drop Scones
(with some help from King Arthur Flour)

Gwen’s housekeeper, Mrs. Gilpe, famously makes amazing scones. They’re light, fluffy, delicate, and delicious. And I think she’d be very impressed with King Arthur Flour’s gluten-free drop scone recipe.

Mrs. Gilpe’s a strict task-master, but she likes to experiment in the kitchen, and enjoys a good flour fight as much as the next person (though she’d never waste gluten free flour; it’s too precious). 

I made these last night and was thoroughly impressed. I’ve adjusted the receipe a little bit based on my own method, but the link above will take you to the official King Arthur method if you want to do it perfectly. 

Ingredients:


2 3/4 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 TSP salt
1 TBSP baking powder
8 TBSP cold unsalted butter
1 or 2 cups mix-ins (nuts, fruit, chocolate chips)
2 large eggs
2 TSP Vanilla Extract, or other flavoring
3/4 cup half-and-half or milk

Optional Topping:
2 teaspoons milk
2 TBSP coarse sugar

Method:

Whisk together dry ingredients
Rub in cold butter (as close to freezing as you can stand) until coarse mix
Add any mix-ins

Whisk together wet ingredients
Slowly combine wet and dry ingredients until a slightly sticky dough forms
*you may need to add a TBSP or two extra milk/half-and-half

Prepare a baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper
Using an ice cream scoop, scoop dough onto baking sheet

Bake at 375 Degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.

Enjoy with butter, jam, clotted cream, or plain. They’re delicious!

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January 2023

A First Draft Victoria Sponge

 

I think Beth and Gwen would be proud of my collapsed, bumpy Victoria Sponge. I think they’d say it’s the taste that counts, not the appearance. And I think they’d try it again if I made another attempt.

 

At least that’s what I’m telling myself. 

 

To celebrate finishing my first (messy, trash, no-one-else-can-see-this) draft of Book 2, I decided to try my hand at that Victorian classic, the Victoria Sandwich Cake. And it came out…roughly as messy as my first draft did. I didn’t have strawberries, so I made blueberry jam. Everything I make is gluten free, so I used gluten free flour. And I think I either didn’t bake or didn’t cool the cakes for quite long enough, because they promptly cracked when I tried to assemble the sandwich and looked, well, a bit ragged.

 

Still, they tasted excellent. All the right stuff was there, just like I know the right stuff is there in my draft. Both the cake and the draft just need some…revision.

 

But Beth and Gwen would be proud, and that’s what counts.

Ingredients:

 

Victoria Sponge:

2 Cups GF Flour

2 Cups Sugar

2 Cups (2 sticks) Butter

4 TSP Baking Powder

4 Eggs

 

*will fill two 9” circular cake pans.

 

Jam:

1 Cup Blueberries

½ Cup Sugar

Splash Water

 

Method:

*Contestants on the Great British Bake Off are contentious about the all-in-one or cream methods. I’ve gone with the all-in-one. It worked…okay. Might try creaming the butter and sugar first next time.

 

Victoria Sponge:

Prepare two 9” cake pans with parchment paper.

 

In a stand mixer combined all of the ingredients. 

Mix on low, increasing speed to medium to create a paste-like dough. 

Spoon evenly into the pans. 

Spread to the edges.

 

Bake at 350 Degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes. 

 

Jam:

Over medium heat, mix blueberries, sugar, and water together, and let simmer until blueberries have broken down.

 

Strain out the blueberry solids.

Return to heat and let thicken for 1-5 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Cool completely. 

 

Assemble:

Once fully cooled, remove the cakes from the tins.

Spread jam over one cake.

Sandwich the other cake on top.

 

*Traditional finish is to dust with icing sugar.

**You can also add a layer of whipped cream over the Jam in the middle of the sandwich. 

 

*I frosted with a simple butter cream.

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December 2022

Beth’s Lopsided Holiday Spiced Marzipan Snowmen

 

If Beth Demeroven decided to bake a holiday treat, she would absolutely go for something fiddly. She’d have grand delusions of perfection, and a very particular outcome in mind.

 

And they’d probably turn out much like mine did—more of an abstract idea of a snowman than the pretty, perfect white-chocolate coated vision I had in mind. But Beth and I are ultimately all about the taste, and these, well, they’re DELICIOUS.

 

Ingredients:

 

¾ cup + 1.5 TBSP Almond Flour

8-10 TBSP Powdered Sugar + excess for dusting

1 ½ TBSP cooled Coffee

1 TBSP Pumpkin Pie Spice (or Apple Pie Spice)

¾ bag White Chocolate Chips

 

*Makes roughly 12 snowmen

 

Method:

 

Place Almond Flour, Powdered Sugar, and Spices into a food processor. 

Blitz until combined.

Turn processor on to low, then drizzle in Coffee.

Let run until the mixture forms a shaggy ball.

(You may need to add a little more liquid if 1.5 TBSP isn’t quite enough)

 

Dust clean surface with more Powdered Sugar. 

Place shaggy marzipan dough onto powdered surface and knead for 30 seconds to 2 minutes until it becomes a pliable dough (it shouldn’t be sticky). 

 

Break off chunks of the dough to roll into balls in three sizes (base, body, and head of your snowmen). This recipe yielded about 12 snowmen for me. 

 

Let Marzipan balls sit for 10-20 minutes to harden slightly. 

 

In that time, over simmering water, melt White Chocolate Chips in a heat-proof bowl until fully melted. 

(You may add 1 TSP of coconut or neutral oil if you want, I like mine thick so just melted the chocolate)

 

Once melted, using a toothpick (or your dipper of choice), dip all of the balls to coat in the white chocolate (creating little marzipan truffles).

 

Construction is dealer’s choice:

 

For smoother snowmen, stack the Marzipan Truffles while still wet (you may want to spear them through with a toothpick to keep them standing until they set). 

 

For more sturdy snowmen, let the Marzipan Truffles set, and then reheat White Chocolate to stick the truffles together to form your snowmen. 

 

If they’re not perfect on the first try, don’t worry, they’ll still be delicious holiday treats!

Beth and I salute all your baking efforts!

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November 2022

Gwen's Favorite Pistachio Macarons

Ingredients:

 

Macarons:

3 Egg Whites

1 1/2 Cup Pistachio Flour/Almond Flour (50/50 mix)

1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar

1 Cup Powdered Sugar

1 TSP Vanilla Extract

1/4 TSP Cream of Tartar

 

Buttercream:

1 Stick Butter

2 Cups Powdered Sugar

1 TBSP Vanilla Extract

1 TBSP Whipping Cream

Dash Lavender Extract

 

Method:

 

Macarons:

Sift Pistachio/Almond Flour and Powdered Sugar into a bowl.

 

Whisk Egg Whites to foaming.

Add Cream of Tartar to Eggs.

Slowly whisk in Granulated Sugar (1 spoonful at a time) until fully combined.

Whisk until Stiff Peaks form.

Add Vanilla, whisk until combined.

 

Once Stiff Peaks have formed, slowly fold in 1/3 dry ingredients until combined. Slowly fold in remaining 2/3rds, until the mixture looks like lava. 

 

Pipe into 1-inch rounds on a silpat or parchment paper.

Knock baking tray against counter to release air bubbles.

Let Macarons sit for 1 hour or until tacky to the touch.

 

Bake at 300 Degrees Fahrenheit for 12-15 minutes, turning tray halfway.

Allow to fully cool.

 

Buttercream:

Beat 1 Stick of room-temperature Butter.

Slowly add in Powdered Sugar until combined and slightly fluffy. 

Add in 1 TBSP of Whipping Cream and beat until fluffier. 

Add in Vanilla Extract and Lavender Extract.

 

Pipe Buttercream onto one half of each macaron, and then sandwich cookies together. 

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