Today I'd like to welcome Beth Cato, author of the Blood of Earth trilogy, to my blog. She's going to talk a little more about her recent release and provide a recipe for mocha shortbread. I've had that mocha shortbread, and it's absolutely delicious. Whip up a batch, make some coffee or tea, and sit down with her latest book. I guarantee it'll make your day.
I'm Beth Cato, the author of two steampunk fantasy series with Harper Voyager. The second book in my Blood of Earth Trilogy is Call of Fire, and it's out on August 15th. These books feature a 1906 America that is allied with Japan as a world power, and in the process of dominating mainland Asia.
My heroine, Ingrid Carmichael, has spent much of her young life working as a secretary, housekeeper, and cook, all while hiding her powerful earth magic. I do a fair share of cooking myself--I run a food blog called Bready or Not. Every Wednesday at BethCato.com, I post a new recipe. I'm most famous/infamous for my cookies, which I'm known for bringing to conventions and signing events.
This recipe for Mocha Shortbread creates tender yet firm bars that combine all the best of buttery shortbread, mocha, and espresso. You can either keep the chocolate in chip form or melt it into the dough--either way is delicious!
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (either kept whole, or melt in microwave to blend into dough; the latter ships well, even in summer heat)
Prepare a 9x13 baking pan with foil or parchment, and apply nonstick spray. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, beat softened butter with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy and pale, about 5 minutes. Gradually add sugar, beating until mixture is very light, about 2 minutes, then stir in the vanilla extract and espresso powder. Mix about one more minute until it's smooth.
Slowly pour in the flour mixture and mix until it just comes together. Add in the chocolate (either in chips or melted). Press dough evenly into the prepared pan. Press plastic wrap over the top and use that to smooth the dough with your hands or a spatula. Refrigerate until the dough is firm, at least an hour and up to a day.
Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Leaving the dough in the pan, use a knife to slash the dough into small rectangles and then use a fork or chopstick to poke holes in top of each bar.
Bake until set, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes, then re-cut bars. Let it cool completely then use the foil or parchment to lift out the shortbread and separate bars. Store covered for as long as two weeks.
Original post can be found at:
More about Call of Fire:
At the end of Breath of Earth, Ingrid Carmichael had barely survived the earthquake that devastated San Francisco and almost crippled her with an influx of geomantic energy. With her friends Cy, Lee, and Fenris, she flees north, keenly aware that they are being pursued by Ambassador Blum, a cunning and dangerous woman who wants to use Ingrid's abilities as the magical means to a devastating end.
Ingrid's goals are simple: avoid capture that would cause her to be used as a weapon by the combined forces of the United States and Japan in their war against China, and find out more about the god-like powers she inherited from her estranged father. Most of all, she must avoid seismically active places. She doesn't know what an intake of power will do to her body--or what damage she may unwillingly create.
A brief stopover in Portland turns disastrous when Lee and Fenris are kidnapped. To find and save her friends, Ingrid must ally with one of the most powerful and mysterious figures in the world: Ambassador Theodore Roosevelt.
Their journey together takes them north to Seattle, where Mount Rainier looms over the city. And Ingrid is all too aware that she may prove to be the fuse to alight both the long-dormant volcano...and a war that will sweep the world.
Nebula-nominated Beth Cato is the author of the Clockwork Dagger duology and the new Blood of Earth Trilogy from Harper Voyager. Her newest novel is CALL OF FIRE. She’s a Hanford, California native transplanted to the Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, son, and requisite cat. Follow her at BethCato.com and on Twitter at @BethCato.
I write fantasy, horror, and science fiction. I attended the Odyssey Writing Workshop in 2007, and I belong to an online writing community called Codex. I'm not ashamed to admit I'm addicted to coffee and chocolate.