Blogmas Day Two: Books & Baking – Blood Magick

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Hi, lovelies! I’m back for another edition of Books & Baking! For this latest edition, we’re going in the direction of adult romance with one of my favorite authors. An author I am sure will make another appearance on this blog feature, the ever wonderful, Nora Roberts. I started this trilogy (though it’s one I’ve read before) in October and I knew the third book would be perfect for Books & Baking.

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Book: Blood Magick by Nora Roberts

Read my full review here!

This series follows six characters as they attempt to win an age-old battle. This is the third and final installment in the Cousin’s O’Dwyer Trilogy that follows my favorite pairing, Branna and Fin. I would die for Finbar Burke and Branna is a lady I would wife the hell out of. Branna creates incredible things in this book. From food and desserts to handsoaps, candles, and lotions. These are my favorite characters of the six we get to know. With an Irish setting and a magical cast of characters, I really couldn’t ask for more.

“I’m so angry it feels my blood’s on fire. If I didn’t bank it with calm, I might burn the place to the ground.”

“Love can fade and die. I’ve seen it. It can grow and build as well. I think when it’s real and meant, it can only grow bigger and stronger.”

“We’re a superstitious breed, we Irish, and wise enough to build around a faerie hill without disturbing it, to leave a stone dance where it stands. And to keep back from a place where the dark still thrums.”

Baking: Ginger Biscuits 

Find the recipe here!

When I saw these mentioned in the book, I knew they had to be my next creation for Books & Baking because they were perfect to bring to my family as a Thanksgiving treat!

“After donning a white apron, she made her ginger biscuits first because it pleased her. While they cooled and their scent filled the air, she gathered what she needed to make the candle sets on the new list Eileen had given her.”

Ingredients

Plain flour
Ground ginger
Baking soda
Ground cinnamon
Ground cloves
Salt
Margarine or butter, softened
White sugar
One egg
Water
Molasses or golden syrup
White sugar (for rolling)

Instructions

Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Mix flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt, then set aside. Combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, then water and molasses. Add the dry ingredients a little at a time, letting each addition combine fully before adding more.

Form dough into one in balls, then roll in sugar to coat. Bake eight to ten minutes, then cool.

I will admit that I sampled more than a few before packing them up to bring with me to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. My husband had some too. Honestly, between the two of us we probably ate a whole batch. So, I’m glad this recipe made more than enough for us to sample and still share for the holiday. I thought they were delicious. I might even make them again when I start my Christmas baking.

Do these sounds yummy or what? Feel free to try them out and let me know what you think! The recipe was fairly easy too!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Books & Baking – The Night Circus

Hellllllo, lovelies! I’m back today for another round of Books & Baking. For this edition, I’ve chosen the book The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It was one of the first recipes I found when searching for ideas for this new blog feature, but it’s a relatively complicated recipe. So, I tried a few other ideas first. Check out the first two installments of Books & Baking here: House of Salt and Sorrows Heartless

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Book: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Read my full review here!

This story takes place over many, many years which was something I really enjoyed. Our two main characters, Celia and Marco,  were ones that I completely fell in love with. Celia grew so much throughout the book. She was caring and clever and I adored her. Marco had me going back and forth with my feelings. I didn’t always like the choices he made. But ended up really liking him once he and Celia finally met. I also really liked how developed some of the supporting characters was. This book is atmospheric and mysterious. Morgenstern is an incredible writer and this is a must-read.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong being a dreamer.”

“Life takes us to unexpected places sometimes. The future is never set in stone, remember that.”

“Good and evil are a great deal more complex than a princess and a dragon . . . is not the dragon the hero of his own story?”

“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.”

“Secrets have power. And that power diminishes when they are shared, so they are best kept and kept well. Sharing secrets, real secrets, important ones, with even one other person, will change them. Writing them down is worse, because who can tell how many eyes might see them inscribed on paper, no matter how careful you might be with it. So it’s really best to keep your secrets when you have them, for their own good, as well as yours.”

Baking: Darkness to Light Cake  

Find the recipe here!

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For this installment,  I went with a cake that had Night Circus vibes as a whole rather than something that was actually mentioned in the book.

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.”

As I said above, this was a pretty complicated recipe. There are three different kinds of cake, frosting, and chocolate ganache. So, stick with me for the instructions!

White Cake Ingredients

Cake flour
Baking powder
Salt
Unsalted, softened butter
Sugar
Vanilla extract
Whole milk
Eggs whites

Caramel Cake Ingredients

Sugar
Water
All-purpose flour
Baking powder
Salt
Unsalted, softened butter
Egg
Whole Milk

Chocolate Cake Ingredients

All-purpose flour
Unsweetened cocoa powder
Baking soda
Baking powder
Salt
Unsalted, softened butter
Light brown sugar
Sugar
Eggs
Vanilla extract
61% Semisweet chocolate, melted
72% Bittersweet chocolate, melted
Whole milk
Water

Caramel Buttercream Ingredients

Unsalted, softened butter
Confectioners sugar, sifted
Vanilla extract
Caramel syrup (from cake recipe)

Chocolate Ganache Ingredients

61% Semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
72% Bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Heavy cream
Corn syrup

White Cake Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease cake pan. Mix cake flour, baking powder, and salt, then set aside. Combine butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Mix milk and vanilla extract. Add flour mix and milk mix to the butter mix, alternating each time, starting and ending with the flour mix. Mix fully before adding the next addition. Whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into the batter. Pour mixture into the greased baking dish and bake 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Caramel Cake Instructions

Start by making caramel syrup. Mix 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water into a pan on the stove. Cook on medium heat until sugar melts and the mixture comes to boil. Let syrup boil until it turns dark golden, then remove from heat and add another 1/2 cup boiling water. Let syrup cool before using.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease baking dish. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt then set aside. Combine remaining sugar and butter, beat until light and fluffy. Slowly pour in about 3 tablespoons of caramel syrup, letting each incorporate fully before adding the next. Add in the egg and beat until combined. Add flour mix and milk mix to the butter mix, alternating each time, starting and ending with the flour mix. Pour batter into the baking dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Chocolate Cake Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the baking dish. Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside. Combine sugars and butter and beat until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and beat until combined. Add in the vanilla and beat until combined. Pour in both melted chocolates and beat until combined. Add flour mix and milk mix to the butter mix, alternating each time, starting and ending with the flour mix. Add in a 1/4 cup boiling water and beat until combined. Pour batter into the baking dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Caramel Buttercream Instructions

Start with the butter, beat until soft and creamy. Add 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar at a time, fully incorporating before adding the next half cup. Add in vanilla extract and caramel syrup, mix until fully combined.

Chocolate Ganache Instructions

Do this after assembling the cake.
Place finely chopped chocolates in a bowl. Combine corn syrup and heavy cream in a pan on the stove and bring to a boil. Then, pour over chocolates, let sit for a moment, then stir to combine into a glaze. Let cool slightly.

Assembly Instructions

Level each cake layer so they are all flat and even sized. Place chocolate layer on the bottom. Spread a layer of caramel buttercream on top. Add caramel cake on top of the buttercream, then spread another layer of caramel buttercream on top. Add the final layer of white cake. If enough caramel buttercream is left, you may frost the rest of the cake with it. Or continue with the chocolate ganache. Pour the ganache on top of the cake. Use a spatula to guide the chocolate, but don’t spread with it or it may ruin the shiny the finish. Let sit to set at room temperature before serving the cake.

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I went a step further and added some white, vanilla icing around the sides to add a bit of black/white element to the outside of the cake. The original recipe suggested white chocolate plaques, but that was a bit out of my skillset so I went with some easier icing.

The verdict on this cake was decided to be absolutely delicious by myself and my husband. My daughter even tried some and liked it too. I would suggest making this for more than two adults and a one-year-old though, it was hard to finish it in a timely fashion. Regardless, the cake was super good and fun to make.

Is this a recipe you would attempt? Let me know in the comments if you try to make it!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twelve: Books & Baking – Heartless

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Hi, lovelies! I’m back for round two of the newest blog feature here at Classy x Book Reviews: Books & Baking. This edition we will be focusing on the book Heartless by Marissa Meyer.

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Book: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Read my full review here!

I listened to this one on audio. It was actually a reread for me as well. I still really enjoyed it. The narrator, as I mention in my review, is my all-time favorite. Rebecca Soler is just an incredible audiobook narrator. The story itself is a fun time with whimsy and nonsense until it finds it’s way to a darker ending. I think getting a prequel for the Queen of Hearts really was a great way to instill some humanity and sympathy to the character.

“It is a dangerous thing to unbelieve something only because it frightens you.”

“When pleased, I beat like a drum. When sad, I break like glass. Once stolen, I can never be taken back. What am I?”

“It is a dangerous thing to unbelieve something only because it frightens you.”

Baking: Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater Chocolate Bars

I found this fabulous graphic when I was searching for things that Cath made in this book. I was beyond excited that Marissa Meyer (or her marketing team) made this one so easy for me.

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This recipe was fairly easy to make as long as you make sure to have all the ingredients. It also tastes delicious if I do say so myself. I think the final product turned out about as well as I expected. I have some pictures below!

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These are the perfect recipe for the fall. My husband even said, “They’re alright.” Which is a huge compliment because he basically detests anything pumpkin flavored. The chocolate chips make them a little sweet and the chopped pecans give it a bit of a crunch. I think these are the perfect November treat.

Are these a desert you might make? Let me know if you try it and what you thought!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Blogtober Day Four: Books & Baking – House of Salt and Sorrows

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Hi, lovelies! Today I am here to share my first post of the newest blog feature here at Classy x Book Reviews! We’ve titled it Books & Baking. Basically what this new feature is baking (or cooking sometimes) things that are inspired by the books we read. For this first post, I have baked something that was directly mentioned in the story, but sometimes we will just make things that are inspired by the story. Not all books mention food and we don’t want to limit ourselves to books that directly mention or talk about food. So, now that we have the business out of the way, let’s get down to the first part of this post.

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Book: House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Read my full review here!

I had so much fun buddy reading this book with my fellow Capricorn moon signs for Zodiacathon. I love the setting, the world, and the characters. It was such an atmospheric experience. The perfect read for the spooky season. It was creepy and mysterious, there was suspense on every page. I highly recommend this book for so many reasons. I’m going to share a few of my favorite quotes before getting into the baking half of this post.

“We are born of salt and starlight.”

“We’re not going anywhere. We’re the People of the Salt. We’re tied to this land, to these seas. Fire cannot force us to retreat.”

“The High Mariner says Pontus created our islands and the people on them. He scooped salt from the ocean tides for strength. Into that was mixed the cunning of a bull shark and the beauty of the moon jellyfish. He added the seahorse’s fidelity and the curiosity of a porpoise. When his creation was molded just so-two arms, two legs, a head, and a heart-Pontus breathed some of his own life into it, making the first People of the Salt. So when we die, we can’t be buried in the ground. We slip back into the water and are home.”

Baking: Glazed Almond Cookies

Now, these cookies were a part of the many delicious sounding treats that Annaleigh sampled at the Churning festival. These were the most realistic for me to bake, also some of the other things don’t exist.

“We stuffed ourselves with treats from street vendors. Spun sugar sea glass, glazed almond cookies shaped like sand dollars, roasted corn, and bowls of thick clam chowder were offered on every corner, along with more exotic fare: red frog crabs and whelks, jellyfish jerky and sea urchins.”

If you feel like you want to make these delicious cookies too, here’s the link to the recipe I  used!

Ingredients:

Softened, salted butter
Granulated sugar
Egg
Almond extract
All-purpose flour
Baking Powder
Salt
Chopped sliced almonds
Orange zest

Icing Ingredients:

Confectioners’ sugar
Milk
Almond extract

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix the butter, sugar, egg, and almond extract until the mixture is creamy with no lumps. Next, in a new bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually mix the butter-sugar into the new bowl. Then stir in the chopped almonds and orange zest. Place on parchment paper over a cookie sheet in tablespoons. Bake for ten minutes then cool.

Icing Instructions:

Combine all three ingredients until smooth.

Assembly

Drizzle icing over cookies once cool and top with a dash of orange zest. Then enjoy!

 I love baking, so trying something new like these almond cookies was super fun! And now my family has dessert for the next few days! I think they turned out pretty well if I do say so myself. I’ve added a photo so you can all take a look at my final product!

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What did you think of the first installment of our new Books & Baking feature? Let me know if you decide to make these too. Feel free to give me any feedback you might have to make this new blog feature the best it can be! Thoughts and opinions are entirely welcome.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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