Posted in Recipe, Spotlight

Spotlight and Recipe for Dough or Die, A Bread Shop Mystery by Winnie Archer

Hembesha, East African Spiced Bread

Recipe credit, with permission, to Global Table Adventure ( recipe/eritrean-spiced-bread-hembesha-2/)

Makes one 12-inch hembesha


  • 11⁄2 cups all-purpose flour 1⁄2 cup whole wheat flour 2 tsp instant dry yeast
  • 1 tsp ground fenugreek 1 tsp ground coriander 1 tsp ground cardamom 1 tsp salt
  • 1–2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1⁄2 cup warm water (start with a little less) 1 large egg
  • Additional vegetable oil, for cooking


First, mix all ingredients, save the additional vegetable oil, together by hand or with a mixer. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth.

Cover and let rise in a warm spot for between 45 minutes and 1 hour, or until doubled in size. (Instant dry yeast works very quickly—but if you only have regular yeast this will take about 1 1⁄2 hours.)

Roll out dough to about 1⁄3-inch thickness and put it in an oiled, 12-inch oven-safe pan or skillet. I used a paella pan. A round pan is best, but placing the round dough on a large cookie sheet is fine, too.

Immediately cut with a pastry wheel (a pizza cutter will also work)—first cut in wedges like a pizza, then create concentric circles about an inch apart. If the dough pulls with the cutter, try cutting toward the center.

Be sure to cut 99–100% of the way through— this is the only way your cuts won’t “disappear” once baked.

Let rise 30–45 minutes—until puffed and doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350º F.

Brush with oil and bake 15–20 minutes. Allow to cool in pan.

NOTE: Eritreans also like to cook their hembesha on the stovetop. Try over medium-low (flipping once after 10 minutes). This works better with a heavy-bottom pan as it cooks more evenly.

Dough or Die (A Bread Shop Mystery)
by Winnie Archer

About Dough or Die

Dough or Die (A Bread Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Publisher: Kensington (August 25, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1496724410
ISBN-13: 978-1496724410
Digital ASIN: B082WQZBGF

Known for its mouthwatering traditional breads, the Yeast of Eden bakery has gained fame across Northern California’s coast. Now the shop is bound for Reality TV—but a murder may kill its reputation . . .

People come to the beach town of Santa Sofia as much for the healing properties of Yeast of Eden’s breads as for a vacation getaway. And now a cable food channel has selected the bakery as a featured culinary delight for a new show. Baking apprentice Ivy Culpepper is excited as the crew arrives, ready to capture all the ins and outs of the renowned bread shop. But instead they capture something much harder to stomach: the attempted murdered of the show’s cameraman just outside Yeast of Eden . . .

With no motive and no clues, and the town craving answers, it will be up to Ivy to sift through the evidence to find the truth. But she’ll have to move quickly before someone else is targeted or the wrong person gets the heat—and the business collapses like a deflated soufflé, right before her eyes.

About Winnie Archer

Winnie Archer is a middle school teacher by day and by night she’s the author of the Bread Shop Mystery series. Born in a beach town in California, she now lives in Colorado. She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with both yoga and chocolate, adores pumpkin spice lattes, is devoted to her five kids and husband, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams. Visit her online at Website .

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Recipe and Spotlight for Vangie Vale and the Larcenous Lava Cake, A Matchbaker Mystery by R. L. Syme

The core of the Matchbaker Series is that Vangie picks the “right” pastry for each person, based on who they are, what they like, and tries to match to them. Edward, an old friend of Vangie’s, is the Lava Cake in this book. And he has one recipe… she has another!


1 stick butter

8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate

1 tablespoon instant coffee

10 oz. confectioner’s sugar

2 eggs & 3 yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 oz. flour

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting


1 stick butter

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate (60% Scharffen Berger brand preferred)

10 oz. confectioner’s sugar

2 eggs & 3 yolks

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon maraschino cherry juice

4 oz. flour

Ice cream for serving

You can make the batter ahead of time and chill in the refrigerator until time to make, but you’ll want to bake these right before serving in order to get the molten center.

They bake the best in 6 oz. porcelain ramekins. I would butter them and then tap flour around on the insides, making sure to tap the ramekin upside-down to get out all of the excess flour. (Edward taught me to spray the cups with cooking spray, but I found they don’t come out quite as well.) Also, I would get some good, grippy tongs for removal, unless you have tight oven mitt gloves that allow you to grip the hot porcelain when it comes out. (Edward taught me to rubber-band paper towels onto the ends of the tongs, but I prefer to use my grippy oven mitt gloves. To each her own…)

Preheat the oven to 450 (Edward does 425 and bakes for 13 minutes, but I’m at 6000 feet in elevation and I had to up the heat and reduce the minutes, just a touch… if you’re at sea-level, I would do 425 for 13, though). Place your ramekins on a baking sheet, prepped and ready to bake.

Microwave the butter and chocolate together for about a minute, until the butter is soft. Then I would whisk them together (here is where you’d add the coffee granules if you were doing Edward’s version) until they’re incorporated.

Then you’ll want to whisk in the powdered sugar, and it will be a thicker, almost cake-y consistency. I typically let this sit for a minute or two before I add the eggs, just to make sure it’s not too hot.

Make sure to crack the eggs into a separate bowl so you’re not getting any bad eggs or shells into the expensive (if you’re using the right kind of) chocolate mixture. Whisk in the eggs, egg yolks, extract of choice (clearly, I prefer almond/cherry… Edward liked vanilla/coffee… but that’s his taste), and the cherry juice if you’re using it. Once all that is incorporated, stir in the flour slowly and the mixture is ready for the ramekins. If you’ve got four 6 oz. ramekins, the mixture can divide evenly among them (it puffs up a bit like souffle, but won’t rise like that, and it shouldn’t spill over the edges).

Bake at 425 for 14 minutes or at 450 for 12 minutes (again, remember my elevation issues). The first time you make these, you’ll want to test them for your elevation and oven. Everyone’s is a bit different. So it might take you one or two batches to really get it figured out—but it’s an excuse to make great desserts, in my opinion.

Again, a quick reminder: you’ll want to serve these warm. Put an individual plate on top of the individual ramekin and turn it over so the cake slides out of the ramekin. Be careful to do this over an easy-to-clean surface the first time you try it, because if the top of the cake sticks, the molten center will come out all over your plate and counter. It takes some practice to get this one right… I did three or four of them before I got it quite right. But eating the mistakes is half the fun of baking.

Edward would always powder-dust his with powdered sugar, but I prefer mine dark and with vanilla ice cream on the side, and a maraschino cherry on top. Obviously, I prefer mine my way, but I included them both so you could choose. I’d never presume to be able to guess which you’d like better, so why not have both options?

Hope you enjoy!

Vangie Vale and the Larcenous Lava Cake (The Matchbaker Mysteries)
by R.L. Syme

About Vangie Vale and the Larcenous Lava Cake

Vangie Vale and the Larcenous Lava Cake (The Matchbaker Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Publisher: Hummingbird Books (June 16, 2020)
Number of Pages: 240
Digital ASIN: B0878RT482

I never thought Edward would come back…

When the court case against my ex was finished, I thought we were finished, too. But it turns out, it was only the beginning.

The Larcenous Lava Cake is book four in The Matchbaker Mysteries, a new cozy culinary mystery series from USA Today Bestselling Author, R.L. Syme.

RECIPE INCLUDED: The Larcenous Lava Cake

About R. L. Syme

She is a writer of sleuths worth loving and villains worth hating. Lover of fancy cheese, binge-watching, strawberries, and hope. A foodie and baker of yummy delights, Becca grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries passed on by her grandmother. A Tweeter and Pinner of things.

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