by Cynthia Chow & Winnie Archer
This week we are reviewing another fun food mystery by Winnie Archer, and we have a fun holiday recipe from Winnie as well. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
Bread Over Troubled Water: A Bread Shop Mystery By Winnie Archer
Review by Cynthia Chow
Ivy Culpepper’s to-do list is growing longer by the day, and it’s getting harder for her to decide what should take priority. Not only haven’t they finalized the menu or bread wall for Ivy’s engagement party to celebrate her upcoming nuptials to Miguel Baptista, they still haven’t even decided which of their respective dream homes to live in. Moving back home to Santa Sofia, California, had given Ivy the opportunity to pursue her career as a photographer while also helping out her pseudo-grandmother Olaya Solis in the Yeast of Eden bread shop, where their artisanal bakes have made it the community-gathering place. Ivy has even categorized their customers into those who drop in and go and those who hang out all day, of which Josh Prentiss has become the latter. Making it his de facto office as he charms and flirts with other customers, Josh seems to be irresistible to all. At least, that’s until Ivy’s rescue Pug Agatha sniffs out his body in a bed of poppies, dead from an apparent poisoning.
With accusations flying and protests quickly condemning Yeast of Eden for having provided killer bread, Ivy is not about to sit idly by and watch her loved ones’ suffer. That is especially crucial when Olaya’s sister Martina becomes a suspect, as she was one of many lured in by his online dating profile that promised much but ended up taking them for all they were worth. It seems that Josh had a habit of dating older women and conning them into making sketchy investments, which is why Ivy soon finds herself on MeetYourMate.com hoping to track down his heartbroken and now financially broke victims. It seems that Josh’s reputation as a financial whiz and fundraiser wasn’t as clean as everyone thought, with their high school football team taking one of the biggest hits. Love, money, or a combination of the both may have finally been enough for someone to take revenge and deal out a form of lethal justice.
This eighth in the series brings back familiar characters who have grown accustomed to Ivy’s amateur detecting, with even Police Captain Craig York resigned to the fact that she’s either a serial killer or an effective investigator at proving people innocent. Ivy’s bestie Sheriff Emmaline Baptista also helps out as long as Ivy keeps the law informed, as arresting her future sister-in-law would make for awkward family dinners. Having already hired at-risk women from her charitable Bread of Life mentoring program to work in the bread shop, Olaya finds herself far more challenged when extending that help closer to home. Her niece just lost both of her parents due a tragic accident, and now Olaya is attempting to raise a devastated fourteen-year-old girl. What makes Santa Sofia, and especially Yeast of Eden, so special is how they band together to help one another out, even if there are a few initial speed bumps along the way. An unexpected visit by a character from a mystery series written under the author’s other name, Melissa Bourbon, teases and may promise even more clever and witty fun in the future for readers who love food and fashionable reads.
Christmas Treats (Recipe Included)
By Winnie Archer
Christmas mornings in our house always include a yummy baked treat. Sometimes it’s cinnamon rolls. Sometimes it’s a baked French toast. And at other times, it’s something fruity, like Blueberry Cornmeal Cake. This is so tasty that I included it in Bread Over Troubled Water, book eight in my Bread Shop Mystery Series.
I have the added benefit of living near two blueberry farms, so when summer comes around and it’s blueberry season, you’ll find me picking away. I freeze gallon bags of the super fruit to use throughout the year. Sea Captain’s Inn Blueberry Strata is a favorite, blueberry pie and always a hit, and like I said, this Blueberry Cornmeal Cake is a keeper. We have a gluten-free household, so I always look for recipes that taste delicious using gluten-free flour. This cake does. One of my sons was home over Thanksgiving, and he devoured this cake, which he topped with fresh whipped cream. Yum.
We love to have sweet baked treats like this on weekend mornings, especially Christmas! What is your favorite brunch baked treat? If you have a link to a recipe, please share!
Thank you for joining me today, and whatever you are baking in the next few weeks, enjoy!
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 2 large eggs
• Zest from 2 lemons
• 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour or cup for cup gluten free flour
• 1/2 cup medium-grind yellow cornmeal
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2/3 cup buttermilk
• 1-1/2 cups cups fresh blueberries
• Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter or grease an 8-inch springform pan. You can also cut a parchment round to fit the bottom of the pan.
• Stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
• Cream sugar and butter using stand mixer or hand held mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add lemon zest.
• Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, alternating with buttermilk End with flour mixture.
• Pour batter into prepared cake pan. Sprinkle fresh blueberries on top.
• Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 40-50 minutes. The cake should starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and springs back when lightly pressed in the center with a fingertip.
• Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove cake from springform pan; serve warm or at room temperature.
My YouTube Channel: WriterSpark with Melissa Bourbon (author chats and more!)
Podbean: My podcast: WriterSpark Academy
To enter to win a copy of Bread Over Troubled Water, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “bread,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 31, 2022. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.