The Clockwork Kitchen: Cooking the Books with Beth Cato

If trapped aboard an airship, with only a tin of cinnamon, a pinch of yeast, and a bag of somewhat questionable flour, our heroine, author Beth Cato would unquestionably come up with delicious baked goods in time to destroy her enemies. We are certain of that.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | The Poisoned Pen | Changing Hands | Mysterious Galaxy | Powell’s

Cooking the Books is delighted to welcome Beth on the day her book, The Clockwork Dagger, debuts!

(You can read the first chapter of The Clockwork Dagger at

Beth joins us to talk about the research that went into the book, especially regarding food, politics, transport, medicine, and gremlins.

Thanks to Beth, you can score the very ARC written by Beth that was then gently read by us in preparation for this interview. This ARC is experienced, in good condition, and comes with your very own Cooking the Books Con Ribbon as a bookmark. (Yep, we’re making you read to the end for the entry terms. We were not born yesterday.)

So! Grab your goggles and your traveling-case, adventurers! And bring a good appetite, because Beth’s shared her recipe for maple fudge, as well as the story behind that fudge’s connection with The Clockwork Dagger.

Everyone armed with their weapon of choice?

The ingredients for podcast #004 – Cooking the Books with Beth Cato include:

  • 1 gremlin, not for eating
  • a large block of ice
  • several types of cheese
  • handfuls of hot pepper, dried and finely ground
  • a sack of powerful herbs, all sorts
  • surprises around every corner, heapings of derring-do
  • 100% very smart heroine, also not for eating
  • and a message from the Holy Taco Church

small-ctb-logo-with-text-copyStick around after the podcast for Beth’s Maple Fudge recipe and contest entry rules, below!

Our thanks this month to John DeNardo, Paul Weimer, and SF Signal for their support and ongoing sense of humor about the mess we’ve left in their kitchen. We’re sure the scorch marks will come out eventually.

Subscribe to the Podcast here! Or click play below:

Podcast #004: The Clockwork Kitchen: Cooking the Books with Beth Cato

Maple Ginger Fudge from Beth’s cooking blog, Bready or Not

  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz) butter
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk (small can)
  • 10 oz white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons maple flavor
  • 7 oz marshmallow cream
  • 4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup candied ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped


  1. Prepare a pan: 9×9 if you want it thick, or 13×9 if you want it thin. Line pan with aluminum foil and apply nonstick cooking spray. Measure out of the other ingredients so they are staged and ready to go.
  2. In a larger saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, and evaporated milk. Cook at medium-high heat and stir until the butter and sugar melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture boils.
  3. Keep the candy at a rolling boil, stirring constantly, for five minutes. (If you have a candy thermometer and want to use it, you will be cooking the candy to soft-ball stage, 240 degrees.)
  4. After five minutes, take the pot off the burner and immediately add the white chocolate chips. Stir until they are melted and smooth. Work fast so that everything stays hot.
  5. Quickly add the marshmallow cream, maple flavor, vanilla, ground ginger, salt, pecans, and chopped candied ginger, and stir. Once the marshmallow cream has melted and all of the ingredients are incorporated, pour the fudge into the prepared pan. Smooth out the top; an offset spatula works well.
  6. Allow the fudge to set at room temperature for several hours. Once set, lift it out of the pan using the foil as handles. Use a large, sharp knife to cut the fudge into small one-inch pieces.

About this recipe, Beth says: “OM NOM NOM.”

Clockwork Dagger Giveaway Rules

How to win a copy of The Clockwork Dagger Arc and a Cooking the Books ribbon – it’s mostly simple. We’ll get the hard bit out of the way first:

  • US or Canada only. (Hate this, but until Cooking the Books has a patron or its own airship, we’re pulling the mailing money from the car seats and can’t make international postage).
  • To win: Comment below with your favorite fudge flavor, then post this Cooking the Books tweet (told you it was mostly simple!): “Over at #cookingthebooks author @bethcato talks food and adventure!”

A winner will be chosen at random at 3pm EST on Friday, September 19 and tweeted as well as named here. If we don’t hear back from you by Monday, we’ll post another winner.


Addenda: I still can’t bring to mind the ice book I mentioned in the interview. If you are the person who told me about it, I am interested in remembering! Meantime, here are several other items: A Brief History of Ice (on the Daily Kos). and Thomas Masters’ 1844 The Ice Book: Being a Compendious and Concise History of Everything Connected with Ice.

Author Beth Cato (Photo credit: Corey Ralston Photography)

Beth Cato hails from Hanford, California, but currently writes and bakes cookies in a lair west of Phoenix, Arizona. She shares the household with a hockey-loving husband, a numbers-obsessed son, and a cat the size of a canned ham.

Beth’s short fiction can be found in Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and many other magazines. The Clockwork Dagger is her first novel. The sequel, The Clockwork Crown, will be released in 2015.

Follow her at and on Twitter at @BethCato.

Read and listen to more Cooking the Books!


  1. My favorite fudge flavor is the one I’m currently eating. Failing that, chocolate with nuts. Hazelnuts top the list, but almonds, pecans, walnuts…it’s all good. I tweeted about this post *before I even read it*, but will go forth and do it again. The books sounds yummy, and now I want fudge.

  2. I am now ENTIRELY DETERMINED to get this comment to post successfully, so I’m trying from Chrome instead of Firefox. Will it work? The small gods of WordPress only know… What does one sacrifice to them, anyway?

    My favorite fudge flavor is the one I’m currently eating. Failing that, chocolate with nuts. Hazelnuts top the list, but almonds, pecans, walnuts… it’s all good. I tweeted about this post *before I even read it*, but will go forth and do it again. The books sounds yummy, and now I want fudge.

    • It’s so tempting to leave all of the comments posted, because there are a few of them, but now that I’ve rescued you from comment purgatory, I’m just going to keep these two because they’re my favorite.

  3. Favorite fudge flavor.

    I don’t get to eat a lot of fudge–since my lack of baking skills is legendary. I can feed myself cooking, but trying to make baked goods leads to disaster. Over and over.

    Anyway, my favorite fudge, from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, was a delicious semi sweet double chocolate fudge. it provided fuel and deliciousness the last time I was up in Duluth (there is a store down in Canal Park)

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