A Pearl for Your Fantasy

photo credit: the green gables via photopin cc

photo credit: the green gables via photopin cc

You’ve won a million dollars! Ever wonder what you’d do? Would you buy a sexy negligee or a Maserati? Take an island cruise? Make a loan to a favorite relative?

One of the questions authors are asked is, “Where do you get your ideas?” Well, by asking what if.

That million bucks (or quid or gold bars) that’s now yours–what else would happen? Every investment broker on the planet would call you. Empty hands would thrust toward you (it’s all fun and games until someone’s eye gets poked out). The one relative you can’t stand would demand the biggest handout (but you could flip him a finger communication. Go ahead. Hey, it’s your fantasy).

Take one thing, just one, and change it. That is the seed of world-building. The grit to the pearl. Take the world you know, plus one what if. What if I won that million? What if my job were perfect? What if people lived forever (including your in-laws)?

photo credit: seasonal wanderer via photopin cc

photo credit: seasonal wanderer via photopin cc

What one thing would you change? Let’s try—what if magic existed? Imagine cleaning with the snap of a finger, everything you want free! Wouldn’t life be grand?

Well, no. Remember, we only get to change one thing in our fantasy world. Basic human nature doesn’t change. People are still good and bad and just plain silly.

Should you invent language? Let’s take our magic example. Every culture has a way people get extra energy. Tea, coffee. Coke, both the legal and illegal kind. Kaffey’s been overdone (IMHO) but you’d need to name the substance people use to jolt up the magic. MagiCoke? Maybe that’s illegal too, so you’d have MagiCoke pushers. Assign a shorthand. Call them Mushers…or Pushcokers…well, maybe not. But you get the idea.

Take one thing, and change it. Like a pearl, your world will soon grow!

Let’s get to know each other! In my first year as a Magical Musings blogger, I’m exploring my 10 favorite things. This is number four.

What one thing would you change, and how would it affect your hero/heroine’s life?

SwedishCoffeeBreadA holiday gift for you!
Aunt Aina’s Swedish Coffee Bread

My husband’s family recipe. Every year we enjoy kneading, braiding, and smelling the buttery baked goodness of this holiday treat! Pretty enough to give as a gift. Tasty, especially warm from the oven with butter and coffee.


2 c. milk
1 c. butter
1 cake yeast or equivalent (I use just over a tsp of dry yeast)
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp salt (I cut this back a bit, especially with salted butter)
15-20 shelled cardamom seeds, or 1 tsp ground cardamom
7-8 c. flour

Preheat oven to 375º.

  1. Scald milk and cool to lukewarm.
  2. Make a sponge of ~2 c. flour, salt, yeast and milk. This should clean the bowl, not stick to it. Cover loosely and let double.
  3. Cream butter, egg, sugar and cardamom until fluffy.
  4. Add creamed mixture to risen sponge and work through until smooth.
  5. Add flour by ½ cupfuls until dough is smooth and no longer sticky.
  6. Divide dough for loaves. Two portions make larger loaves, eight portions are good for individual loaves as small gifts.
  7. Braid loaves and put on non-stick baking pans or sheets. Cover and rise until doubled in size.
  8. Bake at 375º until nicely browned on top.

Top can be brushed with egg white and sprinkled with sugar pearls prior to baking.

This recipe comes from Sweden and is very old. Consequently, I make some changes in deference to modern ingredients. For instance, with pasteurizing, I no longer scald the milk, but use the microwave to bring it to a temperature for adding yeast. 

A note on cardamom–it’s kind of hard to find. Generally a small container, a half ounce or so, is sufficient for a year’s holiday baking. I understand, although haven’t tried, that adding some cardamom to coffee grounds prior to perking makes a nice nutty addition to the coffee.

About Mary Hughes

Who am I? A lover of stories that crackle with action and love. A mother, a flutist, a binge-TV-watcher of NCIS, Sherlock, and Agents of SHIELD. Most of all, a believer in grand passion. Mary's online and would love to hear from you! Website http://www.maryhughesbooks.com/ Blog http://maryhughesbooks.blogspot.com/ Group Blog http://www.lustwithalaugh.com/ Group Blog http://magicalmusings.com/ Facebook http://www.facebook.com/MaryHughesAuthor Twitter http://www.twitter.com/MaryHughesBooks Newsletter signup http://www.maryhughesbooks.com/index.html#MHNewsletter
This entry was posted in Mary's Posts and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to A Pearl for Your Fantasy

  1. Thanks for the recipe, Mary! I love old recipes. And I’m lucky to live in a place where you can get cardamom anywhere. I love it.
    Michelle Diener`s last blog was …Winter Booklovers Contest

  2. Edie Ramer says:

    Lovely recipe. I found cardamom on Amazon. I wonder if Whole Foods or Sendik’s would have it. I think I might have this in my cupboard.

    If I could use magic for just one thing, it would be to stop people I know from suffering and feeling pain. At first I was thinking of stopping everyone from suffering, but maybe people need this to feel compassion? I’m not sure.

  3. Thanks for sharing a family recipe, Mary. Those are the best kind to me. And I love to bake, so I’m jotting this one down. 🙂 (I actually have cardamom in my cupboard.)
    Robin Bielman`s last blog was …I DID IT!

    • Mary Hughes says:

      Hi Robin,

      I’m so glad you like it! This is a nice alternate to the heavy chocolate and iced treats of the holiday season. It’s awesome warm from the oven or microwave with a pat of butter melting into a slice. It freezes okay, though in my opinion if it’s cold, it’s best dunked in coffee or hot chocolate. 🙂
      Mary Hughes`s last blog was …3 Great Lines You Won’t Want to Miss

  4. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Mary!

    Thanks for the recipe. I use cardamon a lot! One of my favorite coffee cakes is a cardamon cake with a layer of brown sugar and walnuts in the center. Love the blog topic too!
    Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Eyes to the Soul – up for pre-order

Comments are closed.