Saturday, April 16, 2011

Fauxpresso Nite [Book Group Ideas] [My Real Life] [Giveaway}

Hey gang.  I'm trying to bring a little more of my real life to I Heart Monster.  So, I started with our IHM office makeover.  Now, I'm bringing you some bookish real life fun.

So a group of my friends and I have a book group.  It's creatively titled "Our Book Group."  We read one YA title per month.  I'm sure if you're a regular reader you've seen some allusions to the meeting in some of my past reviews.  This month, we started what I hope is a new tradition.  We all brought foods themed with the book.  Now, we usually bring food and moderately pig out, but this was our first themed night.

This month's book was The Espressologist by Kristina Springer (review to follow soon).  So, since none of us drink coffee, we put together our Fauxpresso Nite.  As you can see from the sign below, Fauxpresso is in.

First on the menu was Rose Vanilla Iced Cacao from Wildroot Botanicals, which I ordered because they offered a Heartsy (like Groupon for Etsy).  We made the hot cacao, then let it cool, then iced it and added whipped cream to the top.  It was an adventure, and some of us liked it and some of us didn't.  To quote one of us, "It's like drinking a rose."  Which, you either like, or you don't.

Then, we made regular hot chocolate, and added all kinds of goodies to it including whipped cream, caramel sauce, hazelnut creamer, cinnamon creamer, and to top it off, shaved chili chocolate from Lindt.  We even had a barista.

These two drinks wouldn't even have been as cool if not for our awesome Venti cups from Starbucks which they generously donated to our cause.  ♥  Thanks, Starbucks.  You totally rock for ringing up 8 waters and giving me 8 cups, lids, and straws.  This wouldn't have been nearly as cool without you.
After the drinks, we had a coffee-less Tiramisu.  That was made just like regular Tiramisu, but with Kahlua-flavored sugar-free syrup instead of the liqueur or espresso.  (recipe at the bottom)

Peanut Butter muffins, which were totally yummers. ---->

Donuts.  My favoritest donuts ever.  They were from an Arizona-only grocery store called Bashas' and I totally ate that chocolate creme filled one there in the middle.
This amazing coffee cake. (recipe at bottom).

We also had Blueberry Vanilla Goat Cheese from Trader Joe's with crusty bread as a not-so-sweet treat.

Overall, we had a great night, and we all ended up loving the book and we had to eventually move the discussion away from this delectable table so that we didn't absolutely gorge ourselves.  Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed this post and a little glimpse into my real life!  First three people to email will win a signed The Espressologist bookmark from Kristina Springer.

Coffee-Less Tiramisu

6 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups of mascarpone cheese
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
3 tbsp confectioners sugar
ladyfingers (approx 48)
Kahlua-flavored sugar-free syrup (I used DaVinci)
  1. Combine the egg yolks and sugar and whip until thick and lemon colored, about 1 minute. 
  2. Place in top of double boiler over boiling water. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 12 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. 
  3. Add mascarpone cheese, beating well. 
  4. Add confectioners sugar to heavy cream and whip until stiff peaks form. 
  5. Fold whipped cream into egg yolk mixture; set aside.
  6. Pour syrup into small bowl.  Quickly dunk each ladyfinger in syrup before placing on the bottom layer.
  7. Spoon half of egg yolk-cream mixture into ladyfinger-lined bowl. 
  8. Repeat ladyfingers, espresso and cream layers. 
  9. Refrigierate overnight.  It will shrink when refrigerated.
(This is a derivation of this recipe I found on a goth forum, not that I surf goth forums, but hey, credit where credit is due, right?)

Aunt Anne's Coffee Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
3/4 cup milk, or as needed
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan. Make the streusel topping: In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup flour, 2/3 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Crack an egg into a measuring cup and then fill add milk to make 1 cup. Stir in vanilla. Pour into crumb mixture and mix just until moistened. Spread into prepared pan. Sprinkle top with streusel.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.
(recipe derived from this one)


Jackie said...

What a neat idea! Everything looks positively delicious. This really does seem like the perfect way to have book group nights. Do you typically try to follow the theme of the book you read, or did The Espressologist just lend itself to creating a theme so easily.

I Heart Monster said...

Jackie - we haven't normally done a theme, but we will be trying to from now on. It was so much fun! :o)