Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Literary Ladies: A Night with Tamera Alexander

For our May book for Literary Ladies, we chose Tamera Alexander's A Beauty So Rare.
We have read her books before and loved them, so this really was a no brainer.
Then when we heard that our county's Arts Council was having her come to town to speak,
we really knew we had to read this latest book!

We had our meeting at FHU's Brown Kopel Business building.
We had a table set up to buy her books, to join the Arts Council, to have photographs
taken with her and then a place where she would sign books later.

We, then, went into Ayers Auditorium where my friend, Sherry, introduced Tamera, who
had been in college with Sherry.
Tamera walked us through her books and how she became a writer.

After her talk, we invited everyone back to the lobby for light refreshments as well as a chance to 
meet with Tamera.


Eleanor Braddock's Pink Dress Punch

1 container of raspberry sherbet
2 liter of Ginger Ale

Mix together

Buckingham Palace Tea Cookies

1 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. confectioner's sugar
1 T. tea (we used Buckingham Palace Garden Party Tea)
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. vanilla
1 t. water
1/2 c. unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 375.  Pulse together all the dry ingredients in a food processor
until the tea leaves are pulverized.
Add vanilla, water and butter.  Pulse together until a dough is formed.  Form the dough into
a log onto a piece of wax or parchment paper.  Wrap the paper around and roll the log smooth.
Freeze now or chill for at least 30 minutes.
When chilled, slice the log into thin slices.  You will need a sharp knife for this to cut smoothly without smushing the dough.  Place on baking sheets and bake until the edges are just brown, about 12 minutes.  Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.  Makes 2 dozen.

Millionaire's Shortcake

Crust:   2 c. all-purpose flour               
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 in. cubes
1/2 c. dark brown sugar, packed                   
 2 T. ice water
4 t. Cornstarch
1/2 t. salt
2 large egg yolks

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil, pushing the foil neatly on the corners
and up the sides of the pan.  Spray the foiled pan with nonstick cooking spray.  In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the flour, brown sugar, cornstarch and salt; process until well combined and no lumps of brown sugar remain.  Add the butter and pulse until a coarse meal forms.  Add the ice water and egg yolks and blend until moist clumps forms.  Dump the dough onto the prepared pan and press with your fingers into an even layer (dust your fingers with flour if the dough is too sticky). Pierce the dough all over with a fork and blade until golden, about 20 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Caramel Layer: 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
4 T. dark corn syrup
1 c. dark brown sugar, packed
2 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
generous pinch of salt

Whisk the sweetened condensed milk, dark brown sugar, dark corn syrup, butter, vanilla and salt together in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, the butter melts and the mixture comes to a boil.  Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and boil gently, whisking constantly, until the caramel is thick and the temperature registers 225 degrees F, about 6 minutes.  Pour the caramel over the warm crust; spread to edges.  Cool for about 15 minutes or until caramel is set.

Chocolate Layer: 12 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips
6 T. heavy cream
Sea Salt

Place the chocolate chips and cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.  Spread the chocolate over the caramel layer.  Sprinkle sea salt over the chocolate.  Refrigerate the bars until the chocolate is set, at least 1 hour.  Using the foil overhang, lift the bars out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board.  Cut into small squares and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Note: The shortbread layer will crumble a bit when you cut it; that's just the nature of it.  Makes 144 small bites.

Cheese Cubes and Crackers

Tamera was so generous with her time and talents.
She treated each person like an individual and made each visit so personal.
We appreciate all she did to make the night a success!

For our next book club, we are each choosing a classic book to read.
We will have a book swap at the next meeting!
What classic book have you never read but want to
what is your favorite classic to reread?

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