Reading with a Side of….

I am still totally stuck in the tween area of the library, where I have been for the past few months. I am finding some awesome titles and some real stinkers. I had a great time with A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff. It reminded me of the Saavy series.

A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff

15780279In this world, many people have a special talent. Some are talented in uniting lost things, others have perfect aim when spitting, and another is talented at knitting. Several characters are brought together through a twist of fate. Cady, an orphan, has a talent with baking the perfect cake for an individual. She always bake the perfect cake for every orphan’s adoption day, but she desperately wishes for her own. The orphanage caretaker has a talent with uniting families and can feel Cady’s family getting closer. Marigold has yet to discover her talent, but she really wants one. Marigold’s family is going through their own individual troubles, yet they find time to be there for each other. Toby has been extremely sad since he lost his wife and child, but he is on a life altering journey. The Owner is one thieving bad dude. This beautiful story is one of tangled webs and second chances. It was sugary sweet at many times and could be too convenient for some. However, I had a fun time with this book.

This novel includes several recipes created based on characters and I thought it would be a perfect addition to our Reading with a Side of collection.

(excerpt from a A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff)

Will’s S’more Cake

For the cake:

small spoonful of flour, for preparing the cake pan

14 oz. package of graham crackers (about 26 crackers)

2 tsp. baking powder

1 cup butter, at room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

5 large eggs, at room temperature

2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup milk, at room temperature

For the frosting:

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar

1/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature

pinch of salt

For the filling:

1 cup marshmallow fluff

For the topping:

extra graham crackers and/or mini marshmallows

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease the bottoms of two 8-inch round cake pans with butter. Using the cake pans as a template, trace two circles onto wax paper and cut them out, placing one wax circle in the bottom of each pan. Grease both pans with butter again, covering the wax paper as well as the sides of the pan. Sprinkle the inside of the pans lightly with flour and tap the pans to distribute it evenly.

2.  Place graham crackers in a blender or food processor, and grind until crushed to a fine powder. Measure out 3 cups of the grahmam cracker powder into a medium bowl, and mix it with the baking powder. Set aside. Reserve the remaining graham cracker powder to decorate the top of the cake, if desired.

3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and granulated sugar with an electric mixer, starting on low speed then increasing to medium-high, until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 mintues. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla.

4. Reducing the speed on the mixer to low, add about a third of the graham cracker mixture to the batter, combining well. Add about half of the milk and combine. Then add another third of the graham cracker mixture, the last of the milk, and then the last of the graham crackers, combining well each time.

5. Pour the batter into the two pans, smoothing the surface. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.

6. While the cakes are baking, make the frosting: In a double boiler or a heatproof bowl fitted into a saucepan of simmering water, carfeully melt the chocolate chips over low heat, stirring often. Remove from heat and allow to cool, about 10 to 15 minutes.

7. In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer fitted with clean beaters on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Reducing the speed on the mixer to low, gradually add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth, another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cooled chocolate, sour cream, and pinch of salt and beat to combine.

8. When the cakes are completely cooled, place one cake layer on a plate and spread marshmallow fluff on top. Place the second cake layer on op and frost the whole cake with chocolate frosting. Decorate with graham cracker crumbs, or mini-marshmallows as desired.

Awesome Lisa Graff!!

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