This time around,
Simona of Briciole
is the host for our bi-monthly book group Cook the Books
. For our October-November 2020 pick, she selected The Secret, Book & Scone Society
(A Secret, Book, and Scone Society Novel 1) by Ellery Adams*; you can read Simona's invitation
On the Page
photo from amazon.com
I finished The Secret, Book & Scone Society
earlier this month and I am still undecided about whether or not I would recommend it. Don't get me wrong: I like a good mystery and did
enjoy the book. But I didn't love it though I really wanted to.
I loved the concept of the book - that the right books can soothe our souls, improve our lives, and teach us things that we desperately need to know.
"Becoming a reader is a change for the better. Trust me. No one has ever lost by becoming addicted to stories—to the lessons learned by those who possess enough courage to put pen to paper."
Set in the town of Miracle Springs, Nora Pennington is the proprietress of Miracle Books, a store where
people come and get exactly the right book to help them with their
problems. The mystery begins when a visiting businessman asks for Nora's assistance and she agrees to help
him. But before the appointment, he is found dead and it is ruled a suicide. Nora doesn't believe that and sets out - with three other women - to uncover the truth.
Of the characters, Hester is my favorite and I loved how
she would bake comfort scones that would help people: "They’re called comfort scones. The baker, Hester, makes custom scones based on what she thinks her patrons will be comforted by. You should pay her a visit."
But the book leaned a little too saccharine for my tastes. Still this was an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.
On the Plate
There was a remarkable number of passages about food in this book. Here are just a few that I enjoyed. And, naturally, scones are mentioned quite a bit. Not just scones, but all sorts of bready goodness, including fried green tomato grilled cheese sandwiches that I will have to try soon.
"Nora said. 'I prefer cinnamon twists over scones because
they’re easier to eat while I’m reading. That’s my main priority when it comes
to food. Other people are obsessed with calories, nutritional value,
antioxidants. I look at food and wonder: Can I eat that without having to put
my book down?'"
"'Oranges and cream.' The woman’s face broke into a broad
grin. 'The first bite brought me back to my grandmother’s house in Florida. She
had orange trees. During my visits, we’d bake the most delicious things. Her
kitchen was filled with clutter and sunshine. I loved every minute I spent with
her.' Nora came out from inside the ticket booth. have several cookbooks
with scone recipes. The best anyone can do is to create a scone of their own.'"
"To avoid responding, Nora bit into her [fried green tomato grilled-cheese sandwich]. The blend
of buttery bread, fried tomatoes, gooey cheese, and a hint of paprika was
heavenly. As she chewed, Nora felt infused by warmth and comfort. The feelings
allowed her to put aside the memory of how she’d never seen paperwork when she
and her husband had bought their home. Nora’s husband had used money bequeathed
by a relative for the down payment and had handled the loan process without
And about Hester's peanut butter cup scone, "Nora popped a bite of scone into her mouth, reveling in the smooth, rich blend of melted chocolate and peanut butter and the springy texture of the dough. The warmth traveled down her throat, spread through her chest, and stretched to the tips of her fingers. 'You were born to do this,' she told Hester. 'To make food that seems so simple, but has an incredible complexity of taste and an ability to stir the heart? That’s a gift.'"
After this passage, I was almost inspired to make a batch of croissants. "Nora was too hungry to protest. She opened the box lid and a
rush of tantalizing aromas escaped from within. The scents of melted cheese,
buttery dough, and cooked ham caused Nora’s stomach to gurgle, and when she
scooped up the croissant resting on a sheet of wax paper, she found that it was
still warm. After biting into the stuffed pastry, she had to suppress a moan.
The Gruyère cheese that had escaped from the hole at one end of the croissant
had been baked a golden brown and broke off in Nora’s mouth. It wasn’t ham, but
prosciutto, which shared the pastry’s interior pocket with the cheese, and the
flavor combination was heavenly. Nora could have easily devoured a second."
I fixed that for this post. And, while my husband is not usually a scone fan, he texted (as he was eating his scone after I had left for work): "These are red book worthy!" Awesome. He's coming around. Wait! That means fewer scones for me...let me re-think this conversion.
- 2 cups flour
- 1/4 cups packed organic dark brown
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 7 Tablespoons butter, cold and cubed
- 1 large egg, separated
- 1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
- 5 Tablespoons eggnog (you can use milk if you prefer)
- 1/2 cup candied ginger flakes
- 1/2 cup raw pecan pieces
- 1 teaspoon organic granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon eggnog (you can use milk if you prefer)
Preheat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder,
baking soda, and spices in a large mixing bowl to combine.
Cut in butter until incorporated with no chunks of butter larger than a pea. Add egg yolk, molasses, eggnog, candied ginger flakes, and pecan pieces to the
bowl and then press together to form a thick dough.
Press dough into a disc and cut into 8 wedges
and place on baking stone or parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with egg white and
sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Bake until set, approximately 19 minutes. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes,
then transfer to wire rack to cool completely before drizzling.
While the scones cool, make the drizzle: Stir powdered with eggnog until smooth. Using a pastry bag fitted with a small tip, or a spoon, drizzle icing over
cooled scones. Let set in a cool space for about 30 minutes.
*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.
In addition to submitting this to #CooktheBooks, I am adding it to #FoodieReads.
Click to see what everyone else read in October 2020: here.
I have a feeling we're going to be seeing a lot of scones for this selection. I did enjoy the book, sometimes it's nice just to have a fun, easy read. Your scones are delicious. Mine posted today.ReplyDelete
I LOVE your gingerbread scarf! And great recipe for the scones. I am glad to read your husband is coming around: scones are so good! Thank you so much for your contribution to Cook the Books Club :)ReplyDelete
Love your scarf and the flavors here. I did like the book and enjoyed the story but it's not my usual fave genre.ReplyDelete
I think her follow up books are actually a bit better, though this one was good. Awesome scarf, and the yummy sounding gingerbread scones are on my foods to do list.ReplyDelete