The Joy Committee + Beurre Noisette Rice Krispies Rubik's Cubes #WhatYouWishForNovelParty #Sponsored
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of author Katherine Center and publisher St. Martin's Press. I received a complimentary book for the purpose of review, but all opinions are honest and they are my own. No additional compensation for this post was provided; this page may contain affiliate links.
This week I am thrilled to be taking part in a virtual book release party for What You Wish For by Katherine Center* hosted by The Book Club Cookbook. I received an advance copy to enjoy and be inspired into the kitchen to create a dish.
You can see the party page! You may also search for the hashtag #WhatYouWishForNovelParty on social media to find the posts. But to make it easy, I'm also linking to my fellow bloggers; I will add their direct posts once everyone is live. Please take a look...
The Joy Committee
We meet Sam - Samantha - Casey, a librarian at an elementary school in Galveston, Texas. She exudes vibrancy and embraces joie de vivre, but we learn that she used to be mousy and invisible. The school's founder, her friend, father figure, boss, and landlord, has died and a new principal arrives. It turns out that he is the same man from whom she fled California and her last school to escape. She didn't leave due to any nefarious or malicious act on his part; it was just unrequired love. And the Duncan Carpenter who lands in her life now is a completely different person. As the novel progresses, the reader is along for the ride as Sam unravels the mystery of Duncan's dramatic transformation and facilitates his journey back to being a joyful person.
When Sam, Alice, and Babette join forces to coax the old Duncan out of his hardened shell, it reminded me of the self-proclaimed Joy Committee that a few board members at the International School of Monterey formed during the pandemic. We handwrote cards of appreciation; we delivered homemade baked goods; and we just generally sought to bring smiles to the faces of the faculty and staff at the school during what was a truly trying year. The Joy Committee! I love the name and what we do.
In the book, Sam shares, "'And I started filling up my world with color. Because Max promised me that joy was the cure for everything. And the more I learned about how it worked, the more I felt like joy was cumulative. That it wasn't about finding the one big thing - but about collecting as many tiny pieces as you could'" (pg. 187).
Operation Duncan commenced. "Babette and I took this project very seriously. We mad a color-coded chart for all his required tasks - I'm not even kidding. Laughter was yellow, relaxation was pink, his old self was blue. We had four months, roughly, not counting spring break, and we wanted to make the most of them. On top of that, we read self-help books about overcoming trauma, about PTSD, about finding ways to move forward in life. We read, we highlighted, we took notes and discussed. At no point did it occur to us that we might be doing any of this for ourselves. But of course, it helped us, too" (pg. 200).
If I had to encapsulate the overarching theme of this novel: choose joy. It's also about letting go of fear. Lose fear. Pick Joy. That's a pretty great message, especially as we inch beyond eighteen months of this global pandemic.
Beurre Noisette Rice Krispies Rubik's Cubes
It turned out that Jake wanted to make a Rubik's cube out of Rice Krispies treats. Just because that's how his wildly creative mind rolls. I had already agreed. Then Rubik's cubes were mentioned in the book.
"I kept a collection of crazy pens in a cup on my desk to entice the kids to come see me: pens with troll hair, and googly eyes, and pompoms. One pen had an hourglass embedded in it, one looked like a syringe filled with blue liquid, and one was shaped like a very realistic bone. ...I had other boys on my desk, too - a fancy kaleidoscope, a Newton's cradle, a set of magnetic sculpture balls, and a collection of spinning tops. I had a Rubik's cube, too, although it didn't works as well as it used to since one of the first-graders had decided to solve it by peeling off and rearranging the stickers" (pg. 107).
So, I knew what I wanted to share for this post. You can make this with any kind of cereal, but I went with the classic. The only adaptation that I made was to brown the butter before adding the marshmallows.
Beurre Noisette [bur nwah-zet] noun, French Cookery.
Literally 'butter the color of a hazelnut.'
Brown butter is one of those magical ingredients that transforms the flavor of just about anything be it sweet or savory. Its nutty taste and aroma are out of this world. And it can add a creative twist to any recipe that includes butter!
Ingredients makes approximately four Rubik's cubes
- 8 Tablespoons butter (I used sea-salted butter)
- 8 cups marshmallows
- 8 cups Rice Krispies cereal
- Also needed: baking sheet; parchment paper; more butter for greasing paper; food dyes; small paint brushes; Rubik's cubes for reference if you want to make the color placements as accurate as possible
Rub butter over the parchment paper and place it on a baking sheet. Set aside.
Place butter in a large pot and heat over low heat until melted. Continue to heat until the butter turns the color of a hazelnut. Stir in the marshmallows and heat until melted into a cohesive marshmallow fluff. Remove from heat, tip in the cereal, and stir until the Rice Krispies are uniformly covered and beginning to come together into a ball.
Turn the mixture out on to the prepared baking sheet. With slightly moistened hands, flatten the Rice Krispies into the thickness you desire. We went with about 1/2-inch thick. Let the Rice Krispies treat set; we put the sheet in the freezer to speed the process.
After the treats are set, slice them into 1/2-inch cubes.
Create 3-by-3 cube panels.
Press three panels together to form the cube. If the cube begins to get too sticky, place it in the freezer to continue to work with it.
Prepare your food dyes. We added drops of dye into a splash of vodka until we got the color we wanted. I have also used peppermint extract in the same way. We used red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and black. The 'white' cubes were just the natural color of the Rice Krispies, so not really white. Just natural.
Paint the cubes, as desired. Outline the cubes with black dye,
I'll be honest: we didn't eat these. We ate the plain treats. More like devoured them. But these were a great conversation starter and a fun weekend project.
To the Publisher, St. Martin's Press, on Twitter
*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.
I have also added this to #FoodieReads.
Click to see what everyone else read in August 2021: here.