Two things you can count on at most book group meetings: books, of course; and food.
Some groups meet in restaurants and discuss books over dessert. Some meet at their local library. But most gather in members’ homes and may enjoy full course dinners complete with wine (I once Skyped with a group who were just tucking into plates of spaghetti; thankfully, I’d just finished my own dinner). Other groups offer hors d’oeuvres or dessert. I woman I know reports that a dish of M&Ms is the sole refreshment at her group.
The Murder on Tour group in my Hazel Rose Book Group series serves dessert and coffee. In Murder at the Book Group, #1 in the series, a plate of pumpkin brownies mysteriously appeared on the table. If anyone wondered who brought the scrumptious treat, the murder of Carlene Arness took their minds off the question. In Murder at the Moonshine Inn, #2 in the series, Hazel Rose makes plain old chocolate brownies, while her cousin Lucy springs for French pastries from Jean-Jacques Bakery in Richmond, Virginia’s Carytown.
Until last month, I had never eaten a pumpkin brownie. After participating in a panel discussion at the Riverside Writers group in Fredericksburg, Virginia, I tried what turned out to be a very tasty pumpkin brownie. I asked for and got the recipe from Bronwen Robinson and include it here, in its original form:
Yesterday, I baked the brownies. Mine were a little different from Bronwen’s, but still delicious. A few notes:
I substituted 1 ½ cups of honey for the sugar;
The brownies were done after fifty minutes instead of the specified hour and a quarter.
I normally omit the salt called for in recipes, but this time I used kosher salt. I DO NOT recommend this. It works fine for other dishes but apparently not for baked goods. While I only used ¼ teaspoon, the crystals, which remained intact, seemed to multiply. You might think you bit into a piece of glass or plastic. Beware.
Readers, what does your book group like to eat? Are you cooks, or do you dine out? Care to share favorite recipes?