I am a voracious reader who loves to bake and enjoys books from almost every category of fiction, as well as biographies and memoirs.
The war with Hybern has ended, and now the city of starlight must be rebuilt. Feyre is looking for her new purpose in this time of peace, as well as a way to create and find peace. Nesta, however, is more bitter and self-inflicted with loneliness than ever, and not even Cassian, whom she risked her life to save, can pull her out of the miserable life she’s chosen. Amren is also discovering what it means to be human, and to love a male, for the first time, which often leads to hilarious questions about mortal bodies.
All stories converge on the winter solstice—a time for gifts, celebration, and new beginnings, as well as Feyre’s birthday. Her wish will become a new pursuit, along with a few others, as all the main characters enjoy a reprieve from war to find out who they are and will become in the aftermath. A Court of Frost and Starlight is a cool breeze of Night Court air, and while contentions gurgle below the surface, it remains a deeper insight into a city and a world that dreams of peace, hope, and starlight.
- What were Rhys and Cassian trying to do for the Illyrian females? What (or who) made it so challenging, and why was this so important to them?
- What is the Blood Rite, and why was it so important? What is its connection to the insignia of the Night Court?
- Was it selfish for Feyre to take time to paint?
- Why did Azriel understand Rhys the best, better than any of the others who lived with him, even Morrigan?
- Cassian had named several of Nesta’s poses, and constantly pushed at her to prompt her to anger or any sort of response. Why did he antagonize her so much? What had occurred between them?
- What was Tamlin’s biggest downfall? Had Feyre forgiven him?
- What were some of the more hilarious moments in the novel, especially when the family gathered for winter solstice?
- Why was it important to Azriel that Elain be seated as well before everyone ate dinner? What was the connection to his mother?
- How and why did the weaver in Velaris create Void and Hope? Does a color like Void really exist? (Hint: Search for Vantablack.)
- How was Feyre’s birthday cake decorated and why? What did she wish for?
- What had Feyre painted on the canvas she gifted Rhys for his winter solstice gift?
- From where did Rhys get all of Feyre’s dresses?
- What was Feyre’s solstice and birthday present?
- What is the Brush and Chisel, and how was Feyre prompted to give them a sizeable donation?
Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcake With Nutella Frosting Recipe
During winter solstice, the streets of Velaris were filled with “the aromas of roasting hazelnuts, pine cones, and chocolate.”
Also, after Feyre had finished painting all day, her stomach gurgled with demands for hot cocoa and dessert. Chocolate pastries were also often eaten at brunch in the town house and the House of Wind.
To combine those food ingredients, I’ve created a chocolate hazelnut cupcake with Nutella frosting. Feel free to eat it while burning a pine-scented candle and pretending you’re walking the streets of Velaris in winter.
Cupcake and Frosting Ingredients
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp hazelnut coffee creamer, or heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup plus 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
- 2 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp plus 1 tsp vanilla extract, divided
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tbsp cocoa extract, divided
- 1 cup plus 1 tbsp hot hazelnut coffee, freshly brewed
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 6 oz (about 1 1/2 cups) crushed hazelnuts, divided
- a heaping 1/3 cup Nutella hazelnut chocolate spread
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine the oil with the brown and granulated sugars in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed for about two minutes. Sift together flour with baking powder and soda and 3/4 cup of cocoa powder. When the sugars and oil are combined, drop the mixer speed to low and add the sour cream, one-third cup of cream, one tablespoon of cocoa extract, two teaspoons of vanilla extract, and the eggs, one at a time.
- After about two minutes when those are fully combined, add in the flour mixture on low speed, mixing for about a minute, just until it looks combined, then stop the mixer and pour in the cup of hot coffee. Turn the mixer back on to low speed and mix for about a minute. Stop the mixer again to scrape down the insides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then allow them to combine again for one more minute on low. Using a spoon or rubber spatula, gently fold in 8 ounces of hazelnuts. Scoop the batter into paper-lined cupcake tins and bake for 15–17 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean of any raw batter, only crumbs. Cool for 20 minutes before frosting.
- For the frosting, combine the butter with the Nutella, the teaspoon of vanilla extract, and the tablespoon of cocoa extract in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes. Drop the speed to low and add the remaining 2/3 cup of cocoa powder and half of the powdered sugar. After a couple minutes, when those are combined, add the cream, the tablespoon of coffee, and the rest of the powdered sugar, on low for one minute, then up the speed to medium and mix to combine, about another 1–2 minutes.
- Use a small spatula to scoop the frosting into a piping bag with an XL star tip. Frost cupcakes that have cooled at least twenty minutes. Then garnish with a sprinkle of hazelnuts, if desired. Makes 2 dozen cupcakes.
- **Baker’s trick: If you are using a measuring cup for the Nutella and would like it all to slide out easily, oil the cup first with a tablespoon or two of canola oil. Swirl this around the entire cup before adding you Nutella and it should all pour out more easily and completely. Of course, if you’d rather lick the inside of the cup clean, you can just skip this step.
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- The first book of the series this book is from is A Court of Thorns and Roses. Another best-selling series series by Sarah J Maas begins with the book Throne of Glass.
- A similar fantasy book about love, heartbreak, healing, and magic in the winter season is Winter Rose by Patricia McKillip.
- Garden Spells and First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen are two parts of a series about a family with magic recovering from old wounds and learning to become a family again.
- “It’s a time of rest, too. And a time to reflect on the darkness—how it lets the light shine.”
- “I’d never begrudge you for your happiness, but what you two have...it’s the legends, the lies, they spin us when we’re children. About the glory and wonder of the mating bond.”
- “I get this feeling...that it’s all some sort of joke. Some sort of cosmic trick, and that no one—no one—can be this happy and not pay for it...You’ve already paid for it, Rhys. Both of you. And then some…We have peace, and the true kind. Enjoy it—enjoy each other. You paid the debt before it was ever a debt.”
- “What sort of things do you paint? The things that need telling.”
- “I think my heart knew you were mine long before I ever realized it.”
- “I’d known what needed to come out of me the moment I perched on the rickety stool...I’d barely been able to hold the paintbrush steady enough to make the first few strokes. From fear, yes...But also from the sheer unleashing of it, as if I were a racehorse freed from my pen, the image in my mind a dashing image that I sprinted to keep up with.”
- “We have everything we need. Buying presents feels excessive... It’s their tradition, though. One they fought and died to protect in the war. Perhaps that’s the better way to think of it, rather than feeling guilty. To remember that this day means something to them. All of them...”
- “That extraordinary fabric, created and woven in grief that I had barely touched and never wished to know again, contained a loss I could not imagine recovering from”
- “The silver thread...I call it Hope.”
- “I have to create, or it was all for nothing. I have to create, or I will crumple up with despair and never leave my bed. I have to create because I have no other way of voicing this. It is hard, and it hurts, but if I were to stop...Then there would be no Hope shining in the void.”
- “Because you’re the foundation, the one who lifts us. You always have been.”
- “A reminder...to work through loss, no matter how overwhelming. To create.”
Naude Lorenzo on June 18, 2018:
Very good book and awesome recipe, we are become cup cake addicted, tanks Amanda