"The House on Foster Hill": Book Discussion and Snickers Cupcake Recipe - Owlcation - Education
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"The House on Foster Hill": Book Discussion and Snickers Cupcake Recipe

I wish to inspire readers, teachers, and book clubs to bake along with their reading and promote discussion about the books we've enjoyed.

the-house-on-foster-hill-book-discussion-and-recipe

Kaine just purchased Foster Hill House as a short sale, and an escape from her life in California, where her husband died tragically (deemed an accident, though Kaine suspects murder), and someone had been stalking her ever since. Hoping for an opportunity to fulfill her husband’s dream of renovating a decrepit house, and to reconnect with her family’s elusive history and the connection to a quilt she was passed, Kaine unfortunately finds that history is repeating itself, and threatening phone calls and odd gifts are appearing at the house that was supposed to be her second chance. And there are few artifacts at the local museum to help her solve the mysteries of Foster Hill House, except for an old memory book of the dead-turned journal by her great-great grandmother, Ivy.

1906. Ivy keeps a memory book of those in her town who have died, not to be morbid, as most people assume, but to keep their memories alive, the beautiful parts. Marred by tragedy herself when her younger brother drowned in the lake years ago, Ivy has a great sympathy for the dead. Her father, a doctor, takes her along to discover the cause of death of a young woman who was crammed into the hollow of an old tree not far from Foster Hill House. Ivy is consumed with solving the murder, and more importantly, finding the baby the girl had given birth to days before she died. What she didn’t expect to find at the gravesite was her childhood friend, Joel, now a detective, whom she believed had abandoned her after her brother died.

Both women are connected in many ways, through family, fear, murder, and a malevolent secret that Foster Hill House has kept hidden for centuries. Part murder mystery, part romantic suspense, The House on Foster Hill is a gripping, haunting story of two women who seek to uncover the whole truth about a powerful, long-standing evil, and who choose to fight back and have hope even amidst the most terrifying circumstances. A wonderfully riveting, complex web of deception, mysteries, and family histories that satisfies and empowers us with the persistence of hope and truth.

Perfect for fans of

  • haunted/abandoned houses
  • starting a new life
  • overcoming/escaping domestic abuse
  • survival stories
  • redemption stories
  • friendship stories
  • inspiration stories
  • eccentric, wise old ladies
  • romantic drama
  • Gothic fiction
  • family secrets/ generational mysteries
  • journals with (town) secrets
  • old, small Midwest towns

Discussion Questions

  1. Why did the Oakwood residents refer to Ivy as a “memory keeper” and her journal as a “death journal”? What did they not understand about why she kept such mementos?
  2. Why did Megan like playing at Foster Hill house? What item did she pick and leave there, causing Kaine alarm? Why did it cause that reaction?
  3. Why did Kaine want to honor her grandpa by keeping his surname instead of taking her husband’s?
  4. Where did Ivy and Andrew first meet Joel?
  5. Why did Kaine want to “tackle the easy stuff first” in the house rather than starting with the most important things, like the roof?
  6. What did Mr. Cunningham do to Joel and why?
  7. What was the truth behind Kaine’s stalker?
  8. What was Kaine’s big secret that she never even told her husband?
  9. What was the truth about what haunted Foster Hill House and its dark, centuries-old secret?
  10. Why did Kaine love daffodils so much?
  11. How did Ivy and Kaine uncover the truth? Whom did they each save? What was their real connection?
  12. What role did hope play in this story?

The Recipe

Kaine first meets Joy at the gas station where the older lady works. She purchases “a heavenly mouthful of peanuts, caramel, and chocolate.” She had planned on stopping to purchase a Snickers there anyway, because “she deserved chocolate, even though it wouldn’t fix this problem.”

Joy also gave Kaine a free cup of coffee and listened to her story. Grant gave her a cup of much-better quality Himalayan coffee and did the same thing. Coffee is one of the ingredients in the chocolate cupcake.

Also, Kaine and Andrew took cakes to the orphanage with their Sunday school group.

To combine all of these, I created a recipe for Snickers Cupcakes with Chocolate Caramel Frosting.

Snickers Cupcakes with Chocolate Caramel Frosting

the-house-on-foster-hill-book-discussion-and-recipe

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, buttermilk, or heavy cream
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp Watkins cocoa extract, optional
  • 1 cup hot coffee, preferably freshly brewed

For the frosting and topping:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp whole milk, buttermilk, or heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp Watkins cocoa extract, optional
  • 1 tablespoon hot coffee, preferably freshly brewed
  • 8 tbsp caramel sauce, divided in half
  • 1/4-1/2 cup fun-size Snickers bars, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
the-house-on-foster-hill-book-discussion-and-recipe

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 330° F. Combine the oil with the brown and granulated sugars in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on medium 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 1/2 cup milk or cream, one tablespoon of cocoa extract, two teaspoons of vanilla extract, and the eggs, one at a time.
  2. When those are fully combined, add in the flour mixture, just until the flour starts to disappear. 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. Then stop the mixer again to scrape down the insides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula and allow them to combine again for one more minute on low. Scoop the batter into paper-lined cupcake tins, and onto each cupcake, drop a bit of the chopped Snickers bars, pushing them into the batter lightly (be sure to leave more for garnish). Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean of any raw batter, only crumbs.
  3. For the frosting, combine the butter with the remaining 2/3 cup of cocoa powder in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, on medium-high speed. Then add the remaining teaspoon of vanilla extract, the tablespoon of cocoa extract, then drop the speed to low and add half of the powdered sugar. After a minute, when those are combined, add the milk, the tablespoon of coffee, and the rest of the powdered sugar, and mix to combine, about another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Use a small spatula to scoop the frosting into a piping bag with an XL star tip. Frost cupcakes that have cooled at least fifteen minutes. Then drizzle the caramel sauce over the cupcakes, and garnish with the remaining chopped fun-size Snickers bars. Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes.

Snickers Cupcakes with Chocolate Caramel Frosting

the-house-on-foster-hill-book-discussion-and-recipe

Rate the Recipe

Snickers Cupcakes with Chocolate Caramel Frosting

the-house-on-foster-hill-book-discussion-and-recipe

Similar Reads

Other books by Jaime Jo Wright are The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond and The Curse of Misty Wayfair.

Other historical suspense novels (non-Christian) with Gothic and romantic elements include The Ghost Orchid and The Widow’s House by Carol Goodman, The Address or The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis, Tiffany Blues by M. J. Rose, and The Lake House or The Distant Hours by Kate Morton.

Books mentioned within this book are The House of The Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, and as Grant prefers to read, Louis L’Amour westerns.

Another book about surviving/overcoming the same sort of past/tragedy is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.

More Christian suspense novels with a romantic element include The Inn at Ocean’s Edge by Colleen Coble, A Dangerous Legacy by Elizabeth Camden, A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White, and High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin.

Notable Quotes

“Accidents never diminished trauma.”

“Ivy chose to ignore her thoughts. They would only distract her and take her to places in her grief that would result in nothing good.”

“The easy stuff doesn’t take care of the root issue.”

“I want to see beauty. Not darkness. Not death. But life and promise.”

“His plan for us is so much greater than what we see. That’s the pitfall of humanity. We look at our present circumstances, our trials, even our joys, and believe that this is all there is. But the Lord’s vision is so much broader and stretches into eternity. We limit ourselves by looking at the here and now when hope, real hope, is found in our relationship with Him and the future that Christ went ahead to prepare for.”

© 2018 Amanda Leitch

Comments

Naude Lorenzo on October 24, 2018:

Awesome recipe, you are an expert in cup cake and we don't know how you manage to do it, but each one better and better, thanks Amanda

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