Friday, July 11, 2014

Blog Tour ~ 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen ~ Giveaway

17 First Kisses

Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: June 17th 2014


No matter how many boys Claire kisses, she can’t seem to find a decent boyfriend. Someone who wouldn’t rather date her gorgeous best friend, Megan. Someone who won’t freak out when he learns about the tragedy her family still hasn’t recovered from. Someone whose kisses can carry her away from her backwoods town for one fleeting moment.

Until Claire meets Luke.

But Megan is falling for Luke, too, and if there’s one thing Claire knows for sure, it’s that Megan’s pretty much irresistible.

With true love and best friendship on the line, Claire suddenly has everything to lose. And what she learns—about her crush, her friends, and most of all herself—makes the choices even harder.

In her moving debut, Rachael Allen brilliantly captures the complexities of friendship, the struggles of self-discovery, and the difficulties of trying to find love in high school. Fans of Sarah Ockler, Susane Colasanti, and Stephanie Perkins will fall head over heels for this addictive, heartfelt, and often hilarious modern love story.

BFF Chocolate Soufflé

Megan and Claire are going to teach you how to make the soufflé Megan makes during the scene where she and Claire begin to become friends:

M: Hi, I’m Megan.

C: And I’m Claire.

M: Today I’m going to teach all of you how to make the soufflé that started our friendship.

C: And I am going to painstakingly record every last detail of what she does so I can scientifically prove she uses voodoo magic to make soufflés.

M: I do not! Just because I make ultra-fabulous soufflés every single time does not mean I practice dark magic.

C: *coughs* Mmm-hmm. I’m just gonna copy down the ingredients.

            5 egg whites and 3 egg yolks
            ¼ cup heavy cream
            ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (or vanilla sugar if you’re fancy like Megan)
            5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (cut up)
            1 stick (1 cup) unsalted butter (melted and then cooled)
            2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
            Powdered sugar
            Voodoo magic
M: First, you separate the egg whites and yolks into two bowls while the eggs are still cold. No egg yolks in the egg whites bowl! This is key!  Every time a molecule of egg yolk makes it into the egg whites, God kills a kitten. Write that down, Claire!

C: Egg yolks = dead kittens. Got it.

M: Then, we want to give the whites a chance to warm to room temperature, so we’ll do some other stuff.
1)    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line four 1-cup ramekins with 2 coats of butter and 1 coat of granulated sugar.

M: Do it just like how Curtis Stone does it with the 2-minute refrigeration in between. Like in this video: Just watch it. The man is a genius.

C: Plus, let’s be honest, watching a hot chef with an accent cook chocolate desserts is eight different kinds of bliss.

2)    Combine chocolate and cream in a small saucepan or double boiler, stirring occasionally until smooth. Then transfer to a large bowl to cool.
3)    Whisk yolks and cocoa powder together and then combine with the chocolate mixture until smooth.
4)    In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until they look foamy. Then gradually beat in the ¼ cup of sugar.

M: Make sure to beat the eggs long enough so that peaks form on the beaters when you lift the mixer. *lifts electric mixer* See?

C: That looks highly unnatural. But I’m still gonna lick those later.

            5) Fold two scoops of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture using a rubber spatula. Then fold in the rest of the egg white mixture.

M: You have to be super gentle here. And you definitely don’t want to over mix or you’ll lose all the air bubbles that make the soufflé puff up in the oven. If there really is voodoo magic in this soufflé, it’s hiding in those air bubbles.

C: I knew it!
            6) Put an equal amount of soufflé batter into each ramekin, making sure the batter comes to the very top of the dish without going over.
            7) Bake 10-20 minutes.

M: This really varies by oven. You want the soufflés to puff out the top of the dish but you also want them to be moist in the middle. I suggest sitting in front of your oven the first couple times and watching them. Every. Single. Second. The perfect soufflé takes trial and error. If you don’t cook it long enough, it falls. If you cook it too long, it falls.

C: If you talk above a whisper or make sudden movements or give it the stink eye, it falls.

            8) Sprinkle powdered sugar on top and pour on chocolate sauce (made from more chocolate and heavy cream in the double boiler). Serve immediately to your new best friend.

C: I feel like the “immediately” part is unnecessary. Anyone who wouldn’t shove this in their mouth immediately is not someone I want to be best friends with.

M: Word.

*Note: This recipe is adapted from Easy Chocolate Soufflé (p. 173) from 365 Great Chocolate Desserts and Curtis Stone’s The World’s Best Chocolate Soufflé video.

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Rachael Allen lives in Atlanta, GA where she's working furiously on her PhD in neuroscience. When she's not doing science or writing YA, you can find her chasing after her toddler and her two sled dogs. Her debut YA novel 17 FIRST KISSES, is forthcoming from Harper Teen. Rachael may or may not have had 17 first kisses...luckily she doesn't kiss and tell.

Win (1) Signed Copy of 17 First Kisses + Swag, + an ARC of I Will Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (US Only)