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Features

Crest Hill book store to host after-hours event on Friday

Pictured is the homemade white chocolate peppermint bark, the only item made in advance for Friday night's anthology release party. All food served that night is complimentary.
Pictured is the homemade white chocolate peppermint bark, the only item made in advance for Friday night's anthology release party. All food served that night is complimentary.

From 6 to 8:30 p.m., WriteOn Joliet will host its third anthology release party at The Book Market, 2365 Plainfield Road, Crest Hill. The public is welcome.

One highlight of this event each year, is that my son Timothy Baran (a chef) plans, buys and prepares the complimentary food WriteOn Joliet – of which I co-lead – will serve.

When shopping for the event last night, I asked him why he does it.

“I grew up loving books,” Timothy said. “If the food can get people in to buy a book they can take home to read, that, for me is like giving back.”

So in addition to meeting and chatting with local authors and checking out a wide selection of books, people will enjoy:

Spiced apple pie shooter: Flaky homemade pie dough with a filling made with apple cider syrup, apple puree, chunked apples and cinnamon.

Except for a pinch of sugar in the pie dough, all the sugar in this dessert derives naturally from the cider and apples.

This will be served in tiny parfait glass (shooter). Serving size is one to two bites.

White chocolate peppermint bark: White chocolate gently melted with the addition of crushed peppermint candy canes and peppermint extract and then frozen.

“The fun part,” Timothy said, “was flipping it over the counter and watching it shatter into bark pieces. The peppermint make it a little bit easier because it already created stress cracks in the chocolate.”

Vanilla strawberry cheesecake: Macerated strawberries layered with cheesecake and graham cracker crumbs.

Chocolate chip shortbread cookies: A dense cookie with no leavening, only butter, sugar, flour and chocolate chips.

All these desserts are very low in sugar or contain no added sugar. And every component is homemade.

They will be served with a variety of summer sausages, three cheeses (sharp white Cheddar, mild cheddar and colby) an assortment of crackers.

One recipe is mine, a cheese log. which is made with shredded cheddar, colby and Parmesan, with just enough cream cheese to bind it together. Timothy is adding his own spin: sautéed garlic and shallots, along with parsley for holiday color.

Beverages are coffee, tea, hot chocolate and water.

Best of all, if you have any questions about the food, the "chef" will be present to answer them.

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