Sunday, August 1, 2010

Cleo Coyle's Blueberry Buttermilk Firehall Pancakes + 4 Instant Giveaways!

Thank you to everyone who left a comment
on Sunday (on this post or on my
Facebook page)




LSU Reader won the"Gimme Coffee" Latte Cup.   
Pattie T of Pattie Tierney Designs: Wearable Literary Art
won a pound of Cops Coffee  
Dana Ford Halicki won the Firehouse Cookbook.   
Mickie Vee won the signed copy of my new  
Coffeehouse Mystery:
Roast Mortem,

releasing this week in hardcover from Berkley!


Sunday is usually our "guest" blogger day.
We six *mystery writing* cooks take turns inviting guest authors to tell us (and you) about their upcoming releases. But with my new Coffeehouse Mystery releasing this week, I decided to be my own
guest and tell you about this very special entry
in my ongoing series...

Cleo Coyle , New York City 2010. Yes, that's
an FDNY ladder truck behind me. :-)

To find out more about me
and my series of national bestselling
mysteries, click here and jump to
the"About the Coffeehouse Mysteries"
page at my website.
For newcomers to this blog, my name is Alice Alfonsi, and I write mysteries as Cleo Coyle in collaboration with my husband, Marc Cerasini. 

Marc and I have been living and working in New York City for over twenty years. Our Coffeehouse Mysteries—a unique blend of crime, romance, humor, and action—are set here, too, around a landmark Greenwich Village coffee shop called the Village Blend.

Through eight books now, our quirky town has fueled us with strange-but-true ideas for characters and plotlines from criminal to culinary. For the ninth entry in our series, we drew inspiration from yet another local source: New York’s Bravest.

FDNY Firefighters 2010. Photo by
Alice Alfonsi who writes as Cleo Coyle.

It's hard not to admire New York firefighters (and I’m not even going to flash you with the annual hunks in hardhats calendar). Oh, sure, they can be as cranky and crazy as the rest of us. After all, most of them actually like running into burning buildings. But I think of them more as knights in bunker gear.

Every day, these men and women beat back a new fire monster, rescuing citizens from the jaws of its wreckage. Their firehouses look like castle strongholds. Even their symbol is a knightly one—the Maltese Cross. “Every firefighter works in courage,” states the FDNY, “a ladder rung away from death, willing to lay down his life for you.”

FDNY Maltese Cross. Photo by Alice Alfonsi
who writes as Cleo Coyle

Now that’s the stuff of heroes and (crazy or not) heroes inspire writers. In fact, the very idea of running into a burning building to save an innocent victim struck me as the perfect analogy for what Clare Cosi does in our Coffeehouse Mysteries.

A divorced single-mom in her forties, Clare is a coffee shop manager by day, an irrepressible snoop by night. When something is wrong, she considers it her mission to right it—and arson that leads to murder is as wrong as it gets.

“Coyle's strong 9th Coffeehouse
Mystery pays tribute to
New York City firefighters.”
~ Publishers Weekly

At the start of Roast Mortem, an unknown arsonist begins torching cafés around the city. When an FDNY ladder company comes to the rescue of Clare and her co-workers, she returns the favor by rescuing these fearless few from some seriously bad coffee. Then her new firemen friends begin dying in suspicious ways, and Clare finds reason to believe their deaths are connected to the “Coffee Shop Arsonist.” Unfortunately, an overly-flirtatious member of the FDNY stands in her way. This strapping captain clearly has something to hide. But as Clare starts to dig deeper, someone threatens to extinguish her.

If you’ve never read a Coffeehouse Mystery, don’t let that stop you from picking up Roast Mortem. You can certainly enjoy it as a stand-alone novel. If you’ve been a fan of the series, this is one you won’t want to miss because this is more than just another murder mystery for Clare Cosi. The events of the story trigger highly personal consequences that keep her reeling until the very end.


Like my previous Coffeehouse Mysteries, Roast Mortem has a culinary theme and includes delicious recipes of foods mentioned in the story. CLICK HERE to get a sneak peek at the book’s recipe section, partly inspired by some firehouse kitchen favorites.

And speaking of firehouse kitchens, the recipe below was supposed to go into Roast Mortem, but I ran out of room! I'm very happy to share this bonus recipe with you now...

Cleo Coyle's
Blueberry Buttermilk

Firehall Pancakes

To download these recipes for free
and print, save, or share, click here  

Ever since I was a little girl, growing up in Western Pennsylvania, I've associated firefighters with pancakes. Why? Unlike New York with its full-time professional department of over 11,000 firefighters (the largest fire department in the United States), my little hometown had a volunteer service.

One of the ways we raised money for them was attending their periodic Firehall Pancake Breakfasts. (They had Fish Fries, too, but it's WAY to hot to fry fish in NYC at the moment. Check back for my Beer Batter Firehall Fried Fish recipe after the fall weather hits!)

Now that my hometown is NYC, I'm trying to help the firefighters in other ways. One of them is giving away copies of this Firehouse Cookbook, which benefits the Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund, a charity established in the name of a decorated member of the FDNY who lost his life while rescuing victims on 9/11. There are some fantastic recipes in this cookbook and the proceeds go toward helping the Fund. If you'd like to learn more or purchase one for youself, just click here (or on the book cover above). Otherwise, make sure you leave a comment so you'll be entered to win this cookbook today! Now for the recipe...

To start,
you will need
to turn this...

Into this...

By making

Cleo Coyle's
Fresh Blueberry Syrup

Yields: 2 cups of amazingly delicious syrup

2 pints blueberries (pictured above)
1/2 cup white, granulated sugar
1/2 cup water

Directions: Place all ingredients in a bowl and lightly stir until all sugar is dissolved. Allow to stand 30 mintues to an hour. Transfer everything to a saucepan (ideally your pan will have a non-stick surface). Be sure to include all excess liquid that accumulated at the bottom of the bowl. Heat the blueberry mixture to boiling then reduce heat a bit and simmer 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking. The mixture will thicken and darken (see photo above). Remove from heat and serve immediately over pancakes, ice cream, slices of angel food or pound cake. To store, allow to come to room temperature then pour into an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator.

Now we're
going to
make these...

Cleo Coyle's Favorite
Buttermilk Pancakes

Yields: 12 pancakes (about 5 inches in diameter)

4 Tablespoons butter
4 eggs
1-1/2 cups lowfat buttermilk (or regular milk with 1 tsp lemon juice)
+ 1/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (measure after sifting)
3 Tablespoons white, granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder


Step 1 - Make Batter: Melt the butter and set aside to cool a bit. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and 1-1/2 cups of the buttermilk (or regular milk with lemon added). Add sifted flour (be sure to measure after sifting or you'll have too much), sugar, salt, baking powder, and finally the melted butter. As you stir together the ingredients, consider the thickness of the batter.

Step 2 - Adjust Thickness: If you like thick, heavy pancakes, you're good to go. I prefer to add in that additional 1/4 cup of buttermilk at this point. (The pancakes you see pictured were made with 1-3/4 cups buttermilk.) Depending on your climate, you may need to add even more buttermilk to get the batter to your desired thickness (or thinness). Note, however, do not over-mix or you'll produce gluten and your pancakes will be tough instead of tender.

Step 3 - Ladle, Flip, and Serve: You can either make the pancakes immediately or allow the batter to sit in the refrigerator (and hydrate) for 30 minutes to an hour. Ladle batter onto a pre-heated, non-stick griddle or skillet. For best results, do not grease. (TIP: If you have a good quality, non-stick griddle or skillet, one that conducts heat evenly, you should get prettier pancake results without the grease. Butter, cooking spray, and oil will all produce mottled surfaces on your cakes.) When the tops begin to bubble, flip. Serve with butter and syrup.

Click this photo to get
recipe for "Pourable
Candy" Strawberry Syrup


See my blueberry sryup recipe above or (if you missed it) give these a try with my homemade strawberry syrup (the recipe is extremely easy, incredibly delicious, and makes great use of your overripe berries). CLICK HERE!


Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle


To learn more about 
Cleo's mysteries
 click here  or on the book cover.


Sign up for Cleo's free E-Newsletter by sending an
e-mail to that says
"Sign me up"
and you will be entered in all of Cleo's weekly
free coffee drawings, in which she gives away a free package
of her latest Coffee Pick. More info at Cleo's
Web site.

Congrats to the winners of my Sunday giveaway. Check my web site over the next few weeks for more chances to win great prizes in celebration of the release of my new Coffeehouse Mystery: ROAST MORTEM!

To download these recipes for free
and print, save, or share, click here


  1. your pancakes look way better than mine ever do....

  2. Hey, booklover! Nice to have some company in the wee hours. TY for the nice words on the pretty pancakes. My trick is (1) get the right consistency on the batter...not to thick, not too thin so the cakes come out fairly even and round; and (2) use a non-stick griddle or skillet and do NOT put butter, oil or cooking spray on the surface. If the pan is hot enough the pancake will cook evenly without the mottling that comes from using things like butter or cooking spray. And if the surface is non-stick, you shouldn't have any trouble removing it with a spatula.


    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  3. those pancakes look so good! I just started reading the coffeehouse series... and i'm having a blast reading them.. I'm just about to start on Murder most frothy.. can't wait to read on :) keep up the great work!

  4. Oh My... just took a look at your recipes, and now I am even MORE excited about getting a copy.

    Crab cakes and chicken wings, here I come!

    It must be very exciting to be this deep in a series... and hardback too. After finishing Delicious & Suspicious and Long Quiche Goodbye, my old eyes need the bigger typeset.

    Congrats and looking forward to this.

  5. Hi Suiling!! So nice to have company at...well, right now it's 5 AM in NYC. Thank you also for your enthusiasm for my Coffeehouse series. Woot! I'm glad to hear you're enjoying the misadventures of Clare Cosi and her crime-solving baristas. MURDER MOST FROTHY was tons o' fun to write. Among other things, it's a send up of New York's legendary Hamptons, a collection of seaside communities on the far end of Long Island's south fork. Because it's about 100 miles from New York City, the obscenely rich and obnoxiously famous vacation there and service economy jobs blossom during the tourist months. Throw in the "Bonacker" population (i.e. the local families who've lived there for a couple of centuries), the art colony past of the area, the urban gangsta rap princes (and wanna-bes), the rabid "meet" market of singles, and you've got one simmering cauldron for a mystery writer. Throwing Clare into that fire was almost as much fun as throwing her into the Roast Mortem plotline, which is even hotter. I hope they both entertain. Thanks again for stopping by, Suiling...

    Read with joy!
    ~ Cleo
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  6. DAVE!! (Year on the Grill man) - Good morning. Wow, you are either an early riser or a late, late night partier. Hmmmm...wonder which one. I'm guessing the former. (I'm the latter tonight...although my "partying" amounts to watching movies, eating popcorn, and putting up this blog -- with some nice comments for company, too.)

    Thanks for droppin' in and I hope you enjoy Roast Mortem!

    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  7. Is there anything better than pancakes on a Sunday morning? Even virtual ones. Yum. And the syrup looks great.
    And best of luck with the book launch Cleo/Alice! I love this series, and look forward to Clare's next adventures.

  8. Your pancakes look yummy. Now I know one thing I'm doing wrong with mine - I put butter on the pan before I add batter. Your coffeehouse mysteries are wonderful. You not only have interesting characters, but feature great recipes and tips. I've learned a lot about coffee from reading your books. Without them I would have never tried a French Press (which I now love).

    The fire departments in my hometown are all volunteer too. Through the paper I've worked with them over the years and they are a dedicated group of great guys (and gals now) that work hard with little thanks.

  9. I can't wait for "Roast Mortem!" Congratulations on your Aug.3 release! I'll be heading to the store for my copy.

    Knights in bunker gear--yes, they are! Nice metaphor.

    I've made the grand decision that the Craig/Adams family is having breakfast for supper tonight! I've got tons of blueberries right now but I will need to go to the store for the buttermilk. :)

  10. Good morning, Sounds like a great idea for breakfast. Haven't had pancakes in a while.
    Enjoy your Sunday.

  11. I just made buttermilk pancakes this morning and I like the idea of adding vanilla. The story looks like a good one. Congratulations on the new book.

  12. I've been anxiously waiting all summer for the new book. I love your coffee house mysteries and the great recipes as well. You are one of the handful of authors that are must purchase for me. (Some years ago, as we began to run out of rooms on the shelf, I had to promise my husband I would cut down the number of books I purchase and start using the library more often - which makes sense since I am a librarian.) I must say I never know whether to keep your books in my home library or in my kitchen with the cookbooks.

  13. Love the series. Getting ready to start Murder Most Frothy. Your recipes sound delicious and the pics..oh my!

  14. Those pancakes look so much better than the raisin bran I just had. Thanks for sharing them!

    dlodden at frontiernet dot net

  15. Wow, the blueberry pancakes look amazing. And now I have found another new series to sink my teeth into. Thanks.

  16. Look at all those gorgeous photos! Just wonderful, you supremely multi-talented person, you! We picked up lots of blueberries yesterday but I'm afraid too many of them are already gone to make this... but next shopping trip for sure. I love the no-butter, no-spray, etc. tip for achieving that pretty pancake look. I always use butter. Next time I'll try without. Great post! Congrats on the new book. I'm looking forward to reading!


  17. Congratulations on the release of Roast Mortem. I think you may have caused a run on pancakes! I know I'm craving them now!

    ~ Krista

  18. Wow, that syrup looks fantastic. Your contest sounds amazing. and I know your books are great!!!! Congratulations on another launch. May Roast Mortem knock 'em dead!


  19. It's Sunday and I'd love to make pancakes but we're leaving on vacation and no time to clean up the kitchen! Definitely when we get back.

  20. Oh cool! I actually just won my first contest ever- I won the 2 books from you on Lesa Holstine's site. I'd love to continue on a roll!

    Holly in south jersey

  21. Cleo you are going to make Logan come want to live with you and I am not sure if you want a 7 year old on your hands but he will eat anything you make ha. We actually made strawberry pancakes this morning and peaches. Monday will be blueberries as we are going to the farmers market this am and I have to stock up on fruits ad veggies.
    Congrats on Roast Mortem debuting in 2 days and I love it. It will be a big success:). Can't go wrong with Clare and firefighters ;)

  22. Pancakes are a constant food in our house, and not just for breakfast! Can't wait to try out your recipe, especially the blueberry syrup! I'm a sucker for flavored syrups (my as-of-now- favorite is Boysenberry-yum!). I'll definitely have to pass this recipe onto my husband to make at the firehouse (he's a firefighter for Denver and as you know, they not only love to cook but they make delicious food)! Great post! Thanks for the copy of Espresso Shot-LOVE IT!-and congrats on the new book!

  23. I saw your strawberry syrup yesterday and bought strawberries yesterday. Now I need to go get some blueberries! You just can't beat pancakes with fruit syrup. Yum! Thanks for sharing. :)

  24. Everyone here loves pancakes! The blueberry syrup looks amazing!

    littleone AT shaw DOT ca

  25. Quick shout-out to everyone for their comments and enthusiasm. Pancake Sunday is rockin'. Will reply to each of you later today. Keep those comments and entries coming...

    ~ Cleo
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  26. Well now I know what to do with all the blue berries I have in my freezer, got them right at the berry farm.

    And I am definitely ready to read Roast Mortem! Your description makes it even more so.

    I do love the series!

  27. The pancakes look great. Blueberry is my favorite! Can't wait to read Roast Mortem.

  28. Woo Hoo! Drool-worthy pancakes and a book I've been eagerly awaiting...doesn't get much better than that! Thanks for the chance =)

  29. Your pancakes look so YYYYUUUUMMMMYYYY! Gotta try em. Would love the cookbook or the novel. Thanks for the generous giveaway!
    desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

  30. Great looking pancake recipe. May need to try them tonight.
    I sometimes enjoy pancakes on Sunday nights.

  31. The pancakes look great, and that's one of about two ways I will eat blueberries. The other is muffins. Just never really liked the skin, or something. Anyway, looking forward to Roast Mortem.

  32. OMG those pancakes look like perfection, and the syrup looks heavenly. The whole display is wonderful and has my mouth watering. I've been really into pancakes and waffles this summer -- yeah the perfect breakfast for a 98-degree day -- go figure. I'm trying these. I always keep the mega pack of blueberries and buttermilk in the fridge.

  33. These look so, so, so good! And a big "thank you" for supporting our firefighters.

  34. It's sinful to post food photos that look so perfect...and perfectly edible. Those pancakes look so yummy. Thanks for another great column and recipe.

  35. oh my! I haven't had good blueberry pancakes since I left Maine (and I had them on the way down to the airport when I was flying out) in 2005!

    I am hungry now!

  36. Cleo (aka Alice and Marc),

    I don't know if I'm more excited about your
    book or your recipes!!! I'll just have to read Roast Mortem while I give the recipes a go!
    I am a pancake hound!


  37. Well, I can't tell if I'm more drawn to the pancakes or the firefighters, but, whatever... I love this blog. I will bookmark this and keep it forever. Sigh...

  38. Strawberries yumminess last time and blueberry umby-gumbiness this week! Cannot wait to try these! I think next weekend when Lady K and I try our hand at another apple pie.

  39. Made 'pan a cakes" (OK..I'm a horribly sentimental mom and the kids always called them this) this morning and for the first time they didn't stick!!!! The dogs didn't get the first, second, third and fourth rejects either!!! I have a lovely cast iron griddle and always buttered it before making them!! stick :-) We didn't have blueberries so I used peaches from the first MI ones I found at market yesterday...the peaches make a dandy sauce as well! Added some vanilla and as always added a splash of O.J. to the batter. Cheers, huzzahs, and thanks, Mom rang out around the patio table...then the rest of the family said "Hey..these are good"!!!
    Have a fabulous release week and revel in your success!
    Nanc from MI

  40. All of your recipes make me hungry! My husband loves blueberries. He may be in for a treat this week if I can get to the market 8-)

  41. Okay, now I want pancakes AND "Roast Mortem"! Isn't it the 3rd yet??

    I have to tell you - your food photos are always impressively beautiful. And speaking of photos - I LOVE that one of you at the top of this blog!

  42. Mmmm, blueberry pancakes, can't wait to try out this recipe. Ohh and my new Gimme cup.

  43. What a great Pancake Sunday Release Party! THANK YOU to EVERYONE who commented - either here or on my *Cleo Coyle* Facebook page.

    Keep checking my web site ( this week for more chances to win great prizes as I celebrate the release of my new Coffeehouse Mystery: ROAST MORTEM. Don't forget about my FREE COFFEE DRAWING on Monday (LIVE) at 7 PM (Eastern) at my web site. And I'll be back here at this blog on Friday again with more fun giveaways!

    In the meantime, I will be back here, replying to all of your comments individually on Monday - August 2nd.

    Eat (and read) with joy!
    ~ Cleo
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  44. I just pre-ordered Roast Mortem for my kindle app. Can't wait to read it! These books are one of my favorite series.

  45. Blueberry pancakes have been my favorite breakfast treat since I was a kid! Good luck with the release, Cleo!

  46. Crazy days! My release week put me way behind schedule and I apologize for note replying to comments sooner. To quote a certain California governor -- I'll be back!

    ~ Cleo

  47. Hi Cleo :)

    Huge CONGRATS on your new book release!!! I'm hoping to get my eager little hands on any one of your titles *sigh* They all sound absolutely delightful!! Mystery and coffee are definitely winners together ;)

    Those are some of the best looking pancakes I have EVER seen, hands down!