Sunday, August 21, 2011

My Coffeehouse Mysteries Go Audio! And Chocolate Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies to Kill For from Cleo Coyle

I have a delicious coffeehouse-style cookie for you today, along with two pieces of exciting news. New Jersey Family magazine actually picked up this recipe for their magazine. (Click here to see.) 

My other piece of news? Well, for going on eight years now, my reader have asked me when the Coffeehouse Mysteries would be available in audio. Finally, I have an answer...

Cleo Coyle, author of the
Coffeehouse Mysteries, can now
listen to her own books.
On What Grounds, the first book in my series was just released by the very nice people at AudioGo (BBC Audiobooks America). They also produced my newest Coffeehouse Mystery, Murder by Mocha

Full of action, humor, romance, and recipes, Murder by Mocha can be read as a stand-alone book. If you're new to my series, no worries. You can pick up the story just fine without reading the previous titles.

To learn more about these audio books and hear samples, click here and jump to's product page for Cleo Coyle. The books are even on iTunes! W00T!

If you prefer physical books or e-books, both are published by Penguin. Jump to the Nook store at Barnes and Noble by clicking here, Mocha's Amazon page here, or visit your favorite bookseller or e-book store.

Honestly, I could not be more pleased with these audio productions. The reader is Rebecca Gibel, a talented stage actress with a true gift for voices and accents

Click here to
view the
book trailer
For those of you not familiar with my Coffeehouse books, they are murder mysteries set in the picturesque historic section of Greenwich Village. Each book is narrated by Clare Cosi, a single mom with a passion for serving coffee and solving crimes. She manages the coffeehouse while also trying to manage her somewhat complicated love life.

Readers have described the books as Murder She Wrote meets Starbucks (accurate enough) or even "a cozy series with an edge," also accurate. I often use the term "urban cozy," which I'd define as a traditional mystery with a contemporary feel that's set in a major metro area. (Click the filmstrip to see the series' book trailer.) To visit the About the Books page of my website, click here.

And now... 

Let's eat! 
(at least with your eyes)

These coffeehouse-sized peanut butter cookies are sweet, tender, and stuffed with enough ooey-gooey melted chips to make a chocolate lover swoon. 

Readers of my Coffeehouse title, Murder by Mocha, will remember this cookie as one Clare baked up especially for Sergeant Franco in thanks for a little armed backup at the International Confectioners' trade show. Why did Clare need backup at a chocolate and candy expo? You'll find the answer in my new culinary mystery. Read with joy! ~ Cleo 

Cleo Coyle's
Peanut Butter Cookies

Click here to download Cleo's special recipe PDF that you can print, save, or share. 

Makes 18–20 big, stuffed cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1¼ cups peanut butter (standard creamy, do not use sugarless)
1 cup granulated sugar plus ½ cup, for dusting
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup good quality semisweet chocolate chips 

Step 1—Make the dough: Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, peanut butter, and sugars in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla and blend well. Fi­nally, add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix only enough until a soft dough forms.
Step 2—Form and stuff: Pinch off generous pieces of dough and roll into big, golf-ball-sized rounds. Cradle the cookie ball in one hand. Use the thumb of your opposite hand to make a deep indentation in the center of each cookie ball. Fill the hole with about a teaspoon of chocolate chips and then seal the chocolate inside the dough ball. Gently roll the balls in white, granulated sugar for a fin­ished look.

Step 3—Freeze: Place the cookie balls on a wax-paper-covered plate in the freezer for 30 minutes. (The wax paper will prevent the dough from adhering to the plate.) This freezing step is the key to a successful cookie. If you don’t freeze the cookie dough before baking, the cookie may break while baking and the chocolate may ooze out instead of staying in the center of the cookie. (If you plan to freeze the dough longer than 30 minutes, wrap it in plastic and foil to prevent freezer burn.)

Step 4—Bake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the chilled cookie balls on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, keeping the balls a few inches apart to allow for spreading. Bake them for 20–30 minutes. The cookies are not done until they flatten out, so be patient and wait for this to happen. The chocolate should stay inside. A nice “cover” for a cookie with oozing chocolate is to gently dust with confectioners’ sugar....

Yes, a bit of sweetness often rescues the day—and the cookie.

Note: When making cookies, always allow your baking sheets to cool before putting more dough on them. A hot baking sheet will cause any cookie to spread too much and please do… 

Eat with joy!  
~ Cleo 

To get more of my recipe ideas, win free coffee, 
or learn about the bestselling books in my
Coffeehouse Mystery series, visit my web site: 

Just one more announcement of good news for my readers. My editor contacted me to say Murder by Mocha is holding steady as a national bestseller and Roast Mortem is "burning through the racks" -- her words! RM made it to a Top-5 Top-Selling Paperback Mystery Bestseller at Barnes and Noble stores nationwide... 

Thank You,

Roast Mortem is a book that's close to my heart. Arson leads to multiple murders in the plot itself, but the book's core theme speaks to the bravery of New York's firefighters. This is also a culinary mystery (with favorite firehouse recipes in the appendix). But it's been on sale for over a year in hardcover and digital formats, so I never expected a showing like this for RM, and it's because of my readers, and today I'm raising a cup to you...


  1. Congratulations on your audio books! That's wonderful news!

    I bet these cookies taste as good as they look. Be glad I don't live down the street. I'd be knocking on your door to beg for one!

    ~ Krista

  2. Congratulations and best wishes for success of your audio venture. Series is terrific.

  3. Delicious and perfect post of course!!!

    And VERY exciting about the audio books. I try to walk every day (So I can eat bacon). I figured out I have "read" more audio books (from the library) than I read "real" books this year (and if you pull out the Mystery lovers Kitchen Books, it's not even close).... Course, I have already read these two, but I still need to read books 2 and 3... any plans for those?

    And fair warning... Tomorrow is the day. Will be posting my review of MURDER by MOCHA, and a recipe (I made the Chicken mole (You had me at Guinness)).... But then, come to think of it, as far as the book goes, you had me at the naked woman who pranced through a couple dozen pages... but I an digressing as I jump the gun on the write up...

    see you tomorrow!


  4. Super congrats on the audio news, Cleo. That is wonderful. I think these cookies are perfect to celebrate with. My family cookie monsters will be celebrating when I serve them!

  5. What a great tip the way you did these! Congrats on your great news!

  6. YUM! And awesome news for you and your fans to listen to the series, too.

  7. Congrats, Cleo! Great news. I love doing audios for my short stories and I'll bet Rebecca has done a fabulous job with your terrific series. Yay!

    And these cookies. OMG, to die for! Can't wait to make them. They're like Reeses's cups in a cookie. Yum.


  8. "Mom!!!" "What....?" said mom, dreading that she would be asked to get out of her sweats and drive Connor somewhere... "Will you do me a big favor?" he asked, with the slightest tone of a gentle cajole. "Please tell Miss Cleo that the cookie recipe she posted looks EPIC!!!!" "Sure, baby boy...I'll be happy to do that..." mom says with a very happy sigh as she snuggles deeper into the Sunday paper and her sweats. "Hey Mom??
    "hmmmmm?...says a very happy mom. "Uh...can you drive me to Nate's?!!!" says Connor as he scoots through kitchen with a smile on his face...
    Bravo and Huzzah on both the continued top 10 status of Roast Mortem and the fabulous release of Murder by Mocha!!!

  9. Congrats on your audio debut, Cleo! Rebecca has a wonderful voice. I wish you oodles of success. Old fans and new fans are guaranteed hours of pleasure.


  10. What a great idea! I don't know that I've ever made stuffed cookies before. What a clever and delicious recipe.
    I am hosting a recipe party at my blog if you might be interested in submitting. I'd love to have you join in the fun :)

  11. Replying to these lovely comments...

    @Krista - I wish you did live down the street so I could have a slice of that pizza you made this morning!

    ~ Cleo

  12. Reply to...

    @Dave - I'm very excited to hear that you're trying the Clare Cosi mole recipe" in Murder by Mocha (agree with you, the Guinness makes it unique, IMO)!

    I also can't wait to read your thoughts on the book. You are always very frank and opinionated, and I give you props for that.

    Thank you again for the support you've given all of us mystery writing cooks. You're the best...

    ~ Cleo

  13. Reply to...

    MJ - LOL on the "cookie monsters" - love it and I hope they enjoy the cookies. :)

    ~ Cleo

  14. Reply to...

    Liz V - Aw, you're terrific for saying that, thank you!

    ~ Cleo

  15. Reply to...

    @Claudia - You are always so supportive, thank you! Your own Italian recipes are delicious, and I'm looking forward to what you're cooking up on your blog this week. Ciao!

    ~ Cleo

  16. And sure enough Cleo...

    Chicken and waffles for everyone!

  17. Reply to...

    @Dave at Inspired by eRecipeCards -- Your review is SO MUCH FUN! And the comment-to-win contest is a real surprise.

    Everyone, jump on over to Dave's review of Murder by Mocha where he also cooks up Clare's Guinness Stout Mole from the book's recipe section. If you leave a comment on Dave's post, you will be entered to win a copy of MURDER BY MOCHA. Be sure to read the post itself so you can say the "magic" words in the comment that will keep you entered!

    To jump there... CLICK HERE...

    Thank you so much, Dave. I'm so happy you enjoed the book and the recipe!

    ~ Cleo

    I'll be back soon to reply to more comments!

  18. Replies to...

    @Vicki B. - Thank you, that is so sweet!

    @Avery - You have a wonderful voice for audio, and you're a trained actress. I could never do what you and Rebecca do with the narration. It's truly a gift and a pleasure. ("Reese's in a cookie" is a perfect description of these babies!)

    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  19. Reply to...

    @Nanc(e) - Please tell Chef Connor that I think HE is Epic. :) Thank you for making me smile after a very, very, very long day. Your comment was better than a shot of Clare's bean juice!

    ~ Cleo

  20. Reply to...

    @Rochelle - Oh, yes, doesn't Rebecca have a mellifluous voice for narration? I am just now listening to Murder by Mocha's audio production, and I'm very much enjoying the way she does characters and accents. I hope to blog about that in the future.

    Thank you so much for dropping by the Kitchen, and you KNOW I'm looking forward to your own debut in the world of mystery. My countdown is on to see your WHO DO, VOODOO? hit print!

    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  21. Reply to...

    @Ali - Aren't stuffed cookies a fun idea? They're a little over the top, I grant you, but I think that's one reason we enjoy coffeehouses--they often have decadent pastry cases!

    Thank you kindly for the invite to join you for your recipe party. I'm a little under the gun right now, but I'll try to check it out--along with Dave's, which also sounds like a foodie good time!

    Warmest java wishes,
    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  22. OMG I am so totally drooling over this recipe.

  23. Congratulations on the Audio Books, Cleo. You’re right, the narration is excellent. Rebecca Gibel is talented and sounds just as I “heard” Clare as I read the books. I have a friend who was reading On What Grounds but was forced to stop because of eye problems. She is a diabetic and even with glasses and a page magnifier found the book format too difficult to read. She’ll be thrilled about the Audio Books! Also, another great recipe.