Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Chocolate Cream Cake from Once Upon a Grind + Magic Bean Necklace Giveaway via Cleo Coyle


With a real Prince visiting New York this week (shout-out to William and Kate), it seems appropriate to share a dessert served at the elegant, underground "Prince Charming Club" in Once Upon a Grind, my new culinary mystery.

My amateur sleuth, coffeehouse manager Clare couldn't resist a slice of this cake, a heavenly cloud of chocolate whipped cream tucked between layers of devil’s food and topped by a layer of fudgy ganache. It’s outrageously good and sinfully delicious—but is it worth risking a run-in with a ruthless killer? Clare will get back to you on that one!


BTW, there are over 20 more delicious and unique recipes featured in my new Coffeehouse Mystery. For a peek at some of them, click here

http://coffeehousemysteries.com/userfiles/file/OnceUponaGrind_Recipes_Cleo-Coyle.pdf
Click here to see the Recipe Guide
for Once Upon a Grind.



Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here or here.

Cleo Coyle's "Inside-Out"
Chocolate Cream
Coffee Cake

A light chocolate dream with sophisticated flavor and an irresistible mix of textures, this cake would make an impressive addition to any holiday table, yet it’s easy to make. 

It's also the very cake Marc and I served at a fantastic setting in our new mystery. Elegant and exclusive, the "Prince Charming Club" is full of culinary temptations worthy of a gourmet witch’s gingerbread cottage. You'll learn more about them as you read Once Upon a Grind.

I'm discussing the book this week at crime-writer Terry Ambrose's blog here with a book giveaway. 

Or join me at Fresh Fiction by clicking here, where I’m also offering an autographed copy of the beautiful first-edition hardcover and a Magic Bean Necklace in a comment giveaway (see caption below). 

NOTE - My Newsletter Subscribes know there is another comment-to-win contest right here at this blog. Scroll to the end of this post to see the winner...


Now let's get baking!

~ Cleo




To download this recipe in a free PDF that you can print, save, or share, click here.



Click here for
free recipe PDF.

Cleo's "Inside-Out"
Chocolate Cream
Cake Recipe



This recipe provides: 

8-10 servings if cut into larger rectangles, or...

20-24 servings if sliced into thinner slivers. (Examples of slice sizes
are shown in my photos.)


For the Cake*
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable, canola, or extra-virgin coconut oil (measure in liquid form)
1-1/2 cups white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, lightly beaten with fork
1 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt (use table salt or finely ground sea salt)
1/2 cup unsweetened (natural) cocoa powder

For the Chocolate Cream Filling
12 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (for more chocolate flavor, double)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups very cold heavy cream**


(**Optional for mocha-flavored filling: replace 1/4 cup of the heavy cream with 1/4 cup Kahlua and dissolve 1 teaspoon of instant espresso into the Kahlua before adding it to the recipe.)

For the Chocolate Ganache Topping
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/3 cup heavy cream (for mocha flavor use coffee or espresso instead)
5 ounces semisweet block chocolate, chopped into uniform pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 


(**Optional for mocha-flavored ganache: also add 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder)

*A note on using a cake mix: To save time, feel free to use a devil’s food cake mix, but follow the directions in Step 1 regarding (a) pan size and (b) preparing the pan to prevent the cake from sticking. 

**A note on espresso powder: Espresso powder is made from freeze-​dried espresso. It dissolves in water to create instant espresso. While I would not suggest drinking espresso made from freeze-​dried powder, I do advise using good-quality espresso powder (rather than freeze-​dried instant coffee) to add coffee flavor to your recipes. Look for espresso powder in the instant coffee section of your grocery store or search online. 

Step 1—Make the chocolate cake batter: First preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a rimmed baking sheet measuring around 17- to 18-inches by 12-inches (a "half-sheet pan") and line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the paper and dust with unsweetened cocoa powder, tapping out any excess. Use a devil’s food cake mix or these directions to create the batter: Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the oil, vanilla, eggs, and milk. Blend until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together the remaining dry ingredients. Add this dry mixture, a little at a time, to the mixing bowl, beating between additions until a smooth batter forms. Do not over-mix. Spread out the batter and smooth it evenly on the prepared baking sheet. 




Step 2—Bake and chill the cake: Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cake has risen, is slightly springy, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with no batter clinging to it. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool. Gently invert the cooled cake and peel away the parchment paper. Slice the cake down the middle, crosswise, to form two even rectangles. Slip these into the fridge to chill while you prepare the filling.

Step 3—Make the chocolate (or mocha) cream filling: Using an electric mixer, beat the softened cream cheese with the sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, vanilla, (and espresso powder dissolved into the Kahlua if using). Once blended and smooth, add the chilled heavy cream and switch to high speed on your mixer. Whip vigorously until the cream forms firm peaks. 


Step 4—Assemble the cake: Invert one of your cake rectangles so the flat bottom is facing up. Spread the cream filling evenly. 


Now cover it with the second cake rectangle (again with the flat bottom facing up). Lightly press down on the top layer. Run an offset spatula (or wide flat knife) around all of the edges to smooth them. Chill the cake for at least 1 hour. Then prepare the topping. 




Step 5—Make the chocolate (or mocha) ganache topping: In a small saucepan, over low heat, bring the butter, cream (or coffee), and (if using) the instant espresso powder to a simmer. Do not boil or you will scorch the ingredients and destroy their flavors. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate. When the chocolate is melted, stir in the vanilla. Let the glaze cool for about 15 minutes; it will become slightly thicker. 


Pour the glaze onto the center of the cake and gently spread it—ideally with an offset spatula (or in a pinch, the back of a large spoon)—until it evenly covers the top of the cake and drizzles slightly over the cake's top edges. Chill the cake for several hours (or overnight). 


Tip for perfect presentation: Slice off the edges of the cake with a sharp knife and you will create a bake-shop-perfect presentation (and guess who gets to eat the ends). 



If you're an old pro, you'll have a presentation tray ready. But if you don't bake much, here's another tip. Cover a cutting board with aluminum foil and buy inexpensive round paper doilies, cut them in half, and slide them gently beneath the cake's bottom edges to make it look even prettier.

Then slice into slivers or larger squares...




Click here for the free
recipe PDF, and...



Eat with royal joy!



~ Cleo Coyle


New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries


Friend me on facebook here. * Follow me on twitter here
Learn about our books here


Sign up for my Coffeehouse Newsletter here.
(Recipes, contests, videos, fun info)
 

Now on Sale!


Join coffeehouse manager
Clare Cosi as she solves the crime
against "Sleeping Beauty," opens
secret doors (uptown and down),
and investigates a cold case that's
been unsolved since the Cold War.


A Wicked Good
Murder Mystery

Learn more by
clicking here.


* * * 



Cleo also writes
The Haunted Bookshop
Mysteries 


Get a free title checklist,
with mini plot summaries, by clicking here.
Or learn more here. 



* * * 





A Note for Cleo's Newsletter Subscribers

Welcome! If you read my flash newsletter,
then you know I hosted a special contest here.
In the comments below, my newsletter
subscribers told me what inspired joy
in them (other than family and friends).

Congrats to our winner...

Jane C. of
BC, Canada!

~ Cleo


For anyone who would like to subscribe
to future newsletters, click here.



144 comments:

  1. It sounded irresistible in the book, but the pictures are the clincher This is a MUST!

    Hm, a nice cup of coffee, a slice of this, and one of your books to read. It doesn't get much better than that!

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  2. Love this series and look forward to this book

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  3. Wow! Now that's what I call a showstopper! Wonderful cake, Cleo!

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  4. It looks delicious, but I'm not sure about easy to make!

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  5. Looks like a delicious recipe, and just in time for Christmas😊

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  6. that is a stunning cake Cleo! and congrats on the new book! xoxo

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  7. That looks so good. I used to drink Medaglia D'oro many years ago...like 30 or more (when I didn't have GERD and could drink strong coffee). Very tasty.

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  8. Looks delicious.....what inspires joy in me is the laughter of little children, kittens, or penguins. :)

    eeyoregirl2009

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  9. Absolutely delectable and irresistible. What gives me joy is the sunshine and blue skies each day, walks in the foothills and reading. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  10. Waking up in the morning inspires joy. A fresh new day to try something new. And a clean first page of a new book. (Of course everything about my daughter inspires me but mentioning the other stuff!)

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  11. oops got so excited about posting that I forgot to leave my email....
    ritr614 at you know where

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  12. My family would love this cake. What inspires me everyday is being able to enjoy music, while reading a wonderful novel beside my two dogs who stay by my side. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  13. What inspires Joy in me, especially at this time of year is celebrating Jesus Christ.
    jh.lucia@yahoo.com

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  14. Joy = yarn and knitting!!!
    knitter5319@yahoo.com

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  15. What I find joy in and inspires me is digging in the dirt in my flower gardens while singing praises for all the wonderful things God has done and planting flower seeds/plants to share the beauty of Mother Nature.

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  16. What inspires joy in me is seeing my students eyes light up when they finally "get it," after struggling to understand.

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  17. My 5 cats inspire joy in me. When I have a really bad day, they will all cuddle up around me and make me feel everything will be ok. Nccubsfan

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  18. My Chihuahuas inspire joy in me. They are little hugs wrapped in fur who soothe my Fibromyalgia when they snuggle close. Chelle ChihuahuaMama(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  19. This dessert looks fantastic. What gives me joy is books. I love books and enjoy reading so much. I've always been an avid reader and for me, it's so exciting to receive a new book.

    Barbara Thompson
    barbmaci61(at)yahoo(dot).com

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  20. Attending a church service on Sunday morning inspires enough joy in me to sustain me for the remainder of the week. Bookbaba

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  21. Reading a good mystery..

    xzjh04

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  22. Joy = tea + chocolate + quilting + books!
    marafran2003

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  23. I'm pretty good this cake would inspire joy in me! Reading a good book certainly does. A big one for me is charity work through my church. Helping others--and seeing how many church members are willing to do the same--is really heart-warming (and joyous!) mochfly

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  25. Joy - I love reading a great fiction book or winning a fiction book . My dog Houdini inspires joy especially since my other fur friend passed on in September. Chocolate and Christmas lights. God.
    marybrandis@gmail.com

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  26. What inspires joy in me is doing for others. I get to do this when I bake and give it away, or crochet a blanket and pass on warmth. And on occasion I get to talk coffee to people who have no idea how much fun can come out of a cup.

    Tigerlily_jk@yahoo.com

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  27. Joy for me is reading good books, great friends, sweet pets, and loving family. The cake looks delicious.

    myrifraf(at)gmail(dot)com

    Thank you

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  28. Our family inspirations (around this time of year) are the lights and music!

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  29. This recipe looks fabulous and I can almost taste it. But you can never go wrong with ANYTHING covered in ganache.

    Now chocolate is one thing that brings me joy but expressing my creativity with any kind of art brings the "mostest" and "bestest" joy in my life!

    kjkoukla

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  30. At this time of year and all year long scrapbooking inspires joy in me. Being able to capture memories of my family and friends and relive good times brings joy to my heart and soul, which wouldn't be possible without the blessings of Christ and his birth.

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  31. Knitting and reading bring me joy! With audiobooks I can do both at the same time!!

    angelacoel1@gmail.com

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  32. What brings me joy is my church and what it means to me, the pleasure, the warmth, the acceptance that I get there is a blessing, another family to me.

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  33. Well what inspires joy is to go into town and see the Christmas lights and displays. I love to keep warm with a Caffè Mocha and takes pictures and selfish of the lights..

    Bjhart68@gmail.com

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  34. Now that my shopping is done, I can relax and enjoy the Holiday season. Ignoring the scrooges, I let the happiness flow over me. And immerse myself in books.

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  35. I think I would have to say Nature is my inspiration for joy.

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  36. That looks so good but would need to make it non-dairy. To answer the question, it's hard to pick one thing. Helping someone brings me joy. So does watching a beautiful sunset. And of course, curling up on my couch with a good book and a nice seasonal latte. :-)

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  37. Music brings me joy and dance allows me to express it. Judy Dee

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  38. Nature, trees, the beauty of every season. The time we are given in our lives to enjoy all the things around us with the people we love the most, thats what inspires joy in me. .....nehezp

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  39. I love knitting - especially for others!

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  40. Flowers, puppies and sun inspires joy in me.... :)
    afarage at earthlink.net

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  41. Looking forward to "Once Upon a Grind". This cake looks too good. I guess I'm going to have to try this recipe. Thanks for publishing it.

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  42. JOY= Sitting in a Cozy Cafe with a Giant Latte. Pammyb660@yahoo.com.

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  43. What inspires Joy in me is God and all that He has allowed me to have and to do. I thank Him every day, many times a day, for many things that we sometimes take for granted. Thanks for asking.

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  44. Joy to me is cooking and drinking a good cup of coffee. Jms79@aol.com

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  45. I think this beauty will be featured at our family Christmas dinner! Thank you for sharing this. Joy is inspired by nature, golden afternoon sunshine, cooking for loved ones, a superb cup of coffee and reading. =)
    HapaKaren

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  46. joy to me is being in Door County Wi, sitting by the bay watching the Waves. juneau73@y

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  47. Joy: listening to books on tape while knitting and occasionally glancing at the birds at the feeder out my window. Congrats on the new book! So looking forward to reading it. Kate gr8knead@

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  48. BOOKS AND GOING TO MY FAV CITY THATS CLOSE TO ME NOLA. SHELLEY calicolady60@h

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  49. Congrats on the release Cleo! For me joy is making something from scratch for someone and watching them open it. Whether it is something I baked, crafted or sewed, that brings me joy, besides my family and friends :-) your1chef@

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  50. what brings me joy is sitting down down next to a fireplace (faux or real as long as it crackles...lol) a nice steaming cup of coffee or cappuccino and a good mystery/mystery romance book. Just being able to every so often find a quite moment like that for a little me time is what gives me joy. And Christmas, who cant help but smile and find joy in the reason forthe season and seeing all the pretty lights!
    Love your books, hope you are able to continue a while longer with Clare and her wackey family and friends! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!! From siarra@

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  51. Because dogs are such kind and loveable creatures, they often help those who have met with unfortunate circumstances. My service dog, Skittles, brings great joy to me personally. Additionally, given he is calm, patient, gentle and he loves to be petted and hugged by total strangers I often allow him to be petted and hugged by people that I/we encounter in Physical Therapy, physician offices and when visiting local schools. The smiles on the faces of those individuals brings me as much joy as having my four legged furry assistant at my side. servedogmom@yahoo.com

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  52. What brings me joy is working in my art journal, chocolate, my dogs and cats, and watching the snow fall outside my house. I grew up in Santa Barbara, CA, and was in my 20s before I saw snow falling in real life. We moved to Washington state when I was 46, and that was when I was finally able to sit in my living room and watch snow falling outside the window. My husband (from Pittsburgh) doesn't understand my excitement and joy when I hear snow is expected, and thinks I'm crazy running outside to catch flakes on my tongue. I missed those childhood experiences! It doesn't snow here often (once or twice each winter, maybe, and it doesn't last more than a week), but the joy it brings me is as sweet as Cleo's Chocolate Cream Coffee Cake! Here's to more snow and chocolate! Colleen on the Olympic peninsula. tucknanne@

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  53. Gardening brings me great joy, especially when everything is in full bloom! What could be better than working in the fresh air, watching the little song birds at the feeder and having my dog, Bodie, bound around the yard like a baby lamb? nazkat0

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  54. My greatest joy comes not just from having gastric bypass surgery (lost 175 pounds btw!) but having been able to inspire other people on their journeys to change their lives - whether by just being a cheerleader for them or actively help them. Have always loved to be able to pay forward the blessings I have received!

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  55. get joy from baking cookies for people

    newsletter - four

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  56. Joy to me is a great cup of coffee, a good book, my pets and exercising. Thanks for the awesome contest...and keep the books coming! kjdugas

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  57. Right now hearing all the Christmas Carols inspires joy in me.


    marypres (newsletter)

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  58. The recipe looks amazing. My faith, books, and music are what bring me joy.

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  59. my joy is a good book and my plants and a good cup of coffie

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  60. Joy in the winter is snuggled under a throw on the chair next the fireplace, with a fire going and a beverage of choice in hand. I would be listening to music and reading a book.
    Karenlalsip@gmail

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  61. Get joy by chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. Go to YouTube to hear people chanting by typing Nam Myoho in the search box. Go to SGI-USA.com for more information.

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  62. Reading and eating some good chocolate.....baking & cooking and being with family....puttering in my garden....we have an open house coming up and I just added this cake to the menu. Wow! it looks great! :)

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  63. Reading inspires my joy...keeping my mind active and my imagination filled with new stories. And of course, chocolate! Kuzlin at aol.com

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  64. What inspires me is finding out last year that I was a diabetic and needed to change my eating habits and learn to get off the couch and exercise! My main vice is reading a good book while sipping a cup of good coffee, having some chocolate(a little won't hurt)

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  65. A cup of tea, a good book or magazine and a quiet place to read it - ahhhhh joy. That cake looks scrumptious - would be great with that cup of tea. ☺

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  66. this looks really tasty and simple to make. I look forward to trying it Of course any time for chocolate and a good mystery. ddiaz1124

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  67. Playing agility with my corgi teammates. What a blast. gaalek

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  68. Going to concerts with my daughter makes life so much better. Not only do we get to listen to great music but we get to spend time together and there is nothing better than spending time with someone you adore. She is my best friend.

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  69. Walking my dog in good weather refreshes me and gives me joy. lkleback@hotmail.com

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  70. I find joy when I make things for others: food, clothes, crafts. To me, there is nothing that lifts me up more than when I see a smile on the face of the person who is receiving my gift.

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  71. For me, joy is curling up on the couch with coffee, a good book, and the cat. There is no better way to spend an afternoon, especially if it is cold and dreary outside. hilori.morgan

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  72. I find joy when I am being creative. I like to make cards and also do scrap booking. I especially am joyful when my grandchildren are here making their own scrap book pages, something we started recently. I love seeing the reactions of people when they get my "gifts of joy" and hear them exclaim, "YOU made this!". bjzkind

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  73. I find JOY in watching kittens playing--new babies discovering where mommy voice comes from---a beautiful SPRING morning--sunrises/sunsets---there is so much to find JOY in, if we open our minds , hearts and eyes.

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  74. Joy for me is my Precious 13 year old dog Duchess.
    Mary
    Ladylotion

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  75. I find joy in music, books and sunny days.

    valleyreader

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  76. I find joy in reading a good book and snuggling with my cats while doing so.
    rjprazak6@gmail.com

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  77. As with most of the recipes you post, this cake sounds delicious! The pictures are making my mouth water. Thanks for sharing the recipe and for the giveaway! I hope to win so I can read the book soon.
    As much as I love my family and friends, I find joy in squeaking out a few quiet minutes alone with a great book and a yummy latte or perfectly steeped cup of tea.
    The beginning of my email address is all7.

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  78. It is a must to try - I am simply drooling. Merry Christmas to all!

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  79. I find great joy in baking! and this recipe is going on my list to try. looks scrumptious. Thanks for the chance to win! annelovell12@yahoo.com

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  80. Jkennedy363 - What inspires joy in me - is a brand new book and a warm snuggie and a kitty.... aaaahhhh pure bliss.

    Thank you!

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  81. Hmm, so many choices...decorating the tree, listening to carols, the inevitable memories of Xmas past, books under the tree, Kindle additions....Thanks!
    nanze55

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  82. What gives me joy is making things and reading.
    klvogel333

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  83. What gives me joy is baking and cooking. I love to cook and bake. Especially bake. I love trying out new recipes. And of course having a cup of coffee always brings me joy! I love coffee! That is why I started reading this series of books. I love coffee and I work in NYC! crunchiee77@yahoo.com

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  84. Gratitude and helping others every day !

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  85. Reading brings me the most joy.

    Would it be ok to divide batter in thirds and put in smaller pans? I'm imagining trying to flip that out and it would be in so many pieces, LOL. The filling sounds absolutely delicious. Thanks for the recipe.
    relklaf(at)aol(dot)com

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  86. I love this book and this cake looks yummy! reading your books is what gives me joy!

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  87. What brings me joy is weaving rag rugs on my great-grandma's floor loom. I feel like I'm carrying on a family tradition. I also have her cake pan, which I use to make persimmon cake. Gena Stout

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  88. Joy to me is reading a good mystery book. But I also find great joy in my vegetable garden each summer. As the vegetables come into season, we enjoy their fresh taste and for some vegetables are able to can or freeze them for use during the winter.

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  89. My sweet little dog, Ms Sophie, brings me so much joy. She is such a great companion and makes my life complete. Just being able to cuddle up with Sophie and a good book make every day special. 11 years ago my husband of over 43 years passed away and for the first time in my life I was truly alone. 3 years ago I got Sophie and my life changed. She really is my Joy!!! jec0988@shaw.ca

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  90. quilting and making home needlework gifts for my children. jchizmar01@windstream.net

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  91. What brings joy to me is being with my family. Since mom passed a year ago my family has gotten closer and so thankful for them. Next is the wonderful authors I work with and reading their books.

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  92. What brings me joy is making Christmas cookies with my 1 yr old, it's a huge mess but so worth it for the fun! willothewizp@gmail.com (Cleo fan!!!)

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  93. Joy is created for me by my love of the Lord and my family. Besides that it comes from reading a good book or time spent sewing in my studio. Have read all of your books and this one was just as good as the first, if not better!

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  94. My dog, my cat and chocolate cake! Stoneoak95@comcast.net

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  95. I love crafting holiday cards for friends and family. In this day of technology, sending cards is a lost art! With each card I make, I pour lots of love and the joy of the season into it! shane@centurytel

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  96. The unexpected brings joy. For example the other day there was a double rainbow in the sky, it was so beautiful and unexpected. Yesterday, I found a parking space on the 2nd floor of the parking garage at work, definitely unexpected and it really made my morning. Its those little moments that definitely bring joy.

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  97. My six cats inspire the most joy in me. They are the best!

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  98. My joy is my four dogs lazlo, gracie, ed, and sid. When they are walking around the house, they make me laugh and loved to be petted and get jealous if one gets more petting than the other.

    partial email mi3sons

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  99. I have to say our cat, Rex. My husband trained him to not be a pest during dinner, by rewarding him with a treat after we are done eating. So, Rex distracts himself by finding things to play with nearby, while we dine. If we get to talking too much, and sitting around too long, he will try (until he succeeds) to get our attention by flipping over on his back with a very dramatic THUD. He then poses in his best, what we call, "Mr. Cute" position... which is upside down, with his paws curled up. Of course we can't resist him! Partial Email: OceJLan

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  100. my books...altho, that recipe is inspiring a need to bake, it sounds so yummy. I guess I have to go shopping to get what i need to make it. That will def make me smile

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  101. Finding joy is easy for me. I think the older I get the more simple the pleasures. I like the smell of a cold day or hearing carols being sung or the squeal from someone else's joy. Chances are if you catch me smiling to myself I've had a joyful moment.

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  102. Joy this time of the year is listening to Christmas music as I make candy for Christmas. Also finishing up peacing a quilt brings joy.

    quiltlady110 at gmail dot com

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  103. I have so many joys in life that it's difficult to choose!! I would have to say, though, that my greatest joy, besides my family, is the time I spend volunteering. I volunteer at a local high school as a Drama Club Advisor alongside my husband. Since Theatre Arts is no longer on the school curriculum, there was a real need to keep something available to the kids who still wanted to participate. In some cases, the program is the only place on campus where a student "fits." And, unlike more "traditional" programs, we turn no student away, giving us the chance to work with some of the most amazing kids! Every semester brings us new opportunities for growth, for both the students and us. We have welcomed academically at-risk students who have turned their grades around, foreign exchange students who spoke very little English starring in a traditional American play, and disabled students who have risen above their challenges to shine on and off stage. What better joy is there than watching a child blossom in ways even their parents didn't know was possible? I can't think of a one!!

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  104. So many joys in my life. My children, my grandson. My dogs TJ and Max, and my siamese, Maya. Curling up with a good cup of Joe, a fire, and reading one of Clare's adventures, and of course, chocolate.
    My greatest joy, however, is my relationship with Jesus Christ.
    May He be your joy too. Enjoy the holidays, and may your writing efforts be blessed for a long long time. Partial email (eaglewings4031)

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  105. Joy is a cup of coffee and a piece of chocolate and your books.
    linda662@

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  106. Getting to be Mrs. Claus and sharing the joy of Christmas.

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  107. Joy is baking and cooking for my friends and family. I love the look on their faces when they eat something they really like!

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  108. While there are many things that can bring me joy, at this time of year I find joy in discovering the perfect gift for someone. There's also joy in sipping a cup of coffee after work in the afternoon and reading through some of my favorite sites and blogs (wink wink), creating a unique and healthy meal for my family, watching favorite programs on dvd with my husband, nuzzling our kitties with my nose buried in their warm furry necks, doing the best job I can at work, danicing in the living room to a Playstation game... You get the idea, I'm sure, ha ha...
    beckri1@

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  109. Each day I try to be aware of how blessed I am and savor the moments. It may be a laugh with friends and co-workers, an expression of thanks from someone I've helped, the look in one of my cat's eyes as they communicate with me, a discovery that a plant in my garden has come back after bad weather, watching a stellar jay in my yard, snuggling under comfy covers with my husband, and remembering all the good times we have enjoyed over the years, the places we've gone, things we've done together. It all brings me joy and I am full of gratitude for it all. partial email: lweight@siuslaw.lib

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  110. Joy is doing yoga first thing in the morning. It's time for myself and a great way to get the day started.

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  111. I love this book and this recipe looks wonderful! My cats bring so much joy into my life. They ask for nothing and give everything in return! Partial Email: areewek...@yahoo......

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  112. It gives my husband and I great joy when people take time to drive through our cirlce drive where we have Christmas lights. We worked so hard to cover about an acre of land we decorate with lights, lighted signs, rope lights around tree trunks, spotlights, inflatables, etc. We are thrilled when we see people driving around and waving! Makes the effort so worthi it!!

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  113. My greatest JOY is my husband of 52 years! wilsonz@bendbroadband.com

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  114. Big fat snowflakes that drift down into my hair and make the world seem so quiet.

    webbJM@verizon.net

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  115. Probably what inspires joy in me the most is petting and cuddling a puppy or kitten.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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  117. Cooking using recipes that deliver great levels of flavor is always uplifting. Of course reading and my cats bring daily joy, too. kchinetti

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  118. Books and horses give me joy.

    kaye.killgore@.....

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  119. Watching and playing with children is so joyful and peaceful. It is watching our future unfold.
    Joanna
    thornjr

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  120. Watching my dogs inspires joy in me. They each have a unique personality and make me laugh all of the time. I wish they could express in words what is going on in their minds. lkish77123 at gmail dot com

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  121. My Faith inspires joy in my life. Believe!
    Partial email is dkf

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  122. Planting my flowers and garden inspire joy in my life. I love being outdoors and enjoying the sun shine and working in the yard.

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  123. forgot to leave email it is darholley1@aol.com

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  124. I find joy in the simplest of things - our dogs, the hummingbirds that frequent our yard, a good mystery to cozy up with on a cool afternoon beside the fireplace, a tried and true recipe to cook up with hubby, and of course crochet... ;-)

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  125. In this rush, rush world, it brings me joy when people stop to think of others. Even if it is something as simple as helping them pick up something they have dropped. Letting that other person go first at the stop sign if you got there together. It is truly the small things that bring joy.

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  126. Reading, walking with my dogs, finding new ways to see my world all inspire me and bring me joy.
    kathib@verizon.net

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  127. Any episode of "The Big Bang Theory" always cheers me up!

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  128. I get joy especially this time of year from helping others have a better holiday, especially children. Going to the Advent services and seeing the people I love at my church. And now, seeing my husband become the head pastor of his first full time position after graduating from Seminary at the age of 57! And along with those, I find joy through reading, crafting and doing art, and my three Chow Chows!

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  129. This is a bit of a loaded question for me, but here goes. I get a lot of joy when I can wake up a few minutes before sunrise, before my Husband, run downstairs to start the coffee, get greeted by my kitties, who get served their breakfast, turn on some music, put seed outside for the birds to wake up to, then either start doing some computer work, do some knitting, some reading, or if the computer is slow, do my reading or knitting while I'm on the computer, while enjoying my coffee!! It's quiet, and my kitties are a bit fun and active at that time. Life is good, and when the birds start to come, it's Heaven!! When my Husband wakes up and comes downstairs, it's another phase of my morning, but so different than just being by myself. It's still good, but I love my alone time, too!! Have a wonderful Holiday!! Prob

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  130. A Coffeehouse Mystery, a great cup of coffee, and cooking and baking. catherine_1of3lanes

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  131. What brings me joy - well probably a good relaxing coffeehouse mystery after a satisfying day of watching my Teenage students respond positively to a new skill taught in thier EMT class mrs_loggie@yahoo.com

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  132. That looks AMAZING.
    As far as what inspires joy, it's making others laugh. Most of my life I've been an actress, at renaissance fairs, on stage, and everywhere I could be. It's partly the attention, but mostly that moment where someone relaxes for just an instant and enjoys a moment. Making someone smile, or laugh, chuckle, guffaw, or giggle....those moments make me feel so alive I'm practically glowing. And that glow sustains me for hours.

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  133. Photography and good books. publishingby3lane

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  134. Coffeehouse Mysteries. Sitting by a lake and writing. foundation_eagle

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  135. My faith in God and my savior, Jesus Christ, inspires joy every day. Then come family and friends, and the joy of laughter.

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  136. The glitter of broad snowflakes spiralling down sunbeams.

    amaebi@ ma

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  137. When I see people reaching out to help, care for, do for others is what inspires joy within me, and the largest group of people that I see reaching out to others is children. Society today is so "me, me, me." That line of thinking just doesn't work for me.
    2harts98@

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  138. The full moon shining down on freshly fallen snow and the smell of fresh snow as I walk home from midnight mass on Christmas Eve.

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  139. Books, music, nature, animals, good company, food and drink all bring joy. And that cake is very inspiring, yum!

    lola777_22 (at) hotmail (dot) com

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  140. Thanks to EVERYONE for these amazing comments. I will be linking to this post again and again so that more people can see what inspires joy in each of you. It's a beautiful list you've made, and Marc and I thank you...

    The winner of the "Inspire Joy" necklace and autographed first-edition copy of ONCE UPON A GRIND has been randomly drawn and will be announced here shortly. Though this drawing is officially over, you are more than welcome to continue sharing the unique answer to . . . What inspires joy in you?

    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter
    www.CleoCoyleRecipes.com

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  141. Once again, I want to thank everyone for sharing what inspires joy in you. Now that the winner is confirmed and her prizes are sent off, I am happy to announce the randomly drawn winner was Jane C. of BC., Canada. Congratulation, Jane, and I hope you enjoy ONCE UPON A GRIND and your other prizes.

    For everyone else, thanks again, and be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to you don't miss updates on my books, recipes, and new contests.

    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter
    www.CleoCoyleRecipes.com

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