Showing posts with label Chocolate Cookies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chocolate Cookies. Show all posts

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Guest Judith Arnold and her Death-by-Chocolate Cookies

Please welcome Judith Arnold (also know as Barbara Keiler) to Mystery Lovers' Kitchen! I met Judith a decade ago, when I took my first baby steps into writing by joining the local chapter of Romance Writers of America. If you think I'm prolific, Judith has me trumped several times over. I'm happy to say that now she's come over to the dark side with her first mystery, Dead Ball. And you can tell she's a smart woman: she's luring us in with chocolate!

by Judith Arnold

Happy Easter! Happy Passover! Happy Spring! I’m so grateful to Sheila Connolly for inviting me to hang out with the talented author-chefs in the Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen.

Although I’ve written more than ninety romance and women’s fiction novels, I’m a rookie when it comes to mysteries. My debut mystery, Dead Ball, is out now. The first book in the “Still Kicking” mystery series, Dead Ball has as its heroine Lainie Lovett, a middle-aged widow with two children teetering on the edge of adulthood, a job she loves teaching fourth grade, and a passion for playing soccer. Her life gets absurdly complicated when she sees the husband of one of her teammates canoodling with a woman who’s not his wife—and he subsequently turns up dead. Lainie doesn’t do too much cooking in Dead Ball, although at one point, in a spasm of maternal sentiment, she bakes a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Her daughter Karen, who has moved back home after graduating from college and discovering that her degree in classics has rendered her virtually unemployable, finds that cooking is good therapy when she has romantic troubles. At one point, infuriated by her boyfriend, she vents her rage by flattening raw chicken breasts with a mallet from Lainie’s tool box. In the second book of the “Still Kicking” series, Karen tackles more challenging recipes, including butterfly shrimp and tacos from scratch.

That book is currently sitting on my editor’s desk. I’ve just gotten started writing the third book in the series, in which the murder weapon has something to do with chocolate—which is why I’ve decided to share my recipe for Death-By-Chocolate Cookies.

I should add here that I am better at writing than at baking. But these cookies are blessedly simple to make. The only difficult thing about them is trying to limit your consumption of them. And really, if you’re going to be killed by something, it might as well be chocolate. At least you’ll die with a smile on your face! 

Death-By-Chocolate Cookies:

1 package (8 oz.) semisweet baking chocolate
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup flour
¼ tsp. baking powder
1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups chopped walnuts 

Microwave the baking chocolate on high for 2 minutes, melting the chocolate into a thick liquid. Stir until smooth. Blend in the brown sugar, softened butter, eggs and vanilla. Then slowly add the flour, baking powder, chocolate chips and walnuts. Mix thoroughly. Drop onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 350° for 12-13 minutes, until cookies look puffed and set. Cool and store in a tight container. 

As you can see from the photo, they aren’t the prettiest cookies you’ll ever bake. It doesn’t matter. Sometimes beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and sometimes it’s on the tongue of the chocolate-lover. Enjoy!

USA Today bestselling author Judith Arnold has won awards and recognition from Publishers Weekly, Romance Writers of America, RT Magazine, EPIC (the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition), and New England Chapter-RWA. Married and a mother of two sons, Judith lives near Boston in a house with four guitars, three pianos, a violin, an electric keyboard, a balalaika, a kazoo, and a set of bongo drums. She stays connected with friends and fans via her website < >,
Twitter <>,
and her newsletter <>.

Dead Ball Blurb:  

Lainie Lovett’s got to solve this murder—her soccer team's schedule depends on it!  

Who pulled the trigger of the nail gun that killed her teammate’s husband, construction tycoon Arthur Cavanagh? His widow, who'd sworn to kill him if he ever cheated on her? His hostile teenage son, who felt neglected by his father? His sexy foreman, who'd regularly fought with him? The angry environmentalists, protesting his latest development? Or the blond mystery woman who'd been seen with him the night of his death? Lainie needs to find the culprit or the bumbling local police will charge her with the murder. It doesn’t take long before she’s up to her shin guards in trouble.

Dead Ball has been selected as a Monthly Deal by Amazon. For the month of April, the Kindle edition is priced at only $1.99.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easter Recipes Roundup (Cat Approved) from Cleo Coyle

Meet Turtle, one of my many New York strays. The old girl is going on twenty. You'd never know it. Most days she bounds around the house like a kitten, has a healthy appetite, and purrs on my lap while I write.

She was the very first cat that my husband, Marc, and I adopted together, and we almost lost her last week to a massive kidney infection. Thanks to the very kind vets at NYC's Animal Medical Center, we got some good, strong antibiotics into her and (so far) she's bouncing back beautifully. She's bright-eyed again, jumping around, and back to purring on my lap. I don't know how much longer we'll have her, but seeing her out of pain and happy makes this Easter all the more special for us. 

Cleo Coyle, cat-approved
author of The
Coffeehouse Mysteries
As for my blog post this week, I have a Turtle-approved roundup of recipes that might be helpful as you put together your own Easter feast. 

May you cook and eat with joy!

~ Cleo

Easter Recipes Roundup!

Cleo's Foolproof Stuffed Mushrooms

Why are they foolproof? Because with this method, you won't have to worry about under- or over-cooking them.

This filling is ricotta mixed with spinach, but you can certainly switch up the filling. For example, a combo of soft and hard cheeses plus breadcrumbs with cooked sausage would be just as delicious.

For an illustrated PDF of this recipe that you can print, save, or share, click here.

Cleo's Healthier Mashed Potatoes

This is my favorite recipe for mashed potatoes. It's so beautiful and the addition of garlic and carrots adds flavor, nutrition, and fiber. 

For an illustrated PDF of this recipe that you can print, save, or share, click here.

Cleo's Holiday

With a festive combo of flavors and textures, this side dish makes a pretty addition to any holiday table. I usually serve it at Christmas, but the roast meats of Easter make it a good side for this holiday, too.

It was even a Foodbuzz Top 9. Click here to see. 
To download a PDF of this recipe, click here.

Rack of Lamb with Lemon and Rosemary

Why do crime-writers like lamb? 

Answer here! 

...along with my absolute favorite recipe for lamb.
A PDF link is located inside the post. To jump to the recipe post, click here.

Cleo's "Pernil" Puerto Rican-Style Roasted Pork Shoulder
If you're looking for a change from Easter ham, here's my first suggestion. Pernil is an impressive-looking hunk o' meat that's easy to prepare. In many Latin American homes, it's a classic holiday treat. For an illustrated PDF of this recipe that you can print, save, or share, click here.

Cleo's Chocolate Cloud Cookies

Another Foodbuzz Top 9 recipe. To see, click here.

For a keeper PDF of this recipe, click here.

Chocolate at Easter is classic, but with so many of us looking for lighter desserts, it can be an issue. Here's a solution. Light, delicious, and easy to make, my Chocolate Cloud Cookies are a tasty treat to serve with coffee or tea, especially after a heavy dinner.

Cleo's 5 Minute
Chocolate Fudge

You're crazed, right? You're too busy to cook or you're going to someone else's house for the big holiday dinner and not sure what to bring. Maybe my fudge recipe will help...

For a PDF of this recipe that you can print, save, or share, click here.

No kidding. This fudge takes only about five minutes to mix up and make. (You can use your microwave.) After it sets, cut it into little squares, drop it into mini muffin cup liners, and serve the treat to your friends or relatives with a smile. They'll love this smooth, delicious, chocolate fudge with a hint of hazelnuts. It's Easter chocolate coffeehouse style! Cheers, everyone!

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of

To get more of my recipes, enter to win
free coffee, or 
learn about my books, including
my bestselling 
Haunted Bookshop series, visit my online coffeehouse:

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 

The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Chocolate Grasshopper Brownie Cookies

These cookies were submitted by Lynn in Texas and my husband was in heaven the day I baked them. Soft, chocolate mint with an almond crunch? These are sure to be a new favorite in this household and in yours too for years to come. My only challenge was that I couldn't find the bag of Andes mints and I went to 2 stores. Never fear though. You can buy (2) 4.7 ounce boxes of Andes mint candies, unwrap them, put them in the freezer , and then pound them into chips just before you mix them into the dough.

Chocolate Grasshopper Brownie Cookies

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour (10 oz)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch not recommended)
2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
10 oz bag Andes mint chips
1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted and cooled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Add cocoa to dry mixture.

In mixing bowl, cream the butter with both sugars. Beat in the egg and vanilla. By hand or using low speed of mixer, stir in the flour mixture. Fold in the chips and nuts.

Drop mixture by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet then transfer to rack to finish cooling.

Makes 3 Dozen

*Lynn, please email me at to claim your cookie cutters! Thanks for the yummy, yummy recipe!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Chocolate Fudge Pumpkin Cookies with Easy Pumpkin Glaze from Cleo Coyle

Cleo Coyle, crazy for pumpkin
and author of the
Coffeehouse Mysteries

Today's recipe is worthy of a sleuth...

Why? Because although these decadently declicious chocolate cookies have the flavor and texture of fudge brownies, they are lower in fat than a typical cookie. An entire can of pureed pumpkin takes the place of shortening in the recipe, which means it also brings iron, dietary fiber, and vitamins A, C, and E to this Halloween party.

Here's how the recipe came about. A few weeks ago, I posted my recipe for Chocolate Hurricane Muffins. (Click here to get the recipe in a PDF format). These quick-and-easy muffins are made by adding mashed bananas (along with a few other ingredients) to a cake mix starter. The bananas add nice flavor while also cutting down on the amount of fat.

Although I do have a
pumpkin-colored cat named
(you guessed it) Punkin',
the feline star of this pic is
Mr. Fellows, my in-house editor.
One of my Coffeehouse Mystery readers (Sue) liked my muffins and dropped me an e-mail about another recipe that uses a chocolate cake mix starter: Weight Watcher Chocolate Pumpkin muffins.

To make these 2-ingredient muffins, you mix one box of chocolate cake mix with one 15-ounce can of pureed pumpkin. That’s it. The recipe sounded odd, but I gave it a try anyway. The muffins were a little heavy for me, and I thought it would work better in smaller bites so I adapted it into today's fudge brownie-like drop cookie.

And there you have it, the origin of today’s healthier Halloween recipe. With thanks to Sue and Weight Watchers for the inspiration: It's a treat that’s not a trick to make (as long as you have a can opener).


To save this recipe in an easy PDF form that you can print or share, click here.


1 box (18.25 ounces) of Devil’s Food cake mix
1 can (15 ounces) pureed pumpkin (100% pumpkin and not pie filling)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or equivalent of chopped chocolate)
Cleo’s Pumpkin Glaze (recipe below)

Step 1 – Make Batter: First pre-heat oven to 350º F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with non-stick spray or grease with oil or butter. (For best results, do not use parchment paper. The cookie batter needs to feel the full heat of the baking pan.) In a mixing bowl, combine entire box of cake mix with canned pumpkin and vanilla. Do not add any additional liquid. Gently stir, working the canned pumpkin into the cake mix until a blended, wet batter forms. (This may take a minute but trust me, it will work.) Finally, fold in the chocolate chips.

Step 2 – Drop and Bake: Drop batter by tablespoon onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake in a well pre-heated 350º F. oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Do not over-bake. Cookies should be a bit soft and gooey in the center. While warm, they will be very soft on the outside, as well. Allow them to cool on the pan a few minutes and then transfer carefully to a rack to finish cooling. (They will always be somewhat soft because these are gooey fudge brownie cookies, not hard and crunchy cookies.)

Step 3 - Decorate: Finish with a drizzle of Cleo’s Pumpkin Glaze (recipe below).

A NOTE ON STORING: Because pumpkin takes the place of shortening in these cookies, they are best eaten within a day or two. Store in refrigerator.



2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (*see note below to make your own)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Food coloring (orange OR red and yellow to make orange)
2 cups powdered sugar

Step 1 - In a medium saucepan, combine butter, water, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, and food coloring. Heat slowly, stirring until butter melts. At no time should this mixture simmer or boil.

Step 2 - Add the powdered sugar and stir until it all completely melts into the liquid. Whisk to remove any lumps and blend into a smooth, thick glaze. If the glaze is too thick, whisk in a bit more water.

Step 3 - While the glaze is still warm, use a fork to drizzle it over the cookies. As the glaze cools, it will harden. If the glaze hardens in the pan, simply return the pan to the stovetop and warm the glaze while whisking. If needed, add a bit more water to thin the glaze back to the right consistency for drizzling.

*SPICE NOTE: Pumpkin pie spice is available in most grocery store spice sections. To make your own, simply mix the following ground spices for 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice: ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ginger, 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice or ground cloves, and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg.


(a little early...)

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

A Coffeehouse Mystery

The national bestseller
in hardcover
is now on sale in
to paperback!

To get more of my recipes,
win free coffee, or learn

about me and my Coffeehouse Mysteries, visit my *virtual* coffeehouse at:


"Fun and Gripping"
~ The Huffington Post

"Some of the most vibrant characters I've ever read. Coyle also is a master of misdirection...I challenge any reader to figure out whodunit before Coyle reveals all."
~ Mystery Scene magazine 

“Coyle's coffeehouse mysteries (Espresso Shot, etc.) are packed with believable characters and topped with serious coffee lore and holiday recipes. This one will keep your cup piping hot.” ~ Kirkus 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

EMERGENCY! (Or no chocolate in the house)!

It doesn't happen often that
I am caught unaware that my
stash of chocolate has hit critical and
I am abruptly rendered...gulp...

But it did happen the other day
and it was a pitiful state, truly.
Luckily, a little creative panic
saved the day.

Scouring the pantry, I found some unsweetenend
cocoa powder and I remembered a cookie that my
mother used to make when I was a kid that I loved.
It's a chocolate cookie rolled in confectioner's sugar
that flattens and cracks when it's baked into crunchy
on the outside, chewy on the inside chocolatey
goodness! And just like that -- ka-ching we were on
our way to chocolate cookies!


1 1/3 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetenend cocoa powder
1 tspn baking soda
1/4 tspn salt
1/8 tspn black pepper
1/2 cup powdered sugar


Beat brown sugar and oil in medium bowl with
electric mixer. Mix in sour cream, egg and vanilla
and set aside. Mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt
and pepper in another bowl. Add flour mixture to
brown sugar mixture, mix well.
Refrigerate dough until firm (3-4 hrs). It was a
chocolate emergency, so I froze it for half an hour
and it worked out just fine. Preheat oven to 350. Pour
powdered sugar into a bowl. Roll dough into one inch
balls, roll balls in powdered sugar. Bake on ungreased
cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes. Try to wait until they're
cool enough to eat! I barely made it.


Available now!

Lucy Lawrence
Available Now!

Julie's GRACE UNDER PRESSURE just came out yesterday!
Woo hoo, Julie! Be sure to pick up a copy! It got a starred review
from Publisher's Weekly and it's sure to be a hit!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Cleo Coyle's Little Chocolate Clouds

This post
was named a
Number One
9" Pick

“I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee…” One of songwriter Carly Simon’s many inspired lines—and my inspiration for today’s recipe post.

With warmer weather finally making its appearance here in New York City, and the threat of sleeveless tops and shorts coming at me like a Sisyphus boulder, I knew my craving for something chocolate needed to be tempered into something light.

Then Elizabeth/Riley’s excellent spring cleaning post (click here or scroll down) started me thinking about using up my foods before they hit their dreaded expiration dates. And what was on the cusp of being ejected from my fridge? Eggs!

The result was this recipe for Little Chocolate Clouds. These simple chocolate meringues are easy to whip up and bake. They are bursting with chocolate flavor yet still light and with the added bonus of protein.

Serve these as a light, after-dinner treat or eat them as a satisfying coffee break snack. You can even float one in a hot cup of joe or espresso. It will melt right into the liquid, giving you an instant mocha drink.

My husband, Marc (a tough critic) loves these sweet, little morsels. He describes them as "little chocolate cotton candies," which pefectly captures their melt-in-your mouth appeal, especially after you soften their crunchy exteriors by dipping them into a cup of warm coffee or tea.

The only tricky technique in making this simple
recipe is whipping up the egg whites...

For a quick video tutorial on how to whip egg whites properly,
just click on the arrow in the window below.

Cleo Coyle’s Little Chocolate Clouds

Makes about 36 cookies

For a printable version
of this recipe (PDF format)



4 egg whites (room temperature)
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar (to stabilize the egg whites)
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
Optional decorations: chocolate sprinkles, chocolate chips, toasted coconut, chopped nuts


Step 1 – Before You Begin: First preheat the oven to 300° Fahrenheit. Some notes to help you get the best results here: Start with a mixing bowl that is glass, metal, or ceramic. The bowl must be free of grease for your egg whites to whip up properly. (Grease clings to plastic bowls, which is why you should not use plastic.) Also, for best results, your egg whites should be room temperature. I simply set my cold eggs in a bowl of warm tap water for 2 to 3 minutes before cracking.

Step 2 – Whip Egg Whites: Place egg whites, cream of tartar, vanilla, and salt into bowl. Using an electric mixer or handheld whisk, begin to whip the whites. When you see soft peaks begin to form (see "soft peaks" photo below), continue beating while slowly sprinkling in the sugar. When the egg whites have become stiff and glossy (see "stiff and glossy" photo below), stop whipping. Sift the cocoa over the egg whites and gently fold into the mix. The whites will deflate a little, but that’s okay.

Egg Whites Beaten to "Soft Peaks"

Egg Whites Beaten "Stiff and Glossy"

Sifting in the Unsweetened Cocoa

Folding in the Unsweetened Cocoa

Step 3 – Form Little Chocolate Clouds: Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Make rustic little chocolate clouds by dropping batter by heaping teaspoons onto the paper. As a fun option and to create variety, try sprinkling some with finely chopped nuts, others with shredded coconut, chocolate sprinkles, or a few chocolate chips.

Step 4 – Bake in the preheated (300° F.) oven for about 25 to 35 minutes. Meringues should be dry and somewhat firm on the outside (not hard just firm) and still gooey in the center. Remove from oven and carefully slide the parchment paper off the hot pan and onto a rack to cool. Note: Warm meringues will stick to the parchment paper. But as they cool, they will harden. Then you can easily lift them free and…

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of 

To get more of my recipes,
enter to win free coffee, or
learn about my books,
including my bestselling
Haunted Bookshop series,
visit my online coffeehouse:

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 


The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.