Showing posts with label Coffeehouse Mystery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Coffeehouse Mystery. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Book Club Week: Murder by Mocha and 5 Minute Microwave Fudge by Cleo Coyle #bookclubs


It’s Book Club Week at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen, and I'm happy to send a shout-out to the "Sister Dear" book club of North Carolina, whose members inspired today's post. 

The club will be discussing Murder by Mocha next Saturday at a local coffeehouse, and my husband (and partner in crime writing) will be joining me in a conference call appearance at their gathering. We're looking forward to it!


If you’d like Marc and I to appear at your own book club via telephone, drop us a line at our public e-mail box: 


CoffeehouseMystery(at)gmail.com 

And if you're new to this site or our series, keep reading...




FAQC 


(Frequently Asked Questions of Cleo)


1) Question: Which of your books should I read first?

Answer: There are 12 books in our bestselling Coffeehouse Mystery series, with the 13th Billionaire Blend, coming from Penguin in December. But you don’t have to read them in order. Each stands alone, and focuses on a different theme and a different aspect of New York City life.


2) Q: Do you have Reading Group Guides for my book club?

A: Yes! You can download free Book Club Discussion Questions for many of our books at our Reading Group Guide page, just click here.

Take our "killer" New York tour
at Mystery Fanfare by
clicking here.

3) Q: What are your books about?

A: My husband and I have been living and working in New York City for three decades, and our Coffeehouse Mysteries—a unique blend of crime, humor, action, and romance—are set in and around the Village Blend, a landmark coffeehouse in Greenwich Village. The coffeehouse is managed by Clare Cosi, a divorced, single mom who continually finds herself mixed up in murder. View the series trailer by clicking the arrow in the window below...

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4) Q. Who else is in the cast besides Clare?


Madame, octogenarian
owner of The Village Blend
A. Clare Cosi is often assisted in her city-wide sleuthing with a colorful cast of characters. Click here to visit their avatar page and read about them in their own words. In brief, they include...

Madame Dreyfus-Allegro-Dubois, the octogenarian owner of the century-old Village Blend...

Her adult son, Matt Allegro, a globe-trotting coffee hunter, ...

A quirky family of young baristas, whom Clare not only manages but often mothers, and...



A good man and smart cop, NYPD Detective Mike Quinn, who becomes emotionally involved with Clare over the course of the series.


Mike Quinn, NYPD Detective




5) Q: What is the exact order of your titles?

A: For a checklist with the correct order of all 13 titles in the series and brief descriptions of every plotline click here. If you’d rather go to our website for this information, click here and scroll down.











6) Q: Are your books available in audio?

A: Yes. They’re produced by AudioGo (BBC America Audiobooks), and you can see the entire line by clicking here. They’re also available (simply search by title) via Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.




7) Q: What book would you select for a book club discussion?


A: The holiday season is coming, so if you’re looking for a holiday-themed discussion, try...

HOLIDAY GRIND in which Clare Cosi solves
the heartless slaying of a kind sidewalk Santa...



                       OR





in which Clare tracks down the
killer of a 
young cookie baker. 


And, yes, there are plenty of 
delicious holiday and cookie 
recipes included in both books.






Holiday or not, I'm also happy to suggest the same book that the "Dear Sister" Book Club chose for their discussion at a local NC coffeehouse next Saturday...


Marc and I were inspired to write this mystery after learning about an actual culinary crime. Like the other titles in the series, Murder by Mocha can be read as a stand-alone, and it offers many twists and turns. There are long-buried secrets, stunning surprises, and the characters make choices that will (no doubt) be the subject of lively discussions and even disagreements. 

To read suggested Book Club Questions for Murder by Mocha, click here.

As the story opens, Clare Cosi is working on a special project. Her employer has asked her to provide premium coffee beans to an old friend (Alicia) for the development of a new product. Mocha Magic Coffee is supposedly laced with herbal aphrodisiacs that will put the "magic" back into your love life.

Clare is skeptical about the drink’s potency—though she does plan to share it with NYPD Detective Mike Quinn (when he’s off duty, of course). Before she gets that chance, a corpse turns up in Alicia's hotel suite. Then it quickly disappears without any evidence a crime has taken place. At the product’s launch party, a pretty young executive is found dead. With half the cast going a little loco from the Mocha, Clare concludes that someone wants control of this coffee’s secret formula enough to kill for it.

In the meantime, Mike becomes embroiled in a cold case murder and shocks Clare when he informs her that she holds the key to solving it. Toss in a stunning revelation about Clare’s beloved employer, and a budding relationship between Clare’s daughter and a rogue cop named Franco, and you’ve got one heck of a caffeinated tale. 

Murder by Mocha was a blast to write, and it made two Top-10 lists for Best Cozy Reads. Thanks to our readers, it was also a bestseller in hardcover and paperback. 



Read the prologue and 
first chapter by clicking here.

Take a peek at the book's
recipe section (with foodie photos)
by clicking here.



Culinary theme:

Chocolate!


In Murder by Mocha Clare Cosi not only caters a chocolate-themed party, she must sniff out clues at a confectioners' expo, where she also snags a sinfully delicious sample from Valrhona, one of the world's most renowned chocolatiers.

Your book club group can join Clare with a chocolate-tasting of your own because
Valrhona's online store offers tasting tins of their gourmet chocolate. You can see the line by clicking here

OR you might want to make your own chocolate treat from Murder by Mocha's recipe section. Today I'm sharing a very easy one: Five Minute Chocolate-Hazelnut Fudge. You can even make it in your microwave...



Cleo Coyle’s "Magic"
Five Minute Microwave
Chocolate-Hazelnut Fudge



“Oh, chocolate fudge I’ll eat. What I can’t swallow is fudging, as in fudging statistics, fudging results, fudging the truth. Mathematicians call it a fudge factor—putting an extra calculation into an equation just so it will work out as expected. It’s what we law enforcement types call a scam.”
                                                ~ Detective Mike Quinn,
Murder by Mocha 

Scamming does indeed play a role in Murder by Mocha's plotline, but there is no fudging in this fudge recipe. The claim that you can make it in a microwave is true, and the results are creamy, dreamy, and absolutely delicious. It's a great fudge to serve a parties or give as a gift, so you might want to keep this recipe handy for holidays... ~ Cleo





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






Ingredients:

1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 (12-ounce) package of good quality semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup Nutella chocolate-hazelnut spread (room temperature)

Step 1 – Prep pan: Crisscross the bottom of an 8 x 8 square pan with two sheets of parchment paper. The parchment sheets should be long enough to extend, like handles, over the edges of the pan. 

Step 2 – Melt with microwave: Place the milk into a microwave safe bowl. Cut the butter into the milk. Pour in the chocolate chips, and microwave it all for 30 seconds. ONLY 30 seconds. Remove and stir. Nuke it for another 30 and remove to stir again. This should be enough time to melt the chocolate and butter. If not, continue microwaving and stirring in 20 second increments until everything is melted.

NOTE: Do not simply microwave this mixture for 2 solid minutes without stirring. You run the risk of scorching the chocolate and completely ruining the fudge. Once chocolate is burned, there is no saving it. Be sure to melt it slowly, in increments. 

Step 3 – Finish the fudge: Into the melted mixture, sprinkle the salt and measure in the vanilla and Nutella. 

NOTE: Nutella should not be cooked in a microwave because high heat will alter its texture and flavor, which is why I'm careful how I use it in recipes. What I want you to do is simply stir the Nutella into the warm, melted mixture that comes out of the microwave. Be sure to stir from the bottom, lifting and folding to blend everything well. 


Step 4 – Chill and cut: Now pour the chocolate mixture into your lined pan. Using a rubber spatula or back of a spoon, smooth the top, leveling it off. 




Chill the pan in the refrigerator until firm—this will take 2 to 3 hours. Remove and cut into small squares. To store, place fudge in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator, and, of course... 



Eat (and read) with joy! 
~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.


Sign up for my
free 
newsletter here.





To download the free illustrated guide to 

Murder by Mocha’s recipe section, click here







Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Make Fab Fudge in your Microwave from author Cleo Coyle




“Oh, chocolate fudge I’ll eat. What I can’t swallow is fudging, as in fudging statistics, fudging results, fudging the truth. Mathematicians call it a fudge factor—putting an extra calculation into an equation just so it will work out as expected. It’s what we law enforcement types call a scam.” 

~ Detective Mike Quinn, Murder by Mocha 


Scamming does indeed play a role in the plotline of my latest Coffeehouse Mystery, Murder by Mocha, but there is no fudging in this fudge recipe. The claim that you can make it in a microwave is true, and the results are delicious.

I’m especially confident stating this because my husband is a fudge fiend. While growing up, he gobbled homemade fudge that was continually cooked up by his mom. He enjoys sampling the treat wherever he travels; and every year, for his birthday, I ship handmade fudge to our New York home from the famous fudge makers of Mackinac Island, Michigan.


Cleo Coyle, spouse to a
fudge fiend is author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries
Marc was highly skeptical about this recipe, but after tasting it—and more of it, and even more of it, he declared it to be nearly as good as his mother's. 

Microwave fudge is nothing new, of course. You will find renditions of it all over the Net. This (crunchless) chocolate-hazelnut version is simply my take on the ingredients, ratios, and process. Why do I say crunchless? Because the light note of hazelnut in this treat comes not from actual nuts but Nutella, so the fudge stays smooth, creamy, and dreamy!



I’m sure 99% of you know what Nutella is, but for the 1% who don’t it’s a delicious spread (not unlike peanut butter) that blends chocolate and hazelnuts. If you’ve never bought it, look for it in your grocery where peanut butter is sold. 








Cleo Coyle's
Smooth and Dreamy
Chocolate-Hazelnut
Microwave Fudge

For a free PDF of this recipe that you can save, share, or print, hit the "print friendly" button on the bottom of this post or click here.

Ingredients:

1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 (12-ounce) package of good quality semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup Nutella chocolate-hazelnut spread (room temperature)

Step 1 – Prep pan: Crisscross the bottom of an 8 x 8 square pan with two sheets of parchment paper. The parchment sheets should be long enough to extend, like handles, over the edges of the pan. 

Step 2 – Melt with microwave: Place the milk into a microwave safe bowl. Cut the butter into the milk. Pour in the chocolate chips, and microwave it all for 30 seconds. ONLY 30 seconds. Remove and stir. Nuke it for another 30 and remove to stir again. This should be enough time to melt the chocolate and butter. If not, continue microwaving and stirring in 20 second increments until everything is melted.

NOTE: Do not simply microwave this mixture for 2 solid minutes without stirring. You run the risk of scorching the chocolate and completely ruining the fudge. Once chocolate is burned, there is no saving it. Be sure to melt it slowly, in increments. 



Step 3 – Finish the fudge: Into the melted mixture, sprinkle the salt and measure in the vanilla and Nutella. 


NOTE: Nutella should never be cooked in a microwave (this advice is also written on its label). High heat alters the texture and flavor, which is why I'm careful how I use it in recipes. What I want you to do is simply stir the Nutella into the warm, melted mixture that comes out of the microwave. Be sure to stir from the bottom, lifting and folding to blend everything well.






Step 4 – Chill and cut: Now pour the chocolate mixture into your lined pan. Using a rubber spatula or back of a spoon, smooth the top, leveling it off. Chill the pan in the refrigerator until firm—this will take approximately 3 hours. Remove and cut into small squares. To store, place fudge in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator, and, of course...





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: CoffeehouseMystery.com



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
Mysteries
, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Aphrodisiac Brownies and a Favorite Character Contest from Cleo Coyle!






I am thrilled to report that my new Coffeehouse Mystery, MURDER BY MOCHA, is off and running as an official bestseller. The book claimed the #9 spot on Barnes and Noble’s Top-10 hardcover mystery list and the #7 spot on the even bigger Nielsen BookScan list. 

The paperback edition of Roast Mortem 
even clocked in as a #8 BookScan mystery bestseller!

I didn't make this happen, readers did, and if you’re one of them, I have two words for you: 





Thank You!





Cleo Coyle, coffee geek,
is author of The Coffeehouse
Mysteries. To learn more,
visit Cleo's website by
clicking here.
Now for the food!

If you are considering making some of the chocolate treats (and other dishes) in the Recipe Section of Murder by Mocha, but aren't sure what the end results should look like, today's post should help. You can also click my PDF link here, print out a copy, and tuck it into your book's pages so you'll always have the reference!


To download a free PDF of the
Murder by Mocha 
recipe photos in the slideshow below, CLICK HERE. 




You can also watch the BIG SCREEN
version of this show
with my personal captions, by 
clicking here. 



Now for 

Today's Recipe!


Cleo Coyle's 
APHRODISIAC 
BROWNIES

The crimes in MURDER BY MOCHA (and there are plenty) are sparked by the launch of a new beverage product—a mocha drink called Mocha Magic Coffee, on which a powerhouse Website, "Aphrodite’s Village," plans to make a mint.

This chocolate coffee is laced with herbal aphrodisiacs. The formula is top secret, but it workstoo well. The mocha drives half the Coffeehouse cast loco!

In keeping with the loco mocha theme, my brownies include three ingredients that have long been considered aphrodisiacs (all of them legal, I assure you)! 

Chocolate, of course, is Cupid’s classic consumable. Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant that is believed to be a perk in the area of romantic desires. Cinnamon is a fragrant spice that was prized by the Romans. (Cleopatra famously used it to arouse her many lovers.)

In these delicious brownies, the cinnamon works with the brown sugar to layer in a subtle yet intriguing flavor—perfect for a murder mystery. I hope you enjoy them, too. 




To download a free PDF of the recipe
for my 
Aphrodisiac Brownies, a featured recipe from Murder by Mocha,
click here.




And now...
Contest Fun!





"Guess who's coming
to dinner?" 

Your favorite Coffeehouse 
Mystery character!

For the past eight years, the Coffeehouse readers have written to me about the characters they love (and hate)! Now it's time to put those opinions in writing and possibly win some lovely prizes for your effort. What prizes?


CHOCOLATES! 
In Murder by Mocha, Clare Cosi travels to a candy and chocolate trade show to track down clues. While trolling the convention center aisles, she pauses at the booth of Valrhona (French gourmet chocolatiers) to indulge in a dark, little square of transcendent joy. Now that  joy can be yours, if you enter the contest.

The Prize: A “Grand Crus” Gift Box of 52 Fine Chocolate Tasting Squares (4 Flavors) Tanariva 33%, Taïnori 64%, Caraïbe 66%, and Guanaja 70%. The box includes the Tasting Wheel, a tool that helps lovers of fine chocolates eat with joy. :) To read more about this prize, click here.





Murder by Mocha
signed copies!
 

To learn more or buy
the book, click here
or here or here!














Gimme Coffee 
Cappuccino Cups, 
(Made in Italy) To see, click here.




HOW TO ENTER: Simply leave a comment on this blog** (any sort of comment) AND send an e-mail to CleoContest@gmail.com with an answer to this question: 


If you could go to dinner with one of my Coffeehouse Mystery characters (other than Clare Cosi) who would it be and why? Remember, it cannot be Clare!



Would you choose Matt, Madame, Mike, Joy, Bree, Franco? One of the baristas? You can make your answer as long or as brief as you like. No right or wrong answer, just your opinion! 

One entry per person. Two winners will be chosen by random number generator--a grand prize (chocolate, signed book, and cup) and a runner up (signed book and cup). Contest Ends: Monday, September 26, 12 Midnight.


**NOTE: If you have trouble leaving a comment on this blog, then leave one on my Coffeehouse Mystery message board by clicking here.







EXTRA WAY TO WIN: For big fans of my series, listen up! If you elaborate on your answer, AND I choose to share it on my Web site, facebook page or on this blog, then a special "thank you" prize is coming your way, too! An adorable gimme coffee espresso cup and a signed book plate


How many of these winners will there be? That's up to you! I may select three or a dozen, depending on how enthusiastic you are with your answers. Prizes will be awarded throughout August, September, and October!


Just tell me more about why you like the character. Maybe share how my character would take you to dinner. Where, for example, would you eat? What would you eat? I hope you have fun with this. I know I will!  


Read with joy!  
~ Cleo










To learn more about Cleo's bestselling
mysteries, visit her online coffeehouse at www.CoffeehouseMystery.com,
where you can also get more of her recipes
and sign up for her newsletter.



**NOTE: If you have trouble leaving a comment on this blog, you can leave one on
Cleo's Coffeehouse Mystery message board
by clicking here.