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

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Chocolate Espresso Almond Shortbread Cookies -- #recipe @LeslieBudewitz

LESLIE BUDEWITZ; One of the delights of
traveling to meet readers and talk about my books is eating the food. It’s research. After my signing at Seattle Mystery Bookshop in June, my BFF Lita and I dashed through the rain to the Grand Central building in Pioneer Square. In the Grand Central Arcade, we shared a delicious sandwich and salad from the Grand Central Bakery, but restrained ourselves from the Chocolate Almond Shortbread.

The regret kicked in almost immediately.

So like any good cookie monster, I went searching online. This recipe comes from The Kitchen Paper, and I haven’t varied it much – just clarified what chocolate to use and revised the instructions – although my yield was about double what the posted recipe predicted. Go figure that. I don’t think the version we spotted in the bakery included espresso, but darn, that was a yummy addition. Mr. Right thought it made these breakfast cookies, and I’m certainly not going to disagree.

These froze well, even with the chocolate drizzle. There is no substitute for picking up each cookie and using a teaspoon to spread chocolate on one corner of the cookie – trying to drizzle the chocolate on a plate of cookies just creates a mess and wastes chocolate. Avoid that sin!

Think of them as a little trip to a city well known for its love of coffee and its chocolate makers.

When we gathered Around the Kitchen Table last month, Krista said she combats kitchen messes by setting out a clean plate, knife, and spoon when she bakes. I tried it. You see what happened.


Chocolate Almond Espresso Cookies

2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons boiling water
2 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup roughly chopped almonds
4 ounces semi sweet chocolate

Pour the coffee powder into a small bowl or measuring cup, add the hot water, and stir until dissolved. Set aside.

Add the flour, sugar, and salt to the food processor. Pulse until fully combined.

Add the butter, cubed, the roughly chopped almonds, and the espresso mixture, and pulse until the dough comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (I use a bamboo cutting board) and shape it with your hands. Cut the ball in half. Place one half on a sheet of waxed paper or plastic wrap, and form into a log about 2" in diameter. Roll, twist the ends to seal, and repeat with the other log. Refrigerate about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350. Slice the log ¼” thick, and bake 16-18 minutes, until the bottoms of the cookies begin to turn golden, but not the tops.

Transfer cookies to a cooling rack.

When cooled, melt the chocolate and drizzle over the cookies with a teaspoon.

Makes about 4 dozen. The cookies freeze well, drizzled or naked. 

From the cover of TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #4 (Midnight Ink, June 8, 2017):  

Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students, and performers. Was his death an accident?or did someone even the score?

Despite the warning signs to not get involved, Erin investigates. And when the killer attacks, she orchestrates her efforts into one last crescendo, hoping to avoid a deadly finale.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Friday, August 25, 2017

A Recipe from the Countess of Dudley

Not long ago I stumbled upon an old episode of Downton Abbey--the one where Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson return from their honeymoon, and the Family descends to the kitchens to welcome them home. The Dowager Dutchess (the magnificent Maggie Smith) says, "I don't think I've been to the kitchen in twenty years."

I think I've found the cookbook to go with that. When I was at the Skibbereen Farmers Market, I stopped by the booth of my favorite antiques dealer and came upon a marvelous cookbook: The Dudley Book of Cookery and Household Recipes, published in 1909 in London, and "Collected and Arranged by Georgiana, Countess of Dudley." You will notice that the title does not mention that the Countess actually cooked any of the recipes. In any case, it makes for delightful reading--and to modern cooks, it's unintentionally funny.

The lovely Georgina,
Countess of Dudley

The page the cookbook most often falls open to offers us the recipe "Leg of Mutton of Seven Hours," and it includes these useful instructions:

Choose a leg of mutton which has a short knuckle bone, leave it some days to tender (when killed with the wind in the north it preserves better) then take out the bone of the mutton to the knuckle bone and lard it inside in the way hams are larded with truffles, peppercorns and two anchovies..." After you've tied it up and braised it, "cover it with some slices of veal and the carcasses and remains of chickens. Sprinkle the whole with half a glass of dry white wine and an equal quantity of good hanillan [a substance that Google doesn't recognize]. After it is cooked (seven hours), and it ought to take place on a small fire, you untie and dress it on a large dish. Stewed lettuces should be served with it.

I shall not demonstrate this dish for your benefit, delightful though it sounds. Nor shall I offer the details of how to make Boiled Cheese or Oatmeal Ice Cream, or how to preserve eggs in water glass. Nor will I regale you with instructions for removing the taste of turnips from butter, or how to boil plovers' eggs (seen any plovers lately?). 

I had to search for a simple recipe suitable for viewing Downton Abbey reruns. There is, I am happy to report, an ample supply of sweets recipes of many sorts. Luckily most (but not all) are recognizable. I considered making Fadge because I love the name, but was a bit put off by the first instruction: "take eleven pounds of wheatmeal..." Add 2 ounces (?!) of butter, warm water, and a whole lot of baking powders. Sounds inedible.

Moving right along, I came upon Ginger Nuts, a kind of cookie, I gather. Two recipes, in fact: one a drop cookie, one rolled. The simpler of the two is called Mountblaisy Ginger Nuts [once again, Google failed me with Mountblaisy. Person? Place? We may never know. The only reference was a citation of this recipe-verbatim--in an Australian newspaper from 1945. Without attribution.]

Mountblaisy Ginger Nuts


1 pound flour

1/2 pound syrup
1 quarter pound butter
2 oz ground ginger
1/4 pound sugar


Note: this and all the other recipes in this book assume a familiarity with just about any cooking procedure, for the author does not bother with pesky details.

Mix together the above ingredients.

Moisten the mixture with milk [it took about half a cup].

Drop them on a baking sheet , and bake for 20 minutes (actually 17 minutes worked better).

Ready to bake
More questions than answers, alas:

--let us assume white flour

--salted or unsalted butter? (I'm going with salted, since there is none added later.)

--what the heck is syrup? (the recipe for the rolled version suggests 3/4 pound of golden syrup.) Golden syrup is also called light treacle (not the gooey black stuff), and it's not just sugar syrup--there's some complicated process involved. I've had some, but it seems mysteriously to have vanished (how could I possibly use up a tin of golden syrup?). But since these are ginger cookies, I will trust that treacle (which I do have, and which is created by a similar process) will suffice.

--Grease the baking sheet? I cheated and used parchment paper.

--No mention of oven temperature. I'm going to guess 350 degrees (the recipe for the rolled version recommends a "moderate" oven.)

And here we are:

I see now why they are called "nuts." I used a tablespoon for each, and they didn't change shape in the cooking, but the dough was stiff. I will guess that they last well. How do they taste? Not bad, but I should warn you that there's a lot of ginger in them, so they're spicy.

I might try the rolled version next. Or maybe scones, for which there are eight recipes. Tea, anyone?

And for a change of pace, Level Best Books has released an anthology of cooking-related short stories (including one of mine).

Noir at the Salad Bar, Culinary Tales with a Bite is a crime fiction anthology featuring gastronomic mysteries, dark and varied tales with a common theme of food and drink--and murder. The contributing writers represent a mix of bestselling authors, brand new voices, and seasoned professionals from the crime writing community. Bon Appétit! 

Find it at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Coffee S'mores or Who Needs a Campfire? by Cleo Coyle for #NationalSmoresDay

Most sources agree that s’mores were enjoyed around campfires long before the recipe was published. Thanks to the Girl Scouts, it was finally published (circa 1927) in their handbook: Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts

See the Official Girl Scouts tweet (below) for National S'mores Day!


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

A Note from Cleo...

As you probably know, the name s’mores is a contraction of an eater's reaction upon tasting the treat and instantly asking for "some more."

I certainly feel that way about this warm, gooey, chocolaty snack. AND about coffee! Here’s the way I married the two, making this campfire classic a fun little coffee break nosh for me without the campfire. It's a fairly low calorie item, too, yet it packs plenty of nostalgic satisfaction.

Happy (almost) National S'mores Day, officially coming this week on August 10th! 
Love, Cleo

Cleo Coyle's
Coffee S'mores

Makes 2 coffee-break cookies
Total calories: about 148 (74 calories each)


1 sheet of graham crackers (try cinnamon grahams, they’re my favorite; the spice adds a fantastic flavor note for this combo) 

2 teaspoons Marshmallow Fluff (or see my recipe below for making your own) 
1 mini Hershey chocolate bar (or chocolate of your choice)

DIRECTIONS: Split 1 graham cracker sheet (65 calories) along its perforation lines to make 4 rectangular pieces. Spread 1 teaspoon of Marshmallow Fluff on each of the 2 pieces (about 13 calories total). Break the mini Hershey bar (about 70 calories) in half. Place each half on top of the Fluff-spread graham cracker rectangle. Cover with the remaining pieces to make two rectangular s’more sandwiches. 

Pour a hot cup of coffee. Dip one end of the long, rectangular s’more sandwich into the cup, allowing the heat of the coffee to melt the chocolate. Take a bite and enjoy your Coffee S’more! (Yes, I also re-dip the remainder and lick my fingers clean. It’s delicious!)


Because Marshmallow Fluff is not easy to find outside the United States, I’m happy to suggest the following tip on making your own spreadable Marshmallow Fluff. 

This super-fast microwave method also makes a fantastic marshmallow frosting for cupcakes, or try sandwiching it between peanut butter cookies—delicious! 

Make Your Own Fluff 

DIRECTIONS: For every 1 tablespoon of Fluff, place 1/4 cup of mini marshmallows into a microwave-safe bowl. Toss them with 1/4 teaspoon dairy milk (or almond or soy milk). Microwave very briefly (about 10 seconds) until the marshmallows are nearly (but not completely) melted. Remove from microwave and stir until the marshmallows finish melting. Place the bowl in the fridge and after the mixture chills a bit, you will have close to the equivalent of commercial Fluff.


Here's another fun way to serve s'mores with coffee! These micro-size cookies are perfect for an espresso break. And since the word "espresso" means expressed, it’s also the perfect way to describe these treats, which are made in just seconds with a microwave. They're great for small children, too. Not only are they fun to assemble, but their tiny size is just right for little hands and mouths. 

Cleo's Micro
Espresso S'mores

Makes 4 Micro S’mores
Total calories: about 140 (35 calories each)


1 sheet of graham crackers (again, I love cinnamon grahams for this)

4 mini marshmallows
1 mini Hershey chocolate bar (or chocolate of your choice)

DIRECTIONS: Split 1 graham cracker sheet (65 calories) along its perforation lines to make 4 rectangular pieces. Using a sharp knife on a flat surface, slice each rectangle into a square. You now have 8 micro squares of graham crackers. Place 4 tiny cracker squares on a microwave safe plate. 

Break up the mini Hershey bar (about 70 calories) into four even pieces and place a small piece of chocolate on each of the 4 small cracker squares. Microwave only about 5 seconds—just enough to slightly soften up the chocolate. 

Take out the plate. Place 1 mini marshmallow (1.25 calories each) on top of each piece of chocolate. Microwave only about 5 to 7 seconds, until you see the marshmallow blow up to twice its size. 

Remove the plate and top each of the melted marshmallows with your reserved micro graham cracker square top. 

Each little s'more brings a surprisingly big mouthful of flavor and you have four of these gooey, warm, delicious, "espresso" s’mores on your plate to enjoy!

One last note...

And be sure to...

☕ ☕ ☕

Eat with s'more joy! 

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Alice and Marc in Central Park. 
Together we write as Cleo Coyle. 

Learn more about us here.
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