Showing posts with label Fluff. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fluff. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Fudge and Fried Chicken as Christmas Traditions by Cleo Coyle

Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal featured a story on a popular modern Christmas tradition in Japan--fried chicken. And not just any fried chicken. Apparently, Kentucky Fried Chicken is the place many go for their holiday meal. The tradition is so popular customers must make reservations months in advance. According to WSJ, Japan’s "Christmas-chicken tradition" dates back to the early 1970s when a non-Japanese customer came into a KFC store in Tokyo to buy fried chicken as a turkey substitute. 

See the video below to learn more...

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

For Italian-Americans like my husband and I, the Feast of the Seven Fishes has been part of our Christmas celebration. And so are cookies. Lots and lots of cookies. Many of the holiday treats in our childhood homes were laced with anisette or rum. While I enjoyed those flavors as a child, my husband and his brother were bigger fans of their mom's chocolate fudge. Her recipe was simply the one found on the Marshmallow Fluff jar with a few exceptions. Every year she would vary what was added. Some years there were walnuts or cashews, other years salted peanuts or pecans, and then there were maraschino cherries, raisins, or M&M candies.

Our parents are no longer with us, and the holiday is a little less bright because of it. Naturally, with December 25th approaching, Marc longed for a batch of his mom's chocolate fudge. And since I was scheduled to post a recipe here for Christmas week, I thought I'd combine the two while trying my hand at my mother-in-law's "add-in" tradition. My choice--macadamia nuts.

The results? Marc said the macadamia nuts tasted better than any of the varieties he'd eaten in past years. High praise indeed. 

So let's get that fudge going...

Marc's Mother's Chocolate Christmas Fudge*

*Recipe slightly adapted from a jar of Marshmallow Fluff made by Durkee-Mower, Inc.

Makes enough fudge to fill a 9x9 pan (for thicker fudge use 8x8)


4 tablespoons butter 
2 ½ cups white, granulated sugar
1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk 
7.5-ounce jar of Marshmallow Fluff 
½ teaspoon table salt 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 (12-ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips 
1/2 to 3/4 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts (measure after chopping)

(1) First line a 9x9 or 8x8 pan with parchment or wax paper, allowing a little extra to hang over the sides for handles. (You will use the handles to lift the fudge block out of the pan for easy cutting.) Lightly butter the paper to prevent sticking.

(2) In a medium-sized saucepan (non-stick, if possible), over low heat, melt the butter. Then add the sugar, evaporated milk, Fluff, and salt. Stir over low heat until ingredients are well blended. 

(3) Increase the heat until the mixture is boiling. (Not simmering or burping but truly boiling.) Continue to boil while slowly stirring constantly, for about 6 minutes (do not cut this time short). Remove from heat and let cool for about about 2 minutes. (Why? If the mixture is still boiling when you add the vanilla, the intense heat will destroy the extract's full flavor.) Now add the vanilla and chocolate chips and stir until chips are melted and everything is blended. Fold in the nuts. 

(4) Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and let cool at room temperature, uncovered, for at least two hours before cutting. Store the fudge in an airtight container at room temperature for up to ten days. (That's in theory. Ours is always eaten long before then!)

Free Recipe PDF

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

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Eat with Joy to the World!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of  
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Friend me on Facebook here. * Follow me on Twitter here
Learn about my books here

* * *

Now a Bestselling Hardcover!

Coffee. It can get a girl killed.

A Mystery Guild Selection

A Baker & Taylor Fall "Trends" Pick

"This book is amazing to the last word!"
10 Stars! 
~ Dollycas

Dead to the Last Drop 
is a culinary mystery with 
more than 25 delicious recipes!

See the free illustrated 
Recipe Guide by clicking here.

*  *  *

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
15 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

(with mini plot summaries)

* * * 

Marc and I also write
The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

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with mini plot summaries, 

Or learn more about the 
books and meet Jack Shepard, 
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My Twinkie Copycat Cupcakes by Cleo Coyle

When the news broke of Hostess going under, I raced for the grocery store, snagging one of the last boxes of Twinkies sold in New York City and possibly the United States. (No, I am not planning to resell it on eBay.) My urgency was based on culinary expediency. I’m working on a recipe for the "Billionaire Twinkie" to be published in my 2013 Coffeehouse Mystery Billionaire Blend and I needed those little golden cakes for a taste test.

Update: Billionaire Blend, the bestselling
is now a bestseller in paperback!

Read the first chapter by clicking here

See the book's featured recipe
section by clicking here.

Cleo Coyle, Twinkie curator,
is author of
Coffeehouse Mysteries
Soon I'll tell you more about the recipe (and my new title). In the meantime, with Hostess Twinkies off the shelves (for now, anyway), I’m happy to share my copycat recipe development thus far. 

Below you will find my easy Twinkie Copycat Cupcake. It's delicious and tastes very much like the original Hostess Twinkie. Actually, my husbandand partner in crime writingdeclared that it tastes even better. 

So let's start baking!

~ Cleo

Cleo Coyle's 
Copycat Twinkie

Marc (my husband and writing partner) is a tough critic of my recipes. He always lets me know when something doesn't taste right. Well, I'm happy to report that he flipped for the final version of this recipe. I hope you like it, tooand if you make it, feel free to let me know what you think.

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

For the free PDF
of this recipe, click here.

Makes a baker’s dozen (approximately 13 cupcakes)


For the cupcakes
1 box yellow cake mix (see my note below)
1-1/4 cups water
1/3 cup canola oil
4 egg whites (room temperature is best)

For the filling 
6 cups (one 10-ounce bag) mini marshmallows 
2 tablespoons corn syrup (or vanilla flavored corn syrup)
½ cup powdered (aka confectioners’ or icing) sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract (tip: for a whiter-looking filling, use “clear vanilla” extract)

*A note on the cake mix: I used Betty Crocker yellow cake mix for this recipe (not the butter yellow, the plain yellow that lists oil in the back-of-box directions). This recipe should also work with any other brand of yellow cake mix. Be sure to pick up a mix that lists oil in the directions at the back of the box and has “pudding in the mix” as a feature on the box front. FYI – When you use oil in a cake recipe, your cake will stay fresher for a longer period of time.


For the Golden Cupcakes: 

Step 1: First preheat your oven to 350° F. Into a large mixing bowl, combine the box of yellow cake mix, water, and oil. Beat with an electric mixer for about a minute until a smooth batter forms. (Be sure to scrape down the bowl as you mix.) Set aside in the fridge until you complete the next step.

Step 2: Into a spotlessly clean glass, metal, or ceramic bowl (not plastic, which holds grease), beat your 4 (room temperature) egg whites until soft peaks form. For a quick tutorial on how to beat egg whites properly, including a demo video, read my past post on Little Chocolate Clouds by clicking here.

Step 3: Using an electric mixer on a low speed, fold the egg whites into the cake batter. Do not overbeat—just mix enough to smoothly incorporate the egg whites. You should no longer see white, just the yellow batter.

Step 4: Coat your cupcake pans with non-stick spray. (If you prefer to use paper cupcake liners, drop them in at this time.) Do not fill your cups to the top. To create cupcakes that look like the ones in my photos, use this method...

First fill each cup with ¼ cup of batter. Then go back and add 1 tablespoon more to each cup. This should give you 12 cupcakes with a little batter left over for a 13th cupcake (if you want a baker's dozen). When you fill the cups as described, they should bake up uniformly with little golden domes. Bake in your preheated 350° F oven for 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer pans to a cooling rack and allow the cupcakes to cool in their pans.

For the filling: 

Step 1: Pour your 10-ounce bag (6 cups) of mini-marshmallows into a microwave-safe bowl. Add the 2 tablespoons of corn syrup and heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds (adding 15-second increments if needed). Do not completely melt the marshmallows in the microwave. You are watching for them to become very soft. Then stir them up and...voila, you have made marshmallow crème (aka Fluff).

No Microwave? To complete this step without a microwave, simply create a double boiler by placing a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Warm the mini marshmallows and corn syrup, stirring until they've melted into something that looks like this.

Step 2: Allow the mixture to cool. Now add the powdered sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla extract. Using an electric mixer, beat until the filling is smoothly blended. Scrape down the bowl as you mix.

Assemble the cupcakes: 

Step 1: For stability, you must fill each cooled cupcake while it rests in the cupcake pan. BUT…first be sure your cupcakes will come out of the pan easily. If you are not using cupcake liners (or silicone), gently run a knife around the outside edge of each cupcake to free it gently from the metal pan. Then place it right back into the cupcake pan. (As mentioned, you'll need the pan for stability in the next step.)

Step 2: Using a small, sharp knife, cut a cone-shaped hole into the top of each cupcake. Remove the cone and fill the hole with the copycat Twinkie filling.

The filling is very sticky so lightly coat your spoons with non-stick spray. You can also use a pastry bag for this job. Or spoon the filling into a ziplock plastic bag and use a scissors to snip off one corner, which will turn it into a pastry bag.

Step 3: Slice off the “top” of your cupcake cone and place it back on the filled cupcake. You can serve the Twinkie Cupcake as is or use some of the filling to frost the top. If you like, as an added garnish, you can crumble the extra crumbs (from the bottom of the cone) over the frosted top and (of course)...

Eat with joy! 

See more
of my
 recipes at...

Yes, this is me - Cleo Coyle
Learn about my books here.
Friend me on Facebook here. 

Follow me on Twitter here.
Sign up for my free
E-newsletter here.

~ Cleo Coyle, 

New York Times
bestselling author of

The Coffeehouse Mysteries

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
15 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

(with mini plot summaries)

* * * 

Haunted Bookshop 

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

Or learn more about the books
and meet Jack Shepard,
our PI ghost by clicking here.

* * * * * *

Comments and

To leave a comment or 
question for Cleo, click here
and visit the
Coffee Talk Message Board 
at her online coffeehouse.

* * *

The Coffeehouse Mystery Newsletter

Fun Contests, New Recipes, 
Book News, Videos, and more...

To subscribe, click here.