Showing posts with label chocolate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chocolate. Show all posts

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Welcome Author Bethany Blake with a Prize Package #BookGiveaway and Sweet Halloween Recipe

To learn more about
Dial Meow for Murder,
click here.
Like her amateur sleuth, author Bethany Blake also runs a pet-sitting business. We're thrilled that she's stopped by to tell us about the brand new entry in her Lucky Paws Petsitting Mysteries: Dial Meow for Murder!

Bethany is also sharing a wonderful October recipe and offering a generous giveaway package, so be sure to comment on the post with a way to contact you. 

Congrats to her winner, Kim Templeton!

Take it away, Bethany!

—Cleo Coyle 

🐾 🐾 🐾

Halloween is coming to quaint, pet-friendly Sylvan Creek, and that can only mean:

🐾  A one-eared, drooling
Chihuahua in a tiny clown costume;

🐾  A haunted hayride gone
horribly, horribly awry; and

🐾 The world’s cutest – angriest – black cat guarding a body in a spooky mansion.

If you’ve already “visited” Sylvan Creek by reading the first book in the Lucky Paws Petsitting series, Death by Chocolate Lab, you know that pet sitter and amateur sleuth Daphne Templeton tends to stumble into sticky situations involving pets with personality. And this Halloween is no exception. 

First, Daphne finds the town’s “professional volunteer,” Lillian Flynt, dead in a creepy, crumbling lakeside Victorian. Then Daphne and her stoic sidekick, basset hound Socrates, get stuck caring for Lillian’s prized Persian, Tinkleston, whose puffball paws hide a razor-sharp set of claws.

Daphne's stoic sidekick,
basset hound Socrates
To make matters worse, Daphne’s mother, ambitious Realtor Maeve Templeton, stands to profit from Miss Flynt’s death.

Last but not least, handsome, enigmatic Detective Jonathan Black’s ex-wife – gorgeous Elyse Hunter-Black – has arrived in town with two ghostly greyhounds. The fact that Elyse is still hyphenating her name is not lost upon Daphne’s best friend, vintage-loving Moxie Bloom. And Daphne has to agree that Elyse probably wants to get her lovely hands on more than some local real estate.

Not that Daphne sees any kind of future with Jonathan. Still, it’s all kind of confusing.

Thank goodness little Sylvan Creek is full of places to grab a soothing fall snack, whether it’s pumpkin cheesecake gelato – eaten while comparing clues with Jonathan – or sage-and-butternut squash dip, shared with hippie surfer Dylan Taggart at the historic Wolf Hollow Mill.

As for me, when I need comfort food of the sweet variety, I turn to my mother’s three-layer black-bottom pie. Recently, she was kind enough to give me the original recipe, on a yellowed card that has been tucked in a box in her kitchen since my childhood. The spicy gingersnap crust blends perfectly with a layer of bitter chocolate, mellowed by sweet vanilla and whipped cream.

In a nod to the upcoming holiday, I’m adding a seasonal twist, replacing the vanilla layer with a pumpkin mousse. I’ve also streamlined the recipe to avoid a step that calls for scalding milk and adding gelatin. (Sounds like a recipe… for disaster!) I call the revised treat Tinkleston’s Sweet & Spiced Black Cat Pie, in honor of Daphne’s latest furry family member, who tends to narrow his distinctive, orange eyes right before he pounces. Little Tinks is also a lot like the pie in terms of temperament. He’s somewhat bitter, quite snappish – but sweet at heart.

At least, Daphne and Socrates hope that’s the case! 

--Bethany Blake

🐾 🐾 🐾

Sweet & Spiced Black Cat Pie


For Crust

18 gingersnap cookies
1/4 cup melted butter

For Chocolate Layer

8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 Tbsp softened butter
1 cup heavy cream

For Pumpkin Layer

8 oz softened cream cheese
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1 cup heavy cream


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Crush the cookies and combine them with the butter until moistened. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a pie plate. Bake for about 10 minutes. Let cool.

Prepare the chocolate layer. Place the chocolate and butter in a bowl. Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand for about a minute. Slowly whisk the chocolate until melted and smooth. (This was honestly my first time making ganache. It was so easy!)

Gently pour the chocolate into the cooled crust. Starting to look good, right? Place the pie in your refrigerator for about one hour or until set. (Use the time to lick the whisk and bowl clean.)

Next, make the pumpkin layer. Using a stand mixer if you’ve got one, beat the cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the pumpkin, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger and cloves until smooth.

Using a hand mixer or good, old-fashioned biceps, whip the cream in a separate, chilled bowl. Fold half of the cream into the pumpkin mixture. Repeat with the second half of the cream, blending until just combined. 

Carefully spread the pumpkin over the chocolate layer and smooth the top. Refrigerate for about two hours or until set and firm. Garnish with whipped cream, chocolate shavings and – if you have them – little black cats before serving.

And don’t feel badly if your slices look a little… scary.

 It’s Halloween!

🎃 🎃 🎃

About the Author

Bethany Blake lives in a small, quaint town in Pennsylvania with her husband and three daughters. When she's not writing or riding horses, she's wrangling a menagerie of furry, finned and feathered family members that includes a nervous pit bull, a fearsome feline, an immortal goldfish, and an attack cardinal named Robert. Like Daphne Templeton, the heroine of her Lucky Paws Mysteries, Bethany holds a Ph.D. and operates a pet-sitting business called Barkley's Premium Pet Care.

🐾 🐾 🐾

*Keep in touch with Bethany!

Visit her website:

Like her on Facebook  by clicking here

Follow her on Twitter by clicking here


Bonus Giveaway from Bethany!

 🎃 Halloween Haul Prize Pack

🐾 Death by Chocolate Lab

🐾 Ominous Amish Blood-Red Popcorn 

🐾 Chocolate Black Cat  

🐾 Gourmet Chocolate and Caramel Pretzels

To learn more about or purchase
Bethany's new mystery, click
on one of the links below...

Amazon  * B&N 

Thank you so much for
joining us today, Bethany!


Leave a comment on this post by Midnight, Wednesday, October 18 (Pacific Time), and you are entered to win Bethany's new book and prize package. Be sure to leave an email address, or a link to your Facebook page, or another way we can contact you if you win.

Congrats to Bethany's Winner...

Kim Templeton!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to comment
and thanks especially to Bethany Blake for her
fabulous guest post and generous giveaway!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Double-Chocolate Brownie Muffin Therapy from Coffeehouse Mystery author Cleo Coyle #chocolate

Behold My Chocolate Rx!

Sometimes we need a little chocolate therapy, right? (I certainly do.) For an easy-to-make chocolate escape, I highly recommend these lusciously rich and satisfying Chocolate Brownie Muffins. 

These babies are brilliant paired with coffee, which makes them an amazing breakfast treat, afternoon pick-me-up, or quick after-dinner dessert. Trust me. These are delicious anytime. And they're incredibly easy to make. So let's get your chocolate therapy started... 

Cleo's Double-Chocolate 

Brownie Muffin Therapy

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

Non-bakers fear not! This is a very easy recipe to make, foolproof really, using only one bowl and a rubber spatula to stir everything up. I call it a "pantry recipe," because it makes spectacular use of a few simple ingredients that many of us often have in our kitchens. 

The result is a darn tasty cross between a double-chocolate brownie and a banana muffin. The mashed banana gives nice weight to the muffin and adds a bit of nutrition along with a subtle but lovely flavor. Combined with the peanuts (good protein) and melted chocolate chips (for the soul), this muffin’s flavor isn’t far from a chocolate-syrup drizzled banana split. Seriously, the hard part for me and my husband (after pouring our coffee) is eating only one. 

May you, too, eat with joy! 


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

Cleo's Easy
Brownie Muffins 

Makes: 12 muffins


2 large eggs, lightly beaten with fork
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (do not skip!)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled
2 ripe bananas, mashed well with fork (until they resemble applesauce)
1 box Devil's Food Cake Mix (I use Pillsbury Moist Supreme) 
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli)
1/2 cup chopped dry roasted, unsalted peanuts (or your favorite nut)

Directions: Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. (Be sure the melted butter is not too hot. You don't want to cook the eggs.) Mix by hand until well blended, but do not over mix. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners and divide batter among them (filling each cup about 2/3rds full, see my photos). OR grease the cups and go naked. Bake at 350° Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes. (Do not over-bake.) Remove from oven and allow muffins to cool a bit before stripping away the paper and noshing. (No kidding...) If you try to remove the paper liners while the muffin is hot, you’ll have sticking problems. Simply allow the muffin to cool, and all will be well!

Cleo's Foodie
P H O T O S 

Click for recipe PDF.

☕ ☕ ☕

Eat (and read) with 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.
Friend us on facebook here.
Follow us on twitter here.
Visit our online coffeehouse here.

☕ ☕ ☕



Find out by watching our fun,
new Book Video (below)
or view it on Facebook

☕ ☕ ☕

Our new Coffeehouse Mystery

is now a bestselling hardcover! 

Top 10 Best Mysteries 
for Book Clubs 2017

A "Most Wanted"
Mystery Guild Selection

To buy now, click links for... 


This culinary mystery includes
more than 25 delicious recipes!
To get the Free Recipe Guide, 


☕  ☕  ☕

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


See mini plot summaries 
for every title and news on
 Cleo's next release!

🔎 🔎 🔎

Marc and I also write
The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

To get a free title checklist, 
with mini plot summaries, 

To learn more about the 
books and meet Jack Shepard, 
our PI ghost...

 ☕ ☕ ☕

☕ ☕ ☕


If you'd like to be entered in our
next giveaway and receive special
bonus recipes, sign up for our 
Coffeehouse Mystery Newsletter...


Simply write an email with the words 
"Sign me up!" and send it to:

When you sign up, you will receive links
to past newsletters, including the one above.