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

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Ellie Alexander's Molasses Chocolate Crinkles

We are so happy to welcome Ellie Alexander, whose new book, Caught Bread Handed (the fourth in her Bakeshop Mystery series), has just been released. Since she comes bearing cookies--with chocolate, no less--we're glad to have her here!

Thanks so much for having me on today! I’m excited to share a favorite family recipe for Molasses Chocolate Crinkles. My mom used to make these for after school treats when I was growing up and I love getting to continue the tradition with my family now. Not to mention the heavenly smell of ginger, cinnamon, and cloves filling my kitchen. 

Baking is always a nice respite from my own head, especially when I’m working on a new book. Often I’ll take a break in the afternoon and spend a couple of hours in the kitchen testing recipes. I can totally lose myself in the process of baking, and sometimes I have the best insights on characters or plot points when I’m up to my elbows in dough. However I don’t always have a ton of time between writing, hurrying to pick up my kiddo at school, and trying to get dinner on the table. One of the best things about these cookies is that they are quick and easy to bake. You can whip them out in the same amount of time it takes to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies, but these have a sweet and spicy taste thanks to the molasses and healthy amounts of chocolate chips which make them feel like an extra special treat.

I mean what’s not to love about molasses and chocolate? It’s like combining two of my favorite cookies in one! Plus, I promise that your kitchen will smell divine when you slide a batch of these beauties into the oven.

I hope you’ll give the recipe a try. Post a comment below with your favorite easy bake. Be sure to include your email as one lucky commenter will receive a signed copy of Caught Bread Handed plus an assortment of sweet teas and gourmet lemonade.

Happy reading and baking!


Molasses Chocolate Crinkles


2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
1 package chocolate chips
1/2 cup granulated sugar in extra bowl


Cream butter, sugar and molasses together. Add egg. Then slowly incorporate dry ingredients and spices. 

Once batter is firm add chocolate chips and chill in the refrigerator for one hour. 

Spoon batter into 1-inch balls and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Immediately roll in granulated sugar when cookies are hot from the oven.

Ellie Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.

You can find her online at:




About Caught Bread Handed

Welcome to Torte―a friendly, small-town family bake shop where the oven is heating up as high as the body count…

Jules Capshaw is still chewing over her husband Carlos’s return to Ashland, Oregon. Could there be too many cooks in the kitchen? Whatever is stirring between those two will have to wait. Despite the Oregon Shakespeare Festival being dark for the winter, the bakeshop is bustling, the dough is rolling, and there’s no rest for the weary…especially when murder is thrown into the mix.

When Mindy Nolan, the owner of a new restaurant in town, turns up dead, the batter at hand thickens. Jules knows that there was bad blood between Mindy and others in town, and tracking down the killer could prove to be an unwelcome treat. And to top it all off, there’s Carlos, who is pleading―with those delicious dark eyes and sexy Spanish accent―for Jules to take him back. Is home where the heart is or will she make a fresh start…and risk getting burned?

Friday, May 29, 2015

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

by Sheila Connolly

This recipe is just too easy. Five ingredients, including a half-pound of butter. And a whole new way (to me, anyway) of rolling them out.

For many years I’ve been searching for a cookie recipe to recreate a kind of cookie I used to get at Trost’s Bakery in Summit, New Jersey (Peg, you remember that?). The bakery is long gone, and I have no idea who inherited the recipes. The cookies were thin, crisp buttery squares with lots of mini chocolate chips.

After a couple of weeks of consuming mushrooms, I was ready for a change of pace. Plus it’s supposed to be in the eighties this week in my end of New England, and I figured I should get my baking done before the kitchen gets too hot. So I went hunting on the Internet. I will confess: it was a pop-up ad for shortbread cookies that I saw out of the corner of my eye, and I had an aha! moment: shortbread!.

So I searched, and this is what I came up with (to give credit where it is due, it comes from a 2012 post on a blog called The Cake Merchant. If I find the author Natasha, I may kiss her feet.

Natasha’s Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I used Penzey’s concentrated version, so you might want a bit more)
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups mini chocolate chips

Warning: the batter has to chill for at least two hours before you cut out the cookies, so either allow plenty of time, or chill overnight.

With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium for about 3 minutes or until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and beat.

With the mixer on low, beat in the flour until it just disappears into the butter mixture (do not overbeat, or the cookies will be tough!).

Fold in the chocolate chips (if you use the mixer, keep in on low).

 Put the dough into a one-gallon ziploc bag (that zips!). On a flat surface, roll the dough out until it reaches all the edges and corners of the bag (this was the fun part! No muss, no fuss, and you know exactly what size you’re getting). It should be about 1/4 inch thick.

It worked! Isn't that tidy?

Chill the dough until firm (I put it on a cookie sheet in the fridge), at least 2 hours.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. (Depending on what size and shape cookies you’re making, you may not need both.)

Take the dough out of the fridge and cut the bag away. You may cut the nice, neat square of dough with a knife (these cookies are about 2-1/2” square), or use cookie cutters. I took the simplest way.

Ready for the oven

Place the cookies on the parchment paper. Bake in the preheated oven about 18-20 minutes, turning the cookie sheets once to make sure they cook evenly. You don’t want them to get brown, so watch them carefully toward the end.

Cool completely—and enjoy!

I think I’m going to try this with toffee chunks next—I don’t think this first batch is going to last long!

Yes, the new Museum Mystery, Privy to the Dead--arriving in four days!

There is more to history than the pretty stuff in glass cases in museum. You never know what you're going to dig up--and it might be evidence of a murder.

Available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble and everywhere else (I hope!)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

My Coffeehouse Mysteries Go Audio! And Chocolate Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies to Kill For from Cleo Coyle

I have a delicious coffeehouse-style cookie for you today, along with two pieces of exciting news. New Jersey Family magazine actually picked up this recipe for their magazine. (Click here to see.) 

My other piece of news? Well, for going on eight years now, my reader have asked me when the Coffeehouse Mysteries would be available in audio. Finally, I have an answer...

Cleo Coyle, author of the
Coffeehouse Mysteries, can now
listen to her own books.
On What Grounds, the first book in my series was just released by the very nice people at AudioGo (BBC Audiobooks America). They also produced my newest Coffeehouse Mystery, Murder by Mocha

Full of action, humor, romance, and recipes, Murder by Mocha can be read as a stand-alone book. If you're new to my series, no worries. You can pick up the story just fine without reading the previous titles.

To learn more about these audio books and hear samples, click here and jump to's product page for Cleo Coyle. The books are even on iTunes! W00T!

If you prefer physical books or e-books, both are published by Penguin. Jump to the Nook store at Barnes and Noble by clicking here, Mocha's Amazon page here, or visit your favorite bookseller or e-book store.

Honestly, I could not be more pleased with these audio productions. The reader is Rebecca Gibel, a talented stage actress with a true gift for voices and accents

Click here to
view the
book trailer
For those of you not familiar with my Coffeehouse books, they are murder mysteries set in the picturesque historic section of Greenwich Village. Each book is narrated by Clare Cosi, a single mom with a passion for serving coffee and solving crimes. She manages the coffeehouse while also trying to manage her somewhat complicated love life.

Readers have described the books as Murder She Wrote meets Starbucks (accurate enough) or even "a cozy series with an edge," also accurate. I often use the term "urban cozy," which I'd define as a traditional mystery with a contemporary feel that's set in a major metro area. (Click the filmstrip to see the series' book trailer.) To visit the About the Books page of my website, click here.

And now... 

Let's eat! 
(at least with your eyes)

These coffeehouse-sized peanut butter cookies are sweet, tender, and stuffed with enough ooey-gooey melted chips to make a chocolate lover swoon. 

Readers of my Coffeehouse title, Murder by Mocha, will remember this cookie as one Clare baked up especially for Sergeant Franco in thanks for a little armed backup at the International Confectioners' trade show. Why did Clare need backup at a chocolate and candy expo? You'll find the answer in my new culinary mystery. Read with joy! ~ Cleo 

Cleo Coyle's
Peanut Butter Cookies

Click here to download Cleo's special recipe PDF that you can print, save, or share. 

Makes 18–20 big, stuffed cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1¼ cups peanut butter (standard creamy, do not use sugarless)
1 cup granulated sugar plus ½ cup, for dusting
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup good quality semisweet chocolate chips 

Step 1—Make the dough: Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, peanut butter, and sugars in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla and blend well. Fi­nally, add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix only enough until a soft dough forms.
Step 2—Form and stuff: Pinch off generous pieces of dough and roll into big, golf-ball-sized rounds. Cradle the cookie ball in one hand. Use the thumb of your opposite hand to make a deep indentation in the center of each cookie ball. Fill the hole with about a teaspoon of chocolate chips and then seal the chocolate inside the dough ball. Gently roll the balls in white, granulated sugar for a fin­ished look.

Step 3—Freeze: Place the cookie balls on a wax-paper-covered plate in the freezer for 30 minutes. (The wax paper will prevent the dough from adhering to the plate.) This freezing step is the key to a successful cookie. If you don’t freeze the cookie dough before baking, the cookie may break while baking and the chocolate may ooze out instead of staying in the center of the cookie. (If you plan to freeze the dough longer than 30 minutes, wrap it in plastic and foil to prevent freezer burn.)

Step 4—Bake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the chilled cookie balls on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, keeping the balls a few inches apart to allow for spreading. Bake them for 20–30 minutes. The cookies are not done until they flatten out, so be patient and wait for this to happen. The chocolate should stay inside. A nice “cover” for a cookie with oozing chocolate is to gently dust with confectioners’ sugar....

Yes, a bit of sweetness often rescues the day—and the cookie.

Note: When making cookies, always allow your baking sheets to cool before putting more dough on them. A hot baking sheet will cause any cookie to spread too much and please do… 

Eat with joy!  
~ Cleo 

To get more of my recipe ideas, win free coffee, 
or learn about the bestselling books in my
Coffeehouse Mystery series, visit my web site: 

Just one more announcement of good news for my readers. My editor contacted me to say Murder by Mocha is holding steady as a national bestseller and Roast Mortem is "burning through the racks" -- her words! RM made it to a Top-5 Top-Selling Paperback Mystery Bestseller at Barnes and Noble stores nationwide... 

Thank You,

Roast Mortem is a book that's close to my heart. Arson leads to multiple murders in the plot itself, but the book's core theme speaks to the bravery of New York's firefighters. This is also a culinary mystery (with favorite firehouse recipes in the appendix). But it's been on sale for over a year in hardcover and digital formats, so I never expected a showing like this for RM, and it's because of my readers, and today I'm raising a cup to you...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger Babs Hightower with her Grandmother's Baked Beans and Sam's Cookies!

Sam's Cookies
(Hello Dollies)

Please welcome our guest blogger, Barbara (Babs) Downey Hightower. Babs is a passionate book reviewer and blogger who is also an amazing cook. She's sharing two very special recipes with us today: one for a favorite cookie and one for her grandmother's baked beans. Take it away, Babs! 
 ~ Cleo Coyle

I am thrilled to be here with all of you today. Mystery Lovers' Kitchen is one of my favorite sites. I visit each day, so imagine my surprise when Cleo invited me to be a guest.

I love to read, but that has not always been the case. It wasn’t until high school when I had to read Rebecca, that reading caught my attention. The thriller got me hooked on mysteries from then on.

I started my website in 2008 to post my reviews for my close friends as they were always asking if I liked or even if I did not like a book. It started catching on when I asked a few authors to be guests on the site.

One day in 2010, I got to talking to Cleo about being a guest as I have always been a big fan of hers. She took me under her wing and introduced me to the blogging world. She even helped me with the title of my blog, The World of Book Reviews. I did change it to Babs World of Book Reviews as I wanted to stand out a bit more. Since then, the blog has taken off. I have had more authors contact me to be on the blog and review their books than I could ever imagine.

It might sound hard to believe, but mysteries were all I wanted to read until I started my blog. My eyes have been opened to more genres that I did not know I would enjoy. I always frowned on romances while growing up. My mom always read them. I remember her dragging me to the book exchange to turn in her old ones for new ones or the book store for the newest releases. I did not see the big hoopla of it all. Now that I look back, I wish I would have paid more attention to the book shelves when I was younger. My main genre to review is still a good old mystery.

As my husband (TJ) and I have had a recent addition to the family and since Cleo wanted to see a picture of the little fellow, I better tell you about my family.

We have 4 boys that are all adopted and all half brothers. We have Ethan 14, Logan 8, Duncan 18 months and Marco who as of today is 6 months old. We started out with Ethan who was 8 at the time and Logan who was 2. They are my babies (don’t tell Ethan). We got a call last year that the birth mom had another baby boy and would we take him. Well, of course my answer was yes. TJ and I already decided we would keep their family together if we could. So, Duncan came into the picture when he was 5 months old. I was happy with 3 boys and thought that would be it until 2 months ago. We got another call about another little boy, Marco. I never thought I would have 4 children much less 4 boys. I keep hoping for a girl one of these days, but if not, I am just as happy.

Now for the fur babies. We have 13 pets that are all rescues. We have 4 indoor cats as one just passed away. Their names are Bandit, Casper, Timber and Katie Bell. We also have 9 Siberian huskies they are, Winter, Glacier, Nanook, Avalanche, Sleet, Sapphire, Summer, Nomad and Alpine. 

We have a house full of adopted and or rescues. They all keep me on my toes. This isn’t all of the dogs of course but there is TJ holding Duncan, Logan in front of them and Nomad and Summer can’t tell who the ones are behind TJ.  --->>>

Last, but not least there's my love for cooking. My mom’s side of the family is from Georgia. Every summer and any vacation time I had from school, was spent in Georgia with my great grandmother. She cooked everything home made with no short cuts.

My mom said I was 3 years old, on a chair helping grandmother stir whatever was in the pots. She taught me a great deal about cooking and cooking with joy. She always said never treat cooking like it is a chore, if that happens you need to stop cooking. I never copied any of her recipes. I thought she would always be here.

When she passed I was 18 years old and my great uncles surprised me with all of her recipes. One of my happiest days. The most important thing my great-grandmother taught me, southern cooking isn’t just fried chicken and the fixins. It is also about lots of love.

I had so many recipes running through my mind to share. I finally narrowed it down to these two.

I love this recipe as there can be so many variations to make how you like it. This recipe is from a friend of mine.

Sam’s Cookies (Hello Dollies)

Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Oven Temp: 350 degrees F. 
Pan Size: 13 x 9


1 stick butter melted
1 cup crushed graham crackers
1 cup ( 6 oz ) chocolate chips
1 cup medium sized pecan pieces
1 cup coconut ( optional )
1 cup condensed milk

Directions: Line your 13 x 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Do not mix above ingredients. Layer each ingredient separately into your pan. Press each layer down as you would in making a pie shell. Finish top layer by spreading condensed milk over it. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25 minutes. When the cookies are done, cool, cut and peel off paper.

<< Line pan with parchment.

Layer ingredients >>

<< Finish with condensed milk.

Bake, cool, cut, and peel off paper >>

*  *  *  *  *  *

Western Baked Beans

This next recipe is from my grandmother. We like to use this recipe when we are cooking out on the grill.


2 tablespoons butter 
1 pound ground beef (or ground turkey)
1 package onion soup mix
1/2 cup water
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoon mustard
2 tablespoon vinegar
2- 12 oz cans of any pork and beans
Bacon slices (cooked and drained)

Directions: In skillet, heat butter and brown the ground beef (or turnkey). Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into a 2 quart casserole dish. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 20 to 30 minutes. Garnish with bacon strips. I also like to add cheese and sour cream to top mine off. There are so many different ways you can.

I hope you like these 2 recipes just as much as my family does. Thank you for inviting me to be a guest today and hope to see you stop by my blog.

~ Babs


Thank You again to Babs for joining us here today.
I cannot wait to make these amazing recipes!

~ Cleo

Friday, January 7, 2011

Cheese Slices (Dessert!) and a Contest!


Thank you to my wonderful blog-sisters here for the incredible launch support for Buffalo West Wing. I am thrilled to have Ollie's fourth adventure out there and I'm very excited to see all the great reviews. Thank you!!

Couple of things you may not know about this new book...

The Buffalo Wings central to the story are named for my best friend, Rene. She makes the most awesome chocolate chip cookies. Ask anyone who knows her... Rene's chocolate chips are the best. If you ask her for the recipe, she'll tell you she just follows the directions on the back of Nestle Toll House morsel packages and that's it. I've followed that, too, but mine are never as good as hers are. She's not hiding any ingredients or secrets, because that's not her style. It's a mystery and we all love investigating because it means more cookies for us.

Anyway, I originally planned to have cookies as the the mysterious gift in BWW, but once another friend, Margie, came up with the fabulous title, Buffalo West Wing, I decided that Rene's chocolate chips needed to morph.

With all that in mind, and in honor of the chocolate chip cookies that didn't make it into the story, I'm here to share a different recipe from Rene with you. Cheese slices. Sounds like something you get from Kraft in little cellophane wrappers, right? Not even close.

You're going to love these. Rene got the recipe from her mother-in-law (Hey Nana Nancy!!) and this dessert shows up at almost all their events. My family loves these so now the slices show up at most of our events, too. You just can't get enough cheese slices!

Thank you, Rene! Thank you Mrs. B!

(Stay tuned for contest news after the recipe!)

Cheese Slices

2 cans Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (original flavor. Spring for the name brand here. I've tried using store brands and the dough just doesn't hold up. Sticky, icky!)

2 pkgs 8 oz cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg yolk (save the white for later)

1 tsp vanilla

Spread one package of rolls in the bottom of an ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Smash and maneuver until the entire bottom is covered. Mix cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla. Spread over the bottom layer.

At this point, you need to decide if you want them plain, or with other flavors. Here I did half plain, half with mini-morsels. I haven't yet tried it with fruit, but I plan to. We just all like the plain *so* much that I'm reluctant to mess with success.

Spread the second set of crescent rolls on top.
Beat the egg white until frothy. Brush on top.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, until golden brown. Refrigerate. Slice into serving pieces (I really like to cut these on an angle) and dust with powdered sugar. Serve.


* * *

Now, are you ready for a contest?


This one is for all you fast readers out there who devour books
as fast as you get your hands on them!

I want to send one lucky winner a $10 bookstore gift certificate.

How to win it?

Simply email me JulieHyzy (at) gmail (dot) com -- put CHARACTER or CONTEST in the subject. In the body of your email, answer a question (or two):

1) Who is your favorite *new* character in Buffalo West Wing?

2) Why is he/she your favorite of the newbies?

(I really love to know how readers relate to new characters, so this is enormously helpful for me!)

Answer one question, you're entered once. Answer both, you're entered twice.
It's that easy.
There's no right or wrong answer. The winner will be chosen at random. No matter which of the newbies you love (or love to hate), just providing an answer gets you in the running. (BTW, there's one character we haven't seen since book #2. If he's your favorite, that's fine too.)

I will announce the winner sometime on Friday, January 14, 2011

I'll announce a winner a week from today. So many of you have emailed to let me know they've already read it, so I thought this would be a perfect way to pick your brains before I start book #6 (#5, as yet unnamed, is done).

Thanks in advance, and happy reading!