Showing posts with label cinnamon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cinnamon. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Cinnamon Stick Tea for My Sore Throat, Cough, and (Yes!) Cognition from Cleo Coyle

Were you hit with the flu this year? A few weeks ago, it slammed into our house like an NFL linebacker. First Marc went down, and then I did (eesh). 

While we've both recovered from the worst of it (fever, chills, and upset stomachs), Marc is still battling residual blahs, and I'm plagued with a recurring cough and head congestion. That's where this wonderful tea comes in...

In traditional Chinese medicine, cinnamon is a cure for phlegmy coughs. I can testify that it works! Brewing up fresh cinnamon stick tea always gives me relief, and its spicy-sweet flavor is delicious, too. 

Yes, I know you can brew cinnamon tea from store-bought bags, but the flavor is not as powerfully good as fresh-brewed from sticks. AND there's an added benefit to brewing from sticks...

Boost Your Brain with
the Scent of Cinnamon

Fresh brewing cinnamon tea from sticks fills the house with the fragrance of cinnamon, a scent you can't get from brewing quickly in bags. And the scent of cinnamon has been linked to improving cognitive brain functions (attention span, recognition memory, response speed, and working memory).

Finally, cinnamon itself is packed with health benefits. Among other things, it's a potent antibacterial agent (great for that sore throat) and it is an anti-inflammatory partly thanks to cinnamaldehyde (a substance found in the spice). One recent study showed that cinnamon can reduce inflammation and muscle soreness.

So let's get that water on and start our tea brewing!

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


As always, the quality of your results depends on the quality of your ingredients. Now I've made cinnamon tea from the less expensive "Cassia" cinnamon sticks, which are the most common found in grocery stores, and I've enjoyed the results. BUT if you want a better quality tea, use the better quality "Ceylon" cinnamon sticks. See more on the differences in the recipe below...

FYI - I get my Ceylon cinnamon from, click here to see the product page. One pound or 64 three-inch sticks cost around $18.00 plus a small fee for shipping, which, for me, breaks down to less than 50 cents per stick. 

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

Click here for free recipe PDF.

Cleo's Cinnamon Stick Tea

Makes 2 six-ounce cups of tea 


2-1/2 cups of water
*2-3 cinnamon sticks (see my note on types of cinnamon)
1 teaspoon raw, local honey (optional)
1 small orange (optional)

Directions: Place 2-1/2 cups of water into a saucepan with 2 to 3 cinnamon sticks (see my note below to help choose the amount). Bring water to a boil and turn heat down to a low boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the cinnamon sticks to continue steeping in the water for a final 10 minutes. Strain into a tea cup and enjoy!

**Note on types of cinnamon: The amount of cinnamon sticks you'll want to use for this recipe will vary, depending on the kind of cinnamon sticks you're using, as well as their freshness. Let's start with...

Cassia cinnamon (aka "Chinese cinnamon) sticks are the most common type found in grocery stores. These are hard sticks with a single layer of curl. Because of their hardness, I suggest using 3 Cassia cinnamon sticks to make this tea, rather than 2. Their time on store shelves also tends to make them less potent so that 3rd stick is usually needed to make a good cinnamon tea.

Ceylon cinnamon sticks are softer and also of higher quality and potency. You can recognize them by their many layers. Because they are primarily sold by spice merchants at a higher price point, they tend to be fresher and more powerful. AND they truly do have amazing flavor, well worth the price! I suggest using 2 Ceylon cinnamon sticks for this recipe.

Cleo’s Cinnamon-Orange Tea with Honey

After straining the cinnamon stick tea into your tea cup, stir in 1 teaspoon of raw, local honey until dissolved. Grate a small amount of orange zest into the cup (I use the zest of about half a small orange) OR squeeze the juice of one orange wedge into the cup. Then garnish by placing one cinnamon stick into the cup. If you like, slice a thin round of orange and slide it onto the tea cup's rim. Serve warm and may you drink with joy!


The “zest” of a citrus fruit is the grating of its peel with absolutely none of the white pith beneath—because the white pith is bitter and you don’t want that in your recipe! The best tool for this is a microplane zester. To learn more about this handy kitchen tool or purchase it, click here or here.


Check out a sushi chef's unique
way of cutting and serving an orange...

To see a slower version of "Chef Joe's"
orange-cutting video , click here.

Eat and drink with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of  
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

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Don't miss our Spring 
Coffeehouse Mystery Newsletter
Going out this week with...

* Book News * 2 Contests
* Recipes and Fun Videos

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Our newest mystery is now

a bestselling hardcover!

Coffee. It can get a girl killed.

Amazon * B&N

A "Most Wanted" Mystery Guild Selection
A Baker & Taylor "Trends" Pick
Three "Best of Year" Reviewer Lists

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

Get a free title checklist, 
with mini plot summaries, 

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

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Orange Cinnamon Crème Brûlée -- and a #bookgiveaway

Today is Launch Day for GUILTY AS CINNAMON, the second in my Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries. Leave a comment below to be entered for a chance to win a signed copy.

And it’s also launch day for DEAD TO THE LAST DROP, by Cleo Coyle, the 15th Coffeehouse Mystery. Congratulations, Cleo—LOVE the title!

I’m often asked where the recipes in my books come from. Some are family favorites, some are new finds I’m eager to share, and some I create, discover, or adapt for the book. For GUILTY AS CINNAMON, I went looking for a fun dessert that would feature cinnamon, but because the book is set in April, have a light, springy feel. Now, having tested it several times—we suffer, so you don’t have to—I can assure you it’s supremely fabulous in any season.

We got started making crème brûlée years ago, when my mother noticed Mr. Right’s fondness for it on dinners out, and gave us a set of ramekins and a kitchen torch. Men and fire, right? Turns out to be exactly right for GUILTY AS CINNAMON, though I won’t tell you just why!

But I will say while Pepper and Tag don’t agree on much, they are of one mind when it comes to this recipe: the very best crème brûlée ever.

You may blanch when you see that it’s made entirely with cream. You could substitute half-and-half and still swoon with its fabulosity.

Orange Cinnamon Crème Brûlée

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup white sugar (divided use)
Zest of 1 orange, removed in wide strips with a peeler
1 cinnamon stick
6 to 8 strands of fresh thyme
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 teaspoons turbinado sugar, for topping
Strips of orange peel or thyme sprigs for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

 In a small saucepan, combine the cream, 1/4 cup sugar, orange zest, and cinnamon stick. Roll the thyme strands back and forth between your palms, over the pan, to release the essential oils, then toss the thyme into the pan. Whisk to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, then remove from the heat and strain into a bowl to cool. (This step infuses the cream with the aromatics—the zest, thyme, and cinnamon.)

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and vanilla. When the infused cream is cooled to the touch, slowly pour it into the egg mixture and whisk to combine. (Cooling the cream avoids curdling the eggs.)

Place four 4-ounce ramekins or custard cups in a large baking dish or roasting pan. Carefully fill the ramekins with the custard mixture. Place the dish in the oven and carefully pour hot water into the pan, till it reaches about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake until the custard is set around the edges and slightly jiggly in the center, about 35 minutes.

Remove the baking dish from the oven. Lift out the ramekins—tongs work nicely—and cool on a rack at room temperature. (Don’t leave them in the hot water, as the heat would continue to cook the mixture.) When cool, move ramekins to refrigerator to chill for at least an hour before the next step.

Just before serving, sprinkle a teaspoon of turbinado sugar evenly over the top of each dish. Caramelize the sugar with a kitchen torch. The sugar will harden, turn golden, and become crunchy. If you don’t have a torch, broil the dishes 2 to 3 minutes until the sugar forms a crisp, golden top.

Garnish with a curvy strip of orange peel or a sprig of thyme.

Or a Scottie dog.

Serves 4.

Leave a comment below to be entered for a chance to win a signed copy of GUILTY AS CINNAMON; contest ends midnight, Wednesday, December 3. Please include your email address!

Pepper Reece knows that fiery flavors are the spice of life. But when a customer dies of a chili overdose, she finds herself in hot pursuit of a murderer…

From the cover ...

Murder heats up Seattle’s Pike Place Market in the next Spice Shop mystery from the national bestselling author of Assault and Pepper.

Springtime in Seattle’s Pike Place Market means tasty foods and wide-eyed tourists, and Pepper’s Seattle Spice Shop is ready for the crowds. With flavorful combinations and a fresh approach, she’s sure to win over the public. Even better, she’s working with several local restaurants as their chief herb and spice supplier. Business is cooking, until one of Pepper’s potential clients, a young chef named Tamara Langston, is found dead, her life extinguished by the dangerously hot ghost chili—a spice Pepper carries in her shop.

Now stuck in the middle of a heated police investigation, Pepper must use all her senses to find out who wanted to keep Tamara’s new café from opening—before someone else gets burned…

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 president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

Connect with her on her website or on Facebook.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Writer's Snack: Maple-Cinnamon Glazed Almonds with Pink Salt by Cleo Coyle

If you live in New York City, you better like nuts. (It goes with the territory.) 

These nuts are the kind you eat. They're deliciously addictive, and they'll make your kitchen smell like a Cinnabon store...

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

Glazed Almonds
with Pink Salt

My husband remembers glazed nuts like these being cooked and served at his first ever "New York" party. That was over thirty years ago. "It was the first time I ever saw parchment paper," he said. (Spoken like a co-writer of culinary mysteries.) And, yes, you will need parchment paper to prevent the process from making a royal mess of your pan. 

The basic recipe (using egg whites to bind seasonings to nuts before roasting) has been around for decades. My husband and I didn't invent it, but we did create this particular combination of ingredients. We think the coarseness of our sugar and salt choices (Sugar in the Raw and roughly ground Himalayan pink salt) gives extra crunchiness to the coating, which makes them especially satisfying. They're easy to stir together and roast, outrageously addictive, and you can change the seasonings to your own liking. Here's how we do it...

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


1 egg white

1 teaspoon maple syrup

2 cups whole, raw, shelled almonds

3/4 cup Sugar in the Raw (aka Turbinado sugar)

1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground Himalayan pink salt

Directions: In a large mixing bowl, combine egg white and maple syrup and whisk well. Pour in the almonds and stir them gently until well coated with the egg white mixture. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together Sugar in the Raw (Turbinado sugar), cinnamon, and pink salt. Now taste the mix of seasonings. Is it too salty or sweet for you? Do you want a stronger cinnamon flavor? Adjust to your liking. Pour the final dry seasoning mixture over the wet nuts and gently fold until well coated. Dump the bowl's contents onto a baking sheet that's been lined with parchment paper. Spread the nuts out in a single layer. Bake at 300° F. for about 30 minutes. Using a spatula, gently flip the nuts and cook for another 10 minutes. This flipping ensures that any dampness on the underside of the nuts will be cooked. Nuts are done when the outside coating becomes crisp. Cool completely before storing in a plastic bag or airtight container, and...

To download
the free PDF,

click here

Eat 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.

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


(with mini plot summaries)
clicking here.

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Simply write an e-mail that says
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Now a National
Bestseller in Hardcover

A Coffeehouse Mystery 

*Starred Review* -Kirkus

"Top Pick"  -RT Book Reviews

"...a highly satisfying mystery."
-Publishers Weekly

See the book's
Recipe Guide
by clicking here.


Haunted Bookshop

Free Title Checklist,
with mini plot summaries,

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Welcome Guest Joelle Charbonneau

Please join me in welcoming Joelle Charbonneau to the kitchen.  If you've ever had the pleasure of meeting Joelle, you know she's every bit as delightful as her books.  Speaking of which, End Me a Tenor (the 2nd Glee Club Mystery) will be out this Tuesday ... yep, in just two days!  So treat yourself to this Apple Cinnamon Cheesecake and a great mystery by Joelle ...

Apple Cinnamon Cheesecake

I admit that I’m not always a fan of dessert.  I think I’m the only author that doesn’t use chocolate for moments of anxiety or celebration.  (Eeek! I probably shouldn’t have admitted that.  They’re going to throw me out of the club now.)  If a dessert has heaps of frosting or large quantities of cake involved, I have no problem turning it down.  (Yep…I’m getting tossed out on my butt.)  Perhaps it isn’t surprising that my heroine from End Me A Tenor, Paige Marshall, isn’t a huge dessert eater either.  Salty snacks, well that’s another story.

However, that being said, there are some desserts that I absolutely love.  My grandfather (aka Pater) was the baker in the family while I was growing up.  He had a spare oven in his basement and was known to bake dozens of pies or cakes in one day.  He even made homemade jelly from the grapes that grew in his backyard.  Pretty awesome grandpa, right?  One of the desserts he made that everyone in my family loved (including me and especially my father) was cheesecake.  It was an old fashioned recipe with a slightly sweetened sour cream layer that gave the dessert just the perfect amount of tang. 

I still make that cheesecake and think of him every time I do, but as any good third generation baker does – I’ve branched out and made new and different versions of cheesecake.  Trust me when I say Pater would have approved.  In fact, he would’ve been the first at the table ready to taste the results of my efforts.  Over the years, I’ve made a lot of different cheesecakes.  But one has stood out as my absolute favorite…perhaps because it also includes two of my other favorite things: apples and cinnamon.  Pater would have loved it.  My mom, another non-dessert eater, does.   I hope you do, too.

Apple Cinnamon Cheesecake

1 cup crushed graham crackers
3-4 TB butter
3 TB sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Cheese mixture:
2 packes of cream cheese - softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

4 large granny smith apples sliced thin
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup halved pecans

Preheat oven to 350

Mix graham crackers, melted butter, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Press mixture into a 9" spring pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together. Add eggs one at a time - beat until creamy. Pour mixture on top of crust.
Toss apples, sugar and cinnamon together. Place on top of cheese mixture. Sprinkle pecans on top.

Bake for 70 minutes. Remove from oven and use a knife around the edge. Wait for the cake to cool before releasing the spring pan. Chill before serving. Enjoy!

How about you?  Do you have a special dessert that makes you think of a special family member?  What dessert tastes just a little better because it’s sprinkled with memories?


Joelle Charbonneau has performed in opera and musical theatre productions across Chicagoland.  She now teaches private voice lessons and uses her stage experience to create compelling characters in her books.  She is the author of two mystery series:  The Rebecca Robbins mysteries (Minotaur Books) and the Glee Club mysteries (Berkley).  Joelle’s also the author of The Testing young adult trilogy that debuts with THE TESTING (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s) June 4th.  Learn more at