Showing posts with label coffee cake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coffee cake. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Chocolate-Bottom Banana Bars and #CozyMystery #Audiobook #Giveaway from Cleo Coyle

In honor of National Banana Bread Day (no kidding), my husband and I  are sharing a fantastic banana bar recipe that we published in our 13th Coffeehouse Mystery.
Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime-writing—her husband. 
Learn about their books 
by clicking here and here.

Two layers of flavor and texture make these bars an outstanding treat. A soft banana cake layer floats over a rich, brownie-like base laced with chocolate chips.

It sounds complicated, yet it's very easy to make, and a perfect snack for afternoon coffee breaks or late-night noshing. These beautiful bars make a great home-baked gift for friends and family, too.

Now let's start baking!

~ Cleo

This giveaway is now over.
Congrats to our winner,
Melissa Nunez!

And don't miss the fun, new contests
coming up in our next
Coffeehouse Mystery Newsletter.
To sign up,
click here.

Cleo Coyle's 
Chocolate-Bottom Banana Bars

"Lovin' from the oven" is how coffee hunter Matt Allegro described these fresh-baked squares in one of our most popular Coffeehouse Mysteries, Billionaire Blend. And Matt was right. 
You'll notice we put a bit of earthy espresso powder in our chocolate bottom layer. Yes, we’re coffee fiends, but here’s the truth. You won’t taste coffee, only a more powerful note of chocolate. As bakers know, espresso powder is a way to deepen the flavor of chocolate in recipes.

These bars pair beautifully with coffee, espresso, and strong black teas.

May you bake them with love and eat with joy!

~ Cleo

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

Yield: 16 squares (one 9‑inch-square pan)


2 cups mashed ripe* bananas (about 4 to 6 depending on size)

*See my note at the end of this recipe to ripen bananas in the oven

1/4 cup sour cream 

3/4 cup canola oil (or cold-pressed coconut oil, melt before measuring) 

1/2 cup light brown sugar 

1 egg, lightly beaten with fork 

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

1½ teaspoons baking powder 

1 teaspoon baking soda 

1/4 teaspoon table salt or finely ground sea salt 

1½ cups all-purpose flour 

1/4 cup baking cocoa 

1/2 teaspoon espresso powder 

1/2 cup chocolate chips 

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


Step 1—Prep oven and pan: First preheat your oven to 350° F. Line the bottom of a 9‑inch-square pan with parchment paper, allowing the ends to hang over the side like handles. You’ll use those handles to easily lift the baked banana bar slab out of the pan. Coat paper lightly with non-stick spray. Set aside. 

Step 2—Make batter: Combine your 2 cups of mashed bananas and sour cream with a fork. Add the oil, sugar, egg, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Fork-whisk well (or use an electric mixer) to blend until smooth. Now add your flour and mix until a lumpy batter forms, but do not over-mix at this stage.

Step 3—Create chocolate bottom: Remove 1 cup batter and place it into a separate bowl. Add cocoa and espresso powder, fork-whisking until the batter is smooth. Fold in chocolate chips, and (optional) chopped walnuts.

Step 4—Assemble and bake: Spread the chocolate batter across the entire bottom of the prepared pan. Take your time, using the back of a spoon to spread the batter all the way into the corners. Be sure the layer is even. Now pour your remaining banana batter on top and once again use the back of a spoon to even out the layer (otherwise your bars will bake up lopsided). Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.


TO RIPEN BANANAS FAST: Place yellow bananas on a foil-covered baking sheet and bake at 350 F. for 10 minutes, turning once. Bananas will blacken. Peel right away (be careful, they’re hot!) and cool flesh in fridge before mashing.
P h o t o s

Click here to download a free PDF
of this recipe that you can print,
save, or share.
Click here to download the PDF.

Stay Cozy!

~ 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

* * *

Our newest mystery is now
a bestselling hardcover!

Coffee. It can get a girl killed.

Amazon * B&N

Dead to the Last Drop

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



This Giveaway is Now Over!
Congrats to our winner,

Melissa Nunez!

My husband Marc and I are hard at work on our 16th Coffeehouse Mystery, scheduled for release this December. In the meantime, many of you have read our 15th title, Dead to the Last Drop, an exciting installment set in Washington, DC, now a bestseller in hardcover. 

Today we're giving away an autographed audio version of the book in a beautiful keeper CD format. 

TO ENTER, leave a comment on this blog post with your e-mail address (or another way to contact you, for example, you can let me know if  you are my friend on Facebook and I can get in touch that way, and feel free to Friend me if you aren't!)...

Now a bestseller in hardcover
and a "Most Wanted"
Mystery Guild Selection.

To learn more
about the book, click here.

This giveaway is now over.
Congrats to our winner,
Melissa Nunez!

Thanks to Blackstone Audio and
Penguin Random House
for sending us extra copies.

Good luck and may you
read (and listen) with joy! 
~ Cleo

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Strawberry Cake #recipe @LucyBurdette @penguincozies


Yes indeed, the sixth Key West mystery, FATAL RESERVATIONS is definitely on bookshelves, probably one near you...

I'll pause for a minute to make sure you ordered your copy...and then on to celebrating with strawberry cake!


I told you about our amazing strawberry crop, and shared the recipe for strawberry daiquiris two weeks ago.

But another of our favorite creations was this easy but elegant looking strawberry cake.


2 cups cake flour 
one stick butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar 
half teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
2 eggs 
1 cup Greek yogurt, unflavored 
1 cup roughly chopped strawberries
About 15 halved strawberries 
2 teaspoons brown or turbinado sugar, for topping

Cream the butter with the sugar
Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each. Beat in the yogurt and vanilla. Mix the dry ingredients together and add them to the yogurt mixture, beating lightly.

Pre-heat the oven to 350°.

Butter an 8 x 8" baking dish.

Gently mix the chopped strawberries into the batter. Spread this into the buttered pan. 


Arrange the halved strawberries on top.

Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, checking with a toothpick to see if the center is done.  

May be served with strawberry ice cream, whipped cream, or chocolate ice cream if you must. And definitely eat with a good book in hand! 

FATAL RESERVATIONS is on bookshelves now! And you can follow Lucy on Facebook,



and Instagram!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Make Ahead Christmas Morning Coffee Cake

A Christmas treat from Victoria Abbott aka Victoria and Mary Jane Maffini

Around here, we're all in the mood for Christmas.

We’ve wanted to make this recipe since last year when we first came across a version of a coffee cake that goes from freezer to table on Christmas morning when the cook relaxes in new slippers, possibly sipping eggnog and enjoying the aroma of fresh baking with cinnamon and other goodies.

This year we’re going for it.  But of course we had to try it out before putting all our Christmas eggs in one basket.  This version is a combination of a number of recipes we’ve found and tinkered with.  We liked that this one used coconut oil (and we had almost the exact quantity already).  We think it would have been excellent with orange zest and juice instead of lemon but there are some allergies here.  

We’re happy to announce that our first try was amazing.  The coconut oil makes a terrific taste, but you could use the same amount of butter. 

This cake is a keeper for us. So here it is from our home to yours for Christmas:

Make Ahead and Take It Easy Christmas Morning Cranberry Almond Coffee Cake

Makes: One 9-inch cake

For the topping 

2/3 cup brown sugar
¾  cup slivered almonds
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp lemon zest
Pinch of salt
For the cake 

1 large apple, peeled, cored and chopped – we used a Fuji
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
2 tsps lemon zest
Juice from half a lemon
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup  sour cream
1/2 tsp almond flavouring
1 tsp pure vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Mix together brown sugar, almonds, cinnamon, 2 tbsp coconut oil, 1 tbsp lemon zest and salt in a small bowl and set aside for topping.  

Mix chopped apple, dried cranberries, lemon zest and juice in a bowl and reserve.

Beat coconut oil with brown and white sugar. Add eggs, sour cream, vanilla and almond flavoring until blended.

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and beat at low speed until blended.
Mix in apple, lemon, cranberry mixture.
Pour into greased 9-inch springform pan and sprinkle on the brown sugar and almond topping.

 Wrap tightly with foil or plastic and refrigerate or freeze. Or bake right away, like we did!  Lots of options.

Preheat oven to 350 F (we used 335 F with convection). Unwrap your cake and bake: 35- 40 minutes if put in oven at room temperature, right after making; or  about 40 to 45 minutes if refrigerated overnight; 60 to 90 minutes or more if you are baking from frozen.
 It's done when brown on top and tester comes out clean.

If you want to take some of the pressure off Christmas Eve and Christmas morning prep, this could be your answer.

Victoria Abbott is the mysterious collaboration between the artist and photographer Victoria Maffini and her mother, the mystery writer, Mary Jane Maffini.  Strangely enough, their three book collector mysteries, The Christie Curse, The Sayers Swindle and The Wolfe Widow all contain Siamese cats. Coming in September 2015 The Marsh Madness.

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