Showing posts with label doughnut. Show all posts
Showing posts with label doughnut. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fresh Baked Doughnut Muffins and a Chance to Win $25 in Books from Cleo Coyle

Ever since Roast Mortem first hit the shelves in hardback last year, fans have asked me to post this doughnut muffin recipe. Well, today is the day! But first two quick contest announcements…

Cleo Coyle, who does not know
the muffin man, is author
of the Coffeehouse
Dru, a follower of this blog, is also a dedicated book reviewer. Mysteries are her specialty, and she’s running a contest this week. Leave a comment on her new review post, and you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of Murder by Mocha. 

BTW, Dru's blog is a great one to follow, with authors who regularly post creative entries. Click here to jump there and have fun! (If you're wondering what Dru said about Mocha, here's a quote I think any writer would be proud to hear. Thank you, Dru...)

Win a signed copy
at Dru's blog by
clicking here.
"This wonderful story boasts a brilliant cast, a great setting, tantalizing conversation and recipes that will whet your appetite...." 

Fresh Fiction is also running a Coffeehouse contest. Prizes are spiffy and include a $25.00 gift card to your favorite online bookstore; a Gimme Coffee Latte Cup and Saucer (made in Italy); and signed copies of my newly released culinary mysteries (Murder by Mocha and Roast Mortem). Click here to jump there, and good luck!

And now…

Let's Eat!
(at least with our eyes...) 


Photos (c) Alice Alfonsi who writes as Cleo Coyle in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. All rights reserved.

Tender and sweet, these muffins taste like old-fashioned cake doughnuts, the kind you might order at a diner counter with a hot, fresh cuppa joe. Clare, my amateur crime-solver, bakes them up one morning to calm her nerves after a ruthless firebug torches her friend's cafe. "The coffee shop arsonist" is only getting started, but then so is Clare Cosi....

You will find this recipe, along with many others, in the recipe section of my culinary mystery Roast Mortem, now a national bestseller in paperback. 

Makes 12 standard-size muffins (Note: The muffins make look big in the photos, but these babies were made with my regular, old muffin pans.)

For the batter:

12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten with fork
1 cup whole milk 
2-½ cups all-purpose flour
2-½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the cinnamon-sugar topping:

½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Step 1—Prep your oven and pan: First preheat your oven to 350° F. This recipe bakes up nice, coffee shop-sized muffins with generous tops, so lightly spray the tops of your muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray. This will prevent the tops from sticking to the pan. Line the muffin cups with paper holders.

Step 2—Make the batter: Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the eggs and milk and continue mixing. Stop the mixer. Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg and mix only enough to combine ingredients. Batter will be thick. Do not over mix at this stage or you will produce gluten in the batter and toughen the muffins.

Step 3—Bake: Using two tablespoons (one to scoop, the other to scrape in the thick batter), fill each cup to the top, dividing any remaining batter among the 12 cups.

Bake for 20-25 min­utes, or until the muffin tops spring back lightly when touched and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. After a few minutes out of the oven, remove muffins from the pan and cool on a wire rack. (Muffins that remain long in a hot pan may end up steaming, and the bottoms may become tough.)

Step 4—Finish with cinnamon-sugar topping: Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Melt the butter, brush it lightly over the muffin tops...

Roll the buttery tops in the bowl of cinnamon-sugar, and… 

Eat with joy!

Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

To get more of my recipes, win free coffee,
or learn about my books, visit my online
coffeehouse by  clicking here.

See more of the recipes featured in
Roast Mortem by clicking here.

“Coyle's strong 9th coffeehouse mystery pays tribute to New York City firefighters.…Coyle even provides an appendix of useful tips and tempting recipes.” ~ Publishers Weekly 

A Reviewer's Pick: "Favorite Book of the Year"

“Fast pacing and clever dialogue…a fantastic mystery.” 4-1/2 stars ~ RT Book Reviews 

Now a National Mystery
Bestseller in Paperback! 

To visit Amazon's Roast Mortem page, click here

To visit Barnes & Noble's page click here.
Or try your favorite bookseller.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Don't Glaze Me, Bro! A Field Trip to Cops and Doughnuts Bakery and Mom's Coffee Cake

I am delighted to introduce you to Nancy Prior Phillips, an avid mystery reader and follower of this blog, who graciously volunteered to become a field reporter for this post. Take it away, Nancy!

~ Cleo

My "Field Trip" to Cops & Doughnuts Bakery
by Nancy Prior Phillips

As a fervent fan of The Coffeehouse Mystery series, I have made it a daily habit to hop on over to Cleo Coyle's website to see what is new at her online coffee house. One day while visiting Cleo's *virtual* coffee shop I saw a brief mention of a doughnut shop named Cops & Doughnuts, a bakery that is owned by real police officers. 

Intrigued I read the entire article and was tickled to see that the cleverly named shop was right here in my home state of Michigan! Cleo and I chatted about my husband and I taking a "field trip" up there and getting photos and behind the scenes scoop for a guest post. My husband Les and I decided to do it. We ventured to the "Gateway to the North" Clare, Michigan, for a great weekend filled with great coffee, even greater doughnuts, and the greatest new friends.

The town of Clare (yes, the same name as Clare Cosi, the amateur sleuth in Cleo's series) has always been known for being a great point to stop on the way to Michigan's well known northern towns. It had gas stations, diners and the infamous Doherty Hotel. The Doherty gained some notoriety back in the day as a gathering place for the infamous Purple Gang. 

Now we can add Cops & Doughnuts to the annals of secret hiding places the gang used back in the 20's and 30's. How are a gang of thugs known for mayhem and chaos linked to a group of nine Clare police officers? Let me share some of the fascinating things we learned this weekend while visiting with Greg Rynearson, cop-owner and Clare police officer.

Officer Greg (center) graciously took time out from his day
to meet with Nancy (right) and her husband Les.

Here they are at the shop, where they sat down with a cup
of the shop's finest brew and listened to Greg tell them the
story of how Cops and Doughnuts was born…

The Clare City Bakery opened in 1896 with the Foss family at its helm. It went through a few different owners until 2009. This was when rumors began circulating that the bakery would be closing.

Greg and his fellow officers tracked down the lead and heard the sad truth that yes, the bakery was closing! Now these are the guys that keep Clare safe for residents and travelers alike. They patrol the streets, help find lost dogs. They couldn't stand by and let the doughnut shop close!

So two weeks before the schedule closing, which would occur on the 113th anniversary of the opening, the guys gathered over a pizza lunch and decided to come to the rescue.

They were going to buy the doughnut shop! And on the top of the pizza box they divided a circle nine ways to determine ownership and once again saved the day!

Nancy's husband Les' favorite was the
"Bacon Squealer," a maple frosted
donut topped with two slices of bacon!

In those two short weeks they took ownership, and instead of closing on the 113th anniversary, they had a grand opening!

For the first 3 weeks the lines were out the door, sales increased 22% over projection, and on the second day they ran out of doughnuts!

As we chatted with Greg, both Les and I could hear the love he feels for his hometown.

Any day they're open, you'll usually find one of the "cop-owners" there happy to sit down and tell their story. What amazes me is that they're all still working at the police department full time.

Lemon "Behind" Bars
(lemon bars with Cops' attitude) $1.79
One of the coolest stories Greg shared with us involved working on the space next door, which would become the Cops & Doughnuts store. They found a mysterious ladder up to the ceiling area that reached down to the basement for quick getaways by that pesky Purple Gang. Wow, talk about cops and robbers!

When you visit (and you must visit!), you will see some wonderful old photos of the gang. Another thing that impressed us was the international exposure this little doughnut shop has gotten since opening. They have photos of their t-shirts being worn all over the world.

Kee Kee stands in front of the display of hats and patches
from police departments all over the world, as well
as a flag given to Cops & Doughnuts by troops overseas.
The walls are adorned with over 500 patches from police departments all over the world, as well, along with some great t-shirts!

After enjoying our coffee Al "Bubba" White, another cop-owner took our mug shot and then Greg told Les to make sure to check out the bathroom. The bathroom? OK, Greg....well, let me just say I have never seen a bathroom decorated as a prison cell!

This is Sherry having a great time hand frosting
the doughnuts. "Yes," Nancy said, "they actually
hand frost their doughnuts!"

Now how can we possibly write a blog post about a doughnut shop and not talk about the doughnuts? Well, we can't! As I told Cleo: These doughnuts are as big as a pie! We tried as many as we could and loved each of them and wished we had room for more.

Connor, an aspiring Iron Chef,
enjoys a Cops and Doughnuts
"Elephant Ear" (Connor created
a potato Latkes recipe for this site,
click his photo to get his recipe. :))
 As our son said when we got home with some, "Boy Howdy!"

Their coffee was equally as wonderful and... You can even order their coffee for yourself online. Click here to learn more.

Cleo now has Cops Coffee as her current "coffee pick" on her website, so if you sign up for her weekly free coffee drawing, you might even win a free package. Just send an e-mail that says "Sign me up" to

To say that Les and I had a great time is an understatement. We were warmly welcomed everywhere we went, and it was hard to leave. We will be returning to Clare this summer for another visit, and we know that we will be welcomed back with a smile, a cup of great coffee, a pie sized doughnut and we will hear "thanks for shopping Clare!"

Thank you to Greg for the hospitality and a great field trip!

Please visit Cops & Doughnuts on Facebook,
they love new friends! Click here to visit.

And now for a little something
to enjoy with your Cops Coffee...


A note from Nancy Prior Phillips:
Sundays were a special day growing up in our house. My mom (Henrietta** Prior) always made a big breakfast for us. One of our favorites was this coffee cake, which is how it was named Please Mom cake!

**My mom's given name was not Henrietta but "Harriet Louisa," bless her heart. But my dad always called her much so that once, at a parent-teacher conference, when my mom introduced herself to my teacher as "Harriet," I tugged on her coat sleeve and reminded her that her name was Henrietta. Sweet memories.  I think a "Please Mom" Cake would be a perfect accompaniment to a hot cuppa Cop's Coffee, what do you think?

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter (5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon)
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup peach, strawberry, OR pineapple preserves (first time I made this I used all three because I didn't read the directions was great!!)

2/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions: Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter with pastry blender to make a fine crumbly mixture. Add egg and milk; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon batter into a generously buttered 9-inch square pan. Spoon both preserves over the batter, then swirl through the batter with a knife. Mix topping ingredients with fork or fingers until crumbly and sprinkle evenly over batter. Bake at 400° Fahrenheit for 25 to 30 minutes, until done. Cut into squares and serve while still warm.

Makes about 9 squares.
Thank you again to Greg for taking such
good care of Les and Nancy!  ~ Cleo

To visit Cops and Doughnuts online
(more photos and history), click here

To "like" Cops Coffee
on Facebook (a fun community!),
click here

To purchase "Cops Coffee"
at their online store, click here

Last but not least thank you, Nancy, for bringing us along
on your field trip--and sharing such a wonderful recipe.

God bless your mom (and you and your adorable family)
and all those wonderful cops in Clare, MI,
who are showing us how to "protect and serve"
 in more ways than one! :)

~ Cleo

If you have a comment or question
for me or Nancy, just click the comments
button below. Cheers, everyone!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Welcome Guest Blogger - Jessica Beck and Donuts to Die For...

Please welcome Jessica Beck to our kitchen. Jessica is the penname of an author who was nominated for the Agatha Award and named an Independent Mystery Booksellers Association national bestseller nearly a dozen times. This month, St. Martin's Press is launching her new series of mysteries set in a cozy North Carolina donut shop. Here's a little peek at Glazed Murder, the first novel in her series...

Glazed Murder

Suzanne Hart, owner of Donut Hearts, is at her store at 2 AM when she looks out the window and sees a body being thrown from a speeding car in front of her shop. She can’t see much, but it becomes obvious that the driver thinks she witnessed the whole thing. Suzanne endures a series of threats until she is forced to investigate the murder herself. To make matters worse, Suzanne’s ex husband Max is trying to work his way back into her life, something she’s not at all sure she wants to happen.

0-312-94610-4 / 978-0-312-94610-4
Coming August 2010
FATALLY FROSTED 0-312-94611-2 / 978-0-312-94611-1

Coming December 2010
SINISTER SPRINKLES - 0-312-94612-0 / 978-0-312-94612-8

You can visit Jessica at this Web site:

And now, here's Jessica...

Everyone deserves the chance to indulge themselves now and then, whether it comes in the form of escaping with a good mystery, carving out five minutes of blissful silence in a hectic day, or savoring a bite or two of a delicious, homemade donut. I would never dream of advocating a steady diet of donuts alone, but at the same time, I couldn’t bring myself to give up one of the special little perks that remind me of just how nice life can be. While donuts probably aren’t going to bring about world peace, they can sometimes create a little joy in our lives, and that can never be a bad thing, can it?

My family got hooked on homemade donuts early on. My mother-in-law, thankfully a true joy to have in my life, got me started doing two things in the kitchen: creating pie crusts by hand using lard, and making donuts dusted with powdered sugar. The donuts were an Easter event for my spouse’s family, a tradition I quickly adopted for my own clan. There’s something comforting about sharing the treats these days, and they’ve become something much more than just a delicious bite; they remind us of those who may be gone now, but will be with us in spirit as long as we keep up our family traditions from one generation to the next. The last time I made these donuts, my teenaged daughter watched every move, and I suspect that someday when I’m long gone, these will be a reminder for her as well. All in all, it’s not a bad legacy for a donut to have, is it?


This donut is a good place to start your morning, or your donut-making career. It’s a fairly simple recipe that yields good results, and with a little practice, can be your go-to recipe when you need a quick fix. ~Jessica


4-5 cups bread flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 dashes of salt
½ cup sour cream
1 egg, beaten
1 cup buttermilk


Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl and sift it into another bowl. Add the beaten egg to the dry mix, then add the sour cream and the buttermilk to the mixture and stir it all in lightly. You may need more buttermilk or flour to get the dough to a workable mix. This varies based on temperature and humidity, and the dough should resemble bread dough when you’re finished. That is, it shouldn’t stick to your hands when you touch it, but it should be moist enough to remain flexible. Don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it soon enough.

Knead this mix lightly, then roll it out to about 1/4 of an inch. Then, take your donut hole cutter-a simple circle with a removable center-and press out your donut shapes, reserving the holes for a later frying. The cutters are inexpensive, and worth having on hand, but a floured drinking glass could be used, too.

Set your fryer for 375 degrees, and when the oil is ready, put four to six donuts in the basket, depending on the size of your equipment. This can also be done in a deep pot, but I find the precision of the fryer worth the money, especially if you’re going to make donuts very often at all.

Let the donuts cook for around two minutes on one side, then check one. If it’s golden brown, the shade I prefer, flip it over with a large chopstick or wooden skewer, and let that side cook another two minutes.

Once the donuts are finished, remove them to a cooling rack or a plate lined with paper towels, being sure to drain them thoroughly before serving. You can coat the top with butter and then sprinkle them with powdered sugar, cinnamon, or eat them plain.

Thank you for
joining us today, Jessica!
~ Cleo


The first book in Riley Adams' Memphis Barbeque series, Delicious and Suspicious, will be released July 6. To celebrate its upcoming release, Riley is throwing a giveaway! :) Are you interested in winning Williams-Sonoma’s Ultimate Grilling Rub Collection? It’s easy to be entered! Just send us an email to with “Contest” in the subject line.
Grilling Rub Collection Really, really want to up your chances? You’ll get one extra entry if you follow us on Twitter, one extra if you subscribe to our posts (in the right hand sidebar under “Subscribe”), and one extra for becoming a follower (by clicking the “follow” button in the right hand column under our book covers and blog roll.) Just send us an extra email at and let us know what you’ve signed up for. If you’re already a follower or subscriber, let us know that, too!

Comments for Jessica welcome!
Just hit the comment link below...