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

Friday, October 23, 2009

Cleo Coyle's Mocha-Dipped Rum Macaroons (with video!)

My recipe today was inspired by one of my favorite Halloween candies.
But first I have a quick, happy announcement...

Espresso Shot is
#3 in Mystery Nationwide!
My editor just informed me that Espresso Shot hit the #3 position on Barnes and Noble's paperback mystery bestseller list. As we sophisticated mystery writers like to say on such occasions: "Wee-haa!!!" The book is also ranked #31 on B&N's overall fiction list (Wee-haa! x2).

For anyone new to this blog,
Espresso Shot is my
7th Coffeehouse Mystery.
You can read
more about

Espresso Shot,
including a
free excerpt by
clicking here.

Needless to say, there will be much rejoicing and dinking of coffee in the Coyle household this weekend. This weekend also marks the one week countdown to one of my favorite holidays: Halloween! And thoughts of that holiday actually inspired this recipe...

Cleo's Mocha-Dipped Rum Macaroons

(with video!)

Do you have a favorite trick or treat candy? After hours trekking our chilly, dark, “haunted” neighborhood in Southwestern Pennsylvania, my sister and I loved upending our pillow cases and dumping our sweet loot out on the living room floor. Sorting and ranking would follow.

Clark Bars were popular when I was growing up (no surprise since they were made in nearby Pittsburgh), but I didn’t really like them much (so I ranked them as a "dud" candy). Baby Ruths, Peanut M&Ms, and Mallow Cups (remember those?!) were big winners, and I especially loved Almond Joys and Mounds bars.

Did you rank your candy, too?! My husband said Clark bars were not a dud for him. He loved them! His dud candy was Good & Penty. (Woops, dating ourselves!)

Given my Almond Joy and Mounds addictions, I still think coconut and chocolate are a superior combo. My little macaroon recipe for you today includes both of those flavors along with the more mature flavor notes of rum and coffee. I especially like drenching those little coconut haystacks in mocha glaze, which really dresses them up for the dessert plate of anything from an elegant dinner party to a simple family supper (at least it does at chez Coyle, lol).

These cookies also pair extremely well with a hot, fresh pot of French roast or a demitasse of espresso.

In fact, "espresso with rum" is such a classic combo I included it in the Recipes and Tips section of my upcoming release, Holiday Grind, along with "espresso coconut-rum" and 80 pages of other coffee and non-coffee holiday recipes.

(You can read more about my 8th Coffeehouse Mystery, Holiday Grind, and read brief summaries of the rest of the books in my series by clicking here.)

Back to the cookies! Today's recipe gives you two ways to make my Mocha-Dipped Rum Macaroons. The first is with rum extract and the second is with real rum (dark not light).

While the rum extract is quicker and easier and does give you a nice flavor, I do think the real rum version is well worth making. The flavor is truly amazing, especially when paired with coffee.

The real rum version also gives your cookie a moister inside--another bonus because the trademark of a truly great coconut macaroon is a crispy exterior and a soft, chewy, moist center.

So here without further ado is my recipe of the week. (Just click the link below and the recipe will appear in PDF format)…

To get Cleo Coyle's recipe for...
Mocha-Dipped Rum Macaroons

Click here

The recipe will appear in PDF format.
You can print it out or save it to your computer.

For more of my recipes or to find out more
about the books in my culinary mystery series,
click this link to my virtual home at


Once again, in my ongoing bid for
this year's Academy Award, I give you (below) the
happy 50's homemaker version of a helpful how-to
foodie video

(And, kids, if you try this at home,
don't foget the retro music!)

To see video,
click the play arrow in the lower left
of the frame above...

Until next time
~Cleo Coyle
"Where coffee and crime are always brewing..."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Getting the Most Out of Your Coffee: Cleo Coyle Interviews Kevin Cuddeback, Founder and CEO of Gimme! Coffee

What is the use of ART?
Or a BOOK?
What is the value of a song? A poem?
Or a cup of COFFEE?

You may not think answers
to questions like these define us.
But they do...

Do you SWILL or sip?
Do you REALLY taste?
Are you AWARE?

Such is the stuff of "foodie" fiction. At its best, the cozy, culinary mystery is more that cute. The world of food is a landscape of metaphors for philosophies of living. One of the most admirable recent efforts along those lines can be found in the Oscar-winning movie Sideways.

When one of the characters in Sidewaysopens a bottle of wine, she finds herself considering the origins of that bottle—where the grapes were grown, who harvested them, what the weather was like on the day they were picked. Was the sun shining? Was it raining?

I like to approach my coffee-drinking the same way. I marvel at how the beans can arrive at my doorstep from half a world away; how they can be grown by people of vastly different cultures, speaking different languages, living a completely different way of life. When I learn about the coffee beans, I also learn about the people who grew them, about their world, about the care they took to cultivate the coffee I drink.

Likewise, I've found so many of the people who work in the coffee trade, (like the writers and artists I know), are seriously dedicated to what they do. They say that God is in the details and I believe the care we take in the details of our work is what defines the level at which we operate.

Kevin Cuddeback, the founder and CEO of Gimme! Coffee, is an industry professional operating at the highest level.

Passionate and committed, he began humbly in an out-of-the way Ithaca, New York, location and built his business into one lauded by The New York Times and named by Food and Wine magazine as one of the top coffee bars in the country.

(Kevin is pictured above with coffee farmers of Colombia's Las Mingas Project. Photo courtesy of Gimme! Coffee's Web site. Click here to learn more about Kevin's trip to Colombia.)

I was so happy when Kevin agreed to answer a few of my questions for this Sunday feature...(Especially since he just became a new father! Congratulations, Kevin!)

Cleo: So many people in this biz are in it for the love of the bean and the bean business. Can you briefly tell me a little about your background?

Kevin: I was born in Waterloo, NY, and grew up working in my family's auction business. I experienced the joys of small business from an early age. Come to think of it, my first culinary job was selling hot dogs from our auction-house concession stand. I became interested in coffee after college in the mid 90's and opened my first place toward the end of the decade. My appreciation of the complexity of coffee has continued through today. The more you know, the more you don't know. The first Gimme! Coffee was located in a 14 x 14 storefront located in an Ithaca neighborhood. {To see all of Kevin's current Gimme! locations, click here. The above pic of Kevin is courtesy of andy s. at Flickr.}

Cleo: Can you tell me the story of starting Gimme! Coffee? How did you settle on the company’s fun name (!)?

Kevin: Our first bar was boot-strapped, started on just over $10k. We had a great location; quaint as heck, really. I was so happy to be in business for myself, and so motivated to deliver a product of locally unrivaled quality, that we just had lots of fun and flew by the seats of our pants. The name was suggested by a pal and veteran roaster, John Gant. It struck me as soon as he mentioned it: It so aptly conveyed most people's relationship with coffee that it resonated on and on. The urgency of it is palpable.

Cleo: I'd like to ask about your excellent Sidamo Amaro Gayo, which I have happily selected as my "Coffee Pick" for fall. How did you decide to carry the coffee?

Kevin: We bought this coffee because it tastes great! On top of that, we were eager to take it because there were supply chain interruptions in Ethiopia this year making it difficult to book coffee out of the country. We purchased the coffee through a greens importer in the US who had been doing extensive quality control development work with Ms. Thomas.

Cleo Note: "Ms. Thomas" is Asnakech Thomas, the owner of the Amaro Gayo Mill and 250 hectares of farmland. She is Ethiopia's only female coffee exporter. Although the price for her excellent coffee is at the high end of market, Ms.Thomas uses the money to create social programs including coffee job creation, schools, clean water, and medical care.

Cleo: Some say a master coffee roaster uses heat much the same way a top chef uses it—to bring out the best flavors possible in the product. Would you agree?

Kevin: Precisely...We roast coffee to the degree we feel optimally displays the best balance and complexity the bean has to offer. (Picture courtesy of Gimme Web site.)

Cleo: How do you decide on different roasts for different coffees? How, for example, did you decide on a light roast for the Amaro Gayo?

Kevin: We taste our coffees exhaustively. [In the case of the Amaro Gayo,] we wanted to preserve some of the clarity and sweetness and give it a bit on the toasted end of the spectrum. Ethiopian Naturals are known to have lots of fruity characteristics, but sometimes it can be fermenty. We loved this coffee for the clarity and the acid/sweet balance, and because it remains clean, not dirty.

Cleo: Gimme! is one of the only online vendors I have come across that offers a flat vs. cone grind! What's up with that?

Kevin: To be frank, your readers should buy in whole bean and grind their coffee daily using a hand crank mill with conical burrs. There are some new grinders out there don't cost an arm and a leg, and give you the uniform grind that is an ABSOLUTE necessity.

Most people use a cheap blade grinder at home, which is the equivalent of grinding beans with a hammer... Tragedy befalling your "fine, expensive, epicurean, delicious, all the way from half-way around the world" beans, before you even begin the brew process! Grind a minute before you brew, treat it as a ritual, take time to taste the difference a slight grind adjustment makes.

Cleo's full disclosure: I absolutely agree on the use of a burr grinder, but I drink way too much coffee for hand cranking to make sense for me. I use an electric burr grinder.

Cleo: What’s your favorite way to drink coffee? Does it change at different times of the day?

Kevin: I prefer it in 1.25 oz portions of espresso. For brewing single origins, I'm a fan of a pour-over cone. (To see the Gimme! Coffee feature on how to use a pour over cone properly, click here. Picture to the right is courtesy of Gimme!)

Cleo: Is there a "must try" coffee on your Web site's online store other than Amaro that you’d like to recommend to us? What is the most popular coffee you sell?

Kevin: I couldn't name just one, since our offerings are fantastic right now, in my opinion. I tend to grab the Kenya and the Amaro Gayo. The Leftist espresso is a top seller.

Cleo: Finally, what is your vision for your company’s future?

Kevin: Remain aware of current trends, find better coffee, keep evolving, while expanding sensibly. Reward people who consistently perform. Change the consumer's relationship with coffee such that they become impassioned for coffee as a daily, profound sensory experience. Not addicted, but devoted and mindful.

Sending a final thanks to Kevin Cuddeback for his thoughtful answers and especially for making his company a shining light of excellence in the coffee trade. In a weary world of indifference, Gimme! Coffee is a refreshing example of passion and commitment; and although a road less traveled may be a harder one, the person who takes it inspires all of us, no matter what road we're on.

Drink with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle
author of The Coffeehouse Mysteries

To find out more about the books in my mystery series or download my latest free recipes, visit my Web site...
"Where coffee and crime are always brewing..."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Espresso-Chocolate-Mascarpone Ice Cream

Congrats to our latest winner Rebecca from Chow and Chatter! We have another contest winner, too, but I'm not the one who gets to share the news this week. So…keep tuning in to find out who has won the Williams Sonoma gift certificate. It might be you!!!

And now, for the Monday blog. Did anyone get to see the Julie & Julia movie? I loved it!!! Both actresses are so talented and captured just the right flavor. Anyway, remember how Julia, and subsequently Julie, believes butter makes everything better?

Well, cheese and cream make things taste better, too!

“Ice cream is exquisite.

What a pity it isn’t illegal.”

~ Voltaire

Over the weekend, I had a craving for ice cream. It’s summer. It’s hot. I adore ice cream! In The Cheese Shop Mysteries that I’m writing, Charlotte, the cheese shop owner, is always open to new experiments. She uses tried and true recipes and adds cheese into the mix to see what happens.

I, like Charlotte, decided to be as adventuresome! And this is what I came up with. I adapted my good old-fashioned vanilla recipe into (in my humble opinion) an epicurean delight.


Mascarpone cheese is an Italian version of cream cheese, which is actually a cow's cream and not actually a cheese because no rennet is used in its production. It has a cake icing-like texture and is sweet and rich and is comparable to crème fraîche and English Devonshire cream.

For the purposes of this recipe, I added "cheese." I substituted one cup of mascarpone for one cup of whipping cream and the addition created a velvety smooth texture. I added in espresso coffee beans and dark chocolate [this time it was Ghirardelli 60% dark] and, wow! Textures and flavors popped in my mouth.

The recipe, you ask? Here it is.

By the way, I use: Cuisinart Counter Top Mixer, pictured to the right and works like a dream.




3 egg yolks
1 c. sugar
1 c. half and half
1 c. whipping cream
1 c. (8 oz.) mascarpone
1 tsp. G-F vanilla
2 Tbs. ground espresso beans
2 oz. of your favorite dark chocolate, chopped


Stir together yolks and sugar and cook in saucepan, 30 seconds on low.
Add half and half, cook 1 minute on low.
Stir and cook 1 more minute.
Stir and cook 1 additional minute. [Total 3 ½ minutes.]
Add whipping cream, mascarpone, and vanilla.
Stir and let cool to room temperature.

Chill 1-3 hours in refrigerator


Start counter top mixer. Add cream mixture. Whip 20-25 minutes.
Add ground espresso beans and chocolate, chopped into bits.
Whip 5 more minutes until goodies are incorporated.

Pour into clean containers and freeze.


HINT: The cooking of the creams, sugar and eggs makes the difference. Some countertop recipes simply tell you to put it all into the unit and begin. Cooking breaks down the sugar and makes it melt into the creams.

If you’d like to download this recipe in simple text, go to:

To see more of my recipes or to find out more about The Cheese Shop Mysteries, coming to Berkley Prime Crime 2010, visit me at my website, Avery Aames

Say Cheese!

Last but not least, remember to enter to win our Weekly Mystery Lovers' Kitchen contest. You must enter NEW every week. The prize is a $25 gift certificate to the Williams-Sonoma kitchenware and gourmet food store. Just sign in to this blog and leave a comment or send an "Enter me!" e-mail with your first name and state to We announce the winners right here every Sunday.