Showing posts with label ganache. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ganache. Show all posts

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Kathy Aaron's Chocolate Truffles

Join us here at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen in welcoming guest Kathy Aarons, author of the Chocolate Covered Mysteries, who brings us a very special treat today: a chocolate truffle recipe!

Chocolate Truffles by the Expert

People think that writing the Chocolate Covered Mystery series means that I know how to make truffles. I certainly didn’t know how at the beginning, but I (kind of) do now.

Luckily for me (and the readers), the recipes are provided by a real chocolatier -- Isabella Knack, owner of Dallmann’s Fine Chocolates in San Diego, California. She creates gorgeous works of art that taste amazing.

Unfortunately, I just have to test all of the recipes in the books. I have no choice – it’s in my contract! Even after all of my testing, my truffles end up being little ugly lumps, but they are still delicious.

This recipe – Irish Cream Ganache - is in Behind Chocolate Bars, the third book in the Chocolate Covered Mystery series. I took photos as Isabella made them in her work kitchen. The recipe is a little different at the end – she put the ganache in beautifully air-brushed chocolate instead of premade chocolate molds. But the end result of both is sheer delight.

Irish Cream Ganache (yields 100 pieces)


3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup glucose syrup
1-3/4 cups dark chocolate
4 tsp. butter (softened)
2 TB Irish Cream

Premade chocolate molds – available at candy shop and online


A. Combine the heavy cream and glucose syrup in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

B. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes.

C. Using a spatula, stir the mixture in small circles of the bowl until it emulsifies.

D. Stir the soft butter into the ganache until it’s incorporated.

E. Add the liqueur, stirring until the mixture is homogeneous.

F. Pipe into premade chocolate molds. 

G. Chill

H. Serve

And if that's not enough sweet goodness, Kathy is offering a giveaway! Leave a comment here (with your email) and you can choose from any of the books in the series: 
Death is Like a Box of Chocolates, Truffled to Death, or Behind Chocolate Bars. (If you live in the continental United States, you can choose either print or ebook format; if you're outside, only the ebook format) 



Best friends and business partners Michelle and Erica have a monstrous to-do list as they prepare for the annual West Riverdale Halloween Festival. Their shop, Chocolates and Chapters, will have a booth at the event, where Michelle will serve spooky delights while Erica displays an assortment of spine-chilling books. Thank goodness the teenagers from Erica’s comic-book club are chipping in to help. But one of their volunteers winds up in trouble after a woman’s body is found in an abandoned house—with the teen’s superhero key ring close by.

The teen swears he didn’t do it, but he’s obviously hiding something—leaving Michelle and Erica with a witch’s cauldron of questions. Soon they discover that the dead woman was tricking a whole bunch of people out of more than just treats. Now these two friends must go door-to-door if they hope to unmask a killer…

Kathy Aarons is the author of the nationally bestselling CHOCOLATE COVERED MYSTERY series by Berkley Prime Crime. Research for the series was such a hardship: sampling chocolate, making chocolate, sampling more chocolate, and hanging out in bookstores.

She began writing when her youngest daughter attended school five days a week and pursued publishing more seriously when her oldest daughter went off to college. Now an empty-nester, she continues to advocate for arts education for youth, serving as president of the board of directors for Playwrights Project (, advising and teaching for the Middle School Writing Series, and volunteering for the CCA Writers’ Conference (, the only free writing conference for high school students in the country.

She’s also president of Partners in Crime – the San Diego chapter of Sisters in Crime, a national mystery writers’ organization ( ).

You can follow Kathy on Facebook or Twitter or visit her at:

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Chocolate Cream Cake from Once Upon a Grind + Magic Bean Necklace Giveaway via Cleo Coyle

With a real Prince visiting New York this week (shout-out to William and Kate), it seems appropriate to share a dessert served at the elegant, underground "Prince Charming Club" in Once Upon a Grind, my new culinary mystery.

My amateur sleuth, coffeehouse manager Clare couldn't resist a slice of this cake, a heavenly cloud of chocolate whipped cream tucked between layers of devil’s food and topped by a layer of fudgy ganache. It’s outrageously good and sinfully delicious—but is it worth risking a run-in with a ruthless killer? Clare will get back to you on that one!

BTW, there are over 20 more delicious and unique recipes featured in my new Coffeehouse Mystery. For a peek at some of them, click here
Click here to see the Recipe Guide
for Once Upon a Grind.

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

Cleo Coyle's "Inside-Out"
Chocolate Cream
Coffee Cake

A light chocolate dream with sophisticated flavor and an irresistible mix of textures, this cake would make an impressive addition to any holiday table, yet it’s easy to make. 

It's also the very cake Marc and I served at a fantastic setting in our new mystery. Elegant and exclusive, the "Prince Charming Club" is full of culinary temptations worthy of a gourmet witch’s gingerbread cottage. You'll learn more about them as you read Once Upon a Grind.

I'm discussing the book this week at crime-writer Terry Ambrose's blog here with a book giveaway. 

Or join me at Fresh Fiction by clicking here, where I’m also offering an autographed copy of the beautiful first-edition hardcover and a Magic Bean Necklace in a comment giveaway (see caption below). 

NOTE - My Newsletter Subscribes know there is another comment-to-win contest right here at this blog. Scroll to the end of this post to see the winner...

Now let's get baking!

~ Cleo

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

Click here for
free recipe PDF.

Cleo's "Inside-Out"
Chocolate Cream
Cake Recipe

This recipe provides: 

8-10 servings if cut into larger rectangles, or...

20-24 servings if sliced into thinner slivers. (Examples of slice sizes
are shown in my photos.)

For the Cake*
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable, canola, or extra-virgin coconut oil (measure in liquid form)
1-1/2 cups white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, lightly beaten with fork
1 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt (use table salt or finely ground sea salt)
1/2 cup unsweetened (natural) cocoa powder

For the Chocolate Cream Filling
12 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (for more chocolate flavor, double)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups very cold heavy cream**

(**Optional for mocha-flavored filling: replace 1/4 cup of the heavy cream with 1/4 cup Kahlua and dissolve 1 teaspoon of instant espresso into the Kahlua before adding it to the recipe.)

For the Chocolate Ganache Topping
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/3 cup heavy cream (for mocha flavor use coffee or espresso instead)
5 ounces semisweet block chocolate, chopped into uniform pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

(**Optional for mocha-flavored ganache: also add 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder)

*A note on using a cake mix: To save time, feel free to use a devil’s food cake mix, but follow the directions in Step 1 regarding (a) pan size and (b) preparing the pan to prevent the cake from sticking. 

**A note on espresso powder: Espresso powder is made from freeze-​dried espresso. It dissolves in water to create instant espresso. While I would not suggest drinking espresso made from freeze-​dried powder, I do advise using good-quality espresso powder (rather than freeze-​dried instant coffee) to add coffee flavor to your recipes. Look for espresso powder in the instant coffee section of your grocery store or search online. 

Step 1—Make the chocolate cake batter: First preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a rimmed baking sheet measuring around 17- to 18-inches by 12-inches (a "half-sheet pan") and line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the paper and dust with unsweetened cocoa powder, tapping out any excess. Use a devil’s food cake mix or these directions to create the batter: Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the oil, vanilla, eggs, and milk. Blend until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together the remaining dry ingredients. Add this dry mixture, a little at a time, to the mixing bowl, beating between additions until a smooth batter forms. Do not over-mix. Spread out the batter and smooth it evenly on the prepared baking sheet. 

Step 2—Bake and chill the cake: Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cake has risen, is slightly springy, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with no batter clinging to it. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool. Gently invert the cooled cake and peel away the parchment paper. Slice the cake down the middle, crosswise, to form two even rectangles. Slip these into the fridge to chill while you prepare the filling.

Step 3—Make the chocolate (or mocha) cream filling: Using an electric mixer, beat the softened cream cheese with the sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, vanilla, (and espresso powder dissolved into the Kahlua if using). Once blended and smooth, add the chilled heavy cream and switch to high speed on your mixer. Whip vigorously until the cream forms firm peaks. 

Step 4—Assemble the cake: Invert one of your cake rectangles so the flat bottom is facing up. Spread the cream filling evenly. 

Now cover it with the second cake rectangle (again with the flat bottom facing up). Lightly press down on the top layer. Run an offset spatula (or wide flat knife) around all of the edges to smooth them. Chill the cake for at least 1 hour. Then prepare the topping. 

Step 5—Make the chocolate (or mocha) ganache topping: In a small saucepan, over low heat, bring the butter, cream (or coffee), and (if using) the instant espresso powder to a simmer. Do not boil or you will scorch the ingredients and destroy their flavors. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate. When the chocolate is melted, stir in the vanilla. Let the glaze cool for about 15 minutes; it will become slightly thicker. 

Pour the glaze onto the center of the cake and gently spread it—ideally with an offset spatula (or in a pinch, the back of a large spoon)—until it evenly covers the top of the cake and drizzles slightly over the cake's top edges. Chill the cake for several hours (or overnight). 

Tip for perfect presentation: Slice off the edges of the cake with a sharp knife and you will create a bake-shop-perfect presentation (and guess who gets to eat the ends). 

If you're an old pro, you'll have a presentation tray ready. But if you don't bake much, here's another tip. Cover a cutting board with aluminum foil and buy inexpensive round paper doilies, cut them in half, and slide them gently beneath the cake's bottom edges to make it look even prettier.

Then slice into slivers or larger squares...

Click here for the free
recipe PDF, and...

Eat with royal joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Friend me on facebook here. * Follow me on twitter here
Learn about our books here

Sign up for my Coffeehouse Newsletter here.
(Recipes, contests, videos, fun info)

Now on Sale!

Join coffeehouse manager
Clare Cosi as she solves the crime
against "Sleeping Beauty," opens
secret doors (uptown and down),
and investigates a cold case that's
been unsolved since the Cold War.

A Wicked Good
Murder Mystery

Learn more by
clicking here.

* * * 

Cleo also writes
The Haunted Bookshop

Get a free title checklist,
with mini plot summaries, by clicking here.
Or learn more here. 

* * * 

A Note for Cleo's Newsletter Subscribers

Welcome! If you read my flash newsletter,
then you know I hosted a special contest here.
In the comments below, my newsletter
subscribers told me what inspired joy
in them (other than family and friends).

Congrats to our winner...

Jane C. of
BC, Canada!

~ Cleo

For anyone who would like to subscribe
to future newsletters, click here.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

How to Make Ganache in Honor of MURDER WITH GANACHE

LUCY BURDETTE: You tell me, could I celebrate the release of MURDER WITH GANACHE, my fourth Key West mystery, without making ganache? I didn't think so.  

But for today's post, I wanted to concentrate on the ganache itself, rather than getting all wrapped up in what was lying underneath it. 
So for this event, I baked my grandmother's one-bowl chocolate cake, which is delicious on its own. And then I made the ganache topping and drizzled, dripped, dribbled rivulets of molten chocolate over the top and down the sides.

You could do many things with this ganache, including something as simple as pouring it over ice cream. It's only got two ingredients--chocolate and cream--so the trick is using the good stuff.


8 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate
8 oz good quality whipping cream

Crush the chocolate into small pieces. (Larger ones won't melt, resulting in a lumpy product.)


Meanwhile, empty the cream into a pan and heat until it's just boiling. Watch this closely so it doesn't burn or bubble out of the pan.

Remove the pan from the stove and pour the hot cream over the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.

With a wire whisk, whisk the cream and the chocolate...

Until it's smooth and shiny.

That's ganache!  

It may seem thin at this point, but it will thicken as it cools. If you want to hurry this along, put the bowl in the refrigerator.

 However, this can result in hardening. But don't panic! Just reheat the bowl of chocolate over a pan of simmering water and whisk again.

 When the chocolate is at the right consistency, drizzle it over your cake or ice cream--and watch the chocoholics in your life swoon! And that's what we call MURDER WITH GANACHE:)


Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mysteries. MURDER WITH GANACHE is in bookstores now!

Independent bookstores

Barnes and Noble


Follow Lucy on Facebook, or Twitter, or Pinterest! She loves it when you pin her stuff:)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Welcome our guest, Jenn McKinlay!

We have a special treat today, Wednesday. A guest!  Whee! Don't you love surprises?

Welcome our guest, Jenn McKinlay. Jenn is the fabulous NYT bestselling author of A Cupcake Baker Mystery and so much more! Her latest: Going, Going, Ganache!

Take it away, Jenn!

For the love of bacon and Larry!

Here's how to get what you want in my house. It starts with me asking the Hub to do whatever, which is always greeted with an affirmative. Yay! The speed of completion of the requested task varies, however, and I've discovered that if I up the ante (otherwise known as a bribe) things tend to happen much more swiftly. The number one bribe in my arsenal is bacon. If I can leverage my request with scent of frying bacon, well, that garbage finds its way out of the house so fast you'd think Hefty made their bags with a drawstring activated jet propulsion feature, which would be pretty cool. 
Seeing the power of bacon, I naturally decided I needed to incorporate it into the cupcake world to help motivate my sons, aka the hooligans, and get that lawn mowed with same turbo power as the above mentioned garbage disposal. The idea was inspired by the Hub's cousin, who is actually having two types of cake (bacon and tiramisu) at his wedding. No, not kidding. But here's where a dilemma hit. Hooligan number two has gotten it into his head that he would like a pet pig that he plans to name Larry. Out of respect for his future snuggle buddy Larry, hooligan two has sworn off all pig products. All righty then.Luckily, while visiting the Queen Creek Olive Mill in Queen Creek, AZ with my mother, our curiosity was piqued by their bacon infused olive oil that is made without bacon and therefore vegetarian friendly. My mother, being more adventurous in the culinary arts than me, bought a bottle and so I figured I had a way to tempt hooligan number two without infringing on his loyalty to Larry.
Much experimenting ensued but attached are two recipes, one with real bacon and one without, to motivate your day laborers into speedy chore completion. May the bacon flavor be with you!  

Bacon Cupcakes:

Same recipe for both cupcakes but for the cake with real bacon add one cup cooked and minced bacon into the batter. 


2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 tablespoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon salt 
3/4 cup bacon infused olive oil 
1 1/2 cups sugar 
4 large eggs 
1 cup milk 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
* 1 cup cooked and minced bacon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, mix together olive oil, sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla extract.

Add dry ingredients to wet mixture and blend until smooth. (*If using the real bacon, add cup of minced bacon now). 

Scoop the batter evenly into the cupcake liners.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool before frosting. Makes 24. 

Maple Frosting: 


6 tablespoons butter, softened
3-4 tablespoons milk 
1 1/2 teaspoons maple extract 
4 cups confectioners' sugar sifted 
Turbinado sugar and sea salt 


Whip butter, milk and extract together until creamy. Mix in powdered sugar until frosting is the desired consistency. Spread onto cooled cupcakes.

Garnish by sprinkling turbinado sugar and sea salt on cupcake and for cupcakes with real bacon a piece of bacon looks pretty tasty, too.

Thanks for inviting me to visit the kitchen, Daryl!
As always, it’s been a pleasure! 

You can find out what’s happening with me by checking out my website:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

To Brie or not To Brie

From Avery aka Daryl:

Okay, you might think that lately I've been obsessed with Brie. I have been. Probably because my next book is titled TO BRIE OR NOT TO BRIE. 14 days. Whee!

In the last month, I've shared a Brie Pizza, Brie Salad, and a Brie cookie dessert.

In the past, I've shared a Brie soup and so many other things. I love Brie. It's soft, it's easy, it's so pretty.

But today, because I made the most delicious dessert for New Year's Eve, I have to share this dessert recipe that I found in a magazine...tweaked, of course.

Warning: This is possibly the most intense cooking experience I've ever had. So many steps. So WORTH IT!  And though it appeared as a regular cake recipe, I was able to make it gluten-free. I found the recipe in CULTURE magazine, which many of you know is one of my favorite magazines. The magazine always has such great information about cheese. And gorgeous recipes! This recipe includes mascarpone, which I have used in ice creams and other recipes. It's luscious and adds the richness of cream to anything.

Enjoy! And Say Brie ...makes you smile, doesn't it?  Hint: Don't say fromage. It makes you frown.

Tweaked to be Gluten-free from Culture Magazine


¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus a little to dust pans
2 cups gluten-free flour (I used mixture sweet rice flour and tapioca starch)
1 tablespoon whey powder
½ teaspoon Xanthan gum
1 1/1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup water
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ¾ cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoon vanillin

NOTE: IF YOU WANT REGULAR CAKE, switch out regular flour with the GF flour and don't use Xanthan gum. You can use real vanilla, too. :)

3 cups mascarpone
3/8 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, defrosted
3 tablespoons grated orange or nectarine zest

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli 60% dark)
½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
Candied orange peel, if desired  (see below)



Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two  9-inch round cake pans with wax or parchment paper. Grease pans and dust about 2 teaspoons cocoa powder. Whisk the other cocoa powder, gluten-free flour, whey powder, Xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

Combine the buttermilk and water in a small bow.

In a large bowl, beat the butter with a mixer on high until fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add in the vanillin. With the mixer on low, add the cocoa mixture alternately with the buttermilk/water mixture. Takes about three portions. Beat until just blended. Do not overbeat.  Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove the cake from the pans [I turned them onto wax paper sheets on wire racks] and LET COOL COMPLETELY (about 30 minutes).

Combine the mascarpone, orange juice concentrate, and zest in a medium bowl and mix until combined. Set in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Break the chocolate into small bits and place in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan over medium heat until the sides start to bubble. DO NOT OVER BOIL. Pour the hot cream into the bowl with the chocolate and stir until the chocolate melts. [If you need to, insert bowl into microwave at short bursts, no more than 10 seconds at a time, to melt chocolate entirely.] Stir in the butter. Let the ganache cool for 10 minutes before using.

Trim the “domed” top of one cake (set aside for nibbling).  Cut both cakes horizontally in half. Set one bottom of cake on cake plate. Spread 1/3 of the mascarpone filling on one bottom layer of cake. Top with “dome-less” layer of cake. Repeat with filling. Top with other bottom of cake. Top with filling. Put the domed layer on the top. Pour ganache on the cake and guide it with a knife or spoon to spill down the sides.  Garnish with candied orange peel, if desired.

By the way, this upper layer makes the most fabulous "snack"- like a brownie

TO MAKE CANDIED ORANGE PEEL: To make this, peel the skin of an orange (or nectarine) in thin strips, doing your best to avoid the white layer of pith by the fruit (hard to do!!).  Cut the peeled strips into thin slices. Soak them for three minutes in boiled water; drain and rinse.

Heat ¼ cup sugar and 1 tablespoon water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the orange strips and cook 1 minute. Transfer peel to wax paper. Sprinkle with sugar and let dry 30 minutes.  {Truthfully, I’m not sure how to “curl” them.}

Enjoy! You deserved it!

* * * * * * *

The 4th in A Cheese Shop Mystery series: 
coming February 2013.

You can pre-order the book HERE. 
Click this link to watch the TRAILER
Click this link to read an EXCERPT.
Click this link to hear a PODCAST

You can learn more about me, Avery, by clicking this link.
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 so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests!

Also, you probably know by now about my alter ego,
DARYL WOOD GERBER...and her new series
debuts July 2013

"Like" Daryl's page on Facebook and "follow" Daryl on Twitter.
"She" doesn't say all the same things "Avery" does. Promise.

Say cheese!