Wednesday, May 12, 2021

One-Step Dulce de Leche #Recipe by @Leslie Karst

I have a Brazilian friend who told me her family has always made dulce de leche—that Latin American caramel sauce—by simply putting cans of sweetened condensed milk into the pot along with the black beans, and letting them all cook together for several hours.
“What about the danger of exploding cans?” I asked her.

“I’ve never seen that happen,” she assured me. So I decided to try it out to use as the topping for a cake.

I read on line that you should boil the cans in a heavy Dutch oven with the lid cracked, which struck me as a good idea. After all, it was always possible that mine would be the first exploding cans that my friend had encountered, and a cast iron pot and lid would be sure to protect my kitchen, and anyone in it at the time, from flying shards of metal should this occur.

Even though I didn’t need that much dulce de leche, I decided to make two cans. It wouldn’t take any more energy to boil two, and then I’d have some for later use. (It keeps quite well in the fridge.)

One-Step Dulce de Leche

Remove the paper from the cans, and then cover them completely with cold water in a large pot (or cook them along with a batch of black beans!):

Put a lid on the pot, slightly cracked to allow the steam to escape, and bring the water to a boil. Then turn it down to a simmer, and cook it for two to four hours. The longer it goes, the darker and thicker it will get. Make sure you check to pot periodically and add water as needed to keep the cans covered. If you don’t, you could well be the first one with an exploding can. I split the difference and simmered mine for a little over three hours.

Take the cans out of the water and let them cool before opening. Here is what mine looked like:

as you can see, it’s pretty thick—like a thick frosting

For comparison, here’s what sweetened condensed milk looks like when it hasn’t been boiled:

Easy peasy! And amazingly delicious! And it's not simply good as a cake frosting--I like to spoon it directly from the can to eat!

 🍰 🌿 🍶

The daughter of a law professor and a potter, Leslie Karst learned early, during family dinner conversations, the value of both careful analysis and the arts—ideal ingredients for a mystery story. Putting this early education to good use, she now writes the Lefty Award-nominated Sally Solari Mysteries, a culinary series set in Santa Cruz, California. 
An ex-lawyer like her sleuth, Leslie also has degrees in English literature and the culinary arts. She and her wife and their Jack Russell mix split their time between Santa Cruz and Hilo, Hawai‘i.

Leslie’s website
Leslie also blogs with Chicks on the Case
Leslie on Facebook
Leslie on Twitter
Leslie on Instagram

Praise for Leslie's most recent Sally Solari mystery, the Lefty Award-nominated MURDER FROM SCRATCH:
“Karst seasons her writing with an accurate insider’s view of restaurant operation, as well as a tenderness in the way she treats family, death and Sally’s reactions to Evelyn’s blindness.”

Ellery Queen Magazine (featured pick)

All four Sally Solari Mysteries are available through AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Bookshop.


And Dying for a TasteA Measure of Murder, and Murder from Scratch are now available as AUDIOBOOKS from Audible!

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Cleo Coyle's Chocolate-Stuffed PB Cookies + Book & Tote #Giveaway News!

From Cleo Coyle: These coffeehouse-sized peanut butter cookies are sweet, tender, and stuffed with enough ooey-gooey melted chips to make a chocolate lover swoon.

We're baking them up to continue celebrating the release of our new Haunted Bookshop Mystery, The Ghost and the Haunted Portrait.


2 Chances To Win Our New

Haunted Bookshop Mystery 

+ Our "Jack is Back" Tote Bag

1st Chance: Join us for a fun Q&A between
our (haunted) bookseller Penelope and
award-winning book reviewer Dru Ann Love.

Get to know our Pen & Jack...

To enter click here or on
the red button below...

Our giveaway at Dru's Book Musings 
will remain open until May 20th.

For a 2nd Chance to win the
prize package above, scroll
to the end of this post...

Now let's eat!

Cleo Coyle writes two
bestselling mystery
 series with her husband.
To learn more, click here.

A Note from Cleo

Readers of our 10th Coffeehouse Mystery, Murder by Mocha, will remember this cookie recipe as one Clare baked up for her daughter's boyfriend, NYPD Sergeant Manny Franco, in thanks for his backup at the International Confectioners' trade show. 

Why did Clare need police backup at a Chocolate and Candy Expo? You'll find the hilarious answer in Murder by Mocha. And keep in touch with us for news of our brand-new Coffeehouse Mystery, coming later this year: Honey Roasted.

May you read (and eat) with joy! 

~ Cleo

Click here to download
my recipe as a free PDF
that you can print, save,
or share.

Cleo Coyle's
Chocolate Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies

Makes 18–20 big, stuffed cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1¼ cups peanut butter (standard creamy, do not use sugarless)
1 cup granulated sugar plus ½ cup, for dusting
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup good quality semisweet chocolate chips

Step 1—Make the dough: Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, peanut butter, and sugars in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla and blend well. Fi­nally, add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix only enough until a soft dough forms.

Step 2—Form and stuff: Pinch off generous pieces of dough and roll into big, golf-ball-sized rounds. Cradle the cookie ball in one hand. Use the thumb of your opposite hand to make a deep indentation in the center of each cookie ball. Fill the hole with about a teaspoon of chocolate chips and then seal the chocolate inside the dough ball. Gently roll the balls in white, granulated sugar for a fin­ished look.

Step 3—Freeze: Place the cookie balls on a wax-paper-covered plate in the freezer for 30 minutes. (The wax paper will prevent the dough from adhering to the plate.) This freezing step is the key to a successful cookie. If you don’t freeze the cookie dough before baking, the cookie may break while baking and the chocolate may ooze out instead of staying in the center of the cookie. (If you plan to freeze the dough longer than 30 minutes, wrap it in plastic and foil to prevent freezer burn.)

Step 4—Bake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the chilled cookie balls on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, keeping the balls a few inches apart to allow for spreading. Bake them for 20–30 minutes. The cookies are not done until they flatten out, so be patient and wait for this to happen. The chocolate should stay inside. A nice “cover” for a cookie with oozing chocolate is to gently dust with confectioners’ sugar....

Yes, a bit of sweetness often 
rescues the day—and the cookie!

Note: When making cookies, always allow your baking sheets to cool before putting more dough on them. A hot baking sheet will cause any cookie to spread too much and please do… 

Eat (and read) with joy!

New York Times bestselling author
of The Coffeehouse Mysteries and
Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

This is us -- Alice and Marc.
Together we write as Cleo Coyle. 

Visit our online coffeehouse here.
And follow us at these links...


Just Released

Our new mystery!

"Terrific Series"

Criminal Element

Buy Now at:

Amazon * B&N 

Indiebound * BAM 

More Buy Links

“Jack and Pen are a terrific
duo who prove that love
can transcend anything.”

—The Mystery Reader

To learn more, visit our
Haunted Bookshop
clicking here.


Cleo is now working on her 
next book and 

Don't miss her book news, 
bonus recipes, and fun 

prize package giveaways!