A former journalist, Cleo Coyle is the pseudonym for a multi-published author and New York Times bestselling media tie-in writer. In collaboration with her husband, Cleo pens two popular mystery series for Penguin. The Coffeehouse Mysteries are a series of light, amateur sleuth culinary mysteries set in a Greenwich Village coffeehouse, the first of which, On What Grounds, is now in its fifteenth printing. The ninth book in the series, Roast Mortem, will be out this summer. Under the name Alice Kimberly, Cleo also writes the Haunted Bookshop Mysteries. The series’ sixth title, The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller, will be published next year. You can find out more at Cleo’s virtual coffeehouse: www.CoffeehouseMystery.com
Little Chocolate Clouds by Cleo Coyle
Chocolate and coffee are a classic pairing, aren’t they? As a couple, they have so much in common, too—both are grown in tropical climes; both are harvested from seeds; both need to be roasted and processed with culinary care. Then, of course, there’s that addiction thing.
Am I a chocoholic? Check. (That’s why I follow Janet’s blog :-)) Am I a coffee freak? Oh, yeah. Given the setting of my Coffeehouse Mysteries that’s pretty much a given. In fact, “I had a dream there were clouds in my coffee…”
One of songwriter Carly Simon’s many inspired line was my inspiration for a recent chocolate-and-coffee recipe post at Mystery Lovers Kitchen, where I blog once a week with five of my fellow culinary mystery writers.
My simple cocoa meringues are easy to whip up and bake. They are bursting with chocolate flavor, yet they’re still light, with the added bonus of protein (from the egg whites). You can even float one in a fresh cup of joe or espresso, where it will melt right into the hot liquid, mimicking a mocha drink.
If you’re looking for a recommendation on a good coffee to sip with these little cocoa clouds, I have many at my official website www.CoffeehouseMystery.com but the coffee that is closest to my heart is Kafe Lespwa, which means “Coffee of Hope” in Creole.
Grown by the subsistence farmers of Beredères, Haiti, this low-acid coffee is velvety smooth, yet lively, rich, and complex with a full-bodied mouthfeel. It even has noticeable hints of chocolate in its flavor profile.
Why is it close to my heart? The rural area where this coffee is grown has seen a large influx of refugees from the catastrophic earthquake that struck near Haiti’s capital city of Port-au-Prince earlier this year, leaving tens of thousands dead and hundreds of thousands homeless. To help these coffee farmers, who are helping and housing the displaced earthquake victims, I am absolutely delighted to feature this coffee on my website all summer long. Believe me, it’s no sacrifice. Kafe Lespwa is delicious.
I am also running a weekly free coffee drawing all summer. Every Monday, I will give a 12-ounce package of Kafe Lespwa to a random subscriber of my e-newsletter. The newsletter is free and my next one will include a tasty recipe for grilling season and an exclusive excerpt for my latest Coffeehouse Mystery, Roast Mortem, publishing this summer.
To sign up for the weekly drawings and newsletter, simply send a “Sign me up” e-mail to VillageBlend@aol.com
Finally, thank you to Janet for her very kind offer to visit with you today. I hope you will enjoy the “Coffee of Hope”…and my Little Chocolate Clouds.
Little Chocolate Clouds by Cleo Coyle
Makes about 36 meringues
For a printable version of this recipe (PDF format) click HERE.
4 egg whites (room temperature)
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar (to stabilize egg whites)
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
Optional toppings: chocolate sprinkles, chocolate chips, toasted coconut, finely chopped nuts
Step 1 – Before You Begin: First preheat the oven to 300° F. Some tips to help you get the best results here: Start with a mixing bowl that is glass, metal, or ceramic. The bowl must be free of grease for your egg whites to whip up properly. (Grease clings to plastic bowls, which is why you should not use plastic.) Also, for best results, your egg whites should be room temperature. I simply set my cold eggs in a bowl of warm tap water for 2 to 3 minutes before cracking.
Step 2 – Whip Egg Whites: Place egg whites, cream of tartar, vanilla, and salt into bowl. Using an electric mixer or handheld whisk, start to whip the whites. When you see soft peaks begin to form (see photo), continue beating while slowly sprinkling in the sugar. When egg whites have become stiff and glossy (see photo), stop whipping. Sift the cocoa over the egg whites and gently fold into the mix. The whites will deflate a little, but that’s okay.
Step 3 – Form Little Chocolate Clouds: Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Make rustic little chocolate clouds by dropping batter in heaping teaspoons onto the paper. As a fun option, try topping some with chocolate sprinkles and others with finely chopped nuts, toasted coconut, or a few chocolate chips.
For more recipe ideas or to find out more about the books in my Coffeehouse Mystery series, drop by my virtual coffeehouse at www.CoffeehouseMystery.com and…
Eat with joy!
Kafe Lepswa photo courtesy of www.justhaiti.org
All other photos copyright © Alice Alfonsi who writes as Cleo Coyle in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini.