Get to Know Neila Young & A Recipe for Espresso Brownies

Guest post by author Neila Young

Hi! I’m Neila, and I’m thrilled to have my first cozy mystery, Brewing Up Murder, featured on A Cozy Experience!

I love everything about cozy mysteries—the small towns, the quirky characters, the strong amateur sleuths, and of course, the recipes!

Figuring out what recipes to include in my book was probably one of the most challenging, and most enjoyable, parts of writing my book. While I love to bake, and goodness knows I love to eat, I’ve never actually created a recipe of my own. This made for some really interesting results for my test subjects (a.k.a. my husband and kids).

The recipes are important to my book because my heroine, Blake Harper, owns Mystery Cup café. The coffeeshop got its name because Blake has a big decorative cup that sits on a high shelf, and in it, she puts a secret ingredient. Each month, that ingredient is revealed, and that is the ingredient Blake uses to create a signature pastry for the café.

In Brewing Up Murder, the mystery ingredient is chocolate-covered espresso beans. I used this ingredient to create espresso brownies, because seriously, you can’t go wrong with coffee and chocolate.

When I first tried creating this, I went through a few trials and errors. The funniest was a batch in which I added way too much instant coffee. That resulted in a hilarious spit-take from my teenage son. One thing is for sure—the next time I test out recipes for my books, I’m going to video everyone’s reactions.

In the end, all the effort was worth it, because I managed to create two awesome recipes for Brewing Up Murder, and I wanted to share one with you here today. This is the very first Mystery Cup recipe—Blake’s Signature Espresso Brownies. Enjoy!!

Blake’s Signature Espresso Brownies


1 1/3 cups butter, softened
2 2/3 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 ½ cups flour
1 cup baking cocoa
½ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon instant coffee
1 cup chocolate chips
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup mini chocolate chips
½ cup chocolate-covered espresso beans


Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa, salt, and instant coffee. Add to creamed mixture. Add chocolate chips and pecans and mix well. Pour into 9×13 pan. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and espresso beans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 24 to 26 minutes.Author Neila Young

Neila Young is the author of Brewing Up Murder, the first book in the Coffee Cup Mystery Series.She is a Midwest girl and lover of coffee, live music, and horror movies, not necessarily in that order. You can find out more about Neila on her website,

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