Thursday, September 8, 2016

Shortbread Plays Roll in Upcoming Novel, PERILS OF WRATH

My second medieval novel, PERILS OF WRATH (a PG-rated action-romance and spin-off of my first novel, SHADOWS OF VALOR, also a PG-rated medieval action-romance) is due out May 2018 through Amberjack Publishing! I'm so excited!

In PERILS OF WRATH my heroine loves sugary foods, especially shortbread, a sweet cookie/biscuit which also happens to be a favorite of mine. That's the fun of writing my own novels. I can put a little piece of myself (or anyone else) into each story. Well, the shortbread ends up getting my heroine into a bit of trouble in her unconventional position as squire to a stern (but handsome) knight who has banned her from eating sweet treats. The ensuing situation leads to some comical moments between the knight and his female squire.

I won't say more and spoil what happens, but in honor of shortbread, I'm posting a fun, modern take on the little cookie with a recipe I found on the Cooking Classy site. So here it is:

Photo Credit - Cooking Classy
Funfetti Shortbread Bites
Yield: About 335 bites

1 cup (226g) salted butter, cold and diced into 1 Tbsp pieces*
2/3 cup (142g) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 1/4 cups (318g) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 Tbsp (30g) nonpareils sprinkles (any color), then about 1/2 Tbsp more for tops if desired

Butter a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and line with 2 sheets of parchment paper (one horizontally and one vertically. I also like to butter between parchment sheets so they stick) leaving a 1-inch over hang on all sides, set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer cream together butter and sugar until well combined. Mix in almond extract. With mixer set on low speed slowly add in flour and mix until combined (it will take a while and will appear dry and sandy at first but it will start to come together). Mix and fold in sprinkles. Press dough into an even layer in prepared pan (I did it with my hands first then used the bottom of a flat measuring cup to help smooth it out). Chill dough in refrigerator 20 - 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lift dough from pan using parchment overhang on all sides. Cut into 1/2-inch squares using a large sharp knife (it works best to just cut long rows). Sprinkle more sprinkles over the top if desired and gently press into dough. Transfer about 1/3 of the cookies to an unbuttered baking sheet (also do not line pan with parchment or silicone liners) and scatter cookies out spacing cookies 1/2-inch apart. Bake in preheated oven 8 - 12 minutes (keep remaining that aren't currently baking refrigerated). Repeat process with remaining bites, adding them to a cool baking sheet. Cool completely then transfer to an airtight container and store at room temperature.
*Unsalted butter will work great too. Simply whisk in 1/2 tsp salt with the flour before adding if using unsalted butter.
Recipe source: inspired by Land O Lakes

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