Thursday, September 8, 2016

Shortbread Plays Role in PERILS OF WRATH


My second medieval novel, PERILS OF WRATH (a PG-rated action-romance and sequel to my first novel, SHADOWS OF VALOR, also a PG-rated medieval action-romance) will be released May 22, 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 bit of myself (or anyone else) into each story. In Perils of Wrath shortbread ends up getting my heroine into a little trouble in her unconventional position as squire to a stern knight who has banned her from eating sweet treats. The ensuing situation leads to some comical moments between the knight and his female apprentice.

I won't spoil what happens, but in honor of shortbread, I'm posting several recipes brought to you by Betty Crocker, Taste of Home and Better Homes &Gardens.

Raspberry Cream Shortbread Sandwich Cookies
(Image and recipe from Betty Crocker)
“These tender shortbread cookies filled with fluffy marshmallow frosting and raspberry preserves would be great for any special occasion!”
Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup powdered sugar
2 cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
Frosting
¾ cup marshmallow creme
1/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup powdered sugar
Filling
3 tablespoons red raspberry preserves

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir 1 cup butter and 1/2 cup powdered sugar until well blended. Stir in flour and salt until well mixed. If necessary, knead with hands to form a soft dough. On floured surface, roll dough 1/4 inch thick. Cut with 1 3/4-inch round or scalloped cookie cutter. Place 1/2 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Using 3/4- to 1-inch round or scalloped cookie cutters, cut out and set aside centers of half of the cookies. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until set. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat marshmallow creme and 1/3 cup butter with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Beat in 2/3 cup powdered sugar on low speed until fluffy and creamy. Spread about 1 1/2 teaspoons frosting on bottom of each whole cookie; top with 1/2 teaspoon preserves. Top with remaining cookies with centers cut out, bottom sides down.


Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Cookies
(Image and recipe from Betty Crocker)
1 cup butter or margarine, softened 
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ½ cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons shortening

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter, powdered sugar and vanilla with spoon. Stir in flour. (If dough is crumbly, mix in 1 to 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened.) Roll dough 1/2 inch thick on lightly floured surface. Cut into small shapes by hand or use cookie cutters. Place 1/2 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 14 to 16 minutes or until set and bottoms are light golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips and shortening uncovered on High 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until melted; stir until smooth. Dip half of each cooled cookie into melted chocolate. Place on waxed paper until chocolate is set.

Buttery 3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies
(Image and recipe from Taste of Home)
“These buttery 3-ingredient cookies are so simple to prepare, with only a few ingredients.” —Pattie Prescott, Manchester, New Hampshire. Featured In: The Best Cookies for Dunking
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
Confectioners' sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 325°. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in flour. Press dough into an ungreased 9-in. square baking pan. Prick with a fork.
Bake until light brown, 30-35 minutes. Cut into squares while warm. Cool completely on a wire rack. If desired, dust with confectioners' sugar. Yield: 16 cookies.

Brown Sugar Shortbread
(Image and recipe from Taste of Home)
“These rich buttery cookies have just three ingredients! They're a snap to make for a last-minute gift or when guests will be arriving on short notice. For best results, gradually stir the flour into the dough.” -Shirley Gardiner Clearwater, Manitoba
1 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Gradually stir in the flour. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 3 minutes. Pat into a 1/3-in. thick rectangle measuring 11 -in. x 8 in. Cut into 2-in. x 1-in. strips. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Prick with a fork. Bake at 300° for 25 minutes or until bottom begins to brown. Cool for 5 minutes; remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: 3-1/2 dozen.

Shortbread
(Image and recipe from Better Homes and Gardens)
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ cup butter

In a medium bowl combine flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling. Form the mixture into a ball and knead until smooth. To make shortbread wedges (or rounds*, or strips**), on an ungreased cookie sheet pat or roll the dough into an 8-inch circle. Make a scalloped edge. Cut circle into 16 wedges. Leave wedges in the circle. Bake in a 325 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until bottom just starts to brown and center is set. Cut circle into wedges again while warm. Cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Makes 16 wedges.

*To make shortbread rounds, on a lightly floured surface roll dough until 1/2 inch thick. Using a 1-1/2-inch cookie cutter, cut into 24 rounds. Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
**To make shortbread strips, on a lightly floured surface roll dough into an 8 x 6-inch rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Using a knife, cut into twenty-four 2 x 1-inch strips Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

VARIATIONS BELOW:
Butter-Pecan Shortbread
Prepare as above, except substitute brown sugar for the granulated sugar. After cutting in butter, stir in 2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans. Sprinkle mixture with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla before kneading.
Lemon-Poppy Seed Shortbread
Prepare as above, except stir 1 tablespoon poppy seeds into flour mixture and add 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel with the butter.
Oatmeal Shortbread
Prepare as above, except reduce flour to 1 cup. After cutting in butter, stir in 1/3 cup quick-cooking rolled oats.
Spiced Shortbread
Prepare as above, except substitute brown sugar for the granulated sugar and stir 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves into the flour mixture.

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