November 1, 2012

Nibbles and Novels Nov. 1

"Roses are for love.  Not forget-me-not, honeysuckle, silly sweethearts love but the love that makes you and keeps you whole, love that gets you through the worst your life'll give you and that pours out of you when you're given the best instead."

This month's Nibbles and Novels inspiration is "Rose Daughter" by Robin McKinley.  I adore this author; she takes classic fairy tales and gives them her own sweet, brilliant twists.  This one is a take on Beauty and the Beast and it is my favorite of her fairy tales.  The main theme is Beauty's love for gardens and all things that grow.  Especially roses.  This book is just dripping with roses.  As a fellow rose-lover, I can't help but drink in all of those rose-laden images.  Gorgeous. But since I can't bake you roses...

One of my favorite parts of the story is when Beauty's sisters throw themselves into learning new roles after the collapse of their father's wealth.  One becomes the tailor and housekeeper, the other becomes the handy-man and cook.

"... Lionheart has sent you a piece of her shortbread, see?  You have to eat it or her feelings will be hurt.  She roars because she can't help herself, you know."
"I do not," said Lionheart's head, appearing through the trapdoor in the loft floor. "I roar because--because-- if you let Tea-Cosy eat that shortbread, Beauty, I really shall roar.  And if you don't come downstairs soon, I will feed your supper to [the goat]!"

I love that quote.  I love this whole book!!  And so I have made you shortbread, one of my favorite treats in the history of treats, in honor of Lionheart, who roars like me. This is my first home-made attempt ever.  And it is celestial.

Twice-Baked Shortbread (adapted slightly from the Smitten Kitchen)
Printable Recipe

12 Tb (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
5 Tb granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract or the scrapings from half a vanilla bean
1/4 tsp salt (I recommend heaping if you want more of a salted butter taste, like me)
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups (6.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
Turbinado, Demerara or granulated sugar for sprinkling

You'll need: a baking pan with a removable bottom, such as a 9 1/2-inch round or a 4 by 14-inch rectangular fluted tart pan, or a one-piece 8-inch square pan.  If using a pan with a removable bottom, grease the pan; if using the one-piece 8-inch pan, line it with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
Lookee my pretty FRENCH tart pan!!! My Mommy got it for me while she was in France with her choir! Eeeeee!!

In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter with the sugar, vanilla of your choice, and salt. Add the flour, nutmeg and mix until just incorporated.
Spread the dough evenly in the pan with your fingers. Let rest for at least 2 hours, or overnight, on the counter.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees, and position a rack in the lower third of the oven.

Lightly sprinkle the surface of the shortbread with the coarse sugar you chose.  Bake the shortbread for 45 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven, leaving the oven on.  Let the shortbread cool for 10 minutes.

Remove the shortbread from the pan, being very, very gentle with it. Use a thin sharp knife to cut it into oblong “fingers”, wedges, or squares. Place the pieces slightly apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Cool on a rack.
At first, I was puzzled why you would bake it twice. Why not just bake it longer?? Luckily I was a good girl and followed the recipe anyway, because after the second baking it is so light, and delicate, that if you tried to cut it it would be destroyed.
This is, quite honestly, the best shortbread I have ever had. And I seriously love shortbread. It is feather-light, crispy and crumbly...
Buttery?? Of COURSE!! Deeply, toasted-ly buttery. Postively, deliciously, scrumptious.
Golden Shortbread Perfection. I think I may eat the whole pan.
Happy November Everyone!! Thank you so much for stopping by my monthly Nibbles and Novels party! And a special thank you to my co-host, Becky from Beauty for Ashes! Here are the Rules:

Link up your book-inspired posts: Any topic accepted!! Book reviews, recipes, style, projects, as long as you mention the literary inspiration.

Link as many posts as you'd like! But you might want to save a few for months to come. :)

Please link back to this party either by grabbing the nifty button below, or linking back in the body of your post. I'd like to spread the word!

And finally... Read Lots and Have Fun!!

Dimples and Delights


  1. April, that shortbread looks perfect!! There is a fine line when making shortbread between getting it just right or getting it greasy. You did a fab job. Kudos to you! I will be doing a post later on to link up with you. It won't be a recipe one this time, but a book one and a food one. I think you'll like it! Come enter my giveaway for the giant Christmas Cracker from Hotel Chocolate! Would love for you to win!! xxoo

  2. That sounds like a really fun book to read! I love different interpretations of fairy tales. And I've never made shortbread at home before, I didn't realize that that many steps went into it (that is, for someone whose best baking achievement is cookies and bread that actually seems like a lot of steps).

  3. Another April stopping by! I found you through your plum cake post at Mommy is Coo Coo. Newly following! Would love for you to check out my blog at

  4. Yay, thanks for hosting this link up, April! :)


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