Judy Penz Sheluk’s debut mystery novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose was published in July 2015. Skeletons in the Attic, is the first book in her Marketville Mystery Series. Her short crime fiction appears in several anthologies. Learn more about Judy and her books at her website/blog.
I love cookies. There I’ve admitted it. I can pass up a piece of cake (okay, maybe not carrot cake with cream cheese icing, but surely that could be counted as a vegetable?), and I’ve been known to exhibit moderate willpower when it comes to pie. Potato chips? Yes, I can actually stop at one. But cookies…love them. I’ve even been known to eat an entire box of Girl Guide cookies over the course of a weekend.
My passion for cookies probably stems back to my childhood. My mom wasn’t much of a cook (a trait I have sadly inherited), but she did make the best peanut butter cookies I’ve ever tasted.
In my recent release, Skeletons in the Attic: A Marketville Mystery, my protagonist, Calamity (Callie) Barnstable, is searching for clues that might help her find out more about her mother—a woman who disappeared thirty years earlier, when Callie was just six-years-old. As Callie digs through a box of her mother’s belongings, she finds a peanut butter cookie recipe that bears a striking resemblance to the recipe my mom used.
But this is Christmas time, and it seemed only fitting to share a Christmas-y cookie recipe. For that, I went to The Hanged Man’s Noose: A Glass Dolphin Mystery, where Glass Dolphin antiques shop owner Arabella Carpenter is known for her love of Scottish shortbread. I also love shortbread, though my particular passion is for Almond Crescents. My mom used to make these every Christmas. She would let me twist the dough into crescent shapes, and if I was really, really good, she’d let me sprinkle powered sugar over them after they were freshly baked.
PS: if you really want the Peanut Butter Cookie recipe, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you the PDF!
Anneliese’s Almond Crescents
Makes 45 cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (the real deal, not the artificial kind)
2 teaspoons almond extract
2-1⁄3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup ground almonds (bulk food stores are a good place to find these)
1 cup powdered sugar (put in a sifter for best results)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets (enough for 45 cookies.)
Mix together butter with sugar and beat with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and almond extract. Continue beating until incorporated. Stir in the flour and almonds. Work flour mixture into a firm dough.
Working with 1 tablespoon of dough at a time, shape into logs. The log should be slightly thicker in the middle than at both ends. Bend into a crescent shape. Place on greased cookie sheets.
Bake 12-15 minutes or until light brown. While the cookies are still warm sift crescents with powdered sugar. Cool on racks.
Skeletons in the Attic
What goes on behind closed doors doesn’t always stay there…
Calamity (Callie) Barnstable isn’t surprised to learn she’s the sole beneficiary of her late father’s estate, though she is shocked to discover she has inherited a house in the town of Marketville—a house she didn’t know existed. However, there are conditions attached to Callie’s inheritance: she must move to Marketville, live in the house, and solve her mother’s murder.
Callie’s not keen on dredging up a thirty-year-old mystery, but if she doesn’t do it, there’s a scheming psychic named Misty Rivers who is more than happy to expose the Barnstable family secrets. Determined to thwart Misty and fulfill her father’s wishes, Callie accepts the challenge. But is she ready to face the skeletons hidden in the attic?