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Wednesday, September 21, 2022


Jennifer Hawkins is the author of the Chatty Corgi mystery series.  She lives, writes, and bakes in the great state of Michigan. She can be found at @allmycozies on both Twitter and Instagram.

Jennifer Bakes and Writes

When people ask me “where do you get your ideas from?” usually I tell them everywhere. Inspiration can come from anyplace.  As a writer, you learn to keep your eyes and your mind open.


Occasionally, inspiration comes from an editor calling on the phone, saying “We’d like to do a story about…” and “Would you be interested?”


That’s how I ended up writing a cozy mystery about Emma who left her life in London’s financial industry to open a cake shop in Cornwall. Oh, and did I mention her best friend is her talking corgi, Oliver? 


It might not have been my own idea, but I have an absolute ball writing the Chatty Corgi books. First, who doesn’t love a corgi?  Secondly, I have always loved to cook and bake. I’ve baked my own cakes and breads since I was little. For me, making a new recipe — whether it’s simple or complex — is a process of discovery. I always learn something new, even if I’ve made it a hundred times.


It’s kind of like writing, in that way. No matter what it is, I’m always exploring something new — whether it’s a dead body in a prize-winning rose garden, or how to get the character of the talking dog just right.


That’s probably why I like this shortbread recipe so much. It’s a really basic cookie and delicious as it is. But there’s also a dozen things you can add — citrus zest, ginger, candy chips, nuts — the list goes on. You really can make it different every time.  Just make sure whatever you add doesn’t add moisture to the mix.  


Shortbread Cookie



2 cups/250 grams all-purpose flour

2/3 cup/150 grams granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt (I use kosher)

2 sticks/1 cup/226 grams cold unsalted butter


Optional: 1 tsp. lemon or orange zest, chopped toasted almonds or pecans, candied ginger, dried cranberries, etc.


Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.


Cut up the butter into small cubes and put it back in the fridge while you get the rest of your ingredients together. As with biscuits and pie crust, shortbread works best when the butter’s really cold.


Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor, pulse a few times to mix.


Add cubed butter to food processor, pulse in 10 second bursts until the mixture is sandy and holds together when you squeeze a lump in your hand. It’s going to look dryer than the usual cookie dough, but that’s okay.It’s supposed to.


Turn mixture into baking pan and press down with your fingers into a smooth, solid layer of dough.


Use a fork to prick the surface of the dough all over. This is called “docking” and it will release the steam from the inside and keep the dough from puffing up.


Bake at 325 F for 45 - 50 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before turning the shortbread out of the pan. While the shortbread is still warm, cut into preferred shape.  


To Fetch a Felon

A Chatty Corgi Mystery, Book 1


Emma Reed and her beloved Corgi move from London to Cornwall with the dream of opening a tea shop—but first they’ll have to collar a criminal in the first book in a charming new series.


Emma leaves London and her life in high finance behind her and moves to an idyllic village in Cornwall, with its cobblestone streets and twisting byways. She plans to open a village tea shop and bake the recipes handed down to her from her beloved grandmother, and of course there’ll be plenty of space for her talking corgi, Oliver, to explore. Yes...talking. Emma has always been able to understand Oliver, even though no one else can.


As soon as Emma arrives in the village she discovers that the curmudgeonly owner of the building she wants to rent for her shop hates dogs and gets off on the wrong foot with Oliver. Although some might turn tail and run, Emma is determined to win her over. But when she delivers some of her homemade scones as a peace offering, she finds the woman dead. Together, Emma and Oliver will need to unleash their detective skills to catch a killer.


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Deborah Ortega said...

Thank you for the recipe I cannot wait to try it the book looks good.

Jacquolyn said...

The book looks like a lot of fun!