by Olivia Greyson and Maddie Briggs, cookie mavens and crime fighters.
From THE COOKIE CUTTER SHOP MYSTERIES, by Virginia Lowell.
Visit them in DEAD MEN DON’T EAT COOKIES.
“Yum,” Olivia Greyson said as she poked her head into the warm Gingerbread House kitchen. “Are you inventing new cookie flavors for your cookie baking class at Mom’s school? And why aren’t you dancing around the kitchen, as usual? Don’t tell me you’re actually tired.”
“Oh good, you’re up.” Maddie snatched up a recipe card and handed it to Olivia. “This is what’s in the oven, which is why I’m not dancing around. And no, of course I’m not tired. How could anyone be tired in a warm kitchen filled with goodies?”
Olivia took the battered, stained 3x5 card from her best friend since age ten and stared at it in puzzlement. “You’re baking a cake instead of cookies? Hey, this isn't Mom’s handwriting. And the card clearly says 'Cutterbup Cake,' instead of 'Buttercup Cake.' Mom would never allow a typo on one of her recipe cards.”
“That is not a typo, I’ll have you know. My Aunt Sadie’s spelling is perfect.” Maddie tossed her mass of red hair, and a dusting of flour fell on her shoulders. “When I was a kid, Aunt Sadie and I used to make that cake all the time. Aunt Sadie said the recipe came from an old Betty Crocker cookbook, like from the 1940s. I’m trying to hunt down a copy online.”
Olivia grinned. “Let me guess. Let me guess, as a kid you tried to say Buttercup, and it came out Cutterbup. Right?”
“I’ve always had a creative flair,” Maddie said with a lift of her chin.
“Can’t argue with that.” Olivia brushed a small glob of cake dough from her friend’s shoulder.
“Anyway,” Maddie said, “Aunt Sadie’s birthday is coming up, and I want to surprise her with a Cutterbup Cake. I figured I’d better try it out first. Aunt Sadie has a habit of simplifying any recipe she tries. Come to think of it, I picked up that habit.”
“Well, it seems to work for you,” Olivia said. “That, and dancing around the kitchen while you work.”
Maddie heaved a sigh. “That’s the tough part of baking cakes—controlling my natural exuberance. I might have to run around the block if that timer doesn’t ding soon. Ah, there it goes.” She opened the oven door and peeked inside. “Looks good, but we’ll need to test this one. Are you in?”
“Naturally,” Olivia said. “Is there anything better than freshly baked cake for breakfast?”
Maddie grinned. “Um, cookies?”
2¼ C. sifted cake flour
1½ C. sugar
½ teaspoon double-acting baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ C. vegetable shortening
1 C. buttermilk (or sour milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon other flavoring, if desired (Maddie likes 1/4 teaspoon each of almond, lemon, and orange)
Beat: 2 minutes
Add: 2 eggs
Beat: 2 minutes
Bake in 350℉ oven for 30-35 minutes.
SUBMITTED BY VIRGINIA LOWELL
Virginia Lowell is the author of COOKIE DOUGH OR DIE, A COOKIE BEFORE DYING, WHEN THE COOKIE CRUMBLES, ONE DEAD COOKIE, COOKIES AND SCREAM, and DEAD MEN DON’T EAT COOKIES.
Visit Virginia at: www.virginialowell.com