“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.

Norman Vincent Peale

Hi there,

Today, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Robbie Cheadle,, is a South African children’s author and poet with eleven children’s books and two poetry books.

The eight Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and her son, Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions that children can make under adult supervision.

In addition to being a fabulous writer, Robbie is an amazing cook. She has always generously donated recipes for my collaborations. You may remember this spectacular Hummingbird Cake recipe: What follows is Robbie’s recipe for two shortbreads.

A little bit of Christmas shortbread

My mother is a big fan of shortbread and always asks me to make it for Christmas. I use my basis shortbread recipe and add different additional ingredients to create different taste experiences while keeping the basis shortbread texture. Shortbreads last for longer than most other biscuits, which makes it a great treat for mom who likes to eke out her biscuits for a few weeks of teatime treats.

This year, I decided to make shortbread as my Christmas treat for my work colleagues. I made two different batches: orange and chocolate shortbread and lemon shortbread. Both variants were delicious and were received with great enthusiasm.

The ingredients for these two types of shortbread are a bit different, but the method is the same so I only include it once.


Ingredients for orange and chocolate shortbread

575 grams plain cake flour

220 ml castor (superfine or baker’s) sugar

360 ml corn flour

1 kg melted butter

50 grams orange zest

250 grams 70% cocoa chocolate drops

Ingredients for lemon shortbread

600 grams plain cake flour

Zest of two large lemons

220 castor (superfine or baker’s) sugar

360 ml corn flour

1 kg melted butter


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Combine the cake flour, corn flour, castor sugar, and lemon zest or orange zest and chocolate drops in a bowl. Melt the butter in the microwave and allow to cool. Pour the molten butter into a well in the dry ingredients and mix using your hands, until a soft dough forms.

Transfer the dough to a prepared shortbread or other baking tin with sides. Using your hands press it into the tin until it is evenly layered. Using a fork, prick the shortbread in rows down the length of the dough. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown on top. Allow to cool slightly, sprinkle with icing sugar and cut into 30 squares using a sharp knife.

Chocolate houses

Michael also helped me assemble three chocolate houses as gifts for various people, including his doctor. Michael has been quite ill, and his wonderful ear, nose and throat specialist has gone to great lengths to research his particular condition and find a workable solution for us. 

These are pictures of the three houses we made:

Thank you, Bernadette, for featuring Michael and I and our Christmas baking and chocolate house creating on your lovely blog.

I want to thank Robbie for sharing her recipes and her creativity on my blog. With Michael having been sick, it has been a very busy few months for her. I encourage you to find out more about Robbie at https://writingtoberead. Robbie’s books can be found on Amazon and make wonderful Christmas presents.


  1. I love shortbread and remember my Grandmother making it at Christmas. I haven’t had any homemade since she passed but went to Scotland in 2018 and my grandmother’s cousin is a very famous baker and distributes his shortbread all over the country. It is delicious too.

    • Hi John, Scotland has wonderful shortbread, we bought lots as gifts when we visited. How nice to have a famous baker in your family 💗

  2. I hope Michael is well enough to enjoy Christmas. Give him a big hug from Downunder. Love the Lemon Shortbread recipe too. Not going crazy with xmas baking this year but I am very tempted by the shortbread. Thanks for the recipe.
    Have a safe and happy Christmas everyone!

  3. I love Robbie’s blog, her recipes, her wonderful creations, literary and sweet. It is great to see her recipes of shortbread and her and Michael’s gingerbread houses. I am sure all the recipients have been delighted with them.

  4. Cookies and cakes and gingerbread houses all make the holidays that much richer – in all sweet ways. Happy holidays to you Bernadette, and to all the wonderful writers and their traditions you have shared here. <3

Any comments or suggestions are appreciated. If you like this recipe, please give it to your friends.

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