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“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. Darlene – British Columbia, Canada – Writer of children's stories, short stories and travel articles.!/supermegawoman!/pages/Darlene-Foster-Writer/362236842733
    Darlene says:

    I love the sound of both shortbread cookie recipes. My hubby enjoys shortbread too. Thanks, Robbie and Bernadette!

    • Hi Darlene, my mother loves shortbread so I’m always experimenting with variations of this biscuit. I’m glad you enjoyed.

  2. Annette Rochelle Aben – Westland, MI – My life is ALL ABOUT being a COMMUNICATOR, so I write/publish books, (find my on Amazon) articles, essays, poetry, heck I love writing LETTERS. I am also a host/producer of internet radio shows; (find me on Blog Talk Radio) my own shows as well as shows that other people host. Since I was a little girl I have been a singer and fronted bands for years. People everywhere are wearing my jewelry and eating the food I create and sell. In my spare time I am a mentor/guide for others along their personal and professional paths. Thank you for joining me here and be sure to let me know what I can help YOU with!
    Annette Rochelle Aben says:

    It is wonderful to learn of the Christmas traditions of others. So inspiring. Robbie and Michael are setting a beautiful standard for families all over the world.

    • Hi Annette, thanks for visiting. Michael and I are delighted you enjoyed our recipes for shortbread.

  3. the Painted Apron – Life is all about creativity for me, as long as I'm creating something I am happy! I hope I will inspire your daily life and give you ideas for your own wonderful creations!
    Jenna says:

    There’s nothing better than homemade shortbread and these both sound delicious! Thank you for sharing Robbie’s recipe

  4. We are fans of shortbread cookies. Orange and chocolate both sound and look fabulous!

  5. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen – I'm a writer, cook, gardener, photographer, poet, quilter, and accomplished daydreamer. I'm also a wife, mother, grandmother, sister. cousin, aunt, and friend, no particular order on any given day. I've been a writer all my life, newspaper reporter and columnist, radio news writer, and magazine contributor, and poet and short-story writer as the spirit moves. Now, I turn my attention to my cookbook, the blog, and a cooking column "Memorable Meals," which runs in our county newspaper. Besides my family, I love dogs, cats, good coffee, chocolate, and my never-dwindling pile of books I intend to read. Our family ran a small Vermont Inn for 18 years, with our focus on local, organic ingredients. I cook from scratch, and try not to use anything that has ingredients I cannot pronounce! After many years of daily serving up local delicacies, cooking classes, and catering, we are now only open for special events, and the odd cooking class. We also host musicians and artists, having helped produce a musical festival and other musical events for nearly 20 years. Many incredible artists have found a place at our table. Wonderful experiences, we will treasure always. My family and friends are my practice subjects. With a family that includes nut, peanut, tree fruit, and vegetable allergies, gluten intolerance, dairy intolerance, vegetarians, vegans, heart conscious, and a couple of picky eaters, there has to be a few quick tricks in the book to keep everyone fed and happy! Personally, I do not eat red meat or most full-fat dairy (usually) for health reasons, making the occasional exception at Thanksgiving and Christmas or our anniversary if the duck is locally raised. I do eat fish and seafood, so I try to come up with alternatives and substitutions when available. I serve local organic eggs and cheeses to my family who can tolerate dairy (My husband recently had a heart attack, and I need to watch my own cholesterol so I am careful, but have been known to let a little piece of really good cheese accidentally fall on my plate!). I believe strongly that eating in a way that is good for our planet is also good for our bodies, and I try to educated myself about our food sources! I cook by the seasons and draw on inspiration from the strong and talented women in my family who came before me, as well as the youth in the family who look at the world with fresh eyes. Food links us all, whether sharing a meal, cooking it together, or writing about it for others to enjoy. I love taking an old recipe and giving it a modern spin, especially if I can make it a littler healthier and use foods that are kinder to the Earth and to our bodies. I believe strongly in sustainable, delicious eating of whole foods, and the wonderful flavors we have at our fingertips! And finally, I love conversing with all the talented cooks and chefs out there who dot the globe! It's a wonderful, world full of culinary pen pals, and I cherish them all! XXXOOO Dorothy
    Dorothy’s New Vintage Kitchen says:

    This is the cutest thing ever! LOVE shortbread, so it’s double good!

  6. Jacqui Murray – Laguna Hills, CA. – Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Savage Land.
    Jacqui Murray says:

    Robbie does it again. I love shortbread and the stores seem to be out of it (and so much more). Yum to you, Robbie and Bernadette!

  7. Hi Bernadette, this is a beautiful post. Thank you for hosting Michael and I today, we appreciate it.

  8. Awakening Wonders – Everyday life is filled with wondrous things and embraceable moments, but only if we allow ourselves to be fully awakened. I invite you to join me as I share passionate life adventures and ramblings that awaken my spirit. I look forward to awakening your senses to the simple, joyous wonders that are all around us. I feel that we are destined to become soulful adventurers!
    Awakening Wonders says:

    I love a good recipe with a heartfelt story to go with it!

  9. John W. Howell – South Texas Gulf Coast – I have been working in business for over forty years and now have the time to work in special areas of interest. My passion has always been to create compelling stories of fiction. I have authored six novels and am working on my Seventh. The first novel is still in manuscript form and being utilized as a door stop in the laundry room. The second is a contemporary fiction novel of 89,000 words and is complete and I am currently seeking a publisher. I also write poetry but have not had the guts to share any with anyone. The one time I read a piece to a person their only comment was, “it doesn’t rhyme.” I will continue to write and hopefully my blog, Fiction Favorites at will provide some entertainment and an interesting thought or two. I live in the Austin area with my wife Molly and an assortment of loving pets.
    John W. Howell says:

    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 💗

  10. acflory – Australia – I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes…
    acflory says:

    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!

  11. I can’t remember the last time I had a shortbread cookie, but these look delicious, Robbie! And the gingerbread house is adorable.

  12. olganm – Barcelona, Spain – I am a language teacher, writer, bookworm, and collaborator at Sants 3 Ràdio (a local radio station in Barcelona, where I returned in 2018), who lived in the UK for 25 years and worked for many years as a forensic psychiatrist there. I also have a Ph.D. in American Literature and an MSc in Criminology. I started publishing my stories, in English and Spanish, in 2012 and now have over twenty books available in a variety of genres, a blog (in English and Spanish), and translate books for other authors (English-Spanish and vice versa). In 2020 obtained the CELTA certificate as a language teacher, and offer Spanish and English classes. Writers and readers both in English and Spanish are my friends, colleagues, and allies, and after living in the UK for over twenty-five years, have returned home, to Barcelona, Spain, searching for inspiration for my stories. I also love owls and try to keep fit following fitness YouTube videos. Do feel free to connect with me. Here are: My website/blog:
    olganm says:

    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.

  13. 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

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