In a large bowl, mash all this up with a fork until it's a crumbly mess:
1¾ cups white flour
¼ tsp salt
½ cup white sugar
1½ sticks salted butter, softened
½ tsp vanilla extract (or mint or lemon, whatever you dig)
Once it's well mixed, pack it into a ball with your hands. It may seem crumblier than it should. Just trust me. Flatten the ball a bit and place it between two sheets of waxed paper. Roll it out with a rolling pin, not quite a quarter-inch thick. Keeping the dough between the waxed paper sheets, slide it onto a plate or other flat surface and stick it in the fridge for about 10 minutes, to firm up. It's easier to cut this way.
Preheat oven to 325°.
Once the dough is firm, stamp out shapes with your favorite cookie cutter, or just cut into squares. Place the cut-out shapes on an un-greased baking sheet, with a bit of space between them. Repeat the rolling-out and cookie-cuttering process with the leftover wonky shapes, and feel free to eat the last few scraps raw. I always do.
Bake the cookies on the middle shelf for about 15 minutes, until the edges are just turning golden brown.
While the cookies cool (feel free to put them in the fridge to speed things up) melt a broken-up large bar of good-quality dark chocolate either in a small bowl in the microwave, or with a double boiler, stirring occasionally. Or, if you don't own either of those first two things like me, put the broken-up chocolate bar in a small glass bowl, and put that in a half-inch of water in a sauce pan, and melt it on medium-high heat, stirring often.
Lay a sheet of waxed paper on a cookie sheet or cutting board. Once the cookies are cool, dip each in the melted chocolate, then lay them on the waxed paper. I always end up putting them in the fridge or freezer while the chocolate hardens. Once they're firm, store them in an air-tight container.
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This is the first title in the Curio Vignettes series, follow-up stories to the novel Curio. Out August 29.
June has come to Paris. But while his neighbors are shedding layers and going out in search of spring sunshine, Didier Pedra prefers the quiet sanctuary of his garret, content to watch the city’s bustle from the safety of his windows. He’s shaped his life around venturing inside of things—inside clocks and other brass curiosities to pass a lonely afternoon, and, once the sun sinks, inside the bodies and minds of the women who pay for the privilege of sampling his other skills.
But one visitor is unlike the rest. Once a hesitant patron, Caroly is now his eager lover and a challenging but cherished companion. For weeks Didier’s indulged her questions about what other women want from him, but in words only. Now he’s ready for them to take the storytelling to the next level, and act out his clients’ most wicked desires.
Reader Advisory: This story contains forced seduction role-playing.