The Goose Girl is one of my all time favorite fairy tale retellings. Hale is a superb writer and describes things in ways I could only ever dream of doing. In my humble opinion, the opening to TGG is so superbly crafted that sometimes I like to read it out loud, just because! Hale doesn't waste a word or a chance to make us 'see' exactly what she wants us to. Without further ado, here's the first page and a half:
She was born Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, and she did not open her eyes for three days.
The pacing queen directed ministers and physicians to the crib. They listened to her breathing and her hummingbird heart, felt her fierce grip and her tiny fingers soft as salamander skin. All was sound. But her eyes did not open.
For three days the grave-faced attendants came and went. They prodded her, lifted her lids, slipped thick yellow syrups down her throat.
"You are a princess," the queen whispered to her ear. "Open your eyes."
The baby cooed in her sleep.
When the third day had worn away to the lake blue of evening, a hand parted the nursery curtains. All was still for the night. The queen dozed on the bed. The baby in her crib dreamed of milk, her round, perfect lips nursing in sleep. A woman in a fern green robe pulled aside the curtains and tiptoed across the carpets. She slid her callused hands under the infant's back and head, held her up, and grinned.
"Did you call me out of my house to come and tell you stories? she said. "I will, my fat one, if you will listen."
The queen awoke to the sounds of the rocking chair creaking and a voice singing about magpies and pigeons. She stood up, ready to call the guards, then saw that it was her own sister who sang to the baby, and that the baby was looking back at the aunt with wide eyes.
As for the dessert part, I found the Cheesecake Cooke Cups recipe on Pillsbury- they have such simple good ones on there. And I'm a huge fan of simple. The quickest thing that will make me reject a recipe is an ingredient list as long as your arm. =(
Cheesecake Cookie Cups
1 pkg(14 oz) Pillsbury Simply... refrigerated chocolate chip cookies
4 oz(half of 8 oz pkg) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1. Heat oven to 350 F. Spray 12 miniature muffin cups with cooking spray. Place 1 cookie dough round in each cup.
2. Bake 15-20 mins or until golden brown. Press end of wooden spoon handle into center of each cookie cup to make 1-in-wide indentation. Cool completely in pan, about 20 mins.
3. In med bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla with electric mixer on med speed until light and fluffy, about 1 min. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating after each addition.*
4. Carefully remove cookie cups from pan. Spoon cheesecake filling into center of each cup. Top with chocolate chips. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve cold.
*And yes, I did lick the beaters. It was delicious!!! =)