Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

There’s just something about summertime, right? Something wonderful and warm that you can feel in your bones and on your sun-kissed cheeks. Something lazy and free, something that you soak up as the sun begins to set at night. Summertime buzzes. It’s alive and it’s happy, and I welcome it’s arrival every year with an impatient excitement.

To me, one of the best things about summertime is the food. Of course. The grill marks on a sizzling piece of chicken or the juicy vibrancy of a ripe watermelon. It’s a time to pack away the hearty stews of winter and move on to foods that are bright and fresh.

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Salted Caramel Almond Thumbprint Cookies

Salted Caramel Almond Thumbprint Cookies

A few weekends ago, I hopped in the car and drove and hour and a half south, just across the Mason Dixon, to spend warm fall Saturday with my grandma in Frederick, MD. We’ve fallen into a little bit of routine when we decide to traipse up down Market Street. There’s our go-to shops, like Relish, and of course, our go-to restaurant, La Paz. Our go-to order appetizer is queso, my go-to entrée is Marcie’s Choice salad and our go-to drink is obviously a margarita, hold my salt, please. But this time, we had no agenda, no timeframe. We still hit our usuals, but we had the whole day to wander, and that’s exactly what we did. At one point, we walked by a local chocolatier, Perfect Truffle. We headed inside, both ordering one dark chocolate salted caramel. Then we walked outside, across the street, and directly into another chocolatier, The Candy Kitchen. We both ordered one milk chocolate salted caramel. We turned it into a little competition – who on Market had the best salted caramel? To be honest, both were delicious, but wildly different. One was the oozy caramel. When I bit through the hard chocolate exterior, the caramel inside just melted on my tongue. The other was chewy, almost hard. The kind that gives your jaw a workout as you eat it.

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Sweet Christmas Treats: Ginger Cookies.

Sweet Christmas Treats: Ginger Cookies.

When I think about Christmas cookies, I think of the magnificent and decorative almond-flavored cookie-press cookies my great-grandmother used to make. Shaped like trees or candy canes, in one color or many, they were tradition. Every Christmas. Cookie-press cookies. It was like clockwork. Admittedly, I’ve tried a few times over the years to recreate her infamous treats, but to no avail. I just can’t seem to mimic her recipe.

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