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Posts Tagged ‘sweets’

‘Tis the season for treats – because it’s cold outside (good baking weather), because the holidays are coming, and because we are in month fourteen thousand of this pandemic year. (And because we got over a foot of snow here in Boston last night/today.)

I’ve been doing a bit of baking myself – mostly scones and superhero muffins – but have recently found myself the glad recipient of cookies made by friends. A girlfriend handed me a container of margarita shortbread cookies (with plenty of citrus and salt) on a recent walk in Cambridge. The following week, another friend texted to say she’d dropped off a tin of cookies (above) on my front porch. It contained crinkly chocolate cookies dusted with powdered sugar and, underneath, some classic sugar cookies. I stretched them out over nearly a week, to make them last.

The loneliness is hitting hard this week, but I am – as always – grateful for kind gestures from friends, which add sweetness to my life in more ways than one.

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mint chip ice cream skirt flats

I decided to go opposite for yesterday’s prompt: treating myself to a scoop of mint chocolate chip from Lizzy’s (first time this summer!) on my afternoon break.

Full disclosure: I spilled the melting ice cream all over my skirt in rather spectacular fashion. But it still tasted sweet (and, to my relief, it washed out).

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flavia de luce series books mysteries
It’s no secret around here that these are two of my favorite things.

A couple of months ago, I noted that the Daisy Dalrymple mystery series are “my Cadbury milk chocolate: smooth, sweet and delightfully English.” I still like that metaphor, and it got me thinking about how to classify my other favorite mystery series as different types of chocolate.

So, for your culinary/reading/book-nerd pleasure, a list:

  • Dorothy Sayers’ mysteries featuring Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane are rich dark chocolate: smooth, layered and delightfully complex. (She weaves in history, politics, feminism, culture, mental health – so many subjects.)
  • Spencer Quinn’s Chet and Bernie series (narrated by Chet the dog) is a handful of M&Ms: colorful, addictive and so much fun.
  • The Maisie Dobbs novels by Jacqueline Winspear remind me of a good chocolate caramel: rich, bittersweet and just slightly salty.
  • Tommy & Tuppence, Agatha Christie’s youthful detectives, are those Ghirardelli chocolate squares with mint inside – surprising and fun, and not too complex.
  • Miss Marple, that sweet elderly sleuth, and her cases are a truffle assortment – because there are always surprises inside.
  • Sherlock Holmes (in all his many iterations) is like an assortment from Burdicks, the gourmet chocolate shop in Harvard Square. These boxes always contain treats I’ve never heard of, made with exotic liqueurs – reminiscent of Holmes’ penchant for unusual cases with highly irregular details.
  • Rhys Bowen’s Her Royal Spyness mysteries are Hershey’s kisses: light, sweet and uncomplicated.
  • The Flavia de Luce series (pictured above) is a bar of wicked dark chocolate – since Flavia’s twin passions are for sleuthing and poison.

Any mysteries-as-chocolate you’d add to the list?

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We have eaten a lot of ice cream this summer.

I say this as someone who does not worry (much) about eating dessert nearly every day. I figure if my meals are mostly healthy, there’s no harm in enjoying a cookie or a bit of dark chocolate or a bowl of blackberry cobbler. But this summer, it has been (mostly) too hot to turn on the oven, even for me.

I grew up eating Blue Bell, which they don’t sell in the Northeast, and last summer we ate a lot of Haagen-Dazs fruit sorbet. But this year we are completely obsessed with Ben & Jerry’s new line of Greek yogurt, since we sampled it during our Vermont trip in March. J prefers the Strawberry Shortcake flavor and I am head over heels for the Raspberry Chocolate Chunk. I’ve lost count of the pints we’ve consumed, but the number is high.

Sometimes, we bother with bowls and portions and the ice cream scoop. Much more often, we eat it straight from the carton, sitting in the living room after dinner, reading books or blogs or watching Friends, under the slight breeze of the ceiling fan.

ben & jerrys greek yogurt raspberry

Because of this, I don’t treat myself to ice cream during the workday very often. (Anyway, a scoop of ice cream in a shop costs about as much as a pint at the grocery store.) But there is an Emack & Bolio’s shop around the corner from my office, and the other day I discovered a new yogurt shop on the other side of the Common. Occasionally, it’s fun to scoop up a cup of cool sweetness at lunchtime. And during one hot, humid day in D.C., as we walked the National Mall, I spotted a frozen yogurt truck and made a beeline for it. Ahhh.

ice cream jane austen

Usually, when it comes to dessert, I’m a chocolate girl. But this summer I am (as you can see) all about the fruit ice cream, sometimes studded with chunks of chocolate. When I think back on this summer, I will remember (among other things) the sheer pleasure of spooning up that creamy, fruity sweetness almost every night, savoring it with my love, in our messy, breezy apartment with the windows open.

We are making the most of these warm days and humid evenings, eating fresh tomatoes and pints of blueberries and sweet, drippy peaches from the farmer’s market, and eating dinner outside whenever possible. A few (or more) spoonfuls of ice cream is the perfect pleasure to top it all off.

What are you savoring this summer? What are your favorite ice cream flavors?

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After this winter, I thought summer would never come. (I know you know that, since I whined for months about it here on the blog.) But it’s here. It’s finally here. And I am loving it. I don’t even mind the 90-degree days, because 1) they aren’t 105 degrees, such as my poor parents have been sweating through in Texas, and 2) after months of being cold around the edges, it’s lovely to be warm all the way through.

I’m reveling in every bit of delight about summer, including:

1. Bare feet/sandals/pretty toenail polish.
2. Dresses, skirts, shorts and bare legs.
3. A bit of healthy tan, though I wear the sunscreen religiously.
4. Fresh fruits – raspberries, blackberries, cherries, blueberries, peaches. YUM.
5. Haagen-Dazs fruit sorbet. J and I might be addicted.
6. Lunchtime picnics, on the Common or in the Public Garden.
7. The occasional shower and thunderstorm, with the windows open.
8. Sinking back into Harry Potter, which has always felt like a summer series to me.
9. More summer reading – I can never get enough.
10. Simple meals – pizza, pasta, salad – with fresh tomatoes and basil.
11. Our thriving balcony garden, the source of said basil.
12. Sunset dinners on said balcony.
13. Lemonade.
14. A bit of decluttering, and moving the winter coats to the hall closet.
15. The whir of ceiling and box fans.
16. Going home early on Fridays.
17. Visits from friends (this weekend!) and family (next weekend!).
18. Summer sales.
19. Open windows all the time.
20. Gelato in the North End (on my summer list).
21. Cookouts and pool time.
22. Lilies, impatiens, geraniums and other flowers.
23. The 4th of July fireworks spectacular, which lived up to its name.
24. Looking forward to more Free Fun Fridays, Shakespeare on the Common and more fun events.
25. Author events around town – looking forward to meeting Laura Harrington tomorrow night.
26. Summer music – light, bright, fun.
27. Long, long evenings full of light.
28. Blackberry, ginger peach and mango teas.
29. Farmer’s market bounty.

What are you loving this summer?

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