Making Ice Cream with My Dad

I’m in Connecticut, where I spent most of my life, and I’ve been thinking lately about past summers, including some from the distant past. One of my fondest summer memories is of the first time I made ice cream. It was with my father at our former home in Darien where I grew up. I was probably in my late twenties on this inaugural day of ice cream making. I might have been thirty. I remember making it in the garage because it was kind of a messy process.

My dad had one of those old ice cream makers that required rock salt and bags of ice you had to crush into chips to get the job done. It wasn’t like the ice cream makers of today where you just put the little bucket in the freezer and then pop it into the machine, pour in the liquid, and it churns and chills and you’ve got ice cream. My dad’s ice cream maker was electric, however. It wasn’t so old that it had a hand crank, although I think that could be fun at a picnic with lots of kids to help.

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Inheriting a Sweet Tooth

I inherited a sweet tooth from my father. He loved desserts and somehow even managed to stay trim all his life. Good DNA, I guess. Fortunately for Dad and me, my mom was a great cook and an incredible baker. She never made anything from a package or a mix. She made it all from scratch – cakes, pies, cookies, whatever. I still have the Fannie Farmer cookbook she loved to use, fourth edition, copyright 1965. The cover is mottled with stains and has separated from the spine. The pages have yellowed. Still, it’s my favorite cookbook. Every time I use it, I think of Mom. Maybe it’s not surprising that sweets are an element in each of my novels. … Read more

The Wedding Thief’s Orange Chocolate Chunk Cookies

In my novel, The Wedding Thief, the Rolling Pin bakery is known for its orange chocolate chunk cookies. Orange zest, orange extract, and three kinds of chocolate make these cookies really special. Here’s the recipe:


2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp orange zest
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp orange extract
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chunks
4 oz milk chocolate, chopped into chunks
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into chunks

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Love Those Apples

_DSC2049-edited-and-cropped.Apples feature fairly prominently in The Rules of Love & Grammar. There’s an apple orchard in the town of Dorset, where the story takes place, and all of the local restaurants try to outdo one another with their own versions of apple pie.

When I was growing up in Connecticut, we had a couple of old apple trees in our back yard. The apples that came from those trees were tiny, green, and extremely tart. Against what seemed to be all odds, my mother somehow turned those apples into pies. She would scoop them up from the ground and pluck them from the branches. I have no idea how many apples she had to collect to make one pie, but I’m sure she needed a lot. When the pies baked, the fragrance of apples and cinnamon that filled the kitchen was heavenly.

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Irresistible Blueberry Muffins

Here’s a simple recipe that makes great blueberry muffins: 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 cup sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled 3/4 cup whole milk 1 egg, slightly beaten 1 teaspoon vanilla 1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries 1 heaping tablespoon sugar (optional, for tops) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and baking powder. Reserve one tablespoon of the mixture to coat the blueberries. In a smaller bowl, combine melted butter, milk, egg, and vanilla, and mix well. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a spatula or whisk until just blended (the batter can be … Read more