Suzi and I are on the road. We are in Bozeman, Montana for a couple of days, then driving down to be with our daughter and boyfriend in Yellowstone National Park. Kelly is already in Yellowstone and baiting Suzi by claiming she has seen a moose. Suzi and I have been in pursuit of moose for years. We have traveled all across Maine and never seen one. Suzi is hopeful that Kelly has not scared all the moose [meese?] away.
Since I’m about to traipse through marshland in search of large mammals, I’m going to offer you some cookbook reviews that offer the best in summer cooking. Take a look at these books and get your grill — and your salad bowl — ready.


Ellen Jackson lives in one of the food capitals of America: Portland, Oregon [Portland, Maine is one too!]. Trained at the New England Culinary Institute, she found herself in Oregon working in such famous upscale restaurants as the fabled Wildwood. Now she has shifted from the kitchen to the keyboard. As a food writer and cookbook author, she provides us with clever ideas and insights.

When it comes time to bake some cookies, how inventive are you? Can you make something new or do you always resort to the classics? It can be hard to break away from that old, familiar and, yes, still great classic recipe.

In Classic Cookies with a Modern Twist, Ellen solves this dilemma. There are a hundred recipes here divided into those beloved classics, like brownies, and the twists: Toasted Walnut and Coffee, or brownies crowned with a chocolate-apricot ganache.

Each classic is immediately followed by these inspired twists, some easy and some — like that chocolate apricot ganache — requiring just a tad bit of work.

The book’s chapters are named after the way we make and use the dough:

  • Scooped
  • Sliced
  • Sandwiched
  • Rolled
  • Spread in a Pan

And there’s a For the Holidays chapter with delights just ready for this December. That Scooped chapter is, of course, for the quick and dirty moments when you want a good cookie and you want it now. At the other extreme, the Sandwiched ideas are those ones that test your patience. Can you really finish making that filling and doing all that labor before eating just one? Or two?

Here are some of the ideas awaiting you.

In the Sandwiched chapter, you will find Decadent Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, described as Oreos with a Ph.D. Your twists here are Chocolate Peppermint Stick Sandwich Cookies and Chocolate Salted Caramel Sandwich Cookies. No, it would not be excessive to just spend a weekend afternoon making all three. What do they look like? Look at that book cover.

For the quick Scooped fix, you could begin with Granma Mac’s Chewy Ginger Molasses Crinkles, then consider two options: Chewy Triple-Ginger Molasses Crinkles or Chewy Chocolate Ginger Molasses Cookies.

The recipes here are intense. High in butter, sugar, and eggs — or spice and chocolate — or both.

We’ve made the brownies, which I will post later this week, and, oh my, they are simply over the top. Compared to the standard recipe there is 50% more sugar, butter, and eggs. The result? Dense, dark, and decadently rich.

Classic Cookies with Modern Twists was just published this fall by Sasquatch Press. It’s the perfect holiday baking book, letting you rediscover old friends or greeting new ones.