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Those of you who know me know that I’ve spent most of my life rather hopeless in the kitchen.

However, in recent years – and especially over the past months – I’ve become more adept in the ways of cooking. Still, while I’ve managed to turn myself into a competent, albeit largely unexciting cook, the vagaries of baking remain beyond my grasp.

Anyone who knows anything will tell you that baking is as much art as science, a delicate dance where the slightest change in quantity and/or quality of an ingredient can completely alter the outcome. Not to mention all the specificity with regard to times and temperatures and a dozen other variables.

Even so, with the help of people in my life who are truly gifted in that arena, I have found myself slowly but surely learning the ways of the baker. Now, I’m by no means good or even competent when it comes to baking, but I’m making progress.

And I’ve had VERY good teachers.

As a way to celebrate the summertime, I thought it might be nice to share some of the recipes that we’ve enjoyed in the past. While I’ll confess to having tried and failed to make most of these delectable treats, I can tell you that I have definitely succeeded in eating said treats when they were made by someone more capable than myself – and they are delicious.

These are all fruit-driven recipes (well, except for our inclusion of a Maine stalwart – we couldn’t run this story and NOT have whoopie pies in the mix). The majority feature fruits that are in season, but you should know that in almost all cases, frozen will serve you just as well. And while there’s a pie crust recipe included here, you’ll be just fine using your own or even store-bought – it’ll be tasty no matter what you decide.

So here you are, a collection of pies, cakes, scones and breads, along with whoopie pies and, as an aperitif, a little homemade blackberry liqueur that will pin a boozy button on your big baking adventure.

Published in Cover Story

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