If the political drama over the past few weeks has just been too much for you, go ahead – comfort yourself with a cookie. If you’re really feeling down, make it a goat’s milk caramel shortbread cookie from the c.love cookie project.

They are rich and oh so buttery, with sweet and salty top notes that enhance the underlying buttery undertones. The goat’s milk adds a touch of tang. Did I mention they are buttery?

You also can’t go wrong with the old-fashioned chocolate chip, which filled me with nostalgia for the cookies my mother fed the neighborhood kids, or the nutmeggy nutmegdudes.

The c.love cookie project is the brainchild of Katherine Slevin, who has worked as a baker and pastry chef in Chicago, France, and here in Portland, including three years at Standard Baking Co. Slevin sells cookies made in a Washington Avenue commercial kitchen to raise money for three organizations that work with Portland’s international community: Portland Adult Education, the Root Cellar, and Way of Life Mission. Each group gets 7 percent of the profits, for a total of 21 percent. (Slevin says 21 is her favorite number.)

Slevin grew up in a Christian home and was “getting further into my faith when I moved to Maine.” A good friend had worked at a refugee camp in Lebanon and was working with Portland refugees when the two of them got to talking about how being Christian means “loving people and being compassionate.” This was at the height of the refugee crisis in Syria.

In 2016, Slevin moved to Greece and lived for half a year on the island of Lesbos, where many Syrian, Iraqi, Afghani and African refugees were landing after dangerous journeys across the seas. She worked as the director of clothing distribution in a refugee camp. Getting to know refugees helped “change my perspective in a lot of ways,” Slevin said.

“I spent so many days just sitting in people’s tents and hearing their stories, where they were from and why they came there,” Slevin said. “They all deserved a chance for success.”

When Slevin returned to Portland, she decided she wanted to do more to help “and make (refugees) feel totally loved and encouraged here.” So about a year ago, she started the cookie business, followed this year by a series of free baking classes open to anyone interested in learning about food from other cultures. The classes are capped at 12 participants, and are held at 94 Washington Ave. (home of The Root Cellar); for more information on them, email [email protected] So far, one class has focused on crème patissiere, another on and how to bake an Iraqi cake.

To buy cookies, order three days in advance from clovecookieproject.com, or visit one of several Portland retailers carrying Slevin’s products: A&C Grocery, Arabica Coffee House, Browne Trading Co., Portland Food Co-op, Salon Lavender, Standard Baking (weekends only), and any Coffee by Design. (The coffeedude cookies are made with CBD’s Rebel Blend coffee grounds.)

Individual cookies cost $1.25-$1.75, depending on the flavor. A dozen assorted catering-sized cookies costs $15. A gift box of six sells for $11.75. Slevin will deliver in the Portland area for a $15 fee, or you can pick up the order yourself for free at The Root Cellar.

— MEREDITH GOAD

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