Katherine Slevin’s mother is Lebanese-American, and when Slevin was growing up in Illinois, a neighbor used to bake Lebanese butter cookies for the holidays. The decadent, pine-nut–topped treats are now a C. Love staple. Photograph by Mark Fleming.
A few years ago, Katherine Slevin took a break from her job at Portland’s Standard Baking Co. to volunteer at a refugee camp in Greece. That experience moved her to help immigrants at home too. She says the idea to start C. Love, a cookies-only bakery with a philanthropic flavor, came to her in prayer. Twenty-one percent of proceeds go to local charities that support immigrants (because 21 is her favorite number), and last year, Slevin led a six-week “baking exchange program” for women from around the world. As for her cookies — from goat’s-milk-caramel shortbreads to meltingly tender chocolate chippers — the layers of flavors will stop you in your tracks. “During eight-hour croissant shifts at the Standard,” Slevin recalls, “I’d write recipe ideas for C. Love on a paper towel and stuff them in my pocket.” Now, she sells her sweet, buttery lineup online — for pick-up or delivery — and at a handful of Portland markets and coffee shops. “I’m obviously proud of the cookies,” she says, “but I care most about the mission.”