The holidays are here, and the cookie kick continues. Our local stores are running out of apples after the mountains of apple cider snickerdoodles we have baked these past few weeks. Thankfully, the lovely Natalie and Holly at The Modern Proper invited us to join their virtual cookie party, so we changed course to a new recipe we could binge on which will last us through the new year. The very first place we turned to was Sarah Kieffer’s new release, The Vanilla Bean Baking Book. From its glowing reviews, we knew we would find a competent cookie contender in her wonderful new book filled with classic desserts and sweet treats. Just as we expected, these chocolate sugar cookies were beyond our expectations, an ultra-chewy and chocolatey contribution to the Modern Proper’s virtual #CalmAndBrightCookieNight cookie exchange.
We must be dreaming. We are sitting here sipping hibiscus margaritas—a tangy and refreshing cocktail from one of our favorite bloggers, Christine Carlson—and are overwhelmed with excitement. In just a few days, we are taking a road trip with Christine up to Napa Valley to spend the week with a talented group of food bloggers from all over the United States and Canada (links below), hosted by the brilliant Teri Turner of No Crumbs Left. Aside from enjoying massive amounts of locally-made wine, we will be cooking together, collaborating on recipes, sampling Napa’s award-winning restaurants, visiting picturesque wineries, and attending a lecture by renowned photographer George Lange. Our adventures will be well-documented on our Instagram story, so join us as we eat and drink allll the wine in Napa. But before we head north, we want to leave you with a sweet and comforting treat to keep you warm and cozy all season long. Meet your new winter remedy, and welcome gingerbread hot chocolate to your life.
This week we were invited to participate in a holiday cookie exchange hosted by the queen of cookies herself, Rebecca Firth from Displaced Housewife! She invited seventeen bloggers to make cookies, then secretly send them to one of the lucky names on the list—our mystery recipient will be receiving a batch of these sweet treats we are sharing today! We spent Thanksgiving in Portland with family, and when we arrived back home, a surprise package was waiting on our doorstep! Inside was a festive box tied with a silver bow and a shiny red and white striped ribbon, and a handwritten note from Laura at Tutti Dolci, revealing herself as our secret santa. Nestled within were dozens of brown butter chai snickerdoodles, carefully wrapped in wintry white paper with red snowflakes. Well it must be snickerdoodle season, or simply serendipitous synchronicity, because we made a similar selection for our sweet submission: apple cider snickerdoodles!
Gluten-free diets are becoming more popular every day. We have friends and family members who cannot eat wheat, so it is our job to make sure our site has a variety of options for everyone, no matter what their restrictions are. Your gluten-free dinner guests will love you forever when they see you place hearty bowls of butternut squash risotto on the table, topped with crispy sage. Feeling spicy? Watch their eyes light up as a beautiful roasted tandoori cauliflower emerges steaming and fragrant from the oven. Whatever you decide, make sure to leave room for dessert, because you will absolutely not want to miss this dreamy coconut cream and raspberry tart from Alanna Taylor-Tobin’s gorgeous new cookbook, Alternative Baker. Filled with over 100 dessert ideas featuring gluten-free flours and truly stunning photography, it deserves a spot on every kitchen bookshelf and makes a perfect present for the holidays.
Thanksgiving dinner without pecan pie is like Christmas without presents. Or a birthday party with no cake. Or ringing in the new year without sipping on something bubbly. The holiday just wouldn’t be the same without one, sitting side-by-side with its autumnal pumpkin and apple companions. And have you noticed that every year when dessert time arrives, there is always a family member who doesn’t like one of the flavors? It’s true. Pay close attention to the comments at the table this year and you are bound to hear someone confessing their distaste for either the apple, pecan, or pumpkin. There seems to be an equal divide amongst everyone’s personal pie preferences, and we have come to accept that this will never change. But this confusion has its benefits: more pies are made so everyone is content. We believe that all pies are equal, and every Thanksgiving our dessert plates proudly display a slice of each one! This year though, we have something extra special to bring to the Fall feast. We’ve added a secret ingredient that has transformed this southern classic into an irresistible treat that everyone at the table will agree on.