Tuesday, December 6th, 3:30am. The alarm clock we typically want to throw across the room sounded different that morning. The day we had been looking forward to for months had arrived, so it was easier to get out of bed at that unseemly hour. We had been invited by Teri Turner, the force behind No Crumbs Left, to attend a gathering of bloggers in Northern California where we would eat, cook, and meet in person for the very first time, even though we were already friends through the community of Instagram. Since our little Nissan Leaf only has a range of 84 miles, we rented an SUV to transport us to Napa, along with suitcases, pots and pans for cooking, ice chests full of ingredients, and the most exciting cargo of all: our friend Christine from What Do You Crave! Of all the attendees, Christine was the only one we previously knew. We became fast friends this year, and were beyond excited to road trip with her up to the Bay Area!
Sweets or not to sweets, that was the question. As we sat there finishing those brownie-like chocolate sugar cookies, we thought we’d try switching things up and post something on the healthier side. Well… clearly from the photo above, that’s not happening today. Maaaybe next time—although we can’t promise anything because this is a special time of year when eating apple-cider cookies for breakfast with your gingerbread hot chocolate is totally acceptable. So have a salad for lunch and save room for these cups of heaven for dessert: triple chocolate peppermint parfaits—here to make your holidays merry and oh so bright.
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!