Snickerdoodle wedding cookies and an apple cider bourbon cocktail

 
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It's cookie swap season! I'm participating in my first ever virtual cookie swap with a bunch of talented food bloggers this year. I experimented with three cookie recipes and this is the one I chose to share with you because it's super easy and there's not much you can do to mess this one up. Literally, it'll take you 15 minutes to prepare and then it's in the oven. I tried coming up with a chocolate chip cookie with fresh mint but that was a disaster because somehow it ended up tasting like weed cookies once it came out of the oven. I also thought up of a salted caramel sandwich cookie, but it's labor intensive and easy to mess up the consistency of the caramel. These snickerdoodle wedding cookies are quick and fool proof, no need to add an extra level of stress on this stressful enough holiday!

If you want inspiration for holiday cookies or if you're just here for pretty food photos take a quick peek at my snickerdoodle wedding cookie recipe and hop on over to everyone else's recipes! 

 

Snickerdoodle wedding cookies

for the cookie:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups sifted flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

for the cinammon sugar:

  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tsp cinammon
  • 1/8 tsp salt

 

Combine the ingredients for the cinnamon sugar in a small bowl and set aside. Make sure it's fully mixed.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a kitchen aid with the scraper bowl attachment, cream the butter (about one minute on high speed). Add the powdered sugar and cream until light and fluffy (another minute on high). Add the flour and salt and mix on low speed until the mixture looks smooth, but don't overdo it! Over mixing once the flour is incorporated will encourage unnecessary gluten formation. We want the cookies to be crumbly, not bread like. Form dough into small balls about the size of a melon ball and roll each of the cookies in the cinnamon sugar. I like to roll all of the cookies in it once and then go back and do it again for extra cinnamon flavor. Place the cookies on a cooking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes.

 

Apple cider bourbon cocktail

  • left over cinnamon sugar from the cookies
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1/4 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz brown sugar simple syrup (see below for recipe)
  • 1/4 oz Campari

For the simple syrup, combine a tablespoon of brown sugar and a tablespoon of water in a small microwavable bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds and mix until all of the sugar dissolves.

Pour the remaining cinnamon sugar in a small plate. In another plate, add some water. Take your coupe and turn it upside down. While keeping it flat, wet the rim of the coupe in the water, then place it in the plate with the cinnamon sugar to coat.

In a shaker, combine the bourbon, lemon juice, 1/4 oz simple syrup and Campari with ice and shake. 

Garnish with a rosemary sprig with cranberries for extra festivity (I usually make the holes in the cranberries with something else beforehand to make it easier).

 

Check out these amazing ladies and their holiday cookie recipes:

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Flower Garden Cocktail

 
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How cute is this glass? I found these vintage glasses at my favorite boutique liquor store (The Austin Shaker) and wanted to make a drink that really enhanced the beautiful lines of this coupe. A really clear and colorless cocktail sounded perfect for this, so I pulled out all of the liquors that fit the category that wasn’t rum or tequila and started experimenting. The end result, a high alcohol content cocktail that doesn’t taste boozy and has pleasant floral notes.

 

Flower Garden

2 oz gin

1 oz lemon juice

1 oz Velvet Falernum

1/2 oz St Germain

1 Luxardo Cherry

 

Stir all ingredients with ice. Strain into a coupe and garnish with a Luxardo cherry.

 

Marfa

 
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Scenes from Marfa. Desert meets artist community meets star gazing paradise. We spent a relaxing weekend here for Anthony's birthday. Here are some of my favorite things to do when I go out west. We enjoyed some local beer at a brewery facing the mountains in Alpine, sipped on wine in our beautiful airbnb while observing the paintings around the house, cuddled in a safari tent with heated blankets in the chilly desert, saw a heard of havalinas, and had a romantic dinner at Al Campo surrounded by Jesus candles. There's influence from Mexico and contemporary artists in every corner. Check out my list of favorite things to do!

1. Attend a star party at the McDonald Observatory. You'll get to look through one of the biggest telescopes at stars from neighboring galaxies. You can buy tickets online.

2. Have a margarita at Hotel Saint George. One of the best margaritas I've ever had outside of Mexico. They also have bites and coffee and a cute bookstore on the other side.

3. Stay at El Cosmico, a glamping site with teepees, safari tents, and airstreams. Every part of this site is curated with retro furniture and colorful mexican blankets. Inquire about the salsa bowl hot tubs for a chilly night in a steamy hot tub while watching the stars. (Fills up quickly, book in advance!)

4. Eat dinner at Al Campo. Sit inside for a cute candlelit dinner surrounded by carefully picked out antiques or enjoy a bottle of wine in the patio next to the open fire.

5. Try some local craft beer at Big Bend Brewing Company. Locals love this place, and if you sit outside, you get a beautiful scene of the mountains.

6. Go hiking or camping at Big Bend National Park. If camping, you'll need to book in advance because this fills up quickly as well. If going on a day hike, I recommend the 4 mile hike on the Window Trail. If you want to drive around and take photos instead of hiking anywhere, go to Chisos Basin for the best views!

7. Buy handmade soap from Marfa Brands Soap. My favorite is the pink bar called Rose Clay with Lavender and I buy it every year.

8. Check out Cobra Rock for handmade leather shoes and retro looking shoe making tools. Colt Miller might be making a boot when you walk in! If you don't want any shoes, there are cute purses and leather goods you can buy.

9. Have some cheap tex mex at Mando's Restaurant & Bar. A spot locals come to. It's unassuming at first, but their beans are to die for!

10. Drive out to the iconic Prada Store. An art installation in the middle of nowhere. Great for taking photos.

11. Head to Planet Marfa for cheap drinks. You might run into locals playing the guitar in the teepee.

12. Tour the Chinati foundation. You can do a self guided tour or you can opt for one of the guided tours. The longest one (4 hours) will get you access to all of the installations. Book tours in advance. The concrete blocks are free!

13. Buy some wine at the Get Go. A local grocery store reminiscent of Royal Blue with a great wine selection.

14. Visit the other small art galleries. Most of them are free, and are on the main strip of the town.

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Friendsgiving

 
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Friendsgiving is easily my favorite time of year. This is the third time I've hosted the event full of traditional food, oaky red wines, mulled apple cider, and multiple desserts. As always, Anthony goes out to the garden in the morning to gather bunches of sticky rosemary, thyme, and sage for the herbed butter he massages in between the skin and the meat of the turkey. The kitchen smells heavenly as our friends arrive early to help set the table. Everyone knows to go to my hutch for a wine glass to start sampling all of the best wines each of us picked out while we wait for the others to arrive. We crowd around the kitchen table, marveling at each other's dishes getting tipsy and hungry. For sides, we have stuffing made with regular bread and cornbread, a sweet potato and marshmallow dish, truffle mac and cheese, two types of green bean casserole, cranberry salsa, two types of gravy, Hawaiian rolls, pecan pie, buttermilk pie, pumpkin cheesecake, and flan. The turkey finally finishes and everyone fills their plates a little to full. Each person says what they're grateful for this year and we celebrate friendships, old and new, with our hearts and stomachs full of beautiful conversations and amazing food.

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Fig foam cocktail

 
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Working with egg whites can be tricky, but they can also provide the thickest foam for a creamy mouthfeel if done correctly. In this cocktail, I've accomplished making a sweet foam with crunchy fig seeds spread evenly throughout and it is definitely addictive.

There are multiple factors that contribute to making a nice thick foam, but the most important of them all is the dry shake. Shaking egg whites with ice tends to break down the proteins that create the foam structure, so it's important to leave out the ice in the beginning. For previous cocktails, I've tried dry shaking with all of the ingredients except for ice, and then shaking again with ice, but this resulted in only the slightest bit of foam. Today I decided to dry shake the egg white with just simple syrup and muddled fig to see if I could infuse more of the sweetness into the foam, and surprisingly the consistency turned out creamier and richer. Perhaps the low liquid to egg ratio worked in our favor, not sure. But this consistency held up even after the second round of shaking with the rest of the ingredients. 

One more thing. If you have a Boston shaker, strain the cocktail into a coupe without using a real strainer. You want to keep the crunchy bits of the fig as much as possible, not strain it out. I like to open the shaker and make a thin slit with the two openings and slowly empty out the contents if you know what I mean.

 

Fig foam cocktail

  • 2 oz Rittenhouse rye or any type of rye whiskey
  • 1 fig
  • 1 egg white (fresh and cold)
  • 1/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup

In a shaker, muddle the fig. Add the egg white and the simple syrup and shake. Here you need to shake as hard as you can for as long as you can (about 2 minutes). Add ice, rye, and lemon juice and shake again. Strain into a coupe and garnish with a fig slice.

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