Snickerdoodles

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Sweetlips & The Bean insist that these are some of the best cookies I’ve ever made. They are big, fluffy and bursting with cinnamon and sugar. Frankly, they are addictive. They are also uber easy-to-make. But plan ahead - the dough should be refrigerated for a few hours prior to baking.

New favorite Snickerdoodle cookie recipe courtesy of Rebecca Firth’s “The Cookie Book” (@displacedhousewife)

Ingredients:

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

½ cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, room temp

2/3 cup neutral oil

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1½ cups bread flour

1¼ cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon sea salt

Coating:

⅓ cup granulated sugar (for the coating)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (for the coating)

INSTRUCTIONS:

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  1. In an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the brown sugar, butter, and granulated sugar and mix on medium until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. With the mixer on low, add in the eggs one at a time, taking the time to fully blend the first, before adding the second. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated. Add in the oil and vanilla and mix 1 minute more. Take the bowl out of the mixer.

  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the bread flour, all-purpose flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Add this to the butter mixture and stir until the flour just disappears. Wrap tightly and put in the fridge for several hours, or until firm.

  3. Preheat your oven to 375-degrees and cover several baking sheets with parchment paper. Make sure a rack is in the top third of the oven at least 6 inches from the heat source. This is where you'll bake your cookies.

  4. To make the cookie coating, in a small bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar and cinnamon.

  5. Roll 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough into a nice ball. Give the dough ball a generous coating of the cinnamon mixture and set on the baking sheet, allowing two inches of space between dough balls.

  6. Bake one sheet at a time in the top third of the oven for 11 to 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes and then transfer to a rack.


Essential Top

I love a classic top with structure. A versatile, but tailored shape gives a wardrobe staple interest. This one, available in black and white, is even chicer on (click through and you can see how its styled). I’ll be wearing it day to night with a flowey skirt and GC gold links come summer and under a blazer with crisp, wide-legged pants and piles of GC chains and bracelets until the brisk weather turns.

ICELAND

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STAY:

 

ion Luxury Adventure Hotel

As we approached the Ion, my husband turned to me and said, "I feel like we are on another planet." About a 40 minute drive from Reyjkjavik, with nothing but lava fields as far as the eye can see, the boutique hotel's location does seem otherworldly, which -- besides it's convenient location by the route of the "Golden Circle -- is precisely the reason to stay. After long drives and hikes to geysers, waterfalls and glaciers, a thermal outdoor hot pool and a wall-of-windows bar overlooking this spectacular vista is the perfect home base to recharge for the next day's adventure.  http://ioniceland.is/

 

 

EAT:

Reyjkavik:

Lunch at Saegreiffin (Sea Baron) fish shack on the marina. Let me be clear, this is an actual shack, but don't let it deter. It is THE place for amazing, fresh off the boat seafood. http://www.saegreifinn.is/en/

Dinner at Grillmarkadurinn - Fine dining in Reykjavik in an unusually chic atmosphere. 

http://www.grillmarkadurinn.is

En route along the Golden Circle (EYRARBRAUT 3A, 825 STOKKSEYRI)

Fjorubordid - A tiny little restaurant, in a house off a road, in the middle of absolutely nowhere! And if you want the best lobster soup in the world, you will go there. But plan out your evening route in advance to get there in time and make sure to have a reservation. 

https://www.fjorubordid.is

 

Notes & Advice:

Blue Lagoon: 

No trip to Iceland is complete without a visit to the waters of the famous geothermal spa. But, you MUST get tickets in advance. The best time for entrance is on the way back to the airport, as it is less than five minutes from the terminal and otherwise out of the way. Book an entrance that will allow for two hours before you need to be at the airport for your flight. An excellent way to end a memorable trip.

There is now a luxury hotel on the premises, so if you do have the time, no need to rush out. 

https://www.bluelagoon.com

 

Golden Circle:

Wear layers! You will go from needing a fleece, hat and gloves along a boat on a glacier, to wearing a t-shirt and sunglasses as you hike to a waterfall and then back again as the drive goes on.

Whenever you see a gas station, fill 'er up! It may be the last time you come across one for hours. 

There are plenty of companies that organize glacier hikes and site seeing. We chose to take a boat ride amidst the glaciers at the end of a long day's road trip via this group: http://icelagoon.is/tours/

BeautyCounter Sunscreen

Thanks to their Godmother and all around favorite person, my two boys are only willing to use Beautycounter products. And that's great by me. While I have not 100% transitioned to clean, chemical free products for myself (although I have happily been able to replace a very, VERY long list thanks to Beautycounter and the pleas of my dear friend), I have been insistent that my children only use non-toxic and safe products on their precious bodies. 

As a momma concerned about protecting my six-year-old boys' skin while they are outdoors playing sports, swimming or traveling, it has always been a relief that I never have to argue about applying lotion. The sun stick is not only safe and protective, it's easy to use and argument free! They each keep a sun stick in their camp bags and know how to easily apply it to their faces themselves, so I never have to worry when they are running around in the sun all day without me. And because the cream isn't sticky, they allow me to quickly lather their bodies up each morning or when we are hanging by the pool. We keep the sticks everywhere -- our travel bags, the pool house for guests and in my bag for sports.  I do not rave about beauty products often -- you know I'm a shoe, home and jewelry gal -- but Beautycounter sunsticks have been a total game changer for my family and I find myself constantly sending out the link to fellow parents. 

The boys have been asking for a spray sunscreen (I'm pretty sure they are quietly working in product development at this point!) and they know I will never allow them or the environment to breathe in aerosol. When I got the text from their fairy Godmother that Beautycounter was launching a safe, non-toxic, non-aerosol mist (Countersun Mist) I quickly placed Sweetlips and The Bean's order. 

So in honor of Sweetlips & The Bean and their fabulous godmother who cares deeply about our health and beauty with a purpose, I am thrilled to partner with Beautycounter to share our favorite products, starting with Countersun

SHOP: Countersun Stick, Countersun Mists, Countersun Lotion

 

Source: https://www.beautycounter.com/upchicscreek

Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies - "Levain-esque"

Levain-esque Chocolate Chip Walnut Chunk Cookies

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Many have tried, but I think it's fair to say, you can only get a chunky, walnutty, chocolatey chip Levain Bakery cookie at Levain Bakery. But, these come close -- and, if nothing else, they are delicious anyway!! Perfect for a snowy day. Hot chocolate not included. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

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  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • ¾ cup lightly packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup cake meal
  • 1¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups roughly chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

 

 

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream butter and both sugars. Cream until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. 

3. Add eggs. Mix until incorporated.

4. Add in cake meal, flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Mix on the lowest speed until all the flour is just incorporated. Do not over-mix.

5. Add in walnuts and chocolate chips and mix on lowest speed until just incorporated.

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6. Separate into two-inch clumps. Place no less than 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. I can fit a max of 8 cookies on mine. Do not roll into balls. Leave in loosely shape round clumps. 

7. Bake one sheet at a time in the middle row of the oven -- about 12-13 minutes. The tops should be golden and the cookies should appear cooked, but not set. Let cookies cool at least 15 minutes on a wire rack.

Enjoy!

XOXO

Brown Butter Nutella Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

BROWN BUTTER NUTELLA SEA SALT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES 

(Continuously adapted from I don't know what because I have been making them for that long)

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Ingredients:

2 1/2 Cups flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter

1 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt

1/2 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk chocolate)

1/2 cup chocolate chunks 

Nutella

Sea Salt

 

1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside. 

2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat whisking somewhat continuously until the butter begins to brown.  Once the butter has begun to brown and gives off a nutty aroma, remove from heat.

3. With an electric standing mixer or a hand mixer, blend butter and both sugars. Add the egg, vanilla and yogurt and mix until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips and chunks.

4. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll into approximately 1.5 inch balls. Place two inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

6. Gently make a thumb print in the center of each cookie dough ball. Scoop a small teaspoon of Nutella into each and then fold the dough from the sides back over the Nutella. (If you need to grab a little dough off the bottom to completely cover the Nutella, that's OK too.) Roll back into a ball if need be. Flatten the tops just a tad.

7. Bake for about 12-14 or just until the edges begin to turn golden. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with sea salt. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

Enjoy! xoxo

Best Brownies

I baked these brownies during a snow storm on the hubby's birthday. It was below zero outside, the wind was whipping against the windows, a sink overflowed from a frozen pipe, our alarm wouldn't stop beeping due to a series of power surges and finally water started shooting out of a wall by the washing machine. Mike was mad at the house, the weather and birthdays in general.

So I went into the kitchen to cheer myself up (disengage) with a glass of wine and a little snow day baking. Some of you may have seen the insta-story of the making of these brownies. The one with the soundtrack ranging from "It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want to" to "Birthday Bitch." And thank goodness for comfort food (and wine) -- particularly of the chocolate kind (sauvignon blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand if you're asking) -- because these brownies soothed his stomach and soul. They are, in one word...INSANE. Easy to make, but impossible to stop eating. The entire batch was gone in a day. These are officially my new go-to brownie recipe.

Notes: I did not have espresso powder in the house and I was not leaving to get it (see frozen tundra above). While I'm sure the taste would be elevated with its inclusion, if you are missing this ingredient, no need to hold off. They were still amazing minus the espresso. 

The original recipe calls for baked and coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts. My family complains whenever I put nuts in desserts, which is just so misguided, but it was the hubby's birthday, so I decided to be nice (see freezing temperature and bursting pipes). I imagine that pecans would be truly awesome inclusions, but I will say that the mushy, chocolatey deliciousness of these pure classics was heavenly. 

The Best Brownies

(adapted slightly via Jessica Seinfeld)

Ingredients:

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1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon espresso powder (optional)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

 

Directions:

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Preheat oven (with oven rack in the middle) to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8-inch baking pan (I used 9 x 9 and they were still perfection). Line with an 8-inch-wide strip of parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Remove from the head and add the chocolate chips and espresso if using. Let stand for about 2 minutes, then whisk until creamy and smooth. Whisk in both sugars. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and whisk with gusto for a solid 45 seconds, or until batter is thick and glossy and pulls away from the pan. 

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with more than a few moist crumbs attached (best to undertake than to overtake). Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

Grab the ends of the parchment and lift the brownies onto a cutting board before slicing. 

Enjoy! xoxo