A Chance Encounter and a Beautiful Friendship

sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-1Do you ever think about all of the people you pass daily? Who are they? What is their story? What are they going through in life? Where have they been? What are their dreams? How would your life be different if you knew them? What would happen if you stopped and had a simple conversation? sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-2 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-3Several years ago we missed a ferry we were trying to catch so we could get home after a long wedding weekend on an island. I was frustrated when I realized we had to wait a couple hours before the next ferry would be available. We decided to make the best of the situation and found a cute little restaurant to grab a bite to eat. The only problem was that every table was full and there was nowhere to sit and enjoy our meal. We wandered for a bit and eventually found a quiet courtyard that was empty, except for a young couple with the most beautiful little girl.

sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-4 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-5 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-6 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-7 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-8 Typically, the day after a wedding I am exhausted and all I want to do is sit in silence, mindlessly scroll through social media and get a little bit of alone time so I can recover before quickly starting the production of our next event. This day was different. As Jamie and I watched this little girl joyfully run through the grass, we started talking about someday having kids of our own and wondered how we would possibly manage having a family and our business. We were so intrigued by this little girl and her family. As we finished our lunch I politely complemented the couple on their daughter, thinking it would just be a passing comment. The next thing I knew we were in a full conversation talking about life, careers, the beauty of having kids, finding each other on social media and making plans to connect. sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-9 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-10 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-11 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-12 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-13The conversation that started that day with Christiana and Todd has evolved into a beautiful, cherished, life-giving friendship. Life has changed so much for both of our families over the past several years with the addition of three (almost four) babies to the mix, but one thing that has remained steady is our genuine excitement to spend time together whenever we get the chance. This is especially true when it involves our annual Christmas tradition of baking and decorating sugar cookies together.sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-14 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-15 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-16 For the past several years, before Cove was thought of, Grey was born, Cruz could walk and Isola was the only child that could participate, we have rolled out and cut cookies together, squeezed out mountains of icing, finished them off with “toppers” (more commonly known to others as sprinkles) and consumed way too much sugar. This tradition is one of the things I look forward to the most during the Christmas season. Yes, the kitchen becomes a disaster and we might find “toppers” floating around the floor for the next year to come, but the mess is worth the price, because of the joy that comes from the time we spend together and all of the memories that are being created. sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-17 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-18 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-19 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-20 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-21 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-22 I love that our kids will grow up together with memories of this tradition. Even more, I love the friendship that we’ve developed over the years. I value having experienced parents that we can lean on for support. I feel safe knowing that we have friends we can confide in and talk freely with, never worrying about any kind of judgment. I feel comforted knowing we can always just be ourselves. True friendships like these are hard to find, and when you do find them you realize what a gift they really are.sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-23 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-24 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-25 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-38sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-36sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-26 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-27 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-28 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-35sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-29 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-30 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-31 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-31bThis Christmas I am thankful for that missed ferry ride and serendipitously meeting beautiful-hearted people through a chance encounter at an island café. I’m so glad we started a little conversation that day, as now I can’t even imagine life differently. It leads me to wonder what would happen if we were more aware of the people we were passing each day and intentionally took the time to slow down and just start a simple conversation. I have a feeling there would be a lot more sugar cookies with too much icing and sprinkled “toppers” on kitchen floors.

sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-32 sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-33 Oh- and can we all agree that the kids did a beautiful job decorating their cookies? I honestly prefer them to the more detailed ones I created! sinclair-and-moore-christmas-2016-cookies-34

Thank you to Jenny Cookies, another good friend of ours, for allowing us to share her amazing cookie recipe on our blog! If you are in the Seattle area, and don’t feel like baking cookies of your own you can head to her bake shop and pick up a batch of freshly baked treats! For more of her recipes and a whole lot of inspiration, pick up a copy of her book, Eat More Dessert! (And no… this is not a sponsored ad/ post- we love supporting and celebrating our friends’ dreams, endeavors and businesses!)

You can follow the adventures of this beautiful family through Christiana’s Instagram feed

Photography: Alanna Maria Photography

Amazing cookie recipe: Jenny Cookies

Calligraphy and Design: La Happy 

Download and print Jenny Cookies’ sugar cookie recipe here



sinclair-and-moore-gingersnaps-1It doesn’t quite feel like the holiday season until the smell of freshly baked gingersnaps fills our home. This is my favorite recipe I’ve tweaked and perfected over the years. They are quick and simple to make, and can easily be packaged to give to neighbors and friends as a holiday treat. I often make enough dough to keep in my refrigerator so that when guests come over I am always ready to bake fresh cookies. These cookies are crisp on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside and the turbindao sugar gives an extra bit of crunch.

It is a pretty easy recipe to follow, but if baking feels intimidating please use the images below as a guide. Make sure to not over mix your dough to avoid dry cookies. You will also want to play around with baking times depending on how crisp you like your cookies to be; the longer you bake your cookies the crispier they will become. If you want larger cookies than what I have pictured here, just make larger dough balls before baking!

If you are looking for other holiday baking recipes and inspiration, make sure to check out our posts on pie crust, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie and cinnamon rolls!  sinclair-and-moore-gingersnaps-2 sinclair-and-moore-gingersnaps-3 sinclair-and-moore-gingersnaps-4 sinclair-and-moore-gingersnaps-5 sinclair-and-moore-gingersnaps-6 sinclair-and-moore-gingersnaps-7 sinclair-and-moore-gingersnaps-8 sinclair-and-moore-gingersnaps-9 sinclair-and-moore-gingersnaps-10 sinclair-and-moore-gingersnaps-11 sinclair-and-moore-gingersnaps-12 sinclair-and-moore-gingersnaps-13 sinclair-and-moore-gingersnaps-14 sinclair-and-moore-gingersnaps-15 sinclair-and-moore-gingersnaps-16 sinclair-and-moore-gingersnaps-17 sinclair-and-moore-gingersnaps-18 sinclair-and-moore-gingersnaps-19 sinclair-and-moore-gingersnaps-20 sinclair-and-moore-gingersnaps-21

Photography: Alanna Maria Photography

Calligraphy and recipe design: LaHappy

Download and print our gingersnap recipe!


Sea Salt Caramels

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After posting these sea salt caramels to my instagram feed, I received countless e-mails asking where to find the recipe on the blog!  Thank you for your enthusiasm (and your patience) while we worked on putting this post together.  These sea salt caramels are the perfect little treat to gift to friends during the holiday season.  The best part about this recipe, beyond how good they taste, is how simple they are to make.  There are very few ingredients used and just a few key steps to follow in order to successfully make these little pieces of candy.  Below are a few tips to help you along the way.

Sinclair & Moore sea salt caramel  2Sinclair & Moore sea salt caramel  4Before you begin measuring any ingredients, it is important to prepare your pan.  I line my pan with natural parchment paper so that I can lift the caramels right out of the pan once they have cooled.  This makes cutting the caramels much easier than attempting to cut them in the pan.

To line the pan with parchment paper, first butter the actual pan lightly so that the parchment will be able to stick to the pan itself without slipping around.

Cut down the parchment paper to size, but make sure that you leave a couple inches on each of the long sides of the pan.  This extra length will be what you use to lift the batch of caramel out of the pan.

Once the pan is lined with the parchment paper make sure to generously coat everything with butter so that the paper will not stick to the caramel mixture.

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Before melting your butter, it is a good idea to measure out the sugar, corn syrup, condensed milk and the salt into a separate bowl so that it will be ready to pour into the pan once the butter has melted.

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Turn on the Christmas tunes and settle in.  Cooking caramels takes a bit of time…. this is not a ten minute project.  Depending on your stove, you could be stirring for about 30-45 minutes.  You will want to make sure you are stirring the entire time… if you let this just sit on the stove the sugar and milk mixture can quickly and easily burn.

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You will know your mixture is boiling when it starts to bubble. This is when you want to reduce the heat and add a candy thermometer.

Don’t try to speed up the process by continuing to cook at a higher temperature.  Cooking it slow allows the caramel flavor to develop to a richer taste.

Make sure to use a candy thermometer.  A few years back I thought I would avoid purchasing a candy thermometer and so I used a meat thermometer instead.  Big mistake.  Totally not the same thing at all.  My caramel turned into a brick and it had to be thrown out. It was a sad day in my kitchen!

The candy thermometer will help you regulate the temperature of your mixture so you do not cook your caramel for too long.  The higher the temperature you cook your caramel to, the harder your caramel will become.  I like to cook mine to a “firm ball” stage.  This means that the mixture is cooked to about 245 degrees F.  This will give you a taffy like caramel that is easy to eat. The good thing about a candy thermometer is that all you do is set it to “firm ball” stage, and it will beep at you when it is set.

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Once your caramel has reached the desired temperature remove from the heat immediately and set your pan on an unheated burner on the stove.  Have your vanilla and measuring spoon next to the stove ready to go so you can quickly pour in this final ingredient.  Work fast so you can incorporate the vanilla before the mixture begins to cool down.

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Just pour  the caramel mixture into your prepared pan and it will naturally spread evenly throughout the pan.   Then it just becomes a waiting game as you allow your caramel to cool and firm up.  I like to allow mine to cool at least three to four hours.

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Once the caramel has cooled, gently lift it out of the pan using the paper flaps you created when you prepared the pan.  Set the caramel on a flat surface and using a sharp knife, make firm cuts and slice your caramels into small rectangular or square pieces. It is important that your cuts are firm and direct. Clean cut caramels are easier to wrap.

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I like to use natural, unbleached waxed paper to wrap up my caramels.  There is something  that feels nostalgic about the look of this paper, and it enhances the natural color of the caramel.  You can find this at natural grocery stores like Whole Foods or you can purchase it here.

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This is the perfect inexpensive and easy gift to give to friends, especially when packaged up in little linen bags or craft paper boxes. You can download our sea salt caramel recipe or just use the recipe card below!  We hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

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